Robert Berdella: The Kansas City Butcher


Robert Berdella
Robert Berdella

On Saturday morning on Easter weekend 1988, an angry man called a police officer near the city of Kansas City. “Well, look, near the house 4315 on Charlotte Street, some naked guy runs and shakes with his causals!” said the caller. “Think about this joker, because the first of April has already passed!”

The police outfit immediately went to the address and soon “bind” the lover of runs in the nude, who turned out to be someone Christopher Bryson, who earned a living from homosexual prostitution.

Accusations of moral insult on the same day, however, were not presented by Bryson either: the judge, at his discretion, as well as numerous bleeding incisions on his hands, forearms and even eyelids, the prostitution of which was the victim of an unknown criminal.

However, why – the unknown? Recovering, Christopher immediately told the police that he jumped out of the window of 4315 Charlotte Street, escaping from his tormentor named Bob Berdella

He, they say, taking the “boy” for the night, subsequently drank him with some kind of drug and tortured and raped him for three days.

The description of the torture that Berdella subjected Bryson to shocked the police.

Christopher Bryson
Christopher Bryson

The sadist, according to Chris, put an arm in his anus at the elbow, pricked him with a syringe. Made “self-satisfied” with a huge folder. And along the way he shot all this action on Polaroid.

Arrest Berdella, and it’s over! But no such luck.

After checking the identity of the potential criminal by file cabinets, the detectives found out: the suspect was Bob’s Bazaar Bizarre store owner Robert Berdella, a good taxpayer and law-abiding person.

Is he homosexual? Well then what? Are you sure, cutie, that in your case we are not talking about the ordinary quarrel of two lovers? Have you been tortured? So who will understand you, gay? Maybe all this was by mutual agreement, and then, not agreeing in price with the client, you decided to hand him over to the police, arranging for a start a “naked run” ?!


And yet, despite the hostility to the guy who was often prosecuted for illegal prostitution, the detectives visited Berdella, a man, albeit with “sadistic fantasies,” but who was then believed to be a victim of a “gay” slander.

For the first time, Bob managed to get out of the water dry and, moreover, wait for an apology from the detectives, who started a shumon in the house of a law-abiding citizen. Yes, the police, who almost timidly searched Berdella’s home – “an honest guy with a clear, direct look” – found a certain male skull here. An examination, however, showed that the “dead head” is just a souvenir. One of the many traded in Bob’s Bizarre Bazaar.

Berdella, to whom again – with an apology! – the police visited, regally forgave the cops. Bob was getting ready to go back to business after the cops left, when something unexpected happened.

Excessively scattered dogs – of them, the Chow Chow breed, the guy had as many as three – knocked down a bookcase on the floor. Since it is literally at the feet of the astonished detective crumbled album with photographs of the torture of different men were captured. If only – torture! The torture could again be interpreted as “forbidden homosexual games”!

The main thing: in many pictures Berdella himself was present, hanging the victim from a hook in the ceiling, and then, as if from a pig, letting blood out of it with a machete into an aluminum basin!

Well, this time, Bob’s apartment was searched more thoughtfully. And now they got hold of not only photographs, but also a bag with someone’s bones, and yet another, no longer “souvenir” skull.

At the same time, they made inquiries about the “models” present in the pictures. The results of both of these actions allowed the operas to take back their apologies and send the “honest guy” to jail. No wonder: according to police data, Jerry Howell and James Ferris, who were still missing in 1984 and 1985, served as the “models” of Berdella, and the skull and bones once belonged to  Larry Wayne Pearson, a homosexual prostitute who has been on the wanted list since 1987.

“Talk” to Burdella – thanks to such evidence! – became a technical matter. He himself, realizing that he was exposed, began to cooperate with the investigation. And he was only bargaining, demanding that the investigators petition the court to postpone the execution for the next confession.

Well, Bob was guaranteed a certain number of years in prison, and he gratefully told how he had “hunted” male prostitutes for four years. No, according to his own testimony, Berdella was not at all a kind of perverted guardian of morality.

Just a maniac understood: the disappearance of several prostitutes is unlikely to excite the police in the same way as if it was about law-abiding gentlemen. And therefore, correctly determining the choice of victims, one can indulge in “a favorite pastime” for many years.

This “occupation” consisted not only in the torture of the victims, but also in the setting up of pseudo-scientific “experiments.” In particular, Bob was interested in the arousal of the victim, her sexual activity, or rather the effect on the same activity … the blindness of the victim.

Regarding the latter, the psychopath seriously believed that “blind men are more prone to sexual games,” and therefore, almost all of his captives pierced his eyes with a syringe needle.

Enough “having played enough” with “boys”, finished them off. However, releasing blood to the victims, Berdell did not “feed their chow-chows,” as the yellow press wrote, but simply buried the remains of the unfortunate in remote places.

Confessions of a maniac were interesting not only in relation to his “technology”.

The psychology of the monster, named by the newsmen “The Kansas City Butcher,” was also a phenomenon worthy of study. Berdella, in particular, said that “all his life he dreamed of performing feats like a father,” but “in the absence of war he could not find himself use.”

He admitted that “for the idol he imitated,” he took a maniac from the novel by John Fowles, “The Collector.” True, if a literary character experimented with captive women, then the real monster, being a “gay”, focused on men.


Already in prison, the sadist repented to the relatives of the victims and created for them an “Assistance Fund”, ordering the attorney to sell all his movable and immovable property. It is curious that the relatives of the deceased did not object to the maniac’s handouts, but found them – in the amount of only 50 thousand dollars – insignificant. And sued Berdella in the amount of a billion bucks. In the summer of 1992, the judge granted this lawsuit and even sentenced the monster to pay not one, but five billion bucks!

This amount of “moral compensation” remains the largest ever brought to killers. Berdella understood that he would not earn in prison even a thousandth of this amount.

However, in September 1992, he stated that “he is starting to write memoirs in which he will draw parallels between himself and his father – memoirs from which the income will go to unhappy families.” By October 8, the maniac had even concluded an agreement with one publishing house and managed to write the first 17 pages, when he suddenly died.

According to the official version, the maniac finished off a heart attack. According to the unofficial version, Berdella was simply poisoned.

Prison chef, a veteran of the Korean War and a member of the American Legion, which unites all US military veterans, poured poison into the monster’s food. However, the results of the investigation of the version according to which the “culinary specialist” received poison from Berdella’s front-line fellow, the elder, remain secret even 13 years after the monster’s death.

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