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We had talked about how would you kill somebody and get away with it? I have dark thoughts and I shared them with a serial killer. It was supposed to be a movie, a frightening film about a serial killer. He'd say, OK, when you turn in Blade, grit your teeth and really, really show that you're enjoying it. But was it really just pretend? Yells, Get down on the ground, they took out duct tape, life flashed before my eyes.


I have never in my life felt fear like that. A rising young director doing a murder or actually committing one. He told me, while you do it, like Dexter, you've seen that show. Dexter, this is all modeled after Dexter.


When you take a step back, realize this is a real man who's been murdered. The script was darker than any one group. I go, holy mackerel, who are you really? Everyone was on the edge of their seat. An underground parking garage. A violent attack caught on tape. Who is it? What's happening? Or did it happen at all? Movies like that one are, by design, deceptive, make believe world. But have you noticed maybe it's all the technical doodads that digital cameras, the reality twisting reality, some stories that claim to be true aren't anybody can manipulate reality.


And sometimes what they say is true isn't. Sometimes fiction turns out to be fact. And then there are stories, just a few, in which fact and fiction few's. And that's where we're going tonight, a twilight zone world of illusion and deception and deceit. Follow the howling wind north across a vast prairie through brief, brilliant summers and winters as frigid as any on earth to the metropolis, Canadians call the gateway to the north, a city whose police department stays very busy.


This is Detective Bill Clark. The city is Edmonton, Canada. Today, I got a call from a family. Their son was killed in December, but nothing in a long career.


So strange as the case of the man who went missing and Bill Clark found himself in the netherworld between fantasy and illusion. Ever seen a case like this before? Never in my life. When it started out, it seemed perfectly simple, a missing man. Some guy just dropped out of sight. The kind of thing that tends to sort itself out once the so-called victim sobers up. I'm not thinking much is going to come of this.


After Clark's nearly 40 years of service and a local murder rate, nearly twice the national average. You can hardly blame him for getting a little picky. We don't usually go to a missing person.


We're very picky. And when we go to, like, basically, unfortunately for us to come out, you've got to be dead and it better be criminal. Like, we don't even want to come out if you're just dead. If the patrolman does know it's criminal, don't bother calling us.


Yeah. You got enough to do. Yeah. Which explains perhaps why some of the locals have taken to calling their city Dedman.


And our concern was, do we have a murder? Because if we don't, this isn't our file we got enough to work on. I mean, we have no indication of foul play or nothing. Right.


The missing person in this case was a guy by the name of Johnny Aldinger. Thirty nine single worked in the oil industry, like to ride motorcycles, unlucky with women. He had a wide circle of friends who are now telling police something kind of weird. Aldinger seem to have dropped off the face of the earth except for the strange e-mails he was sending.


I've left with the woman I'm going to Costa Rica. She was one of the recipients of those emails, all year old friend Deborah Taichiro saying that he had met a wonderful girl named Jen and he was going to Costa Rica.


And I received several of them. I received six altogether.


But in the run of three six messages, how is it the same message, this exact same message, same words. Hi there. I met a wonderful girl named Jan.


I'm going to Costa Rica and I will keep in touch and call you when I get back after the holidays. Johnny almost formal in a way.


Yeah. Suddenly it's like somebody you didn't really know was anybody. Absolutely.


And I was like, that's really odd. That doesn't sound like John. Well, it was odd and even more so when another friend of Artigas received exactly the same message, word for word and ortigas Facebook status change from single to in a relationship.


And then I think it was the following day I was on Amazon Messenger and Johnny popped on line.


So I thought, oh, he must not have left on his vacation yet. And it said it said Johnny his name. And then in quotations beside his name, it said, I've got a one way ticket to heaven and I'm never coming back.


And later that same day, Deborah got a call from a friend who told her Johnny Ottinger appeared to be missing.


It's surreal. You know, you don't expect your friends to go missing.


Pretty soon, all his friends got together unsure what to do, really. But before going to police, they decided to try to get into his condo, see if they could find a clue to what happened to the guy. I had to break in, actually, and everything looked fine. Nothing out of place, no sign of any struggle. Only things missing were his wallet, his keys and his red Mazda coupe. So looked as if he'd gone out for a drive.


Could be back any minute.


There is no answers to anything like he just vanished out of thin air except for those strange e-mails Aldinger had supposedly said about falling in love and Costa Rica, which to the cops said Clark seemed perfectly reasonable. Not hard to imagine that a lovestruck man might want to leave the snow and ice of Edmonton behind and skip off to the tropics.


This guy sent these emails to his friends and we're going, well, that's strange, but who knows? Maybe he go to Costa Rica. I mean, stranger things have happened, right? You don't know. At least that's how Clark felt before he stepped through the looking glass and followed the missing man's trail into a strange place of Make-Believe, a makeshift movie studio.


As soon as they called me on the phone, I get this weird show. Johnny Alger's condominium, as you can see, looked like anything but a crime scene. There were no signs of a struggle, no blood. It was like he just stepped out for a few minutes. Could be back any time. Where was he? Johnny's friends were convinced something awful had happened to him. So day after day, they prodded the police. And finally, seven days after Johnny went missing, the cops agreed to open an investigation.


We just, you know, started with the basics.


I said, well, we got to basically find let's find out if we can find him, first of all. So let's find the car, find the car. Hopefully we find him or have an idea where he is.


Just Johnny, alter your emails that he'd taken off for Costa Rica officers went to the airport to look for that red Mazda, searched every parking lot, wasn't here.


They combed through airline passenger lists.


He wasn't on any of them.


Johnny's friends, meanwhile, went back to the apartment for another look and found stashed away among his important papers, his passport. We're going hope you're not getting out of the country anymore without your passport.


So seemed like he had to be within driving distance. But what direction, where? And just as the police were contemplating that possible, one of all his friends came up with another e-mail. This one Johnny had received from a woman he met online, Jen was her name, the same woman with whom he'd supposedly scampered off to Costa Rica. Johnny Johnny had a date we're going out on the town the night he disappeared because he'd never been to her place.


She sent him an email with directions on how to pick her up and out of an abundance of caution, he'd never met the woman. After all, he's got a copy of that email to a friend of his, just in case.


I can't remember the last word of the email. But he says, if anything happens to me, you know where I'm at and you'll laugh out loud.


It wasn't a phone number, not even an address, but there were detailed directions to her place, so the cops drove the route and the directions led them to a neighborhood down an alley and to a garage rented by a guy named Mark Twitchell, who happened to be, at least in the local arts community, a bit of an emerging celebrity.


Mark Twitchell was making a name for himself as a scrappy, young, independent filmmaker right here in Edmonton. He had recently made a low budget sci fi movie.


Everyone working on this project is a fan, of course. I don't think anybody would be here working for us for free if they weren't.


So they called him up, of course, and he readily agreed to come down and open the place up. But when he got here, big surprise. Someone had changed the lock. He couldn't get in.


So with Twitchell's permission, officers broke him, had a quick look around and found nothing just the same. What with that changed lock and the weird coincidence of Johnny's email, there were things to figure out. And Mark Twitchell was only too happy to tag along to the police station to help out whatever way he could.


The first thing they know is the padlock didn't look familiar to me, Twitchell explained.


