Glenn Taylor, Justin Helzer & Dawn Godman
"Children of Thunder"

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coverInto the Water by Diane Fanning the author of Through the Window: the Terrifying True Story of Tommy Lynn Sells, and co-editor of Red Boots & Attitude and the author of The Windwalkers. Richard Marc Evonitz was beloved by friends and family. He was handsome, intelligent, and compassionate. Serving a spotless eight years in the U.S. Navy, he was a town hero in an exclusive South Carolina neighborhood. The only ones who saw Evonitz's dark side were were helpless teenage girls who, one by one, were subjected to his fantasies of kidnap, rape, and murder. Evonitz had a stunning final act of violence, one more shocking surprise that would turn a bright sunlit morning blood red.

Through the Window: The Terrifying True Story of Cross-Country Killer Tommy Lynn Sells by Diane Fanning -- Krystal Surles watched in horror as her best friend was murdered at the hands of an intruder. Then he brought a 12" boning knife to Krystal's throat. He severed her windpipe and left her for dead. She survived and lead authorities to the arrest of year-old Tommy Lynn Sells, 35, a former truck driver, carnival worker, and cross-country drifter. With no motive and no pattern to his bloodshed, Sells carved his way across country for 2 decades slaughtering women, men, transients, entire families, teenagers, and infants. Through The Window is an utterly terrifying plunge into the dark mind of a serial killer, and the story of the brave child who fbrought him to justice. Diane Fanning is the Executive Director of Another Way Texas Shares, a non-profit federation. Her stories and essays are published in the Baltimore Sun and other periodicals.

Lethal Intent by Sue Russell -- That rarest of serial killers - a woman - Aileen 'Lee' Wuornos confessed to killing 7 men. Lethal Intent contests the judgment of Wuornos as a "man-hating lesbian" via insights from men with whom she shared relationships. Lethal Intent contains insights and intimate memories from her family, friends and childhood peers who lost their virginity's to Aileen.Three Weeks In October: The Man hunt for the Serial Sniper Charles A. Moose -- In this New York Times bestseller, Charles A. Moose-the police chief who led one of the most suspenseful manhunts in American history-takes readers behind the headlines into the notorious "D.C. sniper" case that held the nation spellbound. Charles A. Moose is the chief of police in Montgomery County. Charles Fleming is the author of the national bestseller High Concept and the New York Times bestseller The Goomba's Guide to Life. Fleming has worked as a staff reporter for Variety and Newsweek, and has been a frequent contributor to Vanity Fair, TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, Premiere, Playboy, Time, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and other publications.

Sniper: Inside the Hunt for the Killers Who Terrorized the Nation Sari Horwitz and Michael E. Ruane -- For more than three weeks, the nation watched in disbelief as Washington, D.C., and its surrounding suburbs were held hostage by anonymous gunmen shooting innocent civilians at random. Sniper is the account of John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, and the massive manhunt that ended with their capture by a SWAT team in an early-morning raid at an interstate highway rest stop. Washington Post reporters retrace the steps of Muhammad and Malvo from their first meeting on the island of Antigua to Malvo's confession in a Virginia jail.

The Hillside Stranglers by Darcy O'Brien -- For weeks in the fall of 1977, as the body count of sexually violated murdered young women escalated, the Los Angeles newspapers headlined the serial killer they named the Hillside Strangler. But another year passed and the mysterious disappearance of 2 women in Seattle before the police arrested Kenny Bianchi-and discovered the strangler was two men, Bianchi and his cousin Angelo Buono.

Perfect Poison
by M. William Phelps
In Northampton, Massachusetts, at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Kristen Gilbert was a dedicated nurse so why were her patients dying? So many sudden deaths occurred colleagues called her the "Angel of Death." Gilbert's facade concealed a liar and narcissistic sociopath. She sabotaged patients to strike back at staffers. She engaged in an obsessive affair with hospital security guard, James Perrault. When her husband objected, she tried to kill him with a lethal injection. August 1995 - February 1996, helpless patients trusted a killer, her weapon a drug capable of causing fatal heart attacks. Kristen may be responsible for 40 deaths. As law closed faking suicide attempts, harassing witnesses, stalking her ex-boyfriend, and terrorizing the hospital with bomb threats.

