WSVN — Some criminals are proud of their crimes and want you to see the horrific details through their artwork. There are laws that stop them from making money off their crimes, but the laws have loopholes and are not enforced. The result, as Patrick Fraser tells us, “Crime Pays.”
We have all been told crime does not pay. Eric Holler knows that’s not true.
Eric Holler, serialkillersink.net: “Our prices range anywhere from $25 to $3,000.”
Eric owns a website, called Serial Killers Inc., where he sells items he has gotten from inmates who have committed horrible crimes. A Christmas card signed by Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer’s graphic confession, and a card from Florida serial killer Ted Bundy.
Eric Holler: “We sold a Christmas card Ted Bundy sent out about a month before he was executed. That Christmas card sold for $3,000.”
Eric didn’t want to appear on camera because of recent surgery. And you may not know him, but in the inmate world, he is a star that is sought out by killers.
Eric Holler: “Oftentimes I will check my mail, and I’ll have a letter from someone that I have not even contacted that’s reaching out to me that has artwork that has craft items.”
Eric says he does not pay the inmates directly for their art, their hair, their letters, but…
Eric Holler: “If I sell a piece of artwork from inmate “327” in Starke, Florida on death row, and I make money off of his artwork, and he needs help, and he needs money in his account, I’m gonna help him out.”
Barry Butin, Broward ACLU: “We just feel they should be able to profit under the First Amendment.”
There are state and federal laws that prohibit inmates from profiting from their work, but the ACLU doesn’t think the laws are constitutional.
Barry Butin: “Until the high court rules it’s unconstitutional, it’s going to go on. Nobody’s filed recent suit.”
Patrick Sessions: “Obscene. I don’t get it. I thought there were laws that prevented that.”
Patrick Sessions’ daughter Tiffany disappeared in Gainesville in 1989, and like many Floridians, Sessions doesn’t think inmates should be allowed to profit from their works.
But money aside, Patrick Sessions has another concern. When a convict sells his notes, his papers, he can also be selling evidence of his crimes. Patrick knows that all too well.
Patrick Sessions: “And as they were going through the box, they came up with the address book.”
After Paul Rowles, a killer convicted of other murders, died, an investigator got the dead man’s belongings that had been in his jail cell. And in there, there was a list of the days Rowles had murdered his victims, including a day from Gainesville.
Patrick Sessions: “The infamous address book. And what we found in there, was this particular page here which, on the bottom of it, it has No. 2 and the date Tiffany was abducted.”
That was the final piece of evidence needed for investigators to conclude Tiffany Sessions was murdered by Rowles.
If someone like Eric Holler had sold Rowles’ notes on his website, Sessions says, Tiffany’s murder would never have been solved.
Patrick Sessions: “If we had not had this, we wouldn’t be any further today than before this was found. And people like me live the rest of their lives wondering what happened to their loved ones.”
To Patrick Sessions, it’s disgusting for Holler and inmates to make money and selling what could be crucial evidence of a crime.
Patrick Sessions: “This is jeopardizing future cases.”
To Eric Holler, it is about the crimes. Cashing in on the crimes.
Eric Holler: “The favorite part of what I do is, honestly, the money. I make a comfortable living.”
Meaning, for Eric Holler and the inmates in Florida, crime does pay.
For more information contact investigative producer Robin Cross: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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