Day 3 in trial of murder that mimics movie

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The Associated Press
Friday, March 18, 2011; 7:09 PM

EDMONTON, Alberta -- A Canadian jury heard evidence Friday that a filmmaker accused of murdering and dismembering a stranger in a twisted plot that mimicked a film he was producing spent months planning a "kill room" and setting up appointments with potential victims.

Mark Twitchell, 31, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Johnny Altinger.

Prosecutor Lawrence Van Dyke alleges that Twitchell posed as a woman on an Internet dating site in 2008, lured Altinger to a garage for a date, killed him, cut him up and then dumped his body parts in a sewer.

Prosecutors said Twitchell, an amateur moviemaker, chronicled the graphic Oct. 10, 2008, murder and dismemberment on his computer under the heading "My Progression into Becoming a Serial Killer."

Twitchell has pleaded not guilty and faces a life sentence without possibility of parole for 25 years if convicted.

Prosecutors allege Twitchell and friends made a short eight-minute movie in an Edmonton, Alberta, residential garage about a man lured to a remote location for an Internet date. The man is tied up, tortured to reveal his Internet pass codes, then murdered.

According to prosecutors, a week after that movie was made, Twitchell began acting out the plot in real life.

He lured one man to the same garage on the pretense of an Internet date with a woman and planned to kill him, but was foiled when the man escaped.

A week later, prosecutors told the jury, Altinger was lured there but didn't get away.

Police Const. Nancy Allen presented evidence Friday taken from Twitchell's home to suggest he'd been thinking about what he was going to do for weeks and that he was likely planning to kill more people.

Allen presented a wall calendar from Twitchell's home showing a notation that read: "Mark appointment, 7 p.m." That was on Oct. 3, 2008, when the first victim allegedly was attacked and broke free. A second notation was made days later on Oct. 10, the day Altinger disappeared.

There were two more notes for appointments with two other people on Oct. 17 and Oct 24.

Prosecutors said Altinger was hit on the head with a heavy copper pipe, knifed to death and his limbs carved up with heavy-duty saws and blades used by hunters to chop up big game. He first tried to burn the remains, then dumped them in the sewer.

Allen presented receipts dating back to August 2008 for a meat cleaver, a military knife, handcuffs and a steel barrel the prosecution said was used to burn Altinger's remains.

Police found a yellow sticky note in his car that reminded him to clean the "kill room," then go have rough sex with a woman who had a different name than his wife.

Investigators also found a novel about Dexter, a fictional character who became the basis for a TV show depicting a man who was a Miami forensic analyst by day and vigilante serial killer by night.

Police said that in June 2010, Twitchell gave them information which led to the recovery of some of Altinger's remains in a sewer a couple of blocks from Twitchell's parents' home.

The trial is scheduled for six weeks.


© 2011 The Associated Press

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