The Execution of a Serial Killer: One Man's Experience Witnessing the Death Penalty
by Joseph D. Diaz
Diaz exposes the mind of a deranged and violent serial killer and the origins of the criminal's deadly urges. He transports the reader to inside the death chamber of the Florida State Prison. It describes the life and the death of a serial killer, and the impact his execution had on a witness the killer never even knew.

Signature Killers by Robert D. Keppel, William J. Birnes .
Compelling insights into the murderer, whose key characteristic is he kills multiple people, and leaves a signature behind at every crime scene. Keppel's been involved in more than 2,000 murder investigations, 50 high-profile serial cases. He covers "the essence of torture," "the anger-retaliation signature," "the picquerism signature," "the psychological imprint of a sadist," and why Jeffrey Dahmer is "the black hole at the end of the continuum."

23 Days of Terror: The Compelling True Story of the Hunt and Capture of the Beltway Snipers by Angie Cannon -- In October 2002, a nation still recovering from the 9/11 attacks found itself under siege by aseemingly unstoppable enemy. For 23 days, the area around Washington, DC, was the hunting ground for a pair of serial snipers who struck at random, killing from afar, only to vanish time and time again. With each attack, they raised the stakes, taunting the authorities to try to stop them -- until their luck ran out. Here the complete chronicle of the days in October that took 10 innocent lives and wounded 3 others; the means and methods used by law enforcement -- their mistakes; the suspects' backgrounds and possible motives; and the fear that gripped five million people.

Dennis Rader -- BTK Serial Killer

Sects, Cults, Religious Crimes

Serial Killer List
Types of Serial Killer
Personality Profiling

Unsolved Serial Killings


"The most chilling aspect of this case is that it really happened." -- Prosecutor Harold Jewett.

In order to raise money to defeat Satan Glenn and Justin Helzer and Dawn Godman slaughtered five innocent people, Ivan and Annette Stineman an elderly couple. Selina Bishop, daughter of Blues guitarist Elvin Bishop and her mother Jennifer Villarin and her Jennifer's friend James Gamble.

Unholy Sacrifice by Robert Scott

The two Helzer brothers; Glenn Taylor and Justin, were raised in a devoutly religious traditional Mormon family. Glenn Taylor was a handsome, eloquent, and personable San Francisco Bay area stockbroker turned Messiah. The brothers were excommunicated from the church for drug use.

Glenn frequently reminded his shy younger brother,”I'm No. 1, and you're No. 2." 

Dawn Godman was a lonely woman seeking spirituality for a speed habit, broken marriage, and suicidal tendencies. 

Glenn, Justin, and Dawn are the "Children of Thunder." The believed Glenn was a religious warrior.

On Memorial Day 1999, Dawn met the brothers at a murder mystery dinner at a Mormon Temple in Walnut Creek, CA. None of them fit in. Dawn was attracted to Glenn because, "He made you feel like you were the most important person in the world."

As night Dawn sat with Glenn in his car outside the Oakland Mormon Temple listening to his plans for Christ's return, he made her feel like a child in its parent's arms. As Glenn ordered her to kill in God's name, she said guardian angels encircled her. She considered it a blessing.

The brother’s grandfather in Salt Lake City and their cousins described Glenn as an enthusiastic kind, and respectful Mormon boy and teenager who was full of life.  His aunt said her children enjoyed his teachings on respect for nature. His cousin described him as his mentor.

Glenn returned from a Mormon mission in Brazil in the early 1990s with views that differed from traditional Mormon doctrine. Determined to defeat Satan, "He started to say that the church was going in the wrong direction... the whole church was incorrect," said a Mormon friend.  His aunt noticed changes in him. He began smoking cigarettes, drinking, and left his wife and child but was still coherent.  Glenn who suffers from bipolar disorder was hospitalized during a psychotic break in 1998.

