Serial Killers Up Close and Very Personal: My Death Row Interviews with the Most Dangerous Men on the Planet

Serial Killers Up Close and Very Personal: My Death Row Interviews with the Most Dangerous Men on the Planet

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by Victoria Redstall

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She is a glamorous model, actress, filmmaker and investigative journalist who has spent years visiting high-security prison, getting to know sadistic killers like Gary Ray Bowles and Keith Hunter Jesperson, 'The Happy Face Killer'. These hardened killers have opened up to her in a way that they would never do to psychiatrists, prosecutors and other authority figures..


She is a glamorous model, actress, filmmaker and investigative journalist who has spent years visiting high-security prison, getting to know sadistic killers like Gary Ray Bowles and Keith Hunter Jesperson, 'The Happy Face Killer'. These hardened killers have opened up to her in a way that they would never do to psychiatrists, prosecutors and other authority figures... and have revealed terrifying chapters of their lives that might otherwise have stayed hidden forever. In this chilling book Victoria Redstall shares every detail and insight, bringing the reader up close and very personal with some of the most dangerous and disturbed serial killers that the world has ever seen. In a similar vein to bestseller Talking with Serial Killers this title will undoubtedly appeal to fans of true crime.

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From the Publisher

"I've certainly never read anything like it."  —San Francisco Book Review 

 "Real and honest...if you ever wanted to find out what was swimming inside the head of a demon, you should read this."  —Curled Up with a Good Book 

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Serial Killers Up Close and Very Personal

My Death Row Interviews with the Most Dangerous Men on the Planet

By Victoria Redstall

John Blake Publishing Ltd

Copyright © 2011 Victoria Redstall
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-84358-841-2


Wayne Adam Ford – Killer with a Conscience

Dubbed by the media 'The Killer with a Conscience', Wayne Adam Ford was convicted of mutilating and killing four women – one of whose remains are still unidentified – between 1997 and 1998. He turned himself in to police on Tuesday, 3 November 1998, with a woman's severed breast in a Ziploc bag in his pocket. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection on Friday, 26 March 2007. This chapter is dedicated to his victims:

Sonoma County Jane #194–97 Doe
Tina Renee Gibbs, aged 26
Lanette Deyon White, aged 25
Patricia Anne Tamez, 29

I needed to go to Room Zero to where Wayne Adam Ford spent his final night of freedom. I needed to sleep in the same bed as he did, smell the same smells as he did, look at the same ceiling as he did and look at the same cheap TV that he did, in my effort to relive Wayne Ford's last taste of freedom.

As my cameraman and I were driving north along the 101 freeway towards the small town of Trinidad, Humboldt County, California, I could feel the excitement building up inside me. I was also a little spooked out as the weather seemed to correspond with the emotions I was feeling at the time. It was as if I was entering The Twilight Zone or as if I was involved in an Alfred Hitchcock movie – small-town sheriff, and folk who regard strangers with suspicion. Creepy stuff. There was a mist that seemed to blanket the entire freeway, forcing us to use the high beams on our rented car. As we drove north from Arcata, where Wayne Ford had lived in his Airstream trailer, we drove cautiously around the winding bends to this small town called Trinidad.

Suddenly, there were lights ahead on the left side of the road and, after driving for so many hours with no sign of civilization, I knew that this could be the town, and the motel, we were looking for. We slowed down and turned into the parking lot of this bundle of small rooms on a commune that had a semi-lit street sign advertising the 'Ocean Grove Lodge'. It seemed to me that this might be the only place travellers could spend the night if they'd been on the road for many hours and unable to drive any longer. It was a place that a person would visit only if there was nothing else left on earth but this sign of life – in the middle of nowhere, in a small town that seemed long forgotten.

We turned in and parked the car; the crunching gravel under the wheels seemed to resonate across the small area that made up 'Hicksville' Trinidad.

I walked into the lobby, and a doorbell rang out. I had phoned a few days earlier to book Room Zero, and I knew full well that this was the very room that Wayne Adam Ford had slept in with a woman's severed breast in his pocket during his last night before incaceration.

