The Killer Speaks (2012) s01e01 Episode Script

Ice Cold: Levi King

Every murder The first thing that woke me up was gunshots and my mom screaming.
Holds secrets.
It was just so random.
We didn't know why somebody would do something like this.
The victim can't speak I don't know of anything that that family could've done differently.
They had dead bolts on their doors.
And the killer won't The murders were totally senseless.
He wanted to kill.
King wanted to kill that day.
Until now.
I heard them pulling up into the driveway, so I went to the front door and waited.
When he walked in the door, I already had it in mind what I was going to do.
I'm all right.
Thank you.
In the fall of 2005, Levi King did the unthinkable.
He went on an inexplicable 24-hour killing spree, murdering five people in two states, including three members of the same family.
It is one of those cases that nightmares come from.
He just decided that's what he wanted to do, and that's what he did, and he didn't care.
The only person that knows why he did anything is Levi King.
Now for the first time, Levi King discusses in detail the horrifying events of those 24 hours.
I had the intention, I guess, of of going and killing, but Whether I would act on that or not, I wasn't sure of until I saw that house.
Renowned forensic psychologist Dr.
Louis Schlesinger, has studied the minds of murderers for over 30 years.
He has watched our interview with Levi King.
This was a spree killing as opposed to a serial murder as opposed to a mass murder, where he kills, and then in a very short period of time, he then killed again.
September 30, 2005, Pampa, Texas.
The sheriff's office receives a 911 call from a terrified little girl.
Deputies respond to the girl's house.
When they arrive, they find ten-year-old Robin Doan waiting outside alone.
And at that time, I really, like I had no idea who else was alive.
I was denial if my mom was or not.
I mean, I knew that she probably wasn't just because of the fact that there were so many gunshots that went off in her room.
Deputies search the house and discover the killer has fled.
The ten-year-old's mother, stepfather, and teenage brother are all dead.
Robin is the only survivor.
When law enforcement told me that no one had survived it but me It was hard to hear that.
I just sat there, and all I could do was cry, like Like I am now.
Like, all I could do was just cry.
It was Levi King, then 23 years old, who took Robin Doan's family away from her.
I had built up in my mind at some point that going in and doing this would solve, you know, what I was feeling, and it and it did.
"Psychopathic personality" is another term that comes to mind when you look at the King case.
On the surface, he looks fairly normal.
In fact, it has often been said that psychopaths master underlying disturbance.
They got their way with all of their brothers.
He doesn't look bizarre.
He's not dirty.
He relates well.
He's responsive.
But the fundamental problem and deficit with a psychopath is a lack of human connectedness, a lack of attachment to other people.
Levi King's story began not in Texas but 400 miles away in Pineville, Missouri.
It was here in this small town of 800 people that King was raised along with his six brothers and sisters.
Trouble came early.
At age four, King set his sister's room on fire.
I was angry with my sister for something I can't recall.
I was in her room, you know, looking for different things that I could burn that would hurt her, and eventually I set the curtains on fire, yes.
As he grew up, his behavior only got worse.
I started smoking, I guess, roughly around 10 or 11.
I started drinking, I would say, 11, maybe 12.
Let's see, I started popping pills at roughly 13 or 14.
King, at a very early age, began to act out in very antisocial ways.
Repetitively, all he did was take drugs, abuse the rights of others, and get into trouble.
He probably had a paranoid tinge to thinking based on his tremendous inner anger that he projects outward and then sees the world as a very angry place, threatening to him.
Young Levi was also learning to kill.
I grew up, you know, killing animals and, you know, various pets and whatnot.
There's a particular instance I can remember where I went to my father's room, took an sks out of the gun cabinet, and took a cat up the road and just started firing until there was really nothing left of that cat.
At age 20, King was sentenced to 14 years for burglarizing a neighbor's house, then burning it down.
Killing animals and setting fires are two major red flags for something terrible to happen in the future.
King served 17 months in prison before being paroled and sent to a halfway house in St.
Louis.
But in mid-September 2005, he flees.
I had grown tired of the conditions at the halfway house.
I absconded one night after picking up my paycheck.
Now a fugitive with no idea where to go, King hitchhikes to the only place he's known: His family home in Pineville.
Had no intention of really staying there.
I just really wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do.
King doesn't expect a warm welcome home from his father, Scott King.
Aloof, I guess.
He just really wasn't interested or didn't really care that I was around.
You know, me and him had been used to fighting, by that time, for years.
King argues with his father, who quickly kicks him out of the house.
Levi King is furious.
This was where I was raised, and I wasn't welcome there.
I wasn't good enough for him or the family.