Glenn’s attorney claimed his problems bean with his participation in confrontational seminars called "Impact Trainings" and similar programs in Utah and Sacramento. "Impact Trainings," based in Salt Lake City was founded in 1985. Described as intense they are similar to "EST" and "Lifespring" programs that first became popular over 30 years ago. Defense witnesses described an "experiential" group experience that tears down participants through exploitation, humiliation and emotional pain in long, sessions of deprivation designed to awaken their "inner child." Overweight women are sometimes dressed as cows. Victims of child abuse are told they seduced their abuser and are responsible for their own abuse. After a person shares their deepest vulnerabilities the group shouts insults at them. They are given degrading labels such as "Dirty Slut" and that is the name they are required to use throughout the workshop. To use the bathroom they must be accompanied by staff (after obtaining permission -- which isn't always granted). These regimented sessions are emotionally so devastating that participants even vomit sometimes. They manipulate participants into spending more money on more advanced levels of trainings.

Utilizing high pressure techniques they have training participants recruit others to sign up for a few days of expensive abuse. The first phase, "Quest," was $495 for 40 hours in four days. (Witnesses said it is much longer than 10 hour days.) Second and third phases are $795 each. 

These workshops, drug use, mental illness, and the belief that Glenn was a prophet spurred a horrible crime spree.  

Glenn insisted that those close to him attend "Impact Trainings."  Glenn pressured Keri Mendoza, a woman he dated, and Dawn, her replacement, to attend to "began a process of breaking down people's walls ... so they would be more open to his ideas," she said. She sat in a room with no windows for four days with approximately 30 other people through two program's "levels" to prepare her for work with Prophet Glenn in his ministry.

Justin claims "Impact Trainings" took away his ability to resist influence, however, the brothers were also "staffers" for "Impact Trainings" and other similar groups. (Staffers assist the facilitators.)

When Glenn spoke for God he told everyone to be quiet, as he ran into the rain, raised his hands to the sky and heard God tell him to kill the unfaithful. "If people aren't loyal to me, I'm just going to have to kill them."... He also planned to train Brazilian orphans to slaughter the leaders of the Mormon Church so he could become the leader.

Glenn needed money to launch his own training group "Transform America," to defeat Satan through "joy, peace, and love" with the creation of a Utopian paradise on earth. To fund the church Glenn made and sold Ecstasy and had a girlfriend pose for Playboy. She was replaced by Dawn.

Glenn's first intended victims weren't home, so on July 30, 2000 the "Children of Thunder" moved down their list to abduct Glenn's former clients, Ivan Stineman, 85, and his wife Annette Stineman, 78, after forcing them to sign over $100,000 in checks they held the elderly couple captive in a home the brothers rented where they were beaten, stabbed, decapitated, and dismembered in a bathtub on August 2, 2000. Glenn had Justin do most of it because he felt the need to meditate and listen to the Spirit for awhile. Afterwards they all kneeled as Glenn thanked Ivan and Annette for sacrificing their lives for a greater cause. August 2, 2000, after Glenn befriended, Selina Bishop, 22, daughter of blues musician Elvin Bishop, to have her cash the Steinman’s' checks, they used a hammer to bludgeon her to death to prevent her from exposing them. Before dismembering her, Glenn showed Dawn the body, and said, "Spirit says you get to know this isn't a dream." 

The following morning, Glenn took Dawn with him to kill Selina's mom, Jennifer Villarin, 45, because she could identify him and Jennifer's boyfriend, James Gamble, 54, was murdered because he was a witness. Glenn shot the couple with a gun Justin bought under his own name. Dawn drove the getaway car.

Police promptly connected the five killings promptly and arrested Glenn, Justin, and Dawn on August 7, 2000. Glenn told police that Justin and Dawn were innocent. "Spirit said that I should not let them be in here," he told police.

Glenn and Dawn pleaded guilty. Dawn testified for the prosecution to spare her life, in exchange for a sentence of 38 years to life becoming eligible for parole after serving at least 35 years and nine months.

Justin pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, claiming Glenn manipulated him into committing murder convincing Justin that he was doing was a good thing.

During Justin’s trial, mental health experts for defense contended he had a "shared delusional disorder," "caught" from Glenn.

Prosecutor Harold Jewett said Justin was a willing participant who knew what he did was wrong as evidenced by his efforts to conceal the crimes.

Daniel Cook, Justin's defense attorney maintained he was influenced by his domineering older brother who he believed to be a prophet.