He'd been using the rented garage as a soundstage, most recently for what they call a teaser, a short film designed to drum up publicity buzz and with any luck, attract enough investor money to allow him to produce a full length feature movie.


It's a suspense thriller, actually, here. It's a short film and I'm totally going to be about eight or nine years ago. So, yeah, suspense thriller, right?


Of course, he had a crew in and out of the place during the filming, said Mark.


Several actors to maybe one of them was up to something, but it seemed unlikely and none of them had ever asked to borrow the SAT for anything.


So if there was anything like that, if somebody needs to borrow the place or whatever, then they would let me know. So I'll let you know. They've the ask for something like that. So, yeah, no, I don't know anything about that.


Anyway, he said he'd moved on for now to another project. I'm working on a comedy right now, which is a it's actually a full blown feature that actually would have a decent budget in the neighborhood of about three and a half million.


And in the meantime, the garage cum studio was empty.


So why would someone break into the place and then change the lock he wanted?


It makes sense.


And I had a padlock previously, but it wasn't the same one. I wanted to have a little bit of silver on the outside of a black plastic data center, and this one was just all metal. So. So you noticed a different padlock? Yeah. And the door frame mystifying, said Mark.


He had a bad feeling about this man disappears after telling police he was going to the very place his movie had been shooting.


Since they called me on the phone, I had this weird chill. So what about that woman Johnny Aldinger had been flirting with online? The one who gave him directions to the garage, told him she'd meet him there. The woman who signed her emails. Jim, does the name Jim mean anything to you now? Possible. That's why we got back to generation like I saw the name Jim. Doesn't mean anything to you. You don't know Jim. You don't have an actress named Jim.


So who was this mystery woman, Jan? And why in the world would she arranged to meet Johnny Aldinger here in the very backyard garage and independent Edmonton film crew was renting for use as a studio?


How odd.


Especially since the movie's producer, director Mark Twitchell, expressed exactly the same confusion as the police. He didn't get it either. The dots didn't connect.


Mark, you didn't know Johnny from Adam. And besides, there was no indication Johnny ever made it to the garage at all.


The close friends were the ones who come to the police. They basically had nothing other than his emails.


There was one thing, though, and it came from Mark Twitchell. He wondered, he said if maybe somebody was being set up and just didn't sit right. So the first thing to ask myself is who all knows about what we do there and what our schedule is like and stuff like that.


Was the disappearance staged somehow? But if someone was being fooled, who was it? And why was all this just some big stunt, even a publicity stunt? Detective Bill Clark was thoroughly engaged. By now, he'd spent a career listening to criminal spin their stories. Maybe he could figure out of this Twitchell guy was trying to play the cop. Somehow he pulled the recording of the interview. You know, when I watch an interview, I'm not really I listened to what the guy says, but I'm looking at body language.


I'm looking for signs of deceit.


I remember coming out of the interview going on a smart guy I interviewed really well, not good. There were no signs of deception. He's free flowing with the information. He's answering the questions logically. I don't see any, you know, look, in a way, I don't see any of the nervousness. Nothing. I see nothing.


And then when police looked into Twitchell's production company, Express Entertainment, they encountered a perfectly legitimate company. More than that, actually, this was a promising effort to help Edmonton, way off here in northern Alberta, get some national attention as a potential center of moviemaking.


And Mark Twitcher was very good at drumming up attention and money from local investors like John Pinsent.


He was a very sharp, bright, young, articulate entrepreneur, exactly the kind of individual that most of us are looking for.


So he checked out hardworking local boy in a city of hardworking people, good parents, nice young wife, sweet little daughter on his way to becoming a celebrity here in Edmonton.


Detectives, I've got to look at the teaser film for Twitchell's next project, the three and a half million dollar buddy comedy date players.


Mark is in the background playing the role of director, even as he was the director, sort of a Hall of Mirrors type story, a movie about a movie, about making a movie or something, fantasy and reality all mixed up somehow just to cover the bases.


Police interviewed Mark Twitchell's crew members and they vouched for him completely and revealed that they all shared a passion for Star Wars.


Fans love the whole tale about the force and the dark side so much that their first project together was a Star Wars fan film called Secrets of the Rebellion.


Mark was wildly successful that time at drumming up local media coverage became kind of a big deal here in Edmonton.


We keep pretty good pace with Lucasfilm actually when it comes to producing the films, because it takes them three years from the time they start shooting to the time they finish post-production to actually get one of their films wrapped up. So technically, I've gone into the summer of 2009 to get done.


This was no bones about it, a low budget production.


But even so, Twitcher was able to land one of the original Star Wars actors, Jeremy Bullock, who played the bounty hunter Boba Fett. That was enticement enough to get Toronto based actor Sean Storer to sign on for a part.


As soon as I found out that I would be playing alongside him, I was like, Oh, great, why not? It's a named actor.


Sci fi is not stores thing, though.


And once he got to Edmonton, he found the atmosphere on Mark Twitchell's set a little too playful, maybe unserious, at least for him.


I remember one time he shoved the pillow up under his shirt and he said he looked like Alfred Hitchcock and then he wore that for the rest of the day. Ridiculous. But everybody else thought it was great laughter because this is him.


And if you don't laugh at his joke, you know what I mean? Where there's the alpha in the room and everybody flocks to them.


And he was to there, but well, that's what everybody had, a mask, which certainly fit Mark's reputation as a prankster.


And maybe you got to be if you're trying to start a movie business anyway. Mark Twitchell came off squeaky clean. His film company was respected, as was he and Bill Clark and the Edmonton police back at square one by the look of things. What do we got?


We got nothing. But soon this tough cop would catch a big break. Detective says to me, this guy just told me about a red Mazda figure. The missing man's car turns out a.


You talk, Bill Clark, is he doesn't mind admitting it, an old school detective of the sort that seems to exist more on the big screen than the mean streets, the guys here last night, in fact, Clark is such a throwback.


The younger guys in the force kid him. They call him Sipowicz after the hard nosed detective and the old cop show NYPD Blue. I still like coming to work every day.


I enjoy it. I just just a part of my life. I still have the drive. I am still excited about it in almost every file. Something's different.


In his nearly 40 years on the Edmonton police force, Clark has seen murder take many forms, has seen the shattering effect it has on family.


You're the one the family depends on, and I take that seriously. Ultimately, that's in the back of your mind that if you don't speak for the family, then the dead guy who is going to and for Clark, there's no greater satisfaction than bringing in a killer.


I'm a pit bull. I consider myself a pit bull. You get a case and you get your teeth into it. It's one of those eight type personalities. We want to get the guy, you know, we want to get this guy and put him away.


But as for the Johnny Altidore case, this wasn't even a murder, at least not as far as anybody knew yet. So Clark kept himself on a tight leash and yet to smell blood.


You must have come to some point where you thought, oh, this definitely foul play. No, no, no, not at all.


Oh, they had, after all, was a missing man, Johnny, who might just have driven off somewhere with or without some mystery woman named Jan. Certainly that would account for the fact that his red Mazda coupe was gone to. But really, aside from a few curious emails that might or might not make any sense, there was much to go on. So being cops, Clark and his colleagues employed standard procedure. They doubled back for a second.


Look at things like that garage Johnny was apparently headed for when he vanished.


So we're thinking our next step biologically is the garage. We've got to check inside and have a close look.


So they applied for a search warrant and it was rejected.


