A new special on 48 Hours tries to peel back further details in the story of The Dexter Killer, Mark Twitchell. The Canadian native earned the name due to his murder of John Brian Altinger and his alleged inspiration through the Showtime hit series, Dexter.
While Twitchell denied the Dexter influence, telling journalist Steve Lillibuen in the special that the series did not inspire his plot. "As you're aware, Dexter has almost nothing to do with my case," Twitchell said. "It has no bearing whatsoever on what actually happened."
Lillibuen says the evidence in the case against Twitchell tells a different story. "He had a kill room set up with plastic sheeting. He had a table set up for his victims," the reporter says. "He had this kind of processing kit that was very similar to what Dexter uses." On top of this, Twitchell mentioned Dexter Morgan several times, posed as the character on Facebook, and would even send messages to people in character.
"We all have a dark side, some darker than others and you're not the only one to relate to Dexter. It sometimes scares me how much I relate. I mean look at this profile," a message from Twitchell read. He also compared himself to Morgan in his status message, noting he has way too much in common with the fictional serial killer. These factoids also show the darker side of fandom, which Twitchell represented through his small Star Wars fan films, his cosplay attempts as Bumblebee from Transformers and Wolverine from Marvel Comics. Playing Dexter Morgan in real life seems like the next extreme step.
The letters and revelations mark the basis for the 48 Hours special. It also shows a significant reason Twitchell may be distancing his crimes from the series. Star Michael C. Hall was asked about the murderer during a radio appearance in 2012.
"I don't know. All I can say to that it's horrifying to entertain the notion that something you did inspired that," Hall said during an interview on CBC's Q. "I immediately find myself saying, 'Well, he would have found something else to inspire him,' but I don't know. To be perfectly honest, it's a troubling thing to consider...I try to tell myself that their fixative nature would have done it one way or the other, but it seems that Dexter had something to do with it. It's horrifying."
Twitchell's letter denying the connection does end chillingly, even if he is clearly full of it. "There is no key. No root cause ...there is no school bully or impressionably gory movies ... or Showtime television series to point the finger at. It is what it is and I am what I am."
Twitchell's fascination with the series led to the 2008 murder of 38-year-old Johnny Altinger and his dismemberment in his makeshift "kill room" in his garage. He also assaulted and potentially targeted Gilles Tetreault, though he managed to escape without reporting to police. Both men were lured to Twitchell through a fake Plenty of Fish profile for a girl named Sheena.0comments
Altinger's blood was later found on Twitchell's trunk, and all of the evidence was underlined by the discovery of Twitchell's "SKConfessions" document or film script. It had been deleted on his laptop, but police managed to recover it and found it outlined the exact process he would use to kill Altinger. All of these discoveries led to his arrest and a first-degree murder charge.
Despite his incarceration, Twitchell is still a fan of Dexter. He was allowed to finish watching the series' later episodes that he missed due to his arrest in May 2013. No word on if he got to watch the revival when it premiered.