A defense psychiatrist said he was in a symbiotic relationship with his brother, who was more charismatic and successful and that he couldn't afford to lose the relationship.

Justin believed he was a soldier fighting a war against Satan when he murdered of five people a psychiatrist testified.

Dr. Robert Dolgoff said after a lifetime of self-perceived failure, Justin felt he had a significant role in the second coming of Christ and the abolishing of evil.

His psychosis was a solution to a life of rejection and neglect as the child of a mother who favored his older brother, Glenn. He felt like a “misfit and unsuccessful” in life. His depression due to low self-esteem made him mentally vulnerable to believing his brother was a prophet of God. Justin believed killing was part of God's master plan to defeat Satan. Dawn and Justin kept Glenn’s discussions with God a secret. Justin didn’t mention his brother was divinely inspired until after Dawn turned state's evidence.

Psychologist Larry Wornian for the prosecution said Justin knew killing was "grossly immoral." Justin was unlucky in love and struggling through life. He saw himself as "wimpy and unmasculine."

These feelings of inadequacy dissipated when he and his brother declared war on the devil, enthused by his new cause, Justin was imbued with a great sense of power.

“He found himself transformed in to a bold spiritual warrior on a mission ordained by God.” Wornian said Justin told him he didn't want to kill, but it was God's grand scheme. He "cried his eyes out" as he smashed Selina Bishop's head in with a hammer. He knew people would look unfavorably on his actions.

To finance their crusade against evil, they attempted to start an escort service and deal drugs.

Justin told Wornian the brothers discussed hiring migrant workers to go into a McDonald's restaurant and kill everyone inside, leaving a threatening note at the scene, so the company's stock would crash, allowing them to purchase it and then wait for the stock price to climb again.

Wornian said Justin was not delusional at the time of the killings.

"Is our good president delusional because he feels God is guiding him through a complex world situation?" Wornian asked the jury.

The defense, claimed he was delusional at the time of the killings, believing his brother was a prophet of God and unable to discern morally right from morally wrong.

Wornian said given Justin's religious background, there was no reason for him to believe his brother wasn't a prophet of God.

Justin Helzer, 32, was convicted in June 2004 on multiple counts of first-degree murder in the killings of five victims.

After the verdict was read at Justin's trial, James Gamble's mother hugged Carma Helzer explaining that even though she lost one son, Mrs. Helzer was losing both her sons.

Outside the Helzer family's home, Heather, Justin's sister, said about his conviction.

"I believe the fact that we even got to the penalty phase in the trial shows that our society doesn't understand mental illness. It doesn't understand a person's ability to control it or not control it."

Jewett said Justin had not been diagnosed with a mental illness before he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He quoted Justin as saying he knew society would frown on the killings.

A cousin said there was a prevalent history of mental illness in Helzer's maternal relatives.

Prosecutor Harold Jewett turned on a reciprocating saw similar to one that the brothers used to cut up victims before placing them in gym bags and throwing them in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Jewett shouted, "What did the defendant do, literally and figuratively? He cut them apart!"

Glenn looked down throughout the entire trial, not even making eye contact with relatives or old friends.

Glenn Taylor, 34, and Justin, 33, joined the ranks of California's 637 death row inmates. Under state law, all death sentences are appealed. The brothers have at least 10 years of appeals, most likely it will be much longer. They will have a choice of lethal injection or the gas chamber. Lethal injection is the default if they fail to make the choice.


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San Francisco Chronicle
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cover Natural Born Killer: In Love and on the Road With a Serial Killer -- Sandy Fawkes met Paul John Knowles in an Atlanta hotel bar and they became lovers unbeknownst to Sandy, she almost became his 19th murder victim. Knowles raped many of his male and female victims. He killed the day he met Sandy and killed after she left.


Scream at the Sky by Carlton Stowers --In rural Texas, just before Christmas in 1984, a young nurse was found raped and murdered in her Wichita Falls home. Within weeks, a second woman was found-her brutalized body dumped in the frozen Texas plains. Over the next seventeen months three more women would fall victim to a faceless evil, fueling the city's fears and baffling authorities whose every lead came to a dead end. For one haunted man the case would never die. Almost fourteen years to the day of the first murder, ambitious investigator John Little reopened the cold-case files determined to deliver closure to the victims' friends and families, and bring a killer to justice. Working on his instincts, following every imaginable clue. Little embarked on an ingeniously clever and exhaustive cat-and-mouse game to trap an elusive serial killer whose sick fantasies would finally be silenced forever.