It's turned out and it gets turned down because we're told we don't have a crime. We haven't proven there's a crime committed.


So the next step seems simple enough. Clark went to Mark Twitchell directly to see if he'd give permission to search the garage.


He goes, Yeah, I said, I'll need you to sign a consent form for us to search the garage. Yeah, no problem. They requisitioned the required form. One of the detectives hopped in the car, drove it over to Mark's place to get a signature.


And then the weirdest thing, get a phone call from the detective. Detective says to me says, you won't believe it, but this guy just told me about a red Mazda offer that a red Mazda. And didn't Johnny Ottinger drive a red Mazda and wasn't it missing? Mark Twitchell hadn't said anything about any red Mazda when he came down to the police station and talked to that detective the night before, said he forgot really? Why would he forget a thing like that?


But, of course, you know, you want to get tunnel vision, big thing for homicide investigation. Don't get television. So keep an open mind.


So I pulled myself back, but there's something fishy going up.


So Clark invited Twitchell to come back down to the station for a meeting. Ten thirty on a Sunday night, and Twitchell agreed. Mark, thank you very. Everything you do now, we're we're analyzing what we call it, the up arrow down arrow scenario. Listen up, Arrow, Mr. Cooperative will come down, will talk to us at ten thirty on Sunday night. That's not bad from. He's being cooperative. It's all good. Red car. Mazda hasn't mentioned it.


Big down arrow. Big, big downer.


But those two arrows are about all car had to work with us.


You know, Mark, we're just here trying to find this. John, John, John, Altantuya. We got nothing. I don't know what's happened to Johnny I or when it happened, whatever it was exactly.


Because once again, as the interview proceeds, the young filmmaker is the very picture of cooperation. He volunteers information, answers questions without hesitation or any apparent guile.


His demeanor is expensive.


Even an untrained eye can see the Twitchell's body language is open, comfortable in control. So they get to the story about the red Mazda. He was approached, he said, just a few blocks from his rented garage by an agitated man. It was the night Johnny disappeared. The man seemed desperate to get rid of his car, said Mark offered to sell it for practically nothing.


He goes, Well, I shacked up with this really rich lady. You got your mom with her situation and she's going to take care of me. She's going to buy me a new car when we get back from vacation that we're going to fly, I'm thinking, OK, what is there like, you know, two tons of cocaine in the trunk? Like, I'm trying to figure out what the catch is here.


They apparently said, Mark, there was no catch and nothing wrong with the car except that it had a standard transmission, which he didn't know how to drive.


So he left it parked in a friend's driveway.


Cedar Falls, Iowa. Yeah, it's.


Just a couple of blocks away, was it finally a break, had objective monitoring the interviews and a patrol car to check it out and sure enough, there it was empty by the look of it.


Nothing untoward about the car. Johnny's not in the car. Meanwhile, Bill Clark left the interview room partly to regroup, but also to see how Mark would act when they left him alone. And if he was rattled, he certainly didn't show it here.


He calmly placed a call to his wife while I tried to answer some more questions and fill them in and everything like that. And like it turns out that the car is, in fact, belonging to this missing guy. And that is a huge deal. So that's what this whole thing is about.


What in heaven's name was going on? Bill Clarke still didn't have a clue. Oh, but he might in a minute, because Bill Clarke, good cop, was about to become Bill Clarke bad cop. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that you're involved in the disappearance of John Alton Jr., he might be involved, but what part was fact and what was fantasy? Almost four a.m. now downtown Edmonton filmmaker Mark Twitchell was sitting in an interview room at the police station talking to his wife on the phone, fade a little.


The problem is that I'm so tired and it's so hard to remember things outside the room.


Detective Bill Clark watched. Twitchell went over a few notes prepared to switch tactics.


You know, it's already started. The game's on. It's me against him. I know it.


He also knew he was quite sure of it that all evening Mark Twitchell had been handing him a whole load of nonsense and expected him to believe it. But also all evening, as Detective Clark listened carefully and contemplated his up arrows and down arrows. I agreed with everything he said, like I didn't this wasn't the time of the interview to start pushing him on it. It wasn't the time to start confronting him.


That would come later on because one of those down arrows at Bill Clark's led to a particular conclusion. Mark Twitchell thought Bill Clark was a dumb cop Twitchell was trying to play in.


While you're reading him during that interview, he had been reading Ude and made some probably had made some judgments about your ability as an interviewer.


What did he think of you, do you think, during that era? I don't think he I think he didn't think I was that smart. I think he thought he was smarter.


Me and I believe that he felt that anything he told us he could concoct to make us believe him.


And of course, there's only one proper response to that. I just let him go and then I take him back through it. Question and answer, you know, standard procedure. Just nail down the details now. Start nailing them down. Now, I'm starting to see he's not remembering specific details.


Let's go back to your lunch. You're at lunch. Where do you go for lunch? I remember I don't know where you went for lunch. No.


So now it was early morning. They've been at it for hours. They'd taken a break. They'd let Mark Twitchell sit by himself and perhaps stew a bit.


And now the time had come for Clarke to play a different role. We've done the good cop routine, now my forte, the bad cops coming out your forte. This is what you this is what I like. This is what I relish.


There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that you're involved in the disappearance of John Altantuya. No doubt in my mind at all. Mark, why now? I'm going to start with the hammer and with what I know.


Problem is, I know very little, but now that it was perfectly clear to Mark Twitchell that he was a suspect in a disappearance and maybe a murder, his easy camaraderie seemed to shrivel. His eyes glazed with something that looked like fear.


Was he truly innocent or was something else going on, something more in keeping with his role as a storyteller?


Why can't you give me your version of events? So scary once as the night dragged on, Twitchell mumbled something about reality seeming more like some sort of fantasy. And just feel like I'm in a twilight zone right now. But in the face of all of Detective Clarke's accusations, Mark Twitchell never wavered for nearly four hours.


He answered Clark's questions, always polite, apparently helpful, did not so much as ask for a lawyer. So by the end of the night, I got nothing.


I got no evidence. My gut instinct at that time is this guy's involved. He's involved up to his neck in this. What exactly he's done to him, I don't know yet, but I'm going to find out finally at daybreak.


Mark Twitchell let Clark know he'd had enough. Never been charged. But free to go, yep. And I will have and then as Bill Clark escorted Mark Twitchell out of the building and into the early morning dark, he upped the ante a little, told Twitchell he was seizing his car.


And then he goes, it's like, whoa, you almost stopped and kind of pulled back. And he goes, well, I need to get something out of it. And I says, You're getting nothing. I'm taking that car.


And it was then as Clark approached, which was car to take you to the impound yard, that he noticed Mark's unusual license plate, personalized dark Jedi police find witnesses who saw something that seemed like a horror movie.


I have never in my life felt fear like that. Edmonton homicide detective Bill Clark, along with other members of the Edmonton Police Service, felt a little like Alice and the rabbit hole. Their missing man, Johnny Aldinger, had vanished without a trace.


And there were whispers his disappearance could be part of some publicity stunt.


Their only suspect was an aspiring movie producer, storyteller who stood up to a bill clerk grilling with his manners intact, even though by this time Clark couldn't shake the gut feeling that this movie director was one very bad guy.


I was thinking he had filmed whatever he had done to Johnny. I'm thinking he killed him and he had filmed the murder. And so as police look through Twitchell's garage and car and home, they had an idea they might find videotape of a murder, instead, what they discovered was an affair. Twitchell had a girlfriend, and when his wife found out about that, she kicked him out.


