February 24, 2016

Memoir by convicted serial killer available on Amazon (briefly)

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An undated video image of Robert Pickton. Photograph: Anonymous/AP (via The Guardian)

On January 30, 2006, Canadian multi-millionaire pig farmer Robert Pickton was charged with 27 counts of first-degree murder. Though he’d allegedly confessed to more than 49 murders to an undercover cop posing as his cellmate, he was eventually convicted of just six counts of second-degree murder. The details are grisly.

Pickton, who is currently serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison, is back in the news now because more than 50,000 people have signed a petition to pull his memoir, released earlier this year by Colorado-based self-publisher Outskirts Press, from Amazon Canada.

Pickton: In His Own Words appeared under the name Michael Chilldres who, it turns out, had “no idea who [Pickton] was” when he received the handwritten pages in the mail at his home near Los Angeles. Chilldres had the manuscript typeset and published as a favor to a mutual friend, who met Pickton in prison and helped him smuggle the manuscript to Chilldres.

“I didn’t think this book was going to be as big of a deal as it is; I just thought it would be a little deal,” Chilldres told Tristan Hopper at the National Post.

But for the families of the victims, it’s a very big deal indeed. Mike Morris, the minister of public safety said in a statement, “We are taking this very seriously and investigating every means available to ensure that the families involved are protected from further harm and that Robert Pickton will not profit in any way from this book.”

As of Monday, the book has been removed from Amazon.

There’s more here on the illustrious history of books written by convicted killers.

 

 

Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.

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