Booming 'Murderabilia' Sales Spur Outrage
Victims' rights advocates slam 'insidious and despicable industry'
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2011 12:44 AM CST
This video frame grab image taken from a video aired by NBC News on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 shows Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui.   (AP Photo/NBC)

(Newser) – Sales of the personal effects, letters, and even fingernail clippings of mass murderers and serial killers are stronger than ever thanks to the Internet, but victims' rights advocates say it's time to end the trade in "murderabilia," the Washington Post reports. Only eight states have laws banning convicted killers from profiting from their crimes, and efforts to get legislation through Congress have failed repeatedly. "It’s an insidious and despicable industry," says victims' rights advocate and law enforcement official Andy Kahan.

Selling the items of killers "gives them infamy and immortality they don’t deserve,” says Kahan, adding that buyers are often people who idolize serial killers and long to "own a piece of their soul." Around half-a-dozen websites peddle "murderabilia" to collectors, including one where a seller is asking $3,700 for a calculator that Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho sold on eBay to raise funds to buy guns for the rampage that killed 32 people. The seller "is trying to profit off what this guy did," says a woman whose sister was killed by Cho. "The question is, what’s he doing with the profit? Celebrating Christmas or doing good for society?"

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Showing 3 of 4 comments
Dec 30, 2011 6:05 PM CST
This is not surprising to me at all...hell, people sell their souls and just about any and everything else, so why not this spooky, creepy shit too?
Dec 30, 2011 12:13 PM CST
Who. Fucking. Cares. If this is what people want to do with their money, or their time, then what the fuck ever. Why are we attempting to legislate what is and is not an acceptable past-time activity? Serial killers will be immortalized regardless of what some idiot sells of theirs on Ebay, trust me.
Dec 30, 2011 10:29 AM CST
Capitalism is a race to the bottom. If you wanted morality you would have set up a different system.