I'd Kill For You

I'd Kill For You

by M. William Phelps

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After her mother's untimely death, Clara Schwartz became distant, withdrawn. Her father, a renowned DNA researcher, lived in a farmhouse outside Leesburg, Virginia, where in December 2001, he was fatally stabbed by what seemed to be a ninja-style sword. Police arrested Kyle Hulbert, a troubled teen--and aspiring vampire. Kyle was Clara's friend, one of a circle obsessed with role-playing games.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with the killer, bestselling author M. William Phelps reveals a frightening subculture, the tragic collision of two young people's dark worlds, and its deadly consequences.

Includes 16 Pages Of Dramatic Photos

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786034970
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 02/24/2015
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 290,059
Product dimensions: 4.12(w) x 6.71(h) x 1.09(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

New York Times bestselling investigative journalist and serial killer expert M. William Phelps is the author of twenty-five nonfiction books. Winner of the 2008 New England Book Festival Award for I’ll Be Watching You, as well as the 2013 Excellence in Journalism Award, Phelps has appeared on nearly 100 television shows, including CBS’s Early Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, the Today Show, The View, TLC, BIO Channel, and History Channel. Phelps also created, produces and stars in the hit Investigation Discovery series Dark Minds, and is one of the stars of ID’s Deadly Women. Radio America calls him “the nation’s leading authority on the mind of the female murderer.”
Profiled in such noted publications as Writer's Digest, Connecticut Magazine, NY Daily News, NY Post, Newsday, Suspense Magazine, and the Hartford Courant, Phelps has also consulted for the Showtime cable television series Dexter and written for Connecticut Magazine. Touched by tragedy himself, due to the unsolved murder of his sister-in-law, Phelps is able to enter the hearts and minds of his subjects like no one else. He lives in a small Connecticut farming community and can be reached at his author website, www.mwilliamphelps.com.

Read an Excerpt

I'd Kill for You

By M. William Phelps


Copyright © 2015 M. William Phelps
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7860-3497-0


TO FEEL THAT sun on his back for the first time a free man: Oh, how warm and liberating.

He took a breath. A deep one.

In through the nose, out through the mouth.

Life on the outside.

It had a ring to it.

On September 4, 2001, a glorious Tuesday afternoon, exactly one week before terrorists would attack New York and the world would change forever, eighteen-year-old Kyle Hulbert found himself standing in court. Not the criminal kind, but probate. On this day, Kyle was set to be released.

"He's turned eighteen," Kyle's social worker explained to the judge. Kyle sat quietly, listening; his eyes, like his mind, darted back and forth, a million miles a second. "He's not showing any signs of psychosis. We want to have him released. Declare him an adult."


Kyle said the word to himself.


It sounded so historical and unassociated with his life. Yet here he was.

The state spoke, claiming its position was that they didn't think Kyle was well enough to leave the facility just yet.

The judge heard the evidence and sat back to think about it.

Kyle stood and thought, Come on ... let me go.

"Release him," the judge uttered.

Kyle had been a ward of the state.

Not anymore.

Funny, he didn't feel that much different when the doors of the courthouse closed behind him and Kyle found himself exiting the courthouse, now his own "man," breathing that fresh Virginia air into his lungs as a free young adult for the first time. It was a day he had looked forward to over the past year, especially. With all of the problems Kyle had gotten himself into at the foster homes where he'd lived, in school, and within his community, Kyle viewed this day as a new beginning. Now here he was, walking out the door an independent man, dependent upon nobody but himself.

"They gave me a bus ticket," Kyle said of the court, "and cut me loose."

Emancipation. Stepping onto the concrete outside the courthouse, looking back one last time, Kyle considered what was in front of him. This was it. He was on his own. He'd have to fend for himself from this point forward. Think for himself. Feed and clothe himself.