The fact that I was being rejected by them was probably really what set me off, I guess.
On the morning of September 29, 2005, King triggers a sequence of events that will cost the lives of five innocent people.
Still angry at his father, King sneaks back into his family home.
I simply waited for him to leave in the morning and go to work and started, I guess, acting out the much of the anger that I'd felt from our argument the night before.
I began vandalizing his house and his bedroom.
King steals an AK-47, a hunting rifle, and a nine-millimeter handgun from his father's arsenal and takes off.
A couple of miles down the road, he watches as a man and a woman emerge from their house and drive away in their pickup.
King sees an opportunity.
I saw those individuals leaving and, based on that, assumed that their house would be empty.
I went ahead and broke in.
The clearest explanation is to understand what type of murder this is.
He had no emotional connection to these people at all.
What's driving him is, he developed a fixed idea that the solution to his problem is to kill.
King is now alone with his guns and his rage.
Hours later, a report comes in to Pineville police.
It came in that there were two people and they had both been shot.
They had just come home from shopping.
They still had bags of food in their hand.
The victims are 70-year-old Orly McCool and his 47-year-old daughter-in-law Dawn.
We found Orly at the entrance door.
He'd been shot once.
And we found the female down in the living room laying on the floor.
She had been shot several times.
The two victims had not been dead for long.
There was a grocery receipt that we ultimately found, and it had a date and a time on it Which helped us narrow down the time frame for the actual murder.
The investigators get a break almost immediately.
We had just worked a burglary case.
The burglary involved stolen weapons.
Scott King had reported that his son Levi stole a cache of firearms from his house, including a nine-millimeter handgun, the same type of gun used to kill the McCools.
It didn't take very long at all to connect the burglary to the homicide.
There's no sign of a struggle in the McCool house.
No money or valuables were taken.
This was an execution.
But why? You know, when the police look at a murder case, they're looking at it from a traditional motive, opportunity in these aberrant murder cases, like the King case, there's not a logical motive, but there's a psychological motive.
Coming up I stepped out of his office, leveled off the firearm, and opened fire.
Spree killer Levi King appears calm and rational, normal even.
But that would be a serious underestimation of what lies beneath.
When a person observes his interview, they see someone who's, you know, just ruthless and cold and not human in terms of his emotions, and that type of functioning, like a psychobiologic machine, is really typical of individuals with very strong psychopathic traits.
Police in Pineville, Missouri discover the bodies of Orly and Dawn McCool in their house.
Levi King is the only person who can explain what happened.
September 29, 2005, 12:10 P.
M.
Levi King, armed with a nine-millimeter handgun, watches as Orly and Dawn McCool leave their home.
Of course, the first thing I needed to do was obtain transportation.
With the McCools gone, King breaks in.
I travel, you know, from one end of the house to the other really looking for the keys Looking for anything of value.
He doesn't find the car keys nor any money or valuables.
I don't even remember how long I was in the house.
At some point, I really just wasn't interested in leaving.
I think the reason he didn't leave is, he wanted to kill.
Just breaking into his house wasn't satisfying.
He wanted to kill.
Soon Orly and Dawn McCool return home in their pickup.
I heard them pulling up into the driveway, so I went to the left of the front door, and waited.
I already had it mind what I was going to do.
King watches as first Dawn, then Orly enter their house.
Dawn McCool came in first, went down into the living room.
Orly McCool, whenever I heard him coming in the front door, I stepped out of his office, started walking towards him, at which point, he caught sight of me.
But before he ever even had time to respond, I leveled off the firearm and opened fire.
I shot him in the left temple, and he dropped.
Dawn stops at the bottom of the stairs, frozen.
My view of her body was obstructed by a pillar and crossbeams.
All I could really see was her left leg.
The first shot that I did into her hip, that caused her to fall over, at which point, I opened fire and continued to fire upon her until I saw no more signs of life.
King steals the keys to the McCools' pickup truck.
I sat in the pickup for, you know, two or three minutes, just sitting there in the driveway, not doing a thing.
And then, he claims, the world shifted.
Everything stopped.
I don't know how to describe the exact feeling, but it was as close as I've ever known to peace.
Everything had just ceased.
All the anger and the fear from the years prior to that was all washed away in that instant.
Forensic psychologist Dr.
Louis Schlesinger, who's studied killers for over 30 years, is not surprised.
With this particular type of murder, they're not horrified afterwards.
They feel relief afterwards.
I mean, if you're harboring a ton of anger and deep feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing, to have that release in a violent act, it's a catharsis.
There's a release of emotion.
