CBS News’ 48 Hours” The Dexter Killer aired on April 23, 2022. The episode chronicles the tale of one of the strangest copycat killers in history. Mark Twitchell is a real-life killer inspired by the fictional character Dexter Morgan.
Who is Mark Twitchell?
The Dexter killer, whose real name is Mark Andrew Twitchell is a Canadian filmmaker who is convicted of the first-degree murder of John Brian Altinger. Twitcher was inspired to shift from filmmaking to murdering people because of the fictional character Dexter Morgan.
Mark was born in Edmonton, Alberta and always dreamt of making blockbuster films. He graduated from the Radio and Television Arts program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in 2000. The next year, Twitchell married an American woman and moved to Illinois. They divorced within 4 years.
Mark directed Star Wars: Secrets of the Rebellion (2007), a full-length fan film prequel which was set a few days before Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The film still hasn’t been released to date.
Twitchell also wrote the script of Day Players and shot a short horror film called House of Cards at the garage he rented in the south end of Edmonton. Twitchell started running a dating website “Plenty of Fish” in 2008 and that is when the real trouble started.
The Criminal Mind
Mark Twitchell was nicknamed the Dexter Killer for his methods of emulating the Showtime drama’s lead Dexter Morgan, a fictional character played by Michael C. Hall. The recently aired CBS episode delves into this aspiring serial killer’s psyche.
The newfound evidence including letters reveals how this psycho killer planned the murder(s). It came out that Mark used a dating site to allure men by presenting himself as a woman.
Murder of Johnny Altinger
In 2008, John Brian Altinger, 38-year-old former White Rock, B.C., oilfield equipment manufacturer known to his friends as Johnny, interacted with Mark on the dating website Plenty of Fish.
Mark represented himself as a woman and allured Johnny into meeting him. Altinger also informed his friends that he is going to meet this woman with whom he’d been chatting. Mark, in the meantime, had prepared his “kill room” set up in his garage-turned-film-studio.
Once Johnny went to the concerned place, Mark stepped him, before cutting him apart, partially burning him and then dumping his remains in garbage bags into a storm sewer. Twitchell was impounded by the police when they found Altinger’s blood in his car’s trunk.
Mark’s Trial and Sentencing
Mark was arrested on October 31, 2008, and was charged with first-degree murder on the first day. Twitchell also faced an attempted murder charge for his alleged attack on Gilles Tetreault, a computer company contractor. He was also lured in the same manner as Altinger.
In 2011, Twitchell’s attempt to murder charge got a court’s stay in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. Mark already faced a maximums sentence of life in prison with no parole for 25 years so the court didn’t find any need to proceed with more charges, and this charge was dropped against him.
“SK Confessions” Document
Twichell’s first-degree murder trial contained a key piece of evidence entitled “SK Confessions”, which meant “Serial Killer Confessions”. The document was retrieved from Mark’s laptop despite being deleted. A passage from the document read as under:
“This story is based on true events. The names and events were altered slightly to protect the guilty. This is the story of my progression into becoming a serial killer.” It contained all details about Mark’s planning, failed attempts, successful attempts and even the process of how he dismembered the body and disposed of the remains.
Twitchell himself admitted to killing Altinger and authoring the document but he stated that he did it in self-defence. He referred to the document as fiction based on fact. He wanted to say that he planned his death deliberately to create a compelling story.
The Media was all about Dexter…
Mark is often referred to as the Dexter Killer because of his fond love and personal identification with the lead character, Dexter Morgan. His case gained extensive media coverage. The media even fought an application to lift bans on covering his trial.
Mark, on the other, hand used media for his appeal. However, he abandoned his right to appeal in 2012. After this, the actor who played Dexter stated he did not think Dexter glamorized a serial killer.
Mark’s fetish for Dexter did not rest in peace even after his conviction. In 2013, he purchased a television for his prison cell and stated that he had caught up on every Dexter episode that he missed since his arrest.
Apart from this, Mark’s case was featured in the American magazine Crime Watch Daily. Steve Lillebuen authored the book “The Devil’s Cinema which focussed on the complete case. Part of the report included a return trip by Tetreault to the garage in which the incident had taken place.
The Hockey Mask and Newfound Letters
The evidence in “The Dexter Killer” case and newly revealed letters from police stated that Mark wanted to be like the fictional character Dexter Morgan. Moreover, he wore a hockey mask when he attacked his two victims.
Steve Lillebuen who wrote The Devil’s Cinema read a part of Mark’s letters that read as:
“It would appear that I’m unique in the world. There is no key. No root cause … If I were capable of premeditated murder … Normal, healthy, well-adjusted 30-year-old men … I once heard the legend of another worthy victim … I dealt with his remains in a disrespectful manner that traumatized me forever … psychopathic serial killer … I quickly grew to resent and hate this man.”
“Nobody would side with Dexter Morgan if he went around slaughtering schoolteachers and mail carriers on a whim.”
These letters help us delve into the horrific mind of an aspirational serial killer who could have killed many if he had not been caught on time. That’s about people with criminal minds. They can never fail to surprise us.
Where is Mark Twitchell?
Mark said, “It’s what it is and I’m what I am.” The Dexter Killer is still serving his sentence in Saskatchewan Federal Penitentiary and still enjoys watching Dexter. If you want to delve into more details, watch the CBS 48 Hours’ Season 34 Episode 38: The Dexter Killer here.