Like many serial killers, the neighbors of Robert Berdella didn’t think anything of him. He didn’t seem bad. He was kinda quiet but was a member of the Crime Watch group for the neighborhood. Berdella claimed to have turned his home into a halfway house for those troubled youngmen that were in the area. Little did they know what horrors were taking place in that home.
The begining of the end started on April 2nd in 1988 when a neighbor heard a pounding on his front door. When he opened it he was confronted by a young man who was naked except for a dog collar around his neck. The young mans name was Chris Bryson and he had been held captive at Berdella’s house for several days. Naturally the neighbor called the police.
What Chris Bryson told the police was terrifying. He claimed that he’d been picked up by Berdella a few days before. When they got to Berdella’s house, he was lead upstairs where he was knocked out by a blow to the back of the head. When he finally came to he was naked and tied to a bed. Over the next four days he was tortured in various ways. He was sexually assulated by various objects, shocked with wires and his eyes were poked with Q-Tips that had been soaked in chemicals.
Right away Robert Berdella was arrested on charges on 1st degree assualt, forced sodomy and other charges. Police obtained a search warrent for the home where they found various items related to voodoo. Amid the mess they found photographs as well. They found around 200 pictures of young men being tortured and raped. Along with the pictures they found a journal that had every digusting detail related to the crimes.
They still hadn’t found any proof of murder. The house was filled with skulls but they weren’t sure if they were the real deal or just display items. After forensic testing they discovered that one of the skulls belonged to a young man who had died within the past 2 years. Another skull was found in the backyard and that too belonged to a murder victim. Berdella was then charged with 1st degree murder.
In court he plead guilty and offered a full confession. Between the years of 1984 and 1987 he claimed to have tortured and killed six young men that he had held captive. He injected them with animal tranquilizers in order to turn them into, in his word, “playtoys.” When his victims finally died he’d dismember them in the bathtub, place them into garbage bags and simply place them on the curb to be picked up by the trash trucks.
He was sentenced to life in prison but after serving only 4 years he died of a heart attack.