Robert Berdella

Robert Berdella

Robert Berdella
Also known as: The Kansas City Butcher
Born: January 31, 1949(1949-01-31)
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Died: October 8, 1992 (aged 43)
Cause of death: heart attack
Number of victims: 6+
Span of killings: 1984–1987
Country: U.S.
State(s): Kansas City, Missouri
Date apprehended: April 2, 1988

Robert Berdella (January 31, 1949 – October 8, 1992) was an American serial killer in Kansas City, Missouri who raped, tortured and killed at least six men between 1984 and 1987.


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Early life

He was enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute from 1967 to 1969. During this time he was convicted but received a suspended sentence for selling amphetamines. He was later arrested for possession of LSD and marijuana but the charges were dropped for lack of evidence. In 1969 he bought the house at 4315 Charlotte which would be the scene of the crimes. He worked as a chef and eventually opened Bob’s Bizarre Bazaar.[1]


Berdella was apprehended in the spring of 1988 after a victim he had been torturing for a week jumped naked from the second story of his house and escaped. Berdella had detailed torture logs and large numbers of Polaroid pictures he had taken of his victims. Volumes of pictures were recovered by the Kansas City Police Department, and remain in their possession. He claimed that he was trying to “help” some of his victims by giving them antibiotics after torturing them. He tried to gouge one of his victims eyes out, all ‘to see what would happen’. He buried one victim’s skull in his backyard, and put the dismembered bodies out for the weekly trash pickup. The bodies were never recovered but left in the landfill.

He claimed that the film version of John Fowles’ The Collector, in which the protagonist kidnaps and imprisons a young woman, had been his inspiration when he was a teenager.[2]


Name[3] Age Date of disappearance
Jerry Howell 20 July 5, 1984
Robert Sheldon 18 April 19, 1984
Mark Wallace 20 June 22, 1985
James Ferris 20 September 26, 1985
Todd Stoops 21 June 17, 1986
Larry Pearson 20 July 9, 1987


Berdella owned and operated a novelty shop in the Westport Flea Market/Bar & Grill in Kansas City, Missouri. He named his booth “Bob’s Bazaar Bizarre” and catered to occult-type tastes. [4]


Berdella died of a heart attack in 1992 after writing letters to a minister claiming the prison officials were not giving him his heart medication. His death was never investigated.[citation needed]


The Northeast Film Group released a feature film based on Bob Berdella in September 2009.

Chicago death metal band Macabre’s song “Diary of Torture” on the Murder Metal album is about Robert Berdella, and gives details of his abductions and killings.


  1. ^ My Life Among the Serial Killers: Inside the Minds of the World’s Most Notorious Murderers Helen Morrison – William Morrow; 1st. edition (May 4, 2004) ISBN 0060524073
  2. ^ Bob Berdella – Crime Library on
  3. ^ Rites of Burial ISBN 0-86369-996-0
  4. ^ Link text, additional text.

External links

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