As my regular readers, and those who know me in the flesh, are aware, I have a fascination with serial killers.
An entirely benign interest, I assure you.
On Thursday, though, I am attending a seminar put on by the FBI dealing with serial killers operating on our highways, particularly the interstates. This is the website associated with the program they are putting on.
I've never, to my knowledge, met a serial killer. I have spoken to half a dozen murderers in person, all before I became an ADA, and all were on death row for their crimes. Ah, the benefits of being a journalist.
The most chilling was the one I mentioned the other day, Eric Nenno, who was on death row for killing a seven-year-old girl just outside Houston back in 1995. I interviewed him last year for a book I was planning to write, asking to come see him by just mailing a letter. He wrote back saying, essentially, "Sure, come see me, but hurry because I'm being executed in a couple of weeks."
So I hurried to death row, getting there on a Friday. His execution date was the following Tuesday.
I was there a couple of hours and it felt surreal. His appeals were done, he had no hope for salvation (bodily, at least), so he spoke openly. He admitted to being a pedophile and it was only after a couple of hours that I really saw how messed up his wiring was: he was describing the moment he lured the little girl to his house. He'd done so by offering to show her his guitar (her dad played in a band).
"I asked if she wanted to see it, and when she said 'Yes,' that's when I knew she wanted to [be with] me."
Yes, that's what he thought. He said something similar when I asked if he'd done anything like this before. He told me about the girl he'd kissed while her mother was out of the room, how they'd kissed each other, and more. She was five.
My hair stood up on the back of my neck, and I wanted to . . ., well, you can imagine.
But I'm reminded of that interview because as I look at the map on the FBI site of all those highway killings I can't help but wonder how many people there are out there, people we walk, run, and drive past every day, whose wiring is so differently and so dangerously connected.
Maybe I'll get some insight Thursday. If so, I'll report back.
Okay, I'll report back anyway.