More important (or maybe most important), he'd have to medicate himself. It was up to Kyle now. No one would be asking if he had taken his meds. Or hand him a little paper cup with the day's rations inside, making sure he swallowed every last bit. It would be Kyle's decision. His alone. The state had given him a three-month supply of the psychiatric prescriptions he needed to feel right; yet it was going to be up to Kyle to go to the pharmacy, actually pick up the drugs, and then ingest each pill.

Every. Single. Day.

"I didn't stay on them very long," Kyle explained. "It's a bad cycle. A minor manic phase will set in and I'll forget to take the medication."

And then the Catch-22 effect: Because he was not on his meds, he didn't feel he needed them.

Kyle was a boy in a man's body. Truly. The state of Virginia, however, by law, claimed he was old enough (sane enough) now to make adult decisions on his own. Average height, quite skinny—"lanky" or "scrawny" is what they'd call him—with dark, silken black hair, slick like oil, Kyle had a gaunt look to him. He had chiseled and bulimic-like weight-loss facial features: pointed cheekbones, sunken eyes, and the somewhat obvious, cerebral wiriness of a hyped-up meth addict—although Kyle claimed he never dabbled in the drug. He didn't need it. Kyle was amped-up enough already by what were voices and characters stirring in his head like a thousand whispers. This, mind you, even with a dozen years of psychiatric treatment and medications behind him.

Kyle had what some may view as a strange look on life. His birthday, for example, was not a day like most: cake and ice cream and feeling special. Kyle never did feel special—not in the traditional sense of a kid wearing a pointed cardboard birthday hat, which was tethered by a too-tight rubber band pinching his neckline, ready to blow out candles, with his family and friends surrounding him, did. Kyle called it—the day he was born, that is—his "hatching day," as if he had emerged from a cocoon, slimy and gooey and ready to take on the world, born out of some sort of metamorphosis. And yet, as he thought about it while walking toward the bus stop on that emancipation day—on his own for this first time, no counselor over his shoulder, no psychiatrist telling him what he should do or how he should think anymore—this was Kyle's true hatching day. His rebirth. A time for Kyle to take on life by himself and make decisions based on the tools he had been given.

"I am constantly struggling with a question," Kyle observed. "Psychology teaches us that a person's personality and psychological makeup is a composite of past experiences ... and I am suffering from a complex network of fantastical memories of things that never actually happened."

Despite his often volatile and strange behavior while in mental hospitals and in group and foster homes, along with Kyle's biological father's request that his son be continually detained and treated, the state had to cut Kyle loose. In fact, Kyle's father, who had given up custody of Kyle when Kyle was twelve ("I was too much to handle...."), had always kept in contact and, as Kyle had said, "He kept tabs on me and my entire life, and he knew about my behavioral problems. And he knew, which is why he fought against me being emancipated, that letting me off the leash was not a good idea at the time, because it was not going to end well. In fact, he told them: 'You let Kyle out and he is going to kill somebody.'"

The judge decided, however, it was time. Kyle Hulbert was eighteen. And Kyle, as it were, was not going to argue with being given a free pass for starting a life.

"Kyle Hulbert," one law enforcement source later analyzed, "has been, since he was six years old, in and out of mental institutions. Kyle's world includes a number of darker characters ... demons or presences ... that live in his head."

And now this "man" was free to roam the world and do what he wished. Thus, on September 4, 2001, Kyle found himself on the street, walking, with literally nowhere to go.

No home.

No friends.

No family.

There was a certain "high," Kyle recalled, about being freed from the structured, routine life inside an institution. It felt good. It felt right. It felt redemptive.

"I was happy that I was free! No more leashes. No more having to worry about institutions. I was ... free. Those are the only three words that I can say describe how I was feeling."

Kyle had been told to have a plan. And he did. Kyle said his "plan" on this day, as he walked down the street in front of the courthouse toward the bus stop, was to go and find a girl he could "fuck senseless."

After that, well, whatever came his way, he would roll with it.


KYLE HAD WHAT he called "half-baked" plans as he broke from those ward-of-the-state chains holding him down. Just out and free to do what he wanted, Kyle thought about going to college, studying, maybe taking up a career of some sort. That thought came and went rather quickly, however, as Kyle realized he first had to find some money to live off. Moreover, a lifelong dream of his to become a published writer would have to take a backseat to surviving on his own.

