The story of Timothy Krajcir and his brutal slaying of five women in Cape Girardeau -- plus four other women he has confessed to killing in Illinois and Pennsylvania -- will be recounted on an episode of "Very Bad Men," scheduled to air on the Identification Discovery, or "I.D." channel, at 9 p.m. Jan. 3.
Residents of Cape Girardeau were horrified in the late 1970s and early 1980s when four women were murdered in their homes and a fifth was kidnapped outside a Walmart and killed. The victims were Mary and Brenda Parsh, Sheila Cole, Margie Call and Mildred Wallace.
We now know Krajcir was responsible for their deaths, but the murders remained unsolved until 2008. That year, Krajcir, who in 2007 had been sentenced to 40 years in prison in Illinois for the 1982 murder of Southern Illinois University student Deborah Sheppard, was extradited to Missouri to stand trial based on DNA evidence that linked him to Sheppard and the Cape Girardeau women. Facing a possible death sentence, Krajcir agreed to confess to murdering the women if authorities would not seek his execution. Krajcir was given life sentences for his crimes.
"I always found that ironic," said Carl Kinnison, chief of the Cape Girardeau Police Department at the time of Krajcir's sentencing. "He murdered in cold blood, and during the time of his trial he was begging to not receive the death penalty."
Kinnison said that to him, Krajcir was a true psychopath.
"He had no remorse. He couldn't even explain why he had killed those women. The day after he killed the Parshes, he was at a wedding enjoying himself. It's difficult to understand."
Detective Jim Smith, who helped connect Krajcir to his Cape Girardeau victims, recalled interviewing Krajcir while he was in custody.
"I talked to him six times," Smith said. "I'd never interviewed a serial killer before. I'll never forget the way he acted, so cooperative and polite. It was something I didn't expect, but with that kind who knows what your going to get. I'll never forget it."
Bridget DiCosmo, a former reporter at the Southeast Missourian who in 2009 authored "Serial Killer 101" about Krajcir and his victims, said Krajcir's conviction was one of the most compelling stories she ever reported.
"I'm sure it will make for interesting television," DiCosmo said. "One of the most interesting aspects of reporting the story was talking to folks in Cape who lived there around the time of the murders of Brenda and Mary Parsh, Sheila Cole, Margie Call and Mildred Wallace, and hearing about the level of concern among women in the community during that time."
Krajcir, now 68, is serving his life sentences in the Pontiac Correctional Facility in Pontiac, Ill.