Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The True Story of John Raymond "Woody" Woodring

The Convict Speaks

Woodring soon learned Bonnie was receiving a large sum of money from a divorce settlement, in excess of one hundred thousand dollars. Woodring was probably too embarrassed to admit he would have to pay to have his book published, so he approached Bonnie and asked her if he could borrow $30,000 to start a mobile mechanic business. Ever the con man, Woodring was able to spin his idea in a way that made sense to Bonnie, so she rolled the dice and lent him the money, with the understanding that he would have to pay it back.

Woodring took the money he borrowed from Bonnie and started a business called Professional Publishing Services. The website, which is no longer online, was registered to Lisa Fisher.

Woodring self-published The Convict Speaks in February 2005. According to an editorial review on, the book "offers a first time intimate look into several true crime stories that have had movies made from them. The author removes the