Amazon faces public backlash for selling the book
By Rebecca Peterson, Staff Writer
Families of victims murdered by Robert Pickton were shocked when the serial killer’s self-penned memoir showed up for sale online this past week.
Pickton: In His Own Words was apparently smuggled by another prisoner out of the prison where Pickton is currently incarcerated, and published through an American self-publishing service called Outskirts Press on January 29. On February 2, it became available for purchase on Amazon.ca.
Ricky Papin, brother of Georgina Papin— who went missing in 1999 and was later discovered to be one of Pickton’s victims— expressed his anger and shock in a statement to the press last Wednesday.
“People make money off of violence and other people’s crimes,” said Papin, according to CBC News, “and Amazon is in there for a profit.”
The publisher quickly halted production after news of the book’s release was met with public outrage. After a petition signed by more than 50,000 people demanded that the book was pulled, Amazon removed the book from its sale listings, and it can no longer be purchased.
The book itself is 144 pages long, according to the Vancouver Sun, and contains references to the Bible, transcripts of police interviews, and multiple claims of innocence. During Pickton’s trial, however, the prosecution stated that Pickton had confessed to 49 murders to an undercover police officer, a statement that played a large role in his eventual conviction in 2007.
“It is not right that a person who caused so much harm and hurt so many people could profit from his behaviour,” said the BC Minister for Public safety, Mike Morris, in a statement.
Papin echoed the sentiment to CBC: “If anyone is going to profit from it, it should be the children and the families themselves, or go to victim services.”
Outskirts Press also made a statement on the matter, saying “We have a long-standing policy of not working with, nor publishing work by, incarcerated individuals.” The publisher claims that they were tricked into publishing the book by Michael Chilldres.
Chilldres, the man who produced Pickton’s memoir, took Pickton’s story from a handwritten scrawl to a full autobiography. Chilldres claimed that he published it as a favour for a friend, who is a convicted sex offender who met Pickton in prison.
The matter of how the manuscript was smuggled out of prison in the first place is now the subject of an ongoing investigation. Presumably, the manuscript was sent out through the mail, as Canadian inmates don’t receive regular screening for their mail, unlike American prisoners.