Inside the Bizarre World of 'Murderabilia'

Still, he acknowledges that his profits can be considered blood money. "Honestly," he says, "I don't see any other way to look at it."

Kahan blames the dealers, not the killers, for the growing trade in murderabilia.

"It's the dealers, people on the outside, living in a free society that essentially use the serial killers, simply to make a profit," says Kahan. "I find that even more repulsive in itself."

An Unwilling Cult Figure

Berkowitz, the serial killer who terrified New Yorkers during the summer of 1977, has become an unwilling cult figure in the world of memorabilia.

He says he now wishes he hadn't written letters to so many people during his early years in prison, because they are now being sold on the Internet for up to $200 a piece.

"I was, you know, fearful, angry, confused, lonely, and just coming into Attica State Prison," he says. "I probably wrote to just about anybody … not knowing that years down the road they would have other motives to sell."

Also for sale are manufactured items, such as a stained-glass tribute to Son of Sam, and a Son of Sam clock. There are even photos of Berkowitz and his father being offered for sale by a former pen pal of the prisoner.

Berkowitz, now 48, says: "The sale of these things really grieves my heart … "I'm terribly ashamed for the things that I had done in the past. I know what a nightmare it is to see these things marketed."

Now a self-described born-again Christian, he blames the six murders he committed on what he says was his Satan worship at the time.

"It's a long story, how it all came about, and I wish I could take it all back," he says. "I've never profited from anything that was done. I know many items have been sold, not with my permission or knowledge, but I would hope that one day some of this stuff could come to an end."

Who Buys Murderabilia?

Still, in most states, selling murderabilia is still legal, and other Web sites continue to sell it.

Staton believes that murderabilia appeals to a dark but fundamental part of human nature.

"People think that you know, all kinds of ghouls and creeps crawl out of the woodwork to buy this stuff, and they really don't," he says. "It's pretty much your average Joe Blow, you know, crime enthusiasts, obviously."

Staton knows many people — including his own family — are disgusted by his work. And yet, he says, they are fascinated by it.

"The minute they step into this room, they are glued to everything in here and they are asking questions, and they are genuinely intrigued by it," he says. "So it makes me wonder: Am I the one who is so abnormal, or am I pretty normal?"

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