Tommy Lynn Sells' Chilling Motivation To Kill

One of America's most horrific serial killers in recent memory is Tommy Lynn Sells, also known as the "Coast to Coast Murderer." According to List Verse, Sells killed at least 21 people, including children. 

Sells claims that he killed for the first time when he was just 14 years old. Beating, raping, strangling, and stabbing his victims were the norm for Sells. According to ABC News, he felt few emotions toward other humans, saying "I am hatred. When you look at me, you look at hate. I don't know what love is."

As The Famous People reported, Tommy Lynn Sells avoided being caught by police for over 15 years because he was often unhoused, moving from state to state frequently. He worked odd jobs as a barber or carnival worker and fell into heavy drug use. Once he was finally caught, he found religion started confessing, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

Sells said while working at a carnival in 1985, he met a woman and went home with her. There he beat her and her 4-year-old son to death with a baseball bat. Later, in 1992, he killed a woman who offered him something to eat while Sells was holding a sign saying, "Will work for food."

Sells also took credit for killing a seven months pregnant woman, Elaine Dardeen, so badly that she went into labor and gave birth while he attacked her. He then killed Dardeen, her husband, her three-year-old son, and the newborn, per the Chicago Tribune.

'It was such a rush'

For serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells, the motivation to kill was like chasing a high. In an interview with ABC News, he said, "The first time I did a shot of dope, it was the best feeling I ever had in my life. The first time I killed somebody, it was such a rush. It was just like that, a shot of dope every time I did it, it was that rush again, and I started chasing that high."

He also said that due to his own tumultuous childhood, Sells was fine with killing children. He thought that he was sparing them from the pain he experienced himself (via ABC News). In fact, there was only one person to survive an encounter with Sells, a 10-year-old girl named Krystal Surles, who awoke in terror to see her friend, 13-year-old Katy Harris, being stabbed to death. Sells then cut Surles's throat, and she pretended to be dead until he fled the scene. Her testimony was crucial to finally putting Sells behind bars. 

The serial killer spoke of Surles in a 2010 interview with ABC News, "There's not a day goes by that I don't think of her." After being sentenced to death in 2000 for the murder and sexual assault of Katy Harris, Sells was executed by lethal injection in 2014, per Clark Prosecutor