But Twitchell seemed, at least to the outside world unperturbed, and instead of falling apart, he simply retreated to his childhood home, moved in with his parents. And so Clark paid Twitchell's dad and mom a visit. She just struck me as a parent that her son does nothing wrong, whereas the father wanted to listen to me. He wanted to hear what I had to say and he listened.


But he got over it and they set up a surveillance team, 24 hour watch to keep an eye on the house and Twitchell. But his behavior was anything but suspicious. He went on about his business, took meetings with investors, about his day players movie project, even picked up a thirty five thousand dollar check from financial backer John Pynsent to Mark Twitchell.


That I was dealing with was articulate and control and running his project the way that you would expect any entrepreneur to be running their project.


And a Detective Clark's world of up arrows. And down there was there was one more huge up arrow. And Twitchell's favorite motive for that is to say the lack of one. There was no earthly reason for Twitchell to kill Aldinger. There was no love triangle, there was no rivalry, there was no robbery. And to put it more simply, Cuccia was not a criminal, didn't have a record, had never even been arrested. Why would a young married father kill a perfect stranger?


So besides, Twitchell, police also focus their attention on this quiet suburban neighborhood around Twitchell's Retied Garage studio and where Aldinger may have gone to see a woman he met online.


They went door to door at anyone seen Johnny Aldinger or his car or anything suspicious.


And they found this couple who told a story that seemed almost lifted from a horror movie.


I have never in my life felt fear like that. These two their names are Morissa and Trevor were out for an evening stroll when they stepped through the looking glass. It happened when a young man came stumbling out of this alley and collapsed in front of them.


He was on the ground and it was just an instant bad feeling. He looked at me and said, I'm being robbed. Can you help?


And then, as if on cue, another man appeared in pursuit. And then as I looked up, the attacker almost actually ran into me.


The attacker was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and a hockey mask.


It's like every nightmare you had as a child after watching scary movies. Sure. Every name you've ever had all of a sudden it's right here.


Mind you, this was no bewitching hour. It was seven thirty, an early autumn. Sun had just begun to take on that honeyed glow of a long northern evening. Neighborhood kids were still straggling home from soccer practice. Was it believable to you?


Well, yes and no, because the way that he fell to me looks looks staged to get us to stop so that they could rob us.


Yeah, we thought it was a setup for us. So you didn't know whether he was going to assault you? Exactly. Or whether he was running from that guy for real. Exactly. Then said Trevor and Morissa, the masked man retreated into the alley to this garage, and that's where he stood.


He stood there unguarded, like he was protecting something. I was like, I'm getting out of here right now.


Trevor and Marazul left a man on the ground pleading for help like some seasoned method actor, and ran from their walk on role in this Twilight Zone episode. When they got home, they called the police. And so squad cars prowled the streets as the autumn light angled toward the horizon. But in that soft after supper, quiet, nothing seemed out of place, nothing amiss.


That was that until weeks later, when police came back here looking for Johnny Aldinger, they wondered, was the guy in the alley actually Johnny, not an actor? Was he a real victim? One of the detectives went downtown to check on the report that was taken from Trevor and Morissa and. It didn't fit, that call was taken a week before Johnny disappeared.


Besides, no victim ever came forward. No one claimed to have been attacked by a masked man. The whole thing sounded almost like, well, like a scene from a movie. Or just maybe a TV show about a serial killer. What attracted you to Dexter? How he was able to explore that dark side, rationalize that it's OK to kill somebody. Strange things come to light under the northern sun, especially with the aid of a search warrant.


As Bill Clark and his colleagues closed in on moviemaker Mark Twitchell, they seized his office computer, found it in his house and on the computer's hard drive. They found this video looked almost like a movie, a horror movie.


No, it wasn't a snuff film. Wasn't Johnny alternators murder caught on tape. It was raw footage of one of Twitchell's Tee's films, the one he told the detective about the first time he talked to him.


It's the suspense thriller, actually. It's a short film. I'm totally going to be back here.


A house of cards is what Twitchell was calling it, a promotional film. Get enough people talking about this and he might persuade some investor to ante up the money for a feature length film in House of Cards.


A killer poses online is a flirtatious woman to entrap his victim in this scene. It's a philandering husband who tells his wife he's heading off to the gym for life. But once he arrives at the rendezvous site, the victim is dropped to the stand baton.


Murdered and then cut up into little bits.


Imagine a cross between Friday the 13th and Dexter, the victim in this Tizer version was played by Edmonton comedian Chris Hayward.


You guys have been a great audience. Thank you very much. So police decided to have a little chat with Mr. Hayward.


But when they showed up at his door, Hayward, no slouch when it came to the entertainment business, thought it was a prank of some sort.


I worked on reality television. I was one of the first things that got into television on. And they throw you curve balls and they have they have writers and they I didn't know. I thought somebody is making this up. This can't be true. This is not a real story. Police also tracked down Toronto actor Robert Barnsley, who played a starring role in House of Cards, that of the deranged mass murderer or second great short film.


I like the idea of this. It sounds interesting, you know, and of course, I want to try to be the killer.


I want to be the bad guy. Mark Twitchell seemed like a very normal guy trying to do a film. Nice guy. Yeah, very nice. Very pleasant role.


Playing a serial killer was almost too much fun, said Balms Action. It got kind of scary where I enjoyed it too much for you.


Got to be the safest big time. Absolutely. This is very fun for me to play. Actually, I really rather enjoy doing it. I was thinking to myself, oh God, did I just think that I could do this and make it believable?


Which said Basely was exactly what Director Twitchell's seemed to want.


I mean, there was a point where I had to stab the dummy through the chest with samurai sword and he'd be sitting behind the chair and he'd be leaning in and say, OK, listen, when you're when you're turning blade, grit your teeth and really, really show that you're enjoying it, you know. Wait a minute.


Was this all about enjoying some fantasy game, pretending to be evil?


Detectives surfed around Twitchell's computer accounts and discovered a Facebook relationship that was all about pretending that about the time he started filming House of Cards to your friend, did an animal trainer and aspiring film maker in rural Ohio, woman named Rene Wari.


So in Edmonton, detective flew all the way to Cleveland to question her where she was up front about it, told about clicking on an intriguing Facebook profile.


Dexter Morgan, there was a picture of Michael C. Hall, and he is the actor that portrays Dexter Morgan on Showtime.


Did you think you were friending the actor himself? Oh, sure. You know what attracted you to Dexter?


You know, I what I love about the show in the books is how he was able to explore that dark side, rationalize that it's OK to kill somebody because this person deserved it. In a way.


We flirted back and forth and and I kept asking him, who are you? Really tell me who you are? Because I want to see the man behind the mask.


Finally, Rene's Facebook friend relented. No, he wasn't. Actor Michael C. Hall. He admitted his name was Mark Twitchell.


Once he told me who he was, I checked him out. You know, I did a lot of research online and found out that he was legitimate and he was up and coming.


And for Binay, the would be maker, it seemed like her big break. And then he expressed interest in me, in my writing styles and my ideas and how we'd be able to work very well together soon.


She was intoxicated by this online collaboration. I then wonder of wonders.


