Most Evil - Killer Lies - Friday October 5

most evil
killer lies (1/6)
23.00–00.00

This brand new documentary series delves inside the mind of killers in an attempt to find out why they kill; how they get away with their crimes and how they rationalise their actions. In each programme, Dr Michael Stone, a forensic psychiatrist at New York City’s Columbia University, considers killers and places them on his ‘most evil’ scale, which he has devised to categorise murderers. The first programme in the series examines murderers who utilise deception as an integral part of their crimes, and manipulate the people around them. Why is deception such a dangerous weapon in the hands of a killer?

The murderers profiled in this first programme all had the skills to cleverly fool those around them. One of them is John List, an unemployed New Jersey accountant who was convicted of murdering his wife, mother and three children in 1971. After killing his family, List calmly cancelled the papers, post and milk, left his gun in a filing cabinet with detailed instructions to ‘contact the authorities’, cleaned up the scene – and disappeared. After a few years the authorities gave up searching for him – but he turned up 18 years later, three states away in Virginia, with a new wife, house, job and identity. List’s meticulous planning and clever disappearing act prompt Dr Stone to place him at 14 on his scale: a ruthless, self-centred psychopathic schemer.

Killers like John List unravel our sense of trust, employing complex lies to create alibis, change identity and start new lives. Another killer on Dr Stone’s scale is Nathan Bar-Jonah, who lived in the sleepy, isolated town of Great Falls, Montana. In 1999 he was charged with kidnapping and murdering ten-year-old Zachary Ramsay back in 1996, but he was never tried for the crime. He was, however, convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting two other boys, and had served time in his home state of Massachusetts for the kidnap and attempted murder of two more –a fact of which the authorities were unaware.

A search of Bar-Jonah’s home turned up disturbing finds, such as lists of names including Zachary’s; coded journals containing cannibalistic recipes; and fragments of an unidentified child’s bones buried in the garage. Bar-Jonah denies abducting and murdering Zachary –the case was eventually dropped –but retired cop Sergeant John Cameron does not believe him. “He needs to step up and tell the truth,” he says. “I don’t expect him to.” When Dr Stone visits Bar-Jonah at a maximum-security facility in Montana, he is unconvinced by stories of abuse and torture that the prisoner allegedly suffered as a child. “His capacity to evade the truth and dance around reality is very impressive,” he notes. Dr Stone puts Bar-Jonah at 18 on his scale: torture-murderers with murder their primary motive.

Tonight’s programme also profiles Susan Smith, who lied about her two sons being abducted when she had actually killed them; and the so-called ‘BTK’ killer, aka Dennis Rader, who took deception to a terrifying extreme. He lived a double life as he deliberately and systematically murdered ten of his neighbours over 17 years – earning himself the highest postion, 22, on Dr Stone’s scale: psychopathic, scheming torturemurderers. In all of these killers’ hands, deception was a lethal weapon – and one which enabled them to carry out their horrific acts.

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  • Anonymous

    What does sleepy isolated town of greatfalls mean?? I would like to say i think nathan Is sick and wrong but you can’t sterotype the town I grew up in because he lived there. You make it sound like greatfalls is bad and gloom. Well it’s not. I sat in church when I was a kid right next to the man. He was very nice to me and that makes me feel sick to this day. Be careful who you trust. I must have been no older than 3 or 4 so it could have been me. Parents no matter how nice somemone is.. make sure you really know them before you trust them with someone or soemthing you really love. And whoever wrote this … when choosing adjetives to describe a place make sure your not choosing adjetives to describe the person that lived in that place. greatfalls is a great town.. everyone is friendly and its homey… small but not to small…. visit sometime.

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