Serial Killer Suicide Notes
A few serial killers who’ve ended their own lives took time for reflection.
Posted November 15, 2013
There haven’t been that many suicides in this population and most don’t have the time or inclination to provide final thoughts. The 20% figure for decedents who leave notes appears to be much lower for serial killers.
Still, some do, so I pulled up three to consider for content and purpose. The first one is from 51-year-old David Maust, an Indiana-based murderer who placed three young victims in concrete.
After his sentencing in 2005, he admitted to killing two others in other places.
“They were good, nonviolent, innocent young people who did not deserve to die,” Maust said. “None of them did nothing wrong. They had nothing I wanted except for them to be my friend, and they took nothing from me. But I still killed them for no reason.”
When he hanged himself in his cell, he took pains to explain [his errors are included in this excerpt]:
“The day after the Hammond police came to my home (on Friday, September 19, 2003), I decided to leave for some place unknown. I wasn’t running to keep from being punished, because I always knew I should be destroyed and killed like they sometimes do to a wild animal that escapes from confinement.
“For I know how to punish myself, and I only left that day to punish myself for the shameful, evil life I lived and because of the embarrassment I would cause the people who knew me and allowed me into their homes. But my greatest fear of suffering was for the pain, sorrow, and grief the parents would feel when they learned their loving son’s were gone.
“Like their son’s (wanting to live an enjoy life), I too wanted to live, but I also knew that I deserved to die. An so I left to find a place to commit suicide and drove about 600 miles from Indiana.
“At the same time (I know I didn’t have the right), I wanted to see some more of the beautiful scenery in America before I died because God did an excellent job in creating the country we live in. And even though I was traveling across America, I knew I had no right to be there or anywhere — so I pretty much stayed to myself an away from other people….
“My five page letter had nothing about how I murder them. For I only wrote about how I was the most evil and horrible person in the world and should be destroyed….
“Before I left to come to Indiana, I made a deal with myself that I would come back and take responsibility for every evil act I committed in life (including the three murders in Indiana) and then right before the trial or right after I testified in court —I would do the right thing and kill myself because I wanted my trial to be for the families and I didn’t want them to wait long for the justice they desired. For if their son’s are not alive than I feel I should not be allowed to live either, and I have always felt that way….
“My mother has been hoping for my death since I was a child and it’s hard at times to understand why she just didn’t drown me in the bathtub when she was giving me a bath because she hated me all her life. Now a lot of people hate me and they have the right because I’ve done some really bad and evil things in life….
“P.S. I was hoping to clean the rest of the walls in my cell two days before I killed myself, but my back was in too much pain and so I am very sorry I didn’t complete the job.”
Maust repeatedly expressed remorse, but killer Israel Keyes used his note to just rant. Full of himself from start to finish, he’d played a cat-and-mouse game with police over his admitted 11 victims. He’d told them about three but withheld information about the others until he got what he wanted. When Keyes got fed up with how he was being handled, he decided to subtract himself from life’s equation.
On December 1, 2012, when a guard looked into his cell just after 10 PM, Keyes was scribbling on a legal pad. He filled both sides of two pages before he inserted a razor mistakenly issued to him into the pencil. He placed his suicide note on the bed and coiled his sheet into a rope. He tied one end around his neck and the other around his ankle, and lay on his stomach on top of the note. Keyes sliced his left wrist. As he bled out, he lost consciousness and the sheet pulled tight and strangled him.
Guards found his body the next morning. His blood-obliterated note was sent to the FBI lab to clean up and decipher. They were disappointed. He’d given no new information for identifying victims not yet found.
Most of what Keyes had written made little sense. Part of it referred to victims and part of it was a rant against global development and indifference to the health of the planet. He ended it with, “Okay, talk is over. Words are flaccid and weak. Back it with action or it all comes off cheap. Watch close while I work now, feel the electric shock of my touch, open my trembling flower, or your petals I’ll crush.”
In Herb Baumeister’s case, police were digging up remains of at least 11 male victims in the yard of his Indiana estate as he took off to Canada. In a park there, he sat on the shore of a lake and shot himself in the forehead with a .357 Magnum revolver.
Baumeister left a 3-page note, written on yellow notepaper. He regretted messing up the park, he wrote, and felt badly about his broken marriage and failing business, but he did not mention the remains of his victims or admit to any crime. He described items on his trip, including his intention to kill himself in a different place, but seeing children there had changed his mind. His final meal was a peanut butter sandwich.
Like other decedents who record their final thoughts, serial killers have a range of reasons for leaving a suicide note.