Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

'Movies Made Me Murder'

The 'Knife Nut'

Broadmoor Hospital
Broadmoor Hospital

Mentioned earlier in this article, the case of Donald Gonzalez has recently yielded more details. That's because on August 9, 2007, he killed himself in England's Broadmoor Hospital, and he managed it in a strange way.

Freddy Krueger
Freddy Krueger

Gonzalez was only 24 when he was convicted of the murders of four people and the attempted murders of two others during the course of a three-day frenzy of drugs and violence in Sussex and North London in September 2004. Gonzalez apparently wanted to see what it would be like to be Freddy Krueger, the monster from the classic slasher film, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and just start randomly attacking people. He stabbed his victims several times, some on the streets and others in their homes. His goal was to kill ten, which he believed would ensure that people remembered him forever. He hoped to be known as a famous serial killer, the way people thought of Freddy Kruger.

Movie Poster: A Nightmare on Elm Street
Movie Poster: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Wes Craven directed the American horror movie, which was released in 1984 to immediate success. It spawned a number of gruesome sequels and a comic book series, all of which featured the demented Freddy with his razor sharp claws. Set in a fictional town in Ohio, a girl named Tina has a nightmare about a man with a badly scarred face, and wearing a glove with sharp knives attached, stalking her. He slashes at her and she awakens but finds four rips in her nightgown where the monster had reached her. In her next dream state, she's caught and killed, and she doesn't wake up because she is actually dead. Her boyfriend is pinned as the perpetrator. The nightmare then infects a female friend of the victim, and when sleep therapy fails to alleviate it, a story emerges that the nightmare vision is the vengeful projection of a dead man, killed by the parents of children he molested.

According to critics, the story line challenges the boundaries between dream life and reality, so it might well have appealed to a person like Gonzalez, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, or the inability to distinguish delusions and reality. Reportedly just months before his rampage, he had begged doctors to lock him up. Two days before the first murder, he ran naked into the streets, leaving a jumble of knives strewn about the kitchen, and his mother called for help. Yet, a story from Times Online indicates that he had set out to malinger a mental illness so that if he was stopped before achieving his goal, he'd be free in eight to ten years to continue.

In fact, in school Gonzales had been an accomplished actor. He had boasted to classmates that he would be famous one day. His hobby had been knife throwing and his favorite words were "murder, kill, death." He suffered from coordination disorders and the inability to write coherently, which frustrated him. He was also a chronic bedwetter, as reported in the Scotsman. While he was intelligent and well spoken, he was disruptive and shunned by other students. He aimed to show them who he was.

In the high-security facility after his sentencing, Gonzales was considered one of the most dangerous patients, capable of extreme and unprovoked aggression. Since he'd once chewed through the veins and arteries on his arms, which required emergency transfusions, he was on a suicide watch.

His victims included an elderly couple, an elderly woman, and a middle-aged man. The two men who survived his knife-wielding attacks had been around 60.

Gonzalez, 26, was found in his cell on the morning of August 9, according to the UK's The Sun, with his wrists slashed open. Apparently had had shattered a CD or CD box and used the sharp edges to do the job.

One source, who asked to remain anonymous, stated that "not many people will mourn his passing," as he was difficult at best. He had even laughed in court over a letter of his read by the prosecutor to prove the disdain he held for his victims. The Argus quoted relatives of the deceased as finding relief in his suicide. A daughter of one victim hoped Gonzalez had died a "slow and painful death." While death didn't hinder Freddy Krueger, it will probably stop the young man labeled by some as the Knife Nut.


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