He offered her work on his next project, a feature length version of his short film House of Cards Cameras rolling the film.


He told her about the serial killer.


We had talked about our hypotheticals of how would you kill somebody and get away with it, but did he want to do? He told me while you do it, like Dexter, because Dexter shows you how to do it all the time. Dark. Oh, yes. But all in fun, of course. Like Twitchell's playful advice on eliminating in Dexter, like fashion, one of Ronnie's rivals in romance with both her hands totally wrapped in duct tape, free one arm and slit the wrist.


A Hunter's game processing kit comes with everything you would need to cut the body into nice, manageable pieces. Disturbing? Well, yes, but remember all pretense.


But then a couple of weeks later, and this is what she told the police, something happened.


Strange and unsettling.


We were right back and forth every day. There was a weekend long pause in their play. Talk about Dexter, a dark side, not a single email from her friend Mark Twitchell.


Then Monday came and with it an apology. I've also had something else keeping me busy. He wrote, I'm really concerned about telling anyone because of the implications. Suffice it to say, I crossed the line on Friday and I liked it, crossed the line.


What did that mean? And was it all part of an elaborate hoax?


I thought, you know what, this is a publicity stunt gone bad faith fantasy or something truly terrifying.


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Hey guys. Willie Geist here. Join me on my Sunday Sit Down podcast. A big interview every week with the likes of Bill Murray, Jerry Seinfeld, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Hart, Emily Blunt, Natalie Portman and yes, Jaylo. All this namedropping is making me tired. Check out the Sunday Sit Down podcast for free.


It was Halloween and Edmonton, Canada, Halloween, a highlight in most any child's fantasy calendar, the night to be the terrible creature she or he could never really be.


Mark Twitchell loved Halloween, would spend weeks, months actually stitching together fantastical getups, outlandish costumes like the ones he crafted for his fam film Secrets of the Rebellion.


This year, 2008, just weeks after his wife kicked him out and the cops began tailing him everywhere, he decided to be Iron Man, the costume at his parents garage.


But on the very witching afternoon, mere hours from his planned grand entrance to a Halloween party, as he was walking to a local coffee house to meet with potential movie investors, he was thrown to the ground by men wearing their own unique costumes.


Members of Edmonton SWAT team Mark Twitcher was handcuffed, taken into custody and charged with the murder of Johnny Aldinger. At that, of course, made big headlines.


Police even held a press conference to announce the arrest and the reporters who had gathered were left with one juicy tidbit.


We have a lot of information that suggests he's definitely idolizes Dexter, whatever that meant.


I read one of the first things we did in the NEWSROOM as we just went to Mark Twitchell's Facebook page.


Steve Little BE1 was a crime reporter for the Edmonton Journal. He had a post there where he said Mark Twitchell has way too much in common with Dexter Morgan. And this idea that there's a man out there who's attacking strangers, totally innocent victims. It's it's almost myth. It's something that's built up by Hollywood.


It didn't seem like it could be real. So you're in Edmonton. Question began to circulate had the cops been played by a clever promoter? Mark Twitchell is known as a prankster. A lot of people thought this was a hoax. You almost wonder whether or not he was doing it as a publicity stunt. I thought, you know what, this is a publicity stunt gone bad. And what better way to start a movie off than to have your name on the tip of everybody's tongue?


Exactly. So maybe Bill Clark and the rest of the Edmonton police force would wind up with red faces and not just from the cold, except there was one little bit of news. Police did not announce when they searched Twitchell's car, they found a laptop. And on the hard drive of that laptop, a very smart detective found a deleted temporary file. A document about 40 pages long could be described as a diary, maybe a far fetched novel or a treatment for a Dexter episode.


It was called České Confessions, and it was the first person account written from the perspective of an aspiring serial killer. I remember reading this the first day when they brought it down.


I go, Holy mackerel, this tells us everything, except the guy is a professional storyteller who tells, you know, movies. They're not real.


Weren't you a little bit afraid that you might be about to be drawn into a kind of a rabbit hole here, that you're, you know, something that might be true or might not be true?


It might be a fantasy. It might be.


Absolutely. Absolutely. We had huge discussions in the office about this.


Because Asghari confession read more like a work of fiction, like a story that couldn't possibly be true, seemed like a hoax right from the opening paragraph.


This is the story of my progression into becoming a serial killer. I don't remember the exact place and time it was that I decided to become a serial killer, but I remember the sensation that hit me when I committed to the decision. It was a rush of pure euphoria. There was something about urgently exploring my dark side that greatly appealed to me.


The author of a confession seemed inspired by the TV show Dexter. I'm a huge fan of the Showtime series Dexter.


As you may have guessed, if you're at all familiar with the show and it appears this particular scene played an important role in the author's life. Check out this print.


This one belonged to a serial killer executed last month when showing me that. Because, look. It's exactly the same as your Mendax. I watched an episode of Dexter where the flashbacks showed his father showing Dexter CAT scans of a human brain. He identified the differences between a serial killer's brain and a normal person's brain. Up until I saw that, I was convinced that what I was was my own decision, my own path. But now I truly wondered if I had little choice at all and if genetics play a bigger role than I thought, I knew I was a psychopath rather than a sociopath because I had the perfect upbringing and no history of abuse, violence or trauma.


But in this case, confession's the violence is graphic. The description, for example, of how the killer dispatches victims with a metal pipe and a hunting knife.


I thrust it in his gut. His reaction was pure Hollywood.


The lurch forward with the grunt was dead on TV movie of the week.


The little bit I knew at that time and the things we had found.


I thought it was true that cops can have hunches, think what they want, but without evidence, those hunches really hold up in court as confessions could just as well be a make believe story, might not even be written by Twitchell.


It could just as easily have been downloaded from the Internet.


And so investigators started going through české confessions line by line to see if they could sort out fact from fiction.


And indeed, police found details in this tale that lined up with reality.


The writer in his first person account tells the reader how he used a game processing kit to dismember the victim's body. And police found the processing kit in Twitchell's garage.


The killer says he tried to burn the victim's body in an oil drum in his parents backyard at a Twitchell's parent's house. Police found the burn ring on the back lawn. There was even a minor detail about the killer getting a speeding ticket, and so did Twichell, just about the time Johnny Aldinger disappeared.


And he joked about it in his storytelling about how this dumb cop didn't realize he had just killed a guy and he was now going out to celebrate and have sex with his girlfriend. So now you could call that cop? That's right.


That cop remembered it because he had a special license plate on his car, Dajarra, and it came right back. And we knew the conversation he had with them.


And it was basically word for word what that did.


That story that Diri told us was exactly what the sheriff told us. But there was a key part of the story that couldn't be verified, a detailed passage that goes on for pages about an earlier attack. But that victim got away.


That part of the story read like a direct lift from the House of Cards script, where the victim is tasered by a man wearing a hockey mask and hood.


And, you know, that's a big part to prove this is true or not. It was a huge part of it.


And surely if somebody's been attacked that way, you would have heard about it. Well, exactly.


I mean, we would have expected someone to come forward, but we got nothing. Yeah, no call, no nothing even matches similarity.


So this seemed to be one part of that story that just didn't didn't make sense.


So police lofted a Hail Mary pass. They went public and released a photo of the hockey mask. And that'll take somebody's memory about, yeah, that was me. And hopefully they'll come forward. It was a long shot, really.


