A murder memorabilia website is selling crime scene photos that were used in the trial to convict serial killer John E. Robinson Sr. in the state of Kansas.
"It is sick ... what else can you think," said Carolyn Trouten, the mother of a Robinson victim.
Few people outside of lawyers, law enforcement and those in the courtroom have seen the images captured by crime scene technicians of the bodies found in barrels on Robinson's Linn County, KS, farm in the summer of 2000.
Robinson was later convicted in the deaths of eight women in Kansas and Missouri.
"They are horrible, very grisly, it's hard to believe that somebody would want that type of souvenir," said Paul Morrison, former Johnson County District Attorney.
Robinson's own defense team called some of the photographs "gruesome" in a pre-trial motion.
"That evidence passed through a lot of hands," said Morrison. "Very skeptical that anybody in a police agency would leak any of that information. That stuff is on such lockdown ... and it has been since that evidence was seized back in 2000."
Robinson liked to be called the "slave master" in the relationships he had with women, some of whom he met over the internet with promises of a sexual relationship.
KCTV5 News found in the Robinson case file, located at the Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe, some of the emails he used to reach out to some of the victims. Included is one addressed to Trouten, where Robinson signed the message, "Hugs, Kisses and Lashes ... Master."
In another email, also found in the court file, Robinson wrote to a woman, "I demand complete submission, complete obedience and complete honesty."
If those rules were not followed, Robinson wrote, "punishment is based on the offense. It could be anything from a stern remark to a full whipping."
"He could be very charismatic, very soft spoken but there was another side," said Vicki, a former Robinson partner, whose last name KCTV5 is withholding. "He got pleasure when he was being brutal."
Vicki was able to end the relationship with Robinson. She told KCTV5 News that Robinson failed to return her expensive sex toys, so she reported him to police. It was that tip that helped in part to lead authorities to the discoveries of the women stuffed in barrels.
"I obtained all my Robinson items from a private citizen who reportedly picked them up at an estate sale that members of the Robinson family held a few years ago," said Eric Holler, operator of Serialkillersink.net.
The website also sells Robinson family photos, personal letters and even a Santa Claus suit worn by Robinson.
"I do not discuss my sales history nor how much I paid for the lot," said Holler. "I will say that Robinson's items have sold handily over the last few years."
"The items in question were taken out of my mom's trash by the person who sold them to owner of the website," Robinson's daughter, Christy, said.
She denies the family tried to profit from her father by selling the items at an estate sale.
Christy also wrote KCTV5 investigative reporter Eric Chaloux that the family never had in their possession any crime scene pictures.
"We never had access to anything like that," she said.
There were many people over the years who could have come in contact with case file that contained the pictures.
The owner of the website selling the serial killer's items told KCTV5 News that Robinson does not profit from any sales of the items.
It's not against the law to sell items from serial killers online.
There was a pushback in 2010, led by Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, to cripple the "murderabilia" industry by preventing inmates from sending items that could be sold in interstate commerce.
"It is reprehensible that criminals who are supposed to be paying their debt to society are exploiting their notoriety and profiting from their deplorable crimes," said Cornyn in a news release about the bill. "Even more tragic is the effect this practice has on crime victims and their families, many of whom have already suffered immeasurably."
The bill stalled in committee and never made it out for a full vote.
Robinson appealed the verdict.
He is one of nine men on the state of Kansas' death row. The state has not executed a prisoner since 1965.
According to the Kansas Department of Corrections, the annual cost to incarcerate an inmate at the El Dorado Correctional Facility is $24,087.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:29 PM EDT2014-07-30 20:29:38 GMT
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