A new memoir penned by notorious Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton, who preyed on and murdered women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, then buried their butchered remains on his pig farm, has been pulled from Amazon.
Pickton: In His Own Words is a rambling, largely incoherent manuscript that professes the 66-year-old's innocence and positions him as "the fall guy".
It quotes passages from the Bible and argues that the judge in his high profile 2007 trial was "the blind leading the blind" and prosecutors led the jury "down a crooked and dark pathway."
The book was retailing for $21.69 Monday morning, then appeared to be unavailable for a period of time before a paperback version was back on sale.
The book was later pulled from Amazon following a request from Colorado-based Outskirts Press, which helps authors self-publish their work. It said in a statement that it had a "longstanding policy of not working with, nor publishing work by, incarcerated individuals.
"Mr Pickton was apparently aware of our no-tolerance policy when he devised a plan to publish through an unaffiliated third party," the company said.
Pickton is serving a life sentence for six counts of second degree murder. He was charged with an additional 20 murders, but those counts were eventually stayed. The remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his Port Coquitlam, BC, pig farm, that was the scene of raucous parties in a building known as Piggy's Palace. Revelers included sex trade workers who would later go missing. In court, the Crown claimed that Pickton had confessed to killing 49 women to an undercover police officer posing as a cellmate, and that he wanted to "make it an even 50." He allegedly told the officer: "I made my own grave by being sloppy".
CTV News reported that the Pickton manuscript was smuggled out of the maximum security prison in British Columbia, to a man named Michael Chilldres, who typed it up.
Its presence has sparked outrage among the relatives of the murdered women, victims' advocates and politicians.
"It really disgusts me knowing that the worst serial killer in history has the nerve to write that book and reopen wounds," Sandra Gagnon, whose sister Janet Henry used to go to Pickton's farm and went missing in 1997, told CBC.
"If he does profit from it, we have to stop it. We have to find some way that he doesn't get a penny out of this book," Lynn Frey, whose daughter Marnie was one of the six women Pickton was convicted of murdering, told CTV News.
The government of British Columbia appealed to Amazon to pull the book.
"We are taking this very seriously and investigating every means available to ensure that the families involved are protected from further harm and that Robert Pickton will not profit in any way from this book," B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris said in a statement to CBC News.
Lori Shenher, a former police officer who worked on the Pickton case and later wrote about the botched investigation, urged people to ignore the book and deny Pickton a soapbox. She said the damage has already been done.
"These scabs have been torn off yet again on wounds that have never been given time to even begin healing," she wrote on her blog. "These are anguished people who have been through absolute hell for so many years. Many of them suffer physical and mental illnesses as a direct result of losing their loved ones and bearing witness to this unspeakable tragedy. The circumstances around this book are so disgusting and unseemly, I can only imagine how they must be feeling. It is cruel and hurtful that it exists."
Unlike several American states, Canada has no broad 'Son of Sam' law — a prohibition on convicted criminals making money from their crimes. Four provinces do have laws that forbid criminals from making money from books or films about their crimes,
Earlier this year, Paul Bernardo, another Canadian serial killer, also wrote a book, although he called it fiction, that provoked similar outrage.