Maybe that person didn't even exist, but they put it out there and waited, but not for long, because that very evening, a lonely casino security officer named Jill Tatro was puttering around on his computer and saw the newspaper article online, the police appeal and felt the blood drained from his face. That person was him. And I'm like, oh, my God, it's the same hockey mask, as I say, I saw with the guy was wearing hockey, the hockey mask, and so I start reading the story.


I'm like, oh, my God, someone got killed.


And now that terrifying evening, it's horror, it's embarrassment came crashing back into his head. It was he, Gyoo Tatro, who so frightened that couple out for a stroll. Trevor and Marissa Giel picked up the phone and before long found himself in a little room with Detective Bill Clark. And in my career was probably the most spellbinding interview I've ever had with a witness.


And now you were about to hear that story firsthand.


This horror story really happened is like life flashed before my eyes, like, oh, my God, my family's never going to see me again. Would you Tetro join the strange developing horror movie plot up in Edmonton, Canada? He was a man with a broken heart. Lonely in a new city without the wife who'd left him for another life. So when he came across that truly lovely, intelligent woman on an online dating site and she seemed to like him well, who couldn't resist?


She looked beautiful in her profile.


Sheena was her name. She said, How about dinner and a movie? Then she started making these kind of excuses that I couldn't pick her up at her front door.


So Tetra's date asked him to park in an alley, come through a back entrance through a detached garage, and she'd leave the garage door open for me. And I go through the garage to door to the other side, get into the yard and go knock on the back door to pick her up. The door was high enough that I didn't have to crawl under it with.


I just had to squat under. So now, hopeful, unsuspecting, Jill walked through the garage toward this door that leads to the back patio.


And I touched the knob to open the door and all of a sudden somebody attacked me from behind.


I turned back to look to see what's going on. And that's when all of a sudden I see this man wearing this black and gold hockey match. And this guy was much bigger than me prodding me with this stun gun, the first in his shock. She couldn't tell what it was, this stinging of the back of his neck. But listen to this from České Confession's.


Pressing the button across the back of his neck pulled the trigger, it shocked and jumped, but did little more than merely alert the bastard to what was really going on. So I try to make a run for it. That's when he actually pulled out a gun.


I pointed it straight at him and all of a sudden he took me seriously, his eyes wide. Then he yells, get down on the ground, put your face down, close your eyes and put your hands in the back. I don't know where you had it, but he took out duct tape and they ripped off a piece. That's when he covered my eyes with it.


I just about then Jill Tatro decided he had come to the moment of his own death, actually started tearing up.


And and it was like life flashed before my eyes. And it was quite emotional, like, oh, my God, my family's never going to see me again. I never told anyone where I was going that day. And all of a sudden it comes towards the back of me by my legs. I hear his belt jiggling.


What you actually heard was the sound of handcuffs as they neared his wrists. Instead, he thought the attacker was undoing his belt. And I immediately thought, he's going to rape me.


So I'm like, no, I. I better fight for my life. I said that I'd rather die my way than his way.


I knew he's going to pull the gun out again. Yeah. And you know what? If it kills me, it kills me. So I get up and rip off the duct tape and I yell at him. I said, I can't do this. I'm not going down like this. He started yelling at me, get back down on the ground, back down on the ground. I just darted for the gun, grabbed the end of it and pushed it away from my body.


He got back to his feet, having removed the duct tape. When I pointed the gun at him again, he grabbed it. It was the best feeling I ever felt in my life because I felt plastic when I grabbed it just immediately, immediately. So I suddenly realized it was fake gun.


I think I might have seen a gleam in him that indicated he felt the guns construction and realized it was not real. I grabbed him by the arms and we're kind of struggling all over the garage.


According to S.K. Confessions Giel, by fighting back and taking the story way off script, overestimating the stun baton is a mistake I would not repeat.


I should have just pounded him in the back of the head while he was down until he lay unconscious on the floor. I tried to kick him there, but I did that. He saw me going to do that. So he actually went and swiped my leg and I almost fell down and and I almost lost my shoe. And I'm thinking, wow, I can't get down. If I get down on the ground, I'm cooked. Yeah, exactly.


His adrenaline had been pumping so ferociously, he was quite unaware of how the shocks from the stun baton had sapped his strength.


My muscles just couldn't move and I was just so weak. So he goes forward and tries to head butt me.


I delivered a headbutt to his face and he broke free again. That's when he says, because you didn't cooperate, this is the way it has to be. And then he starts punching me in the head.


Dutrow stumbled backward with every blow closer and closer to the open garage door. I'm letting him punch me, punch me again, and he grabs my jacket. So then I slipped out of my jacket, rolled underneath the garage door and finally made it out of that garage. So I start to try to run and all of a sudden I was like, my legs were paralyzed and I just couldn't move and I just fell right on my face.


Just like being in the nightmare where you can't get away from the monster and I just start crawling away on this unpaved driveway. And sure enough, it comes back underneath that garage after me and grabs my legs and he starts dragging me back and oh my God, I don't know how I'm going to get away again. And I'm like, oh, no, I have nothing left. There's nothing else I can do. I grabbed him by the leg as if to drag him back into the garage cave man style.


But my energy was depleting and the human survival instinct is one of the most powerful forces on Earth. And so he drags me back and throws me back into the garage underneath the door thinking he doesn't have a hold on me anymore, so I'm like, this is my chance.


I can maybe get away again. And then I roll back underneath the garage door. I got back up and in my head I was like, there is no way I am not running this time. Legs carry me out.


Terrified, exhausted. Jill JETRO ran for just 30 or 40 feet to this pedestrian path and that's when he collapsed. In front of Trevor and Maurice and I look up and all of a sudden I see a couple walking their dog and I couldn't really talk or I could say was, there's a man after me. He's trying to mug me, please help me. And they look stunned. And they didn't know what was going on.


And to me, it felt like it was taking the masked man forever to come after me. But sure enough, he came running after me, comes towards me. I'm stamp's close to the couple. I tell him, hey, that's the man. And then as I looked up, the attacker almost actually ran into me.


A couple on an evening stroll saw me coming after him sporting a deer in the headlights look that can only be described as a total lack of comprehension. Once he saw the couple there, he said, Hey Frank. Aw, come on, Frank.


The guy in the mask was pretending that they were friends. And then he pretends like he's going to lift the mask off like we're playing and but he doesn't. And then he turns around and he starts walking back to the garage.


I stared back at them through my mask for half a moment and then headed back for the cover of my lair.


It was only once he'd arrived safe at home that you tried to put it all together.


But how what in the world just happened? Who was that man behind the mask and why had he been attacked?


I decided, you know what? I need to go back onto that online dating website. I want to get as much information as I can so I can give this to police.


And so I go back on and all of a sudden everything was calm, her profile was gone.


All the sent and received messages that I got from that person or all gone.


What is it like to be sitting alone in your apartment in front of your computer with that realization in your head that felt almost ashamed?


It was like, I can't believe I got duped by this woman. Like, you know, I just want to put this behind me. I just don't want to think about it. I want to move on.


And did not call the police. No, I didn't.


Maybe it was the fear in his eyes that told me deep down he wouldn't report the incident. I was facing him there with the gun.


But now, a month after his journey into the Twilight Zone, you Tetro was giving Bill Clark a videotape blow by blow account of the assault.