Is it an excuse or a justification for this? No, absolutely not.
Levi King claims that his profound anger and fear were a result of his deprived childhood.
The King family's house stood in stark isolation in the backwoods just outside of Pineville, Missouri.
There was no sewage.
There was no electricity.
There was no running water.
Lots and lots of spent ammunition.
Young Levi and his siblings also lived in constant fear of their father, Scott King, whose violent anger was intense and unpredictable.
Guns and violence was common within the house.
You know, I saw my little brothers taking a beating that several adults, you know, would have a hard time standing up to.
Levi King clearly had a very, very difficult childhood by just about any standard.
But you have to keep in mind, his brothers and sisters did not wind up doing what he did, and they were raised in the same family.
At a young age, King and his siblings were taught to shoot.
From the stories that we got, it wasn't at all unusual to hear automatic weapons fire coming from the King house on the hill.
Police were scared to go there.
King claims it was his father who introduced him to killing animals, stray cats and dogs the children brought home.
I don't know why it was me as opposed to any other sibling, but from early on, I can remember my father took me out into the woods with a box of puppies and a shotgun and just started opening fire on the box.
I remember being disgusted the first time.
I couldn't even sit in the vehicle with him afterwards.
I remember getting out of the car and running It had to be at least two miles back to the house Just because I couldn't stand to be around him.
According to King, his hatred of his father grew and grew.
Yes, actually, I've I thought about it a lot.
It was actually my little brothers that prevented that from happening.
The fact that they were still living there, I didn't have it in me to, you know, I guess, expose them to the death of their father, you know, by their brother.
King claims that this rage towards his father is what triggered the McCool killings.
What I believe took place in that house was just misplaced rage, you know? I was extremely angry.
He explains this murder as a displaced patricide.
He's trying to, in his own mind, explain to himself what happened The self-justification.
But this was not a spontaneous act.
He didn't wake up one day and get rejected from his father and say, "now I'm gonna go kill somebody and displace my anger," towards his father on someone else, no.
I think King was ruminating about killing for an extended period of time.
This type of homicide has three stages: Incubation, violent act, and a feeling of relief following the violent act.
The incubation phase can last from anywhere from a couple days up to about a year, and the future offender comes to think that the only solution to this state of tension that he's in this hostile, angry, discomforting feeling is to kill.
Back at the McCool crime scene, Pineville police have connected the killings to Levi King.
They also suspect that King is driving the McCools' pickup.
The bulletin went out immediately.
The uncertainty of having somebody driving around with that kind of a mind-set, it's horrifying.
I just traveled southwest and really still didn't know what I was gonna do.
There's no logical or coherent plan.
Nothing.
I was just sort of enjoying it.
The emotional release King felt after the McCool murders would last for hours.
You know, it was four, five hours easily before I even started to recognize any feelings regarding what had taken place or what I was about to do from then on.
While King drives west through Oklahoma, a Pampa Texas family Ten-year-old Robin Doan, her older brother Zach, her mother, Michell, and stepfather, Brian Conrad is going about their lives like any other day.
Brian made me breakfast that morning, and it was actually pancakes.
Those were my favorite.
I had went to school.
My brother had got up really early for wrestling practice, and there was a lady that drove by and always picked him up and took him to town.
After school, mom took me to gymnastics, and Zach had baseball practice.
Really, we were your typical American family.
Robin's mom, Michell, was five months pregnant.
I was gonna be the greatest big sister ever.
When we got home, my mom started trying on maternity clothes, and there's these God-awful black-and-white swirly maternity stretchy pants.
They were terrible.
And that was that was all I remember.
3:48 A.
M.
After driving for more than 13 hours, Levi King finds himself on the quiet country roads of the Texas panhandle.
I initially wanted to rest.
Pulled over, tried to rest over several hours, in fact, couldn't, so I decided to get back on the road.
The calm he felt after killing the McCools is now completely gone.
It was getting to the point where I did want to feel that that peace again.
As I was traveling down a back road, I drove past a quiet farmhouse and knew then that I wanted to kill again.
In 2005, Levi King shot and killed five people in two separate attacks.
His actions were unpredictable, his motive unclear.
Nobody knows what's generating his fixed idea to kill.
All we know is, some people develop this.
Initially the idea seems vague and far off, and eventually it takes hold, where they come to believe that the solution to their internal problem is to kill a future victim, and then they act it out, commit violence, and have a feeling of relief following that.
September 30, 2005.
14 hours into his killing spree, Levi King is driving along a deserted road near Pampa, Texas.
I really still didn't know what I was gonna do, but, you know, there was no logical or coherent plan.
