"Dexter" is a show with a devoted fan following. Sadly, some of those fans include the mentally ill. While a TV show can't force a person to commit a crime, those who are already disturbed may take an entertaining show to an illogical (and extreme) conclusion. Here are the real-life criminals who say that "Dexter" influenced their actions.
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Charges: First Degree Murder
Circumstances: In 2008, Mark Twitchell was charged with the murder or John Altinger. Allegedly, Twitchell was filming a horror film that was similar in tone to "Dexter," which is when the murder of Altinger took place. According to the show's Wikipedia page, which discusses the incident (and others in this article) in some detail, the detective involved was quoted as saying, "We have a lot of information to suggest he definitely idolizes Dexter," including strange Facebook status updates stating that he "had a lot in common with Dexter Morgan." A future episode of "20/20" will cover this case. The episode was filmed back in 2009, but due to legal issues it has yet to be scheduled for broadcast.
Location: Rising Sun, Indiana
Circumstances: In 2009, 17-year-old Andrew Conley was charged with the murder of his brother, 10-year-old Conner. "Andrew stated that he watches a show called 'Dexter' on Showtime, about a serial killer...He stated, 'I feel just like him,'" revealed court documents related to the case. According to WLWT Cincinnati, "The 17-year-old told police they had been wrestling while their parents worked night-shift jobs and he placed Conner in a headlock until the boy lost consciousness and fell to the floor." He then dumped the body near a school and covered it with branches. Conley was convicted and is currently serving a life sentence without any option for parole.
Maartens van der Merwe and Chane van Heerden
Location: Welkom, South Africa
Circumstances: Earlier this year, Maartens van der Merwe, 24, and Chane van Heerden, 20, were arrested for the murder of Michael van Eck. Van Heerden lured the victim to a graveyard after chatting him up on Facebook, where the couple murdered him. Arrested just one week later, the body of Van Eck was found in the same cemetery, echoing a scene in Season 3 of "Dexter." In addition, the killers referred to each other as Dexter and Lumen, a reference to Season 5 of the Showtime program that family members confirmed was the couple's favorite show.
These creepy cases certainly put "Dexter" in a new light. Do you think the show is to blame, or were these sick individuals just destined to commit a crime sooner or later? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
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- TV show
- Dexter Morgan.
- serial killer
- First Degree Murder
- horror film
- mentally ill.