And it's just there's no doubt in my mind he's been so truthful and the cops had real evidence that České Confessions was all true, except it was not quite complete. It was a story without an end, the part we never had. We never had. Johnny, that is Johnny Aldinger, the victim who it seemed did not escape from the suburban garage. Still no sign of him. Alice just about then, detectives uncovered something, an updated version of České Confessions.


There was one more chapter in which the killer leaves a clue. Impossible to resist. Cops take Mark Twitchell on an incredible journey to the place where something evil may have happened. Here we are back at the killing garage. Look familiar, Mark? Article, the would be movie director in Edmonton, Canada, loved, loved the TV show Dexter is so taken with the whole idea of it that he posted this online ad, an attempt to sell the script for his House of Cards short film, as if it were an original Dexter episode.


And in fact, the story on Twitchell's computer, the one called České Confessions, is a lot like an episode of the TV show about the avenging psychopath.


Now, here in Twitchell's rented garage, police found what looked for all the world like a kill room. There was plastic sheeting in here, an autopsy table, all matching the careful descriptions in české confessions. What the killer couldn't learn from Dexter, though, was how to dispose of the body.


The TV Dexter, after all, lives in Miami, dumps his victims in the Atlantic. But Edmonton out here in the middle of thousands of square miles of farmland and oil fields as many hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean. And that fact seems to have stymied the killer, who apparently had no idea how to get rid of his victims remains. Perhaps it never occurred to him to put the body in the trunk of a car and drive it out past the city limits and bury it behind some old abandoned barn.


So according to escape confessions, he tried burning them, but that didn't work, so he thought about throwing them in the Saskatchewan River that runs through town, but was afraid someone would see him.


So he finally decided to toss them down, one of Edmonton's thousands of storm drains, the diary got to a point that he talked about dumping the body in a sewer and then it ended.


By this time, Clark certainly believed the diary was true, all of it. But without a body in a case as bizarre as this one, how could any jury be sure that important parts of this české confessions weren't just some fantasy from the dark side?


So Clark confronted Twitchell with the evidence against him, hoping he would confess.


And then they make an interesting comment. This reminds me of Dexter to kill room clean sweep. You were referring to your garage as a KRO. Your garage was the KRO, the tables, the kill table. It's undoubtedly where you carved them up. I'm going to show you that later. But all the blood seeps right underneath the think guys. Just pull all that out and all does DNA matching. It goes right. You know, when I say that show Dexter and you you've seen that show Dexter.


I mean, this is all modeled after Dexter. You know that Mark. You know, eerily, you kind of look like the guy. I look at that picture. I saw that one on your website and you guys kind of even look the same. The big thing there, though, is he kills people who need killing, like he kills these guys who get off in court. You all the guys who get off on technicality, he cheats.


He kills people. You kill him. The difference here was you killed a guy who really was no harm to society at all. But from Tuco, this victim, no response at all.


The next day, Clark and another detective took Twitchell out of jail and drove him around Edmonton, hoping he'd give up some information. What was his demeanor like? Defiant. We just took for drives. If you're going to show us where the body is, you're going to show us where Johnny is and drove right here, parked right in front of his parents house.


And after that article was taken to the place that for a brief moment was the center of his life.


So here we are back at the killing garage, the Dexter garage. Look familiar, Mark? We parked right on top of the sewer where you dumped the body, jog your memory to where you look. Sorry to put this guy down. Clark even took Twitchell to the back of the garage, the suspected crime scene, hoping it would trigger some level of remorse back any memory.


Tell us where the body is now. Get this over with, get back to the station. OK, let's go another place back in the car, another detective heard off camera start working on Twitchell, humiliate your victim, lock him over the head in all of them. Chop them up. Carve him up. This pales in comparison, but you can't take it, but Twitchell said nothing, at least not in person. He had certainly said plenty in české confessions if in fact he was the author.


But the document was incomplete, ending in a jumble of unrecoverable computer code. We're going to computer, guys. Come on.


You got to pull out more. We're right to the point of where he dumped the body and we don't know the location.


So a detective did a slow, methodical search through the desktop computer found in Twitchell's home, and it paid off on that computer. Once deleted, but now found was yet another version of České Confessions with a few additional tantalizing paragraphs describing the location of the victim's remains.


He talks about a specific sewer. He talks about how it's off an alley. It's in a grassy area. It's in an older neighborhood.


He talks about telephone poles in this alley and only certain neighborhoods up here have telephone poles, the older ones.


And that's about the time Detective Bill Clark became a man obsessed. I mean, we were pulling manhole covers off. I'd be out with a flashlight looking down now, Katsina, if it was really dicey, you couldn't see down.


We call the city crews in nothing enough to make a person doubt his own sanity. Until police received a map that broke the case wide open. Where did you find the body? Right down there. Who gave them that map and why? Bill Clarke was one deeply frustrated detective. For months, he'd been a man obsessed, peering into the sewers of Edmonton in a vain search for the missing Johnny Aldinger. And then. After a year and a half a call from the city jail, an inmate wanted to talk to detectives.


His name is Mark Twitchell, and without any explanation, he handed over a printout of this Google map. At the bottom of the page, there was a handwritten note location of John Aldinger remains.


And if you can believe it, it was one block south of his parents house in that alley of this alley.


This is the alley behind the Twichell home. It matched perfectly with the description from České Confessions.


And in fact, this area had been searched by police a year and a half earlier.


They actually pulled all these sewers, all these all the cover, all the covers, pulled them off. They had crews go down, search each one. They found nothing. They did this whole block in this area here and they sent cameras down the lines where they actually go down the lines and they snake them down. And having a look, they found nothing but work where they stop. They stopped right about where you and I are standing right here on one hundred and thirtieth avenue.


So a year and a half later, where did you find the body? Right down there. Five telephone poles down on the left hand side of this alley, a half a block from where we stopped our search.


And this was Johnny alternators tomb. You can see it in a piece of the torso and a piece of the pelvis, probably thought it would all get washed away. That's what he thought.


It would just deteriorate to a point that, you know, would be unidentifiable or no one would ever look right.


No one had ever looked because he wouldn't find that escaped infection. That's right. No one would ever look. But why just weeks before his murder trial was set to begin, did Mark Twitchell give up Johnny Altius body must have been a reason because of all the publicity the case generated.


The judge slapped a gag order on the press, the police, everybody, which is why on the first day of the trial, the disclosure that Altius body had been uncovered catches everyone totally by surprise. Former crime reporter Steve Lilliput has written a book about the Twitchell case, The Devil's Cinema. It doesn't get more explosive than that. That was all new information that no one had heard of before, and the trial only got more bizarre as the prosecution then unveiled for the first time České Confessions sitting in that courtroom said Lilliput became a journey deep into the wilderness of a mind of darkness.


Horrid, horrid details were written down. I mean, no no detail was not told within this document. It's written like it sounds just like it's fiction, like a script. But when you take a step back, realize this is a real person he's talking about, this is a real man who's been murdered. But was Johnny Aldinger murder? Well, Twitchell's certainly admitted he dumped Johnny's remains down this storm drain. He never said he murdered him, never even admitted he was the author of České Confession.


So detectives knew they would need more than the documents to get a conviction.


So they'd quietly built a case on CSI BASIX, Take Twitchers Garage, for instance. Nothing amiss in the normal light of day.


