Disgust over criminal items for sale

June 17, 2009 8:50:29 PM PDT
It is called murderabilia. Personal items from serial killers behind bars are being sold on websites and while the distributors boast them as collectibles, one victim's family says these sites are doing nothing more than profiting from their agony.

It has been almost 10 years since Wendy Lavin's daughter, 20-year-old Jennifer Still was brutally murdered by serial killer John Eichenger.

"It's like being dragged down to hell, everything hurts," Wendy Lavin, the mother of a murder victim, said. "I could not imagine living without her, it is as if 20 years of my life had been wiped out."

Eichenger, a supermarket employee, is now on death row for killing Jennifer and three others. But just a couple of weeks ago, Eichenger managed to scrap raw wounds that were just beginning to heal. After Googling his name, Lavin found letters and envelopes Eichenger wrote from prison were being auctioned off on the website Daisyseven.com, a site devoted to selling personal items from serial killers.

"I was disgusted; it was like it was happening all over again," Lavin said. "I couldn't take in that people were willing to pay money for items personalized by people that had caused so much pain."

Lavin quickly learned Daisyseven is not the only site selling murderablia. Murderauction.com, Supernaught.com and Prisonboundserialkillers.com auction everything from a killer's hair to fingernail clippings. Sources tell Action News one of the sites operators is making $500 a week from sales.

"This is just wrong, the people out there who are benefiting from the sale of memorabilia related to violent crimes, they're just bottom feeders," Montgomery County DA Risa Ferman said.

Ferman says eliminating these sites may prove to be legally challenging.

"I don't know that you ever can completely prevent people from doing horrible things like this, but at least if you can eliminate the benefit they get from it by making it impossible to make money off of it," Ferman said.

Daisyseven.com did not answer our requests for comments. Under its terms and conditions page, it does say that users "agree not to post for sale or offer for sale or otherwise make available for sale any item or items for which a criminal was paid or will be paid." It says nothing about friends or family profiting and of course. nothing about the dealer making money.

"There's always someone out there willing to make money from someone's agony. I don't think anyone should gain from it," Lavin said.

Ferman believes real regulation will only work through federal law. There is a bill that would make it illegal for inmates to use US mail to send personal items of which are to be used for sale. The bill, introduced in 2007, has yet to be passed.

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