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Between Good and Evil: A Master Profiler's Hunt for Society's Most Violent Predators -- by Susan Schindehette, Roger L. Depue -- The FBI's former top serial-killer hunter, Roger L. Depue, shares his perspective on the thin line between good and evil. He spent decades as head of the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit responsible for profiling and hunting serial killers. He pioneered law enforcement programs and techniques in use across the globe. Depue embarked on a mid-career spiritual sabbatical to become a Brother of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles, counseling maximum security inmates. With his experiences as a law enforcement professional and clergy, Depue explores the criminal mind and soul as no one has ever done before.

Slayer of Innocence
by Jim Conover
A predator pedophile serial killer on the loose for many years. 16 young boys disappeared under similar circumstances and 14 murdered. This predator made the Midwest his killing field 1972 - 1979 when lawmen caught his track.



My Life Among the Serial Killers: Inside the Minds of the World's Most Notorious Murderers

Every Move You Make by M. William Phelps -- >Gary C. Evans, 35, a master of disguise and career criminal who once befriended

David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, is suspected of five killings over a period of 13 years when he led a loose group of jewelry and antiques thieves. A career criminal since atleast the mid-1970s, Evans served time in maximum security at Dannemora, the Clinton Correctional Facility where he took a course in art appreciation. He later studied how alarm systems worked and took pride in his ability to purposely leave clues intended to confuse investigators. He.first met James Horton, New York State Police Senior Investigator, in 1985, when he fingered Michael Falco as the brains behind their theft team. He didn't mention he’d shot and buried him. Douglas J. Berry, 63, the owner of a secondhand shop was shot to death as he slept in his store on Sept. 8, 1989. when Evans and Damien Cuomo entered the store to burglarize it. December 1989, in upstate New York. Gary killed and buried Cuomo in December 1989 and then had a ten-year romance with the mother of Cuomo's child, while conning her into believing he was still alive. In 1997, Timothy Rysedorph, 39, was dismembered and buried. Rysedorph, Cuomo and Falco grew up together in South Troy, NY,as childhood acquaintances, though not friends. They were thieves that got together over the years. On Oct. 17, 1991, Gregory Jouben, 36, the owner of a shop was killed in his store as he studied a piece of jewelry Evans wanted to sell. Evans who doesn't eat meat, poultry or fish is opposed to the killing of animals and is proud of the fact that he has never smoked, drunk alcohol or taken drugs (The Albany Times Union). Evans who confessed to his involvement in Jouben's and Berry's death,. led police to the shallow graves of Rysedorph, Cuomo and Falco (MSNBC News).

Scream at the Sky: Five Texas Murders and One Man's Crusade for Justice by Carlton Stowers -- Rural Texas long-unsolved serial killing spree begins in late 1984, when a Wichita Falls nurse is raped and murdered. Eventually, there are 5 victims. Faryion an acquaintance of the 3rd victim confesses. Paroled after 11 years a changed man, is active in church and remarries. John Little begins working the long-unsolved murders in December 1999. 8 pages of b&w photos

Nightmare in Wichita: The Hunt for the BTK Strangler by Robert Beattie-- THE FIRST BOOK to tell the tale of the BTK serial killer-written by the lawyer who assisted the police during the thirty-year search and was instrumental in the long-awaited arrest. In 1974 a serial killer began a fourteen-year murder spree in Wichita, Kansas. Joining the ranks of Ted Bundy, the elusive sex murderer taunted authorities with clues, puzzles, and obscene letters. Then in 1988, he vanished, the killings stopped, and one of the longest and most baffling manhunts in the annals of crime came to a dead end. But in 2004, a letter- and a grisly clue-arrived at a local Wichita paper. And with it, a terrifying implication: BTK was back. Now, Robert Beattie delves for the first time into one of the most intriguing, and horrifying serial murder cases in American history.

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