House of Mystery True Crime History

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BURNED - FRANK GIRARDOT JR

For years Lori Orr believed her Los Angeles firefighter dad was a selfless hero. When Lori’s dad was arrested and charged with four murders and countless arson fires, it was her testimony that helped keep him from being sent to Death Row. Eventually, Lori’s search for the truth lead her to the dark secrets lurking in her family’s past and to an inescapable conclusion about the remorseless killer and arsonist known as the "Pillowcase Pyro" and his reign of terror in sunny Southern California.


EXCERPT:

A hardware store employee saw the flames as they roared toward him down one of the overstocked aisles. A group of employees ran by and he herded them toward a nearby fire escape.


The fire was sucking all of the oxygen out of the room and when they got the door open, the group of panicked shoppers and employees running for their lives were literally pushed out of the door as though they were shot from a cannon.


“It was coming. Coming fast toward us. The flame, the fire, everything.”


Together with award-winning journalist Frank C. Girardot Jr., Orr looks back on the journey that took her from love to fear and the search for answers about how the father she loved could also be a thrill-seeking predator. A predator brought to justice by a dogged investigator no one wanted to believe. A master manipulator who participated in the writing of this memoir in hopes that it would redeem him in the eyes of his family and others who trusted and believed in him.

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3/27/2020

LIFE AND CRIMES OF BTK - STEPHEN & JOYCE SINGULAR

To all appearances, Dennis Rader was a model citizen in the small town of Park City, Kansas, where he had lived with his family almost his entire life. He was a town compliance officer, a former Boy Scout leader, the president of his church congregation, and a seemingly ordinary father and husband. But Rader's average life belied the existence of his dark, sadistic other self: he was the BTK serial killer. The self-named BTK (for Bind, Torture, Kill) had terrorized Wichita for thirty-one years, not only with his brutal, sexually motivated crimes, but also through his taunting, elusive communications with the media and law enforcement. In 1974, BTK committed his first murders -- torturing and strangling four members of the Otero family -- and wrote the police an audacious letter declaring his responsibility for the Oteros' deaths and labeling himself, for the first time, BTK. Thus he established a pattern -- stalking and killing a series of ten victims, then bragging and claiming ownership of his crimes -- that ended in 1991 but left law enforcement confounded and the public with deeply troubling memories. Until, that is, he resurfaced in 2004 with another string of letters that would finally lead to his arrest. Drawing from extensive interviews with Rader's pastor, congregation, detectives, and psychologists who worked the case, and from his unnervingly de-tailed thirty-two-hour confession, bestselling author Stephen Singular delves into the disturbing life and crimes of BTK to explore fully -- for the first time -- the most dangerous and complex serial killer of our generation and the man who embodied, at once, astonishing extremes of normality and abnormality. In Unholy Messenger, Singular recounts the year prior to Rader's arrest, in which the BTK killer reemerged, and the aftermath. Woven throughout are the details of his crimes, elaborate schemes, and bids for public attention, and the wrenching impact his deception had on his family, church, and heartland community.