Pop Culture

Killer allegedly inspired by 'Dexter' watches show in prison

Mark Twitchell may be behind, bars but the convicted murderer isn't letting that stop him from watching Showtime’s "Dexter." Twitchell, who was convicted of first-degree murder in 2011 and is believed to have modeled the luring and killing of his victim after what he saw on the drama series, is able to watch episodes of "Dexter" from his Canadian prison cell.

According to Steve Lillebuen, who wrote about Twitchell's "Dexter"-inspired crimes in his book "The Devil’s Cinema: The Untold Story Behind Mark Twitchell’s Kill Room," the convicted killer spends much of his time watching "Dexter" and other cable TV programs on a flat-screen TV in a private cell in the maximum security wing of the Saskatchewan Penitentiary.

“He’s been able to buy his own TV for his cell and also pays for his own cable TV package,” Lillebuen, who corresponds with Twitchell via mail, told TODAY.com. “These weren’t provided by the prison. These are requests that an inmate can make and he was given approval. In this particular prison that’s something that any inmate there can make the request and they can say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ if they want to give you access to these items or not.”

Lillebuen said that Twitchell’s cable TV package includes about 60 channels, including one that airs new and repeat episodes of “Dexter.” Though the show may have inspired Twitchell’s crime, the prison has not restricted him from watching “Dexter” or any other violent programming.

“The only channels that the prison blocks are the pornographic channels,” Lillebuen said. “All other types of programming are fair game. They haven’t blocked any channels or specific programs. There’s definitely no censorship.”

The Correctional Service of Canada declined to comment.

That Twitchell is watching a show that may have influenced his crimes has angered victims' rights organizations, as well as the Canadian police force that arrested Twitchell and helped put him behind bars.

“He’s reliving his fantasy whenever he’s watching that show,” Staff Sergeant Bill Clark, co-head of Edmonton’s homicide unit, told Canada's National Post. “It’s ridiculous to think that he would be allowed to do that. Maybe he’s refining his skills?”

“It’s very upsetting because if you’re serving life for murder you shouldn’t be allowed all these little perks, especially if it’s going to keep fuelling his obsession,” Jane Orydzuk, president of the Victims of Homicide Support Society told the National Post.

“In all honesty, I’m not even sure that his correctional team was aware of how big of a link there is to Mark’s crimes and the show ‘Dexter,’” Lillebuen said. “Even though this story is out there now, I’m not confident that much will change, or that they will take away any of his television-viewing privileges.

“The only thing I can think of is that this may come up in his parole hearing,” Lillebuen added. “The fact that he is still obsessed with ‘Dexter’ shows that he hasn’t moved on from what got him in the trouble in the first place.”

Showtime did not reply to a request for comment.