"My main concern was filling out the Social Security paperwork and getting that going," he said. "I had already been approved for it."

Odd, the government had approved him for mental disability—and there were funds set up and headed his way, come December—yet he was "sane" enough to leave the institution and fend for himself on his own.

It didn't make sense.

Kyle said he was told by the state: "Because of your mental health, you are going to have a hard time holding down a job."

It was the reason why they approved him.

"They had already seen how I handled jobs in the past," Kyle explained. "I got fired from each job I ever had."

There was not a doctor or therapist whom Kyle had spoken to over the years who did not know that demons whispered to Kyle, that he saw things "others couldn't or wouldn't," and that the world spinning out of control inside Kyle Hulbert's head was not a place where "happily ever after" resided. Kyle had talked about having "dreams or visions of the apocalypse." Those "voices" inside his head would eventually (in totality) go by the name of "the 6."

A lot of this, Kyle realized, sounded foolish. Imaginary. Something from a person who should be locked up. Most would respond by saying he was crazy. But as a five-year-old kid, this sort of make-believe world he lived in became an everyday part of his life. It continued as Kyle grew into his teens. For Kyle Hulbert, he believed it was as real as the pet dragon he saw regularly and explained was as genuine as "one of my cats."

"I cannot identify the first [memory]," he said many years later, talking about that moment in childhood when these different visions and thoughts inside his head began, "and you must understand that one of the aspects of psychosis is an inability to distinguish 'reality' from 'fantasy.'"

To him, that chaos going on inside his adolescent mind—the dreams, hallucinations, and voices—were his absolute reality. It all seemed "perfectly natural ... even if they weren't."

It did not take long for Kyle to become aware that he thought differently than the other kids around him and "there was something wrong" inside him. He knew that if he approached the other kids, talked to them about what he saw and heard, he would be shunned and ostracized, bullied, and likely beaten up, definitely laughed at. So he kept most of these things to himself, at least at first.

The voices and visions did not scare him, he said later. Some kids might be frightened by what he saw; but to him it was a world he embraced. A secret he came to love.

There was one day—Kyle was six years old—when he had what he recalled was his first "hallucination." It is a term Kyle needed to put in quotes, he said later, because "hallucination" was not the best way to describe what he saw. Hallucination was merely "the quickest and most efficient way" of explaining what happened. People could comprehend what a hallucination is—yet he considered what happened to him to be real—even to this day.

Another way to describe it, he reconciled, was to use the word "magic."

Inside his head, Kyle lived within a world of his own, literally. This was his world. He didn't create it, he claimed. Or ask for it to appear before him. It wasn't like that at all. It just happened. One day it wasn't there, and then the next, well, it was—and the most important part of this for Kyle as he talked through it years later was that to him it wasn't a fantasy or some type of dream. It wasn't something that came and went: the bogeyman underneath the bed, the monster in the closet, the imaginary friend you sit with and share tea as a child.

This was his life. His world.

There was one—of many that would begin to accumulate—major issue with all of this for Kyle Hulbert as he sat years later and looked back on everything that happened.

"The biggest problem I have encountered—and one we will have to address—is that I have a great deal of memory that conflicts with things I know to be true.... Consider everything I tell you to be as 'true' as I 'know' it all to be, and any inconsistencies are entirely unintended."

This statement, so incredibly honest and sincere, would come back to haunt Kyle Hulbert as he grew into an adult, and some of what he "saw" and "heard" would indeed become reality—however interspersed with brutal violence, blood, murder, and carnage as it would soon be.


IN OCTOBER 2001, after a month of not doing much of anything, with the exception, he explained, "of spending a lot of time alone with my girlfriend," Kyle Hulbert got an invitation to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Accepting this invitation would change Kyle's life.

