When you’re responsible for bludgeoning a Eustis couple to death, you claim to lead a vampire cult and your name is Rod Ferrell, you develop a following.
That makes items linked to Ferrell and his crimes more than just a curiosity to some. Artwork and documents belonging to killers such as Ferrell — called “murderabilia”— have found a market thanks to online sellers and auctioneers.
And now an Ohio man named Joe Hiles aims to take the trade in a new direction by auctioning off a list of jury pool members from Ferrell’s 1998 murder case. That case drew national notoriety and came to be known on late-night documentaries and true-crime books as the “Vampire Cult Killings…”
Those who monitor the murderabilia trade say it’s a viable business, but some are calling the attempt to profit off this list a new low for a “wacky” and “insidious” industry. And others are troubled by it.
“This is the first time I’ve seen anything like this,” said Andy Kahan, the Mayor’s Crime Victims director for Houston, who for more than a decade has tracked online sites peddling content related to infamous killers. “I have seen public documents sold. But never a jury list…”
The foreman for that jury was unaware — and unhappy — of the jury pool’s current online availability.
“It upsets me a great deal,” said Joseph Crumpton, a retired fishery biologist living in Lake County. “It’s nobody’s business. It seems like that would be against the law. I always figured that kind of stuff was safe…”
The issue isn’t the legality of profiting off a list that is already a public document, according to some familiar with this case.
“There are a lot of things that are immoral and outright wrong that don’t violate the criminal laws of the state of Florida,” said Chief Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgway, with the office that prosecuted Ferrell.
Uh, yeah. Does that suggest anything to the eminent politicians of the great state of Floriduh?