But once the floor was sprayed with luminol, the chemical that makes blood glow huge spot in the garage, which would indicate a large pool of blood, they found a piece of a human tooth in the garage.


We found blood spatter all along the walls, the garage doors, hundreds of spots of splatter where an obvious beating had taken place also in the garage.


CSI investigators found this big game processing kit kits hunters would take out in the bush to cut up a moose or whatever they've killed to bring them out. This is what he used.


And every single tool in that kit had our victim's DNA on it.


And in Twitchell's car, police found other hard evidence.


We find a knife in there, a knife with blood on it, visible blood, visible blood on that knife. And that blood matches up to Johnny Altmaier in the car.


He just left it in the car, in the car.


And the car turns out to be an absolute gold mine. It absolutely blows this case wide open. There are yellow sticky notes that are right on the console.


One of them has a map drawn from the garage to Johnny Alternators apartment. He kept everything. This guy was meticulous. He kept receipts, wrote everything down. After the presentation of the hard evidence, Twitchell's friends and co-workers were called to testify, one of the first was the actor who played the victim in House of Cards, Chris Hayward, on his way to court that morning. He worried what would happen if Twitcher was acquitted if he gets out. Oh, I feel like he'll probably kill me.


Chris wasn't alone in his worry. Renee Waring was unsettled to the day she testified, but for another reason altogether, he didn't want to feel judged.


Judged because I have dark thoughts and I shared them.


And with a serial killer, Gianni Ultragaz friend Deborah Tightrope testified it was the first time she'd gotten a clear look at Mark Twitchell.


He seemed like a normal person, average person off the street.


And I guess that's what disturbed me, which will remain stone faced even when his own wife took the stand. She's crying through all of this. Markowitz's reaction was nearly blank. But when this video was shown in court during Bill Clarke's testimony, Twichell came unraveled and he starts to cry. And the tears are just streaming down his face. And he's getting a story hysterical. His chest is heaving. The judge actually recognized that they took a break and he couldn't get out of the room fast enough.


But when he comes back after the break, Mark Twitchell is no better. He's still very upset and he's crying. He turns around and actually faces Detective Clark and he starts talking to him and said, I'm sorry for lying to you. This is extraordinary. I would never, ever have an accused turn around and start talking to one of the primary investigators in the middle of their own murder trial.


But this was far from the strangest moment of the trial that came in the case for the defense when the attorney called. But one witness, Mark Twitchell, the room was packed. There wasn't a single seat. I think everyone was on the edge of their seat wondering what is this guy going to say? And now Twitchell finally had an audience to hear his story.


One, he'd been waiting two and a half years to tell what a story it was. He said that you could blend fiction and reality so closely together that everyone would be fooled. Telling fact from fiction would now be a jury's job.


In March, which was trial, the defense had but one witness, Twitchell himself, and right from the start he admitted killing Johnny Ottinger and then he told the jury the story and he said that what he had done is he had cooked up this idea that you could blend fiction and reality so closely together that the people everyone would be fooled into thinking that what's fiction is actually reality.


House of Cards and České Confessions, said Twichell, would it be the building blocks to a cutting edge entertainment concept consisting of both book and film?


But there was more, more twisted reality to generate publicity.


Puccio said he first needed to create an online urban legend by doing a series of harmless, staged attacks identical to those depicted in his movie and novel, so that then when his movie comes out and when the novel comes out, people would go and Google this and they would find out that there's this whole urban legend about maybe the movie real, maybe this fiction is actually reality.


And he called it motive, angle psychosis, layering entertainment. Mapo for short. It's almost like you're sitting on the beach and there's a palm tree and there's a beach in front of you. But when you pull back, it's not a beach at all. It's actually a picture of a beach. So the attack on Giel JETRO, according to Twitcher, was just a stunt. He allowed his prey to escape.


And Johnny Aldinger, that assault was fake to set Twichell just like the first one.


But Johnny just didn't get the joke and furious that there was no woman to greet him, attacked Twichell with a pipe and he's got this little knife on his belt.


And he he tells the jury in his testimony that he puts his hand on the handle of the knife. And just as Johnny is about to come at him, he's lifting the pipe over his head and Mark Twitchell sticks both his hands out in front of them. And the next thing he sees is the knife is in Johnny's stomach and the blood on his hands and he collapses and dies on the floor in front of him.


The only inaccuracy in České confession, said Twitcher, was of the initial attacker was Johnny Altena. And then he, Mark Twichell, panicked and disposed of the body in the sewer.


So now police have their answer as to why Twitchell gave up the body. It was the prologue of his elaborate tale.


His defense is a brilliant idea on the surface. I mean, he actually found a way to describe an entire police investigation that incriminated him to to get him off scot free.


Down in Ohio, Renee Waring was following all this online.


I watched the live blog that they had and I was screaming my head off at home, you liar.


Were you afraid the jury would believe it? Yeah. Oh, yeah.


You're looking for that one person you convince on a panel of 12 people to just have that doubt and, you know, take that doubt back to the deliberation room.


Jill Tatro was in court the day the case against Twichell was completed. I got to sit in the second row and I think my mom was in the first row. She looked back and saw me and I didn't know how she'd feel. You know what exactly? I live on my son. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And she just turned around. She looked at me, she smiled. She grabbed my hand and she did. I'm so happy that you're still with us and how that meant so much to him.


What was it like? I didn't know what she'd feel towards me. And so when she did, that is wonderful.


As almost another close closing moment for me, but not for others in the courtroom and apparently not for the jury. As deliberations dragged on, the time rolled on it. So people were thinking, oh, maybe there's a holdout, maybe there's someone out there who actually does believe Mark Twitchell.


After all, Mark Twitchell was a masterful liar. Maybe this ultimate fantasy of his would beguile the jury. And then that final audience trooped back into the courtroom and gave him his last review. They found him guilty of the premeditated first degree murder of Johnny Aldinger. I've never been involved in investigation like this in my whole career as homicide detectives, you theorize about how someone's died and there's no doubt we don't always get it right. We got a good idea, but we're never right here.


We knew exactly what happened to John because he told you.


He told us ultimately, John, he led us to it and Mark Twitchell closed it on himself by writing all about it. No doubt in my mind he would have kept on killing. We caught a serial killer on his first kill, but why why did Mark Twitchell murder Johnny Aldinger? Was it a thrill killing or something even darker?


I think that ultimately he wanted to experience the feeling of killing and dismembering a body. And I think ultimately down the road, he was going to try and produce a film about it, and he would be a producer who would tell his cast and crew and actors how to do it and only to himself he would know that he actually left it. I think that was what he wanted to do.


And far away in Ohio, Rene, wearing Twitchell's old Facebook friend, arrived at the same disturbing theory.


I think he did it for artistic reasons. Artistic reasons. Sure. I think he wanted to see how someone died.


So maybe he could make a better story, film it better, write about it better. In fact, Mark Twitchell himself offered an answer to all those people who wondered why he was different, he wrote in his essay Confessions he simply could not feel for anyone.


And so intentionally or not, he offered a dismal reason for murdering a perfect stranger.


It was a single line at the end of that horror movie of his house of cards when the killer tells his wife.


The best way to succeed is to write what you know. I'm Trymaine Lee, host of Into America, a podcast from MSNBC. Join me as we go into the roots of inequality and economic injustice and racial injustice.


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