ANYONE YOU WANT ME TO BE
John Douglas & Stephen Singular


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A True Story Of Sex and Death on the Internet
A Lisa Drew Book/Scribner, 2004
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding

ANYONE YOU WANT ME TO BE is the newest true crime tale by the famous former FBI profiler John Douglas, and Stephen Singular. John Robinson, the subject of this story, is the first known serial killer to use the Internet to lure his victims.

John Robinson appeared to be a successful businessman and devoted father who taught Sunday school and coached his four kid's soccer teams. To his family he was a loving father and husband whose lapses included convictions on fraud, embezzlement, and infidelity. But there was yet a darker side to John Robinson, aka John Turner aka John Osbourne. Robinson was a member of International Council of Masters, a Bondage Discipline Sadomasochism group (BDSM), a secret society modeled on the reputation of the infamous Marquis de Sade. Robinson trolled the Internet looking for vulnerable and receptive women. He lured them to Kansas City with job offers and romantic overtures and eventually coaxing them into signing Master/Slave contracts with him.

His first known victim was a nineteen year old woman who accepted a job offer to work for his hydroponics company, Equo-Gro. When she disappeared the police terminated their missing persons case based on letters her relatives received, reassuring them she was fine. The letters were typewritten by Robinson and signed with the victim's signature. The letters, which didn't sound quite right to the missing girl's relatives, were a tactic Robinson would use over and over to cover up the disappearance of his victims. Robinson is believed to have killed eight women in all, many of whom were characterized as smart and resourceful. He continued to cash the disability check of one of the women after he killed her and her fifteen year old daughter who was afflicted with cerebral palsy. Another victim was a young single mother from Hope House, a Kansas City organization offering aid to underage mothers. Robinson gained access by offering her a job and an apartment. After killing her, he gave her infant daughter to his brother and sister-in-law for adoption in exchange for $5,000, supposedly to cover adoption fees.

Steve Haymes, an officer with the Missouri Board of Pardons and Paroles, closely followed John Robinson's activities and maintained a file for over fifteen years, because he suspected Robinson played a part in the disappearance of these women. When a task force was formed to investigate the high number of missing women connected to Robinson, he came forward with critical background information. Robinson was arrested in June of 2000 and now faces the death penalty.

ANYONE YOU WANT ME TO BE is a cautionary tale for Internet users. Douglas refers to cyberspace as the Wild Wild Web where individuals can disguise their true identities and pose as anyone. The Internet provided an easy venue for Robinson's activities. He had already committed multiple murders, and once he figured out how to exploit women online, the web became his playing field. The story of John Robinson, who was very clever and charming, exposes the dark underbelly of cyberspace.

The details of the crimes and description of the victims were difficult yet compelling reading. Anyone who enjoys CSI programs or police dramas will find this tale fascinating. The legal aspects of the case were also interesting and complicated due to jurisdiction problems. Kansas City lies on the state lines between Kansas and Missouri, and Robinson's crimes were committed in both states. ANYONE YOU WANT ME TO BE should be required reading for anyone who regularly visits online chat rooms. There is an appendix in the back of the books with recommended safety tips for avoiding online predators for Internet users and parents.

Tip #1. Do not give out any personal information about yourself or anyone else online.

April 2004 Review

 

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