But it was getting to the point where I did want to feel that peace again or something close to that.
Spree killers are often like that.
They're angry, and they just want to do it again.
He wanted to recapture that emotional release, an emotional discharge that he experienced in the McCool murders.
King spots a secluded farmhouse.
I don't know.
I guess, at that moment, that house was there at the same time that I was ready to do something.
To say it was completely random, no, I don't believe that.
He wouldn't have picked a home next to the police station.
He picked a farmhouse that was very, very remote, where he could shoot and make a lot of noise and it wouldn't disturb any neighbors because there were no neighbors around.
I circled back.
I turned around and came back, took an AK-47 from the arsenal that was in the back of the truck, came to the back door, and kicked it in.
Immediately off to my left, noticed a bedroom and saw two people in the bed.
The two people are Brian Conrad and his wife, Michell.
She woke up first, so I leveled off the rifle and opened fire.
After firing several rounds into her, I turned the weapon on him and continued firing.
King turns his attention to the remaining rooms in the house.
One of them is the bedroom of ten-year-old Robin Doan.
The first thing that woke me up that night was a mixture of gunshots and my mom screaming.
I was actually having a nightmare in the middle of it all, so I didn't know if it was actually reality or if it was my dream.
So I got out of my bed, and I just I crouched down by my door.
As soon as I heard heavy footsteps coming down the hallway, I ran back, and I jumped in my bed and just acted like I was asleep.
That's when he approached my doorway.
I pushed open the door on the right It wasn't secured or closed all the way and noticed a small silhouette moving across just in front of the window.
I lowered the gun And fired.
And I saw a big flash and heard a really loud noise, and I just froze just right there in my bed, just just froze.
You know, I didn't turn on the light in that room, didn't, you know, fire in multiple times or anything, you know, as I had done before, 'cause I didn't see that small silhouette as being any kind of threat.
I felt one of the two bullets that was shot in my room go right by my left leg and my left arm, and I acted like I was dead, and he turned, and he opened up my brother's door, and he flipped the light on, and That's when he shot my brother.
And I knew my brother's really gone.
Like, I knew that there was no chance that he would be alive.
King believes he has killed all four family members.
I went into the living room, started looking around personal effects, pictures I guess, basically just to gain a better understanding of these people and their lives.
Meanwhile Robin lies in her room, terrified that King will discover she's alive.
My mom had actually hung my robe on my door the night before, and so what I could see through my through my legs was a figure standing there, and I thought it was him just, like, watching me.
I didn't know what to do, and I was halfway on my bed, halfway off, so I was having a lot of muscle cramps in my left leg, and I was trying to stay still.
Coming up In September 2005, Levi King went on a cross-country killing rampage.
Driven by his desire to kill, he gunned down Orly and Dawn McCool in his hometown of Pineville, Missouri.
14 hours later, while driving in Texas, he decided to recapture the sensation of killing and began looking for more victims.
Inside the farmhouse, the last surviving member of the family, ten-year-old Robin Doan, lies still in her bedroom while King continues to explore the house.
Like, I just remember hearing lots of noise.
He was setting things down and opening up cabinets and closing them.
Nothing for real other than that they seemed to be a decent family, a little bit more of your ideal family than I had known.
Just before leaving the house, I looked at myself in the mirror.
As to where the first set of murders released me from a great burden, this one had almost no effect.
It left me feeling empty.
It was too soon for him to experience it again.
His emotions didn't really have the time to build up yet inside of him, and so when he killed the second time, it wasn't fulfilling to him at all.
So I got out of the bathroom and ignored that uncomfortable feeling.
Simply went back out, got in the truck, and drove off.
A couple of hours later, shortly after Dawn I woke up to light in my room.
I'd fallen asleep.
While trying to remain still, Robin's body had given in to exhaustion.
She awakes to an empty house.
My main thought was, "who's still alive?" I got up.
I didn't look in any room.
I just walked straight from my room to the living room, grabbed the phone, and proceeded out the door.
In preparation for our interview, Robin asked to listen to the 911 call she made that morning.
She hasn't heard it in several years.
It's hard to believe that that was me seven years ago.
I've done a lot of growing up.
I did a lot of growing up to make that phone call.
Okay.
They're trying to get there.
They're trying to get there.
I just remember, like, adrenaline rushing through my body.
I didn't ever think they were gonna get there.
It felt like an eternity before they got there.
Robin waits almost 20 minutes before the police arrive at her remote farmhouse.
There was deputies and unmarked cars just pulling into my driveway, just a flow of people.
I just remember running to the first person that got out of their car, and I hugged him.
