The Disturbing Reason Serial Killer Joe Metheny Gave For Committing His Crimes

What motivates a serial murderer to kill? The reasons given by these human monsters are as varied as the MOs they employ to end human life. Some — like "Killer Clown" John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy — were sexual sadists, getting a thrill out of dominating their victims and subjecting them to torture before delivering them to death. Others, like notorious black widow Belle Gunness and con artist H.H. Holmes, were driven to kill their victims for financial profit. Serial killers have also been known to rack up body counts for other reasons that range from severe mental illnesses to uncontrollable rage. When they are finally apprehended and interrogated, the majority of them will have one explanation or another for why they commit the horrible acts that they do.

One such killer was brought to justice in 1996 after he was booked on suspicion of multiple grisly murders. Killer and cannibal Joe Metheny later told a courtroom his motivation to kill, and it's quite disturbing (per Investigation Discovery).

A killer and a cannibal

Joe Metheny was first suspected of murder in 1995 after two homeless men were savagely murdered near a known homeless encampment. Metheny was believed to have attacked and killed them with an ax and was charged with their deaths. He was later acquitted (per Investigation Discovery).

Metheny may have killed as many as 10 people, according to admissions he later made to police. While investigators were never able to tie that many deaths to him, they were able to get him convicted for the 1994 murder of Catherine Magaziner, as well as Toni Lynn Ingrassia and Kimberly Lynn Spicer (per The Washington Post). Had one victim not been able to escape his clutches, who knows how many more lives would have been taken? In December 1996, he kidnapped and tried to sexually assault sex worker Rita Kemper. The woman managed to get away and report the attack to the police. After being arrested for the assault on Kemper, he confessed to several murders and led authorities to the remains of Magaziner (per The Independent).

But murder and sexual assault weren't the only atrocities committed by Metheny. The serial killer admitted to eating the remains of some of his victims, combining their body parts with pork and beef. This recipe wasn't one that he consumed all on his own, either. In addition to his job as a forklift driver, he also had a roadside BBQ stand where he sold his meat, tainted by the flesh of his victims, to unsuspecting consumers. 

Metheny's words to the court were chilling

Joe Metheny was tried for three murders as well as the kidnapping and attempted sexual assault of Rita Kemper. He is thought to have killed many more, though there has not been any evidence outside of his own words to tie him to additional ones. And despite being acquitted of killing the two homeless men at an earlier trial, he's believed by some to be the responsible party in their deaths.

At his trial, Metheny made a chilling statement to the courtroom. Unapologetic to the end, his eerie words were recorded for the record. Of the murders, he said (per Investigation Discovery), "The words I'm sorry' will never come out, for they would be a lie. I am more than willing to give up my life for what I have done, to have God judge me and send [me] to hell for eternity. I just enjoyed it." 

Metheny was convicted and sentenced to death by the court. This punishment was overturned by the Maryland Supreme Court in 2000 after it determined that the mitigating factors for capital punishment to be considered had not been met (per The Washington Post). He was later resentenced to life without parole (via the Daily Mail). Metheny was found dead in his prison cell on August 5, 2017.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).