We'll be profiling 13 serial killers over the course of the 13 days leading up to Halloween. Today, we revisit Australia. Have any suggestions for our list? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a quiet Australian town in the early 1990s, one man became the ringleader of a group of friends who had a penchant for murder. With John Justin Bunting as their leader, the four men carried out a series of brutal, secretive murders near Snowtown, Australia. These killings became known as the "bodies-in-barrels murders."
Bunting (seen below) grew up with a powerful hatred for gay people and pedophiles. He believed that all of his victims fell into those categories, despite a lack of evidence in many cases.
In 1992, the South Australian native began his hunt for victims. According to police, after he was arrested, they discovered a "spider wall" that he created using notes, photos, and yarn, much like the ones you see on TV shows.
The first victim of Bunting's spree was 22-year-old Clinton Trezise.
Bunting invited Trezise over to his home for what Trezise thought was going to be a social visit. Instead, when he arrived, Bunting verbally berated him before beating him to death with a shovel in his living room. To help cover up his deed, Bunting enlisted the help of his future accomplices Robert Wagner and Barry Lane. The three men stored the body for two years before burying it in a shallow grave near Bunting's house.
Trezise was murdered in 1992, and three years later, Bunting killed again.
In 1995, Bunting and his gang murdered a local disabled man. The crew overpowered the man and beat him to death. Oddly enough, the man, Ray Davies, was never reported missing. This allowed Bunting and his following to forge Davies' signature to claim his welfare money.
He then made it a point to steal the welfare checks of all his victims.
But with the body count rising, Bunting faced a dilemma. Where could he dispose of the bodies? He and his crew came up with the idea to rent an old bank building in Snowtown and store the corpses in plastic barrels. Eight of their twelve victims were stored in this way.
It took police five years to catch up to them.
Police finally arrested Bunting after locals reported seeing strange vehicles coming and going from the old bank building in Snowtown at all hours of the night. That's when police staked out the place and caught the murderers in the act. Inside the vault (pictured above), they found a horrific scene.
Police went to work looking for the other bodies while prosecutors steeled themselves for a media circus.
Including the extra bodies that police recovered from Bunting's old home, he was charged and convicted of 11 counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison along with his accomplices. The trial was the longest in South Australian history, lasting 12 months. Even now, 15 years later, many details of Bunting's case remain secret as per a court suppression order.
(via Aussie Criminals)
This is what happens when people's prejudices are allowed to run wild. It certainly looks to me like Bunting earned every bit of his punishment.