The whole place seemed very eerie and foreboding and, as I put the key in the lock, I felt as though I was walking in Wayne Adam Ford's footsteps – the difference being that I did not carry a woman's severed breast in my pocket.

As I entered this tiny space, I could smell dampness, possibly even the slight smell of urine that was imprinted into the sheets of many previous dwellers of that room. Who had stayed there recently? I asked myself. Who had stayed there right after Wayne and the dismembered body part? Who even knew that a serial killer had stayed there before them? Would they have been afraid and changed rooms immediately, or would they have been morbidly fascinated by the fact that they used the same bed as a man soon to become known as one of California's sickest serial killers?

Me? Well, I was working on my project, and I wanted to relive and revisit the footsteps that Wayne Adam Ford took before he turned himself in to the Humboldt Sheriff Department at 6.00pm on Tuesday, 3 November 1998.

Now I was truly entering the warped mind of a serial killer.

My name is Wayne Adam Ford. I am the serial killer.

In 1997 I was experiencing some real problems. My wife left and took my son away.

I started drinking heavily and I was suffering from the lingering effects of a head injury that put me in a coma years ago.

I began a series of killings in 1997 and 1998. During this time, I killed four women. I blacked out during the killings but I knew that I was responsible. I cut up one body, burying some of the remains and putting other body parts in my freezer. I was not in my right mind. The remorse and guilt was crushing me.

The police investigation into all four killings turned up no leads. When I checked into Room Zero, at the Ocean Grove Lodge, I thought it was very eerie that there was a Room Zero. I had never seen a Room Zero before. It seemed kind of ominous and foreboding.

Prior to the day of my arrest, I spent the day working up the courage with alcohol and, eh, self-prodding, to work myself up to what had to be done.

On November 3rd, 1998, I walked into the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department after deciding that I was too dangerous to be out in society, even if I was living rough in the woods. I had realised at this point that I was losing it for short periods of time. I was afraid this was going to happen on a permanent basis. Then I would be, ah, just a roving monster.

I had with me a severed woman's breast, in a baggie, in my pocket. This, I thought, would be enough to prevent me from having to say anything to the police and that I could say it through an attorney.

Wayne Adam Ford was born on Sunday, 3 December 1961, in Petaluma, Sonoma County, California, to Calvin Eugene Ford and his German immigrant wife, Birgette.

'My father was in the military,' recalls Wayne, 'the Secret Service, and stationed at the time at a base called Turlock, eh, right near San Quentin State Prison, as a matter of fact. And I have a brother that's a year and nine months older than me, named Rodney. ... he tried to kill me when I was a baby with a wooden coat hanger.'

You know, the recipe for making a monster is like this. First of all you have to have two parents, who, during your formative years, they neglect you. My mother would save up everything my brother and I did wrong and, when my father got home, the first thing he did was beat the hell out of us with a belt.

But my mother never hit me until I was bigger than her, and one day she just kicked the shit outa me. The problem was that she gave me too much attention when I was really young and then, after the divorce, she cut it off completely.

My dad? Well, he was just flat emotionally abusive and he used us kids as slave labour. I was swinging a hammer at seven or eight years old. I put a roof on when I was thirteen. We were digging asbestos out of buildings that my dad and his partner were buying. Every weekend when we went with my dad, we spend the whole weekend working the whole time.

Following a stormy marriage, Wayne's parents divorced in 1971, with Mrs Ford travelling the world for some six years while leaving her boys in the care of their father, who was now living in the Golden State city of Napa. This was a bad choice because Wayne didn't see eye to eye with his father; indeed, to put no finer point on it, they didn't get on at all.

Wayne left high school before marrying a young woman, graduating and enlisting into the US Marine Corps, working as a 'chemical and biologist specialist':

I turned 17 and joined the Marine Corps, a good place to start my life in the right direction. And it worked out just fine until I had an accident. A girlfriend ... her and I were driving down the freeway. Uh, I saw an accident and I told her to pull over. While I was helping the people in the accident who were hurt, a drunk ran over me. And when they finally found me, I was the other side of the fence, in a field. I was dead on arrival [at the hospital]. They apparently revived me after three days in a coma.

