This is the stuff urban legends are made of. Indeed, some prominent North American legends do include written clues left by fictional criminals—”Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light,” “Humans can lick too,” and “Welcome to the world of AIDS” have all done the rounds, repeated at water-coolers and campsites all over the world for decades.
What about “I will kill again”? or “I’m sorry” followed by “No, I’m not.”
These real-life messages from the most dangerous individuals in society not only prove the depth of depravity inherent in humans and the unbridled horror of a person with an unhinged, delusional and violent mental state. But they also reveal that some of those old tales you heard at sleepovers or behind the bike shed at school weren’t quite as fantastical as you may have thought.
As usual with this sort of a list – we hope you extend your hopes, prayers, and condolences to the victims. And may justice be done where it has not yet.
10 Vanessa Coleman
“Last night was one of a kind. We stayed with a crackhead who was cool as hell. It snowed a little bit but it’s already melted. Let’s talk about adventures! I had one HELL OF AN ADVENTURE since I’ve been on the big TN. It’s a crazy world these days but I love the fun adventures and the lessons I’ve learned. It’s going to be a long, interesting year.”
This entry could be mistaken for the musings of a young student after a particularly wild night out on the town. A formerly coy, nerdy girl whose range of experience slowly begins to widen after leaving home. Maybe she was from a quiet midwestern town where nothing much occurred and was now living it up in a crazy party town.
No, these are the writings of an evil woman— Vanessa Coleman—a witness and passive participant in one of the most shocking cases in recent memory. Coleman’s adventures included Letalvis Darnell Cobbins, Lemaricus Devall Davidson, and George Geovonni Thomas, who were convicted for the carjacking, rape, kidnapping, and murder of Channon Christian and her boyfriend Christopher Newsom back in 2007. A fourth perpetrator, Eric DeWayne Boyd, was tried later on state charges before he, too, was convicted.
It was a carjacking gone horribly wrong. A group of armed men tried to steal Channon’s car but got spooked when they saw headlights flashing into the otherwise empty parking lot. They were driven to Davidson’s house at 2316 Chipman Street. The details of the case are extremely upsetting—this puts Coleman’s happy-go-lucky journal entries into perspective. A sick, twisted perspective. Although she was acquitted of first-degree murder, Coleman received a 35-year prison term for a litany of lesser charges. She has already faced a parole board twice (due to a reduction in time for “good behavior”), the latest in December 2020, but was denied both times. Her next possible parole date is in 2030.
9 Unidentified Perpetrator in the Murder of Carolyn Montgomery
Scrawled on the cardboard backing of a picture frame: “The Wrong One I’m Sorry”
This message—found written at the scene of Carolyn Montgomery’s murder in Dallas, Texas—has perplexed investigators for over 40 years. Worse still, it has gnawed away at her son’s psyche. Dequin was only six years old when his mother was brutally stabbed to death in their apartment in 1971. He was asleep in his bedroom while his mother’s killer went about his gory work. He utilized knives from the kitchen, two of which were found embedded in Carolyn’s body when police arrived at the scene the next day. It was little Dequin who discovered his mother.
Alongside the body was the above message carved into the backing of a picture frame. It was known that Carolyn had a roommate, a young woman who worked as a cocktail waitress at a North Dallas country club alongside Montgomery. Had the killer intended to murder the roommate?
The case has remained cold for 41 years.
8 Hasib bin Golamrabbi
Found written on the walls and floors of the crime scene: “Sorry my first kill was clumsy,” “your (sic) cute when you sleep,” “take care of your broter (sic) or he will be next.”
This case is as strange as it is awful. Twenty-six-year-old Hasib bin Golamrabbi was convicted and sentenced to life for the murder of his parents at their California home in 2016. Found next to their bodies were these messages written on the floor with a black marker pen. No motive has been established for the slayings, apart from the fact that Hasib was “an anti-social, withdrawn boy.”
He represented himself at trial, simultaneously claiming that masked intruders had carried out the murders and suggesting it was, in fact, his brother who committed the killings. He also tried to bribe jury members and the prosecution.
7 Unidentified Bank Robber and Killer of George Barron Black
Note left at the crime scene:
“See you Monday at 2. Missed you today.
See you at 3 PM”
In January of 1949, a robber entered Lloyds Bank in the district of Knowle in Bristol, England. He claimed to be waiting for a bookmaker friend of his and loitered. George Black, pointing out that the bank was about to close, ushered the remaining customers from the bank. The robber acknowledged this but grabbed a deposit slip and a pen to write this note. It was most likely bogus—the note was likely a ruse that gave the robber enough time to allow all other customers to leave the bank. After they departed, he took out a gun and shot George Black, killing him. The robber then stole £1,444 before fleeing in an Austin Saloon.
An 18-year-old branch assistant witnessed the murder. Three witnesses reported that they saw the getaway, and the last customer to leave the bank was confident he could identify the killer should he be called to do so. Also, the car was found. Many witnesses, copious amounts of evidence, a sloppy and amateurish criminal—but no resolution. Galling.
6 A UVF Terrorist
In a letter to former Irish Taoiseach Charles Haughey:
“In 1985 we were approached by a MI5 officer…he asked us to execute you.”
A letter that was sent to the former taoiseach (prime minister) in 1987 is notable as it contained a long list of collusion allegations against the British intelligence services. Perhaps the most notable admission/claim is that the Ulster Unionist terror group had been asked to murder the Irish leader by British intelligence. The letter claims that UVF paramilitaries “had been supplied with details that would have compromised the Taoiseach’s personal security, including aerial photographs of his family homes, his cars, and his private yacht,” according to a BBC article.
The letter was taken seriously by the late taoiseach. According to his son, Seán Haughey, who spoke to Irish broadcasters RTÉ, his family was “aware of the death threat at the time.” Some have claimed that the letter was, in fact, an attempt to sow mistrust and distrust by former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, painting him as complicit in orchestrating violence committed by the IRA, a separatist terror group. This claim has been denied.
5 The Killer(s) of Byron Carr
On the bedroom wall in the home of the deceased: “I Will Kill Again”
Byron Carr was stabbed and strangled to death with a towel by person(s) unknown in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1988. Local police suggest Carr was “killed by a younger man after the two had a consensual sexual encounter at Carr’s home.” Friends of the deceased don’t believe that Carr was targeted for his homosexuality, instead suggesting that some other motive was at play.
Was the message written on the wall an attempt to throw off the cops, pushing them to investigate the case as the act of a serial murderer? Or was this an earnest exclamation by the killer, a man who may have been conflicted by his sexuality? A friend of Carr commented to the press that: “I think of how, not only how painful this is, but (of) those huge coverups within the gay community—the gay community were not out at all and every gay person was covering up their own sexuality.”
The popular schoolteacher was a friendly, if not a rather introverted member of his community, and his murder rocked the local area. Since the case was reopened in 2007, a DNA profile of the killer has been compiled, but no further developments have been reported.
Parabon NanoLabs, get on it!
4 Dariusz Kotwica
Daubed on the body of Erna Hintermeier with brown paint: “Tantum Ergo” (Therefore so great)
The freedom to roam around the European Union was a boon for travelers, those seeking to trade internationally on the continent, and this wandering serial murderer. Kotwica, along with slayings committed in Sweden and Austria, is assumed to be responsible for murders in the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom.
This chilling religious message was perhaps the creepiest thing written on one of serial killer Dariusz Kotwica’s many victims, but not the most bizarre method of writing he employed. Kotwica tended to carve messages into his victims. Before embarking on his international killing spree, he assaulted someone in the Netherlands in 2011, attempted to kill a shopkeeper in Austria in 2012, and robbed a store in Germany in 2015.
In 2015, he killed 79-year-old Swede Bo Georg Ehrlander, 75-year-old Gerhard Hintermeier, and Gerhard’s 74-year-old wife, Erna. After his capture, psychiatrists concluded that Kotwica had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia for at least 10 years.
3 (Potentially) The Killer of Sean McGann
Written using chalk on a brick wall near the body: “Very Sorry” and “No I’m Not”
15-year-old McGann was on his way to a funfair at Midsummer Meadow in Northampton, England, on April 17, 1979. He was found dead the next morning in an alleyway behind Birchfield Road East. The case has remained cold ever since.
In 2019, police revealed that further analysis of crime scene photos showed some chilling graffiti found on a wall above the boy’s body. The simple, contradictory messages suggest a cold and callous killer took the life of the teenager. Police have also suggested that “while we don’t have 100% clarity, we think it might be sexually motivated—he wasn’t sexually assaulted, but he was found in that alleyway, somewhere where he wasn’t killed, and he didn’t have all his clothes.”
2 Robert Durst
In a letter to police: “Cadaver,” followed by his victim’s address
Multi-millionaire killer Robert Durst has appeared on this site numerous times. He is, after all, a sadistic killer and an extremely wealthy man—what’s not to hate? A letter sent to the Beverley Hills PD was linked to the case of Susan Berman’s murder in the year 2000. The sole, bleak term used, coupled with the address of where to find the victim, was a point of contention at Durst’s trial.
Court documents leaked in 2019 revealed that Durst did eventually admit to his lawyers that he had penned the “cadaver note.” Somewhat amazingly, his defense team ran with an interesting tactic—they embraced this fact and tried to spin a rhetorically sound argument that would be more comfortably delivered from a lectern at a high school debate competition. He may have written it, but all that proves is he knew there was a dead body at the address, not that he had killed the victim…right.
On October 14th, 2021, Durst was sentenced to life imprisonment.
1 Clifford Burns
In a text message to his daughter:
“I have a special gift coming soon, something for everyone to talk about, and it will be hand-delivered on foot, not by car. A very special gift for all your friends to see.”
This retrospectively despicable message was sent in response to Autumn Burns’s heartfelt text to her dad, the man who would later burst into his estranged wife’s home and brutally stab her to death. Patricia Burns was living apart from her husband Clifford with three of her four daughters. After the sudden death of her 15-year-old daughter Christalin, Patricia decided to start afresh, away from the man who regularly beat her, apologized, came back into the family home, and started the vicious cycle over again.
Clifford’s actions had led him to lose his family and gain a five-year restraining order and weekly child support payments. He snapped then murdered his wife in a brutal attack on Christmas Eve, seriously injuring his 22-year-old stepdaughter Megan in the attack. Megan had desperately tried to save her mother, heroically pulling off the mask the cowardly Clifford had donned to hide his identity. After he was done, fully aware that his kids had identified him, Clifford handed himself over to the police. He got 23 years to life in prison.
Despite not having seen her father for months, the man she and her family had to live apart from due to his abusive behavior toward her mother, 14-year-old Autumn wrote: “I just wanted to tell you I love you and Merry Christmas.”