The Maryland version of what is a nationwide celebration, generally called the Renaissance Faire or Festival, runs every August through October. It is set up to re-create "a sixteenth-century English village, with crafts, food, live performances ... a jousting arena, and lots of games," according to a PR description of the activities. It's billed as a "fun family event" and held at a location about thirty miles outside of Washington, DC. The festival attracts people from all over the world, all walks of life. For sixteenth-century history buffs, it's the ideal occasion. Families can go and have a blast. Same as what the Civil War reenactment events and festivals do for Civil War enthusiasts, the Renaissance Festival does for fans of knights in shining armor, maidens, belly dancers, fire-eaters, acrobats, and musicians. The allure for Kyle was that it fit with the chosen era of fantasy and the role-playing games (RPG) he had fallen into and embraced when growing up. Here was a chance to dress up, wear a costume, and be somebody else, live out some of those epic fantasies Kyle had had all his life.

Kyle wore a cat mask made of latex that covered the top half of his face, which he had painted completely black underneath. He wore black clothes.

As he walked around the festival, Kyle noticed he was getting lots of looks from the girls.

"I liked that," he said.

What eighteen-year-old boy, cooped up all his life inside one institution after the other, moving from one foster home to the next when not institutionalized, wouldn't enjoy all the attention? Kyle had a girlfriend (whom he did not bring with him to the festival). Being noticed by others felt good now. It fed his ego—his enormous sense of self. For Kyle, he had to be somebody all the time. Mostly, it was because he was so uncomfortable in his own skin or, more important, in his own mind. Being someone else, or something else, allowed him to develop and satisfy his fantasies. It allowed Kyle the opportunity to express those strange feelings he had—not to mention the visions and hallucinations—and live them out in the physical world around him. At the festival, the type of people Kyle met and hung around stayed in character throughout most of the day. Something caught Kyle's attention as he walked around. There were dozens of various types of booths spread throughout the festival. Vendors were selling food, clothing, weapons, props, all sorts of items connected to the Renaissance that might be appealing to festivalgoers. So Kyle walked up to one particular tent. There was a girl behind the booth. She was a pretty girl—young, nice figure—and she smiled at him.

"Brandy," the girl said after he asked her name.

"Nice name," Kyle responded.

They chatted. Small talk mostly. She seemed interested. They had things in common. They seemed to like each other.

"Can I get your number?" Kyle asked.

Brandy didn't hesitate, Kyle said later. She got a piece of paper and wrote it down.

"Call me soon," Brandy said. They'd hang now, but she was working.

From there, Kyle found his way into the weapons tent on the grounds of the festival. If there was one subject within the era that Kyle was infatuated with the most, it had to be weapons. He collected knives and swords. He fancied himself an expert knife and sword handler. He knew all there was to know about medieval weapons, especially knives and swords. And wherever Kyle Hulbert landed, he rarely went anywhere without his trusty twenty-seven-inch ninja-style sword he liked to keep as sharp as a razor blade.


"I LOVE THE medieval period," Kyle Hulbert explained. "And I love all things fantasy, so these swords and weapons inside the shop there at the festival were just a natural extension for me."

Odd choice of words—"a natural extension for me"—but there you have it.

Standing inside this weapons tent, Kyle looked around and felt at home. All of the weapons around him spoke to him on so many different levels.

Kyle had met someone his age just before being "locked up," as he called it, earlier that year, in March 2001. Kyle and Joey (pseudonym) had hit it off. Joey lived near a friend of Kyle's. When Kyle was emancipated that September, post-hatching day, he had nowhere to go, so he rented a room from an old friend, an older man he described as a Vietnam veteran. Candice (pseudonym), who was a girl Kyle knew, lived right around the corner from the vet.


Excerpted from I'd Kill for You by M. William Phelps. Copyright © 2015 M. William Phelps. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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I'd Kill For You 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a way to ruin a good story and turn it into a snooze fest keep your cash p?ease. A computer might have done a better job .
Diane49 More than 1 year ago
If you are a true crime reader or just a fan of M William Phelps - you will not be disappointed in reading his newest release - "I'd Kill for You".