Due to the accident and the head trauma that I had, my head was swollen up like a watermelon and, eh, my jaw and one side of my body was pretty much non-functional. I was hit pretty hard by all of this, probably three weeks, maybe an entire month before I was able to, uh, function semi-normally.

I think the damage, which occurred to me at that time, had changed my personality abruptly. I became very irritable afterwards, very, very quick-tempered, which I had been before but nothing like I was after the accident.

Carlton Smith, author of Shadows of Evil, agreed that Wayne had indeed suffered a very serious head injury. 'Most neuropsychiatrists will tell you that if you have suffered a very serious head injury it can affect your behaviour. Your conscience and acquired behaviour can be ripped out. There has been a substantial amount of research into people who have suffered similar trauma. In some cases a person can become mentally ill.'

Around this time, Wayne was psychologically evaluated at a mental health clinic. His work performance had suffered and his attitude toward his superior officers worsened as the result of his son being taken away from him. The physicians found that apart from depression and alcohol abuse, they also worried that he was a threat to himself because he exhibited suicidal tendencies. Consequently, he was transferred to the US Naval Hospital, Long Beach, where he was confined to a psychiatric ward to undergo counselling and drug abuse rehabilitation. Of course, the doctors hoped that Wayne's mental problems would be short-lived. They reasoned that he would soon get over the sudden loss of his son and settle down. But the shrinks would be proven wrong.

Wayne did show a few signs of recovery, so he was discharged from hospital and reassigned to duty. In the summer of 1984, he was posted to Okinawa, Japan, but about a month after he arrived in the Far East, his mental problems resurfaced and this time the symptoms were far worse.

After being reprimanded by his commanding officer for failing an inspection, Wayne flipped and became confrontational. The upshot was that he was diagnosed with 'atypical psychosis due to his psychotic behaviour'. He was also diagnosed with a 'borderline personality disorder, which is marked by inappropriate bursts of anger, frequent suicidal thoughts, irritability and chronic depression'.

In 1985, 24-year-old Wayne was honourably discharged from the Marine Corps:

I had actually made Sergeant real quick and some of this can be attributed to the fact that I was hyperactive after the freeway accident, and really, really did well. But what happened was, when I was put under stress, and I went overseas to Okinawa and I had an incident where I was found in a foetal position in my room. And they couldn't get any response from me, so they took me to the hospital, on the base, and tried to see if I was on drugs or something. I wasn't.

Well, I became violent and injured a number of people, I guess, in the hospital, and they had to have MPs take me to the psychiatric ward. It was there that I was strapped down to a bed for a couple of weeks, spread-eagled and given massive doses of Haldol to keep me under control and finally they decided to ... [quote from medical records]: 'All attempts to take him off medication failed. He was a danger to personnel and equipment.'

And, so then what they did was, they took me off medication and kicked me out of the Marine Corps. But they never gaveme a Medical Discharge. I was given an Honourable Discharge because I hadn't done anything wrong. It should have been a Medical Discharge, and I should have been taken care of medically from that point on with the medical issues until they were straightened out. They never were.

So, I was finally released into the civilian world for about six to eight months without being able to do anything. I finally got to where I could do a menial labour-type job and this was probably good for me because it was extremely physical and this led ultimately to driving trucks and being on my own.

In January 1986, Garden Grove Police arrested Wayne for beating, raping and robbing a prostitute. Wayne told me that he didn't think one could rape a prostitute and that it should only be classified as petty theft. As for Wayne's comment, I will allow my readers to judge for themselves; however, he was never prosecuted because the hooker refused to give her testimony against him.

With this being said, later that year we find Wayne working as a mechanic and starting a relationship with another woman. Sharing an apartment in San Clemente, California, with a male friend of his, this proved to be an acquaintanceship marked by frequent arguments and breakups with the woman concerned.

According to one of Rick Halperin's articles in Death Penalty News – California around this time, Wayne was 'arrested for animal cruelty after he shot a neighbour's dog to death in his backyard'. He pleaded guilty to the offence and received a brief jail sentence. Although Wayne loved dogs – he considered his dog 'Snowy' to be his best friend – this punishment did little to deter his violent behaviour for his blatant disregard for life steadily grew more intense.