Trooper Chad Brooks puts Robin in his patrol car while of the rest of the team secure the house.
Trooper Brooks came, and he was like, "what do you need me to do?" I was like, "I have animals I need to feed.
" That was one of my responsibilities.
They need to get fed.
Inside, investigators are met with a horrific crime scene and an impossible mystery.
He shot the father three times.
He shot the mother I believe it was six times.
Shot the dog twice, went down the Hall, and then shot the son three times.
The house was almost pristine, so we really didn't have a whole lot to go on.
Meanwhile, 18 hours after firing his first rounds, King is on the road again, speeding away from the carnage he has left behind.
I just continued southwest.
By this point, the convenience store was open, so, you know, I purchased gas, and I purchased a map there.
You know, I was like, you know, "why not go to Mexico?" The acts I had committed left no alternative.
Coming up He says, "you know, there's four more.
" "Well, what do you mean, 'there's four more'?" In September 2005, Levi King brutally murdered five people in Missouri and Texas.
Investigators in Missouri have identified King as their suspect, but police in Texas have little to go on.
It was just so random.
We didn't know why somebody would do something like this.
We were still following leads, but it was just We were just not getting a whole lot.
29 hours after killing his first victims, Levi King drives Orly McCool's pickup across the border into Juarez, Mexico.
He is now beyond the reach of American law.
I could never return to the United States or face prosecution.
The acts I had committed left no alternative.
King finds himself driving South with an arsenal of weapons in the back.
But after pulling off the road, he claims that he gets turned around.
I pulled back onto the highway, just went right instead of left, so I was heading north instead of South and didn't even realize it until I had gotten back to the bridge of the americas.
He searches for an exit.
The second that I realized there wasn't another one, that was the end of the line, I guess.
As he pulls up to the border checkpoint, King knows he has nowhere to run.
They would ask me the normal questions, you know, do I have anything to declare, for instance.
I said yes, you know, I had firearms in the vehicle.
Told him straight up, at which point, he told me to put the car in park and open the door and step out.
King really had nowhere to go, and essentially he turned himself in.
He knew he'd get caught, and so he just confessed to it.
When we found out that he had been caught at the border, we were relieved.
We were ecstatic.
So plans were made immediately to go down and get Levi.
King admitted to killing the McCools and is extradited back to Pineville, Missouri, to face capital murder charges.
Meanwhile, in Texas, the investigation grows cold.
And, of course, we're still here in Pampa running down leads, and at this point, we felt like we probably were not gonna be able to solve this case.
But then they get a break.
King comes clean to a deputy he befriended in a Missouri jail.
He says, "you know, there's four more.
" King doesn't know that Robin Doan survived.
And the deputy didn't understand what he's saying.
He's like, "what are you what are you talking about?" And he said, "you know that town in the panhandle of Texas "where they have that big cross? There's four more down there.
" In Missouri, Levi King pleads guilty to the murders of Orly and Dawn McCool.
But prosecutors in Texas want a trial.
I looked at my case, and I said, "clearly this is a death penalty case.
" You cannot kill two people in Missouri, come to Texas and kill three people, and not be a death penalty case.
At age 14, Robin Doan makes the brave decision to take the stand and testify against King.
I didn't have to, but I chose to, because I'm never gonna move on if I didn't.
She comes face-to-face with the monster who took her family.
Levi King didn't say anything to me.
He has a blank, coldhearted stare.
He will burn a hole straight through you by the way he looks at you.
King also pleads guilty in Texas, putting his life in the hands of a jury.
It's important to realize that people like King don't operate in the same sphere that the rest of us do.
He knows what's right and wrong.
He knew what he was doing, and he could control what he's doing.
He wanted to kill.
He set out to kill.
This is pleasurable for him.
This gives him a sense of dominance, a sense of control that he otherwise doesn't experience.
After seven hours of deliberation, the jury returns with a sentence.
At 4:00 this afternoon, the Levi King capital murder trial came to an end.
The jury chose to forgo the death penalty and instead sentence King to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
No.
I can honestly say that even during trial, I really didn't care about anybody else that I hurt or, of course, certainly before trial, and I still don't.
If there is any hope to be found in this story, it lies in Robin Doan.
I said, "I forgive you.
Levi King, I forgive you.
" I told him that to his face in court.
That was me taking a thousand steps forward and never taking any back.
Robin Doan refuses to be defined by this tragedy.
I know that my family wouldn't want me to mope around and have my head down all the time and pout and cry and throw pity parties for myself when I can be living life to the fullest and have a smile on my face every day and Just get through and push through and know that there's always a brighter tomorrow.