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Friday, March 25, 2011

Twitchell Trial - Filmmaker Turned Killer

Filmmaker Mark Twitchell, is shown in courtroom sketch on Wednesday March 16, 2011

Mark Twitchell is accused of dismembering a total stranger in the style of T.V serial killer Dexter, 
The blood was everywhere, according to evidence entered at Twitchell's jury trial, which began last week and is to resume Monday in Court of Queen's Bench. It stained the cement of the alleged kill floor in large, ugly patches, defying ammonia and other chemical cleaners. It seeped into the teeth and joints of his knives, saws and other butcher tools. It was on his pants, in the stitching of his hoodie, in his car, on his computer keyboard, on rolls of paper towel, on scissors, on a meat cleaver, on a hockey mask, on a tiny tooth fragment. It was on the walls and on the cleaning supplies. There was blood on the makeshift metal top of his alleged kill table. It was on a heavy duty carving kit, typically used by hunters to chop up moose and deer. There was blood on the caper knife, the skinner knife, the fillet knife, the butcher knife, the shears, the saw and on a hefty, two-pronged carving fork. Blood saturated the end of a copper pipe prosecutors say Twitchell used to club his victim, Johnny Altinger.
"It's almost blood-soaked," said police evidence analyst Nancy Allen. While the blood has been the story's thread, the tale is still about two men, each trying to reinvent himself, allegedly crossing paths on the Internet with horrifying results. Altinger was a 38-year-old pipeline inspector who lived alone in a ground floor apartment. He was entering middle age, lived in a tiny space with a tiny kitchen, a TV and video games and nothing on the walls. He was looking to connect with someone. In the fall of 2008, he was on an Internet dating site and it was there, say prosecutors, he thought he found a woman named Jen, but in fact had found Twitchell. Twitchell, suggests the evidence, was at the time a man-boy in his late 20s, obsessed by comic books and "Star Wars," making low-budget movies and reading and watching TV shows about Dexter, a fictive vigilante serial killer. He was married with an infant daughter, living in a tiny house in the suburbs. He was a film school graduate and had made a movie based on "Star Wars," but was still on the outside looking in. He'd had a sales job, hawking security systems, but that lasted less than a month. By the fall of 2008, well over a month before Altinger died, prosecutors say Twitchell decided to go in a different direction.

He began buying items on the Internet -- a meat cleaver, handcuffs, a steel barrel, a stun baton. He popped over to Canadian Tire and Home Depot to buy numerous rolls of duct tape, plastic gloves and drop cloths. He drew sketches of a table topped in sheet metal, big enough to play billiards on.
He rented a garage for $170 a month behind a house on the city's south side in a quiet neighborhood of lazy, curving streets and keyhole crescents. In late September he shot an eight-minute movie in the garage with some buddies. He wrote the script. It was about a man cheating on his wife who is lured to a remote location, tied to a chair, tortured to reveal his pass codes and is then murdered.
A week after that, say prosecutors, Twitchell turned that script into reality, posing as a woman on an Internet dating site to lure a man to the garage on a Friday night. But the victim refused to stay on script, fighting back and escaping. That man didn't go to police. A week later on Oct. 10, prosecutors say, Twitchell lured Altinger in the same way and this time was successful. In death, the Crown says, Altinger was denied dignity. Twitchell cut up the remains then tried to burn them in a steel barrel, prosecutors allege. But the bones, like the blood, wouldn't go away. The fire raged but the remains remained. Police later found the charred arm of a pair of eyeglasses at the bottom. So Twitchell, they say, took what was left and dumped it down a sewer, where it remained for almost two years before police fished it out. The telltale smoking gun document, say prosecutors, will be a computer document written by Twitchell that chronicles in gory detail and in his words, "my progression into becoming a serial killer." Crown prosecutor Lawrence Van Dyke has told the jury he suspects the defence will claim the kill diary is in fact a lurid, but harmless work of fiction. Twitchell, meanwhile, signalled on the trial's first day how he will explain away the blood and burned body parts. He pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, but offered to plead guilty to a reduced charge of interfering with a dead body.
The Crown rejected it, but the inference was clear: Mark Twitchell may have dealt with Altinger's corpse, but he didn't take his life.


  1. If he would have done it like Dexter, he wouldn't have gotten caught! That guy forgot the hefty bags and stretch wrap!

  2. Lol a guy pretending to be Dexter. TV shows give people some wrong ideas!