1994 finds Wayne living in Orange County, California. Here he shared a place with a man called Jerry Wilcox [name changed to protect his true identity] who enjoyed the company of a succession of late-night female visitors whom he chose from his list of 'Booty Calls'. This is apparently the terminology used among some California men when they want sex at short notice with a loose woman who will drop literally everything just to be with them. Without wishing to labour the point, Wilcox had a list of approximately ten women, and when he wanted sex, he would telephone each female in order of their appeal to him, and then run through the list until he scored.

At the very bottom of Wilcox's list was a somewhat plain, unattractive but nevertheless amply-bosomed 19-year-old who frequented a karaoke bar where Wayne worked as a singer. There is no record of how many times she 'entertained' Mr Wilcox but it would be fair to say that he always treated these women like 'dirt', which Wayne thought was 'kinda funny', but that he also felt 'kinda sorry for her, too'.

After being used and abused by Jerry Wilcox, she started to pay attention to his roommate, Wayne Adam Ford, probably hoping for some kind of respect or even love, but alas this was not to happen. She began to wash and iron Wayne's clothes and, in return, he says, 'I screwed her out of boredom and because she had big tits.'

To convince Wayne to show her some kind of affection, the woman – who lacked any moral compass whatsoever – told Wayne that she wanted to have kids and be a stay-at-home-mom. To his own warped line of thinking and, with his self-esteem at an all-time low because he felt that no one wanted him, he thought that she could be a 'good mother, cleaner of his clothes and keeper of the house'. Subsequently, Wayne married her in Las Vegas, and he slipped a bun into the oven almost immediately.

Wayne is adamant that he never loved her – period! He allowed her to have sex with other men, as he didn't want her for himself. Indeed, he says that he was 'truly sickened by her' and, although she would later claim that he demanded that he watch her have sex with other men, he argues, 'I didn't give a damn about her or who screwed her.'

Of course, there are two sides to any story. She later explained that, from the start of the marriage, Wayne suffered from severe bouts of depression, and that he also became extremely controlling and aggressive towards her. This was a pattern that seemed to repeat itself in every one of his relationships and, even though she desperately tried to please him, there was little she could do to make him happy, as Wayne explains, 'I had gotten into a new relationship ... the person I had my son, Max, with, and ultimately revisiting of the old wounds and mental problems that, uh, came back. Max was on his way, my little baby ... I really wanted a family of my own and so did she. And I was really, really looking forward to the birth of my first and only child, Max. And I was overwhelmed when he was born.'

During her fifth month of pregnancy, the couple had an argument after she refused him sex, so he raped her, or so she claims. He wrapped a tie around her neck and made her perform oral sex on him. The incident terrified her, she says, and what made it worse was his indifference about what he had done. So she packed her bags and moved in with her mother, who lived in Nevada. Eventually, for the sake of their child, the ill-suited couple moved back in together only to split up again, and this on-again/off-again relationship continued throughout the remainder of her pregnancy, indeed, even after baby Max was born, in December 1995.

According to author of Shadows of Evil, Carlton Smith, Wayne Ford frequently demanded that his wife participate in acting out his sexual fantasies, including sleeping with strange men while he watched and stuck needles into her breasts – the latter a trait also enjoyed by Robin Gecht, who features elsewhere in this book.

One would expect Wayne to deny this allegation if the question were ever put to him, but his record does prove that he exhibited less than a healthy interest in this part of a woman's anatomy. Actually, he did cut two breasts off one of his victims, which he cooked and then buried in the woods – the rendered fat from one he retained in an empty coffee jar for such purpose as yet undetermined; the other breast he kept in his truck's freezer, handing it over to the cops when he turned himself in.


Excerpted from Serial Killers Up Close and Very Personal by Victoria Redstall. Copyright © 2011 Victoria Redstall. Excerpted by permission of John Blake Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author

Victoria Redstall is a former weather presenter and an actress in commercials. She has ridden along with the L.A. County Sheriff Department, has interviewed many criminals, and created the documentary Room Zero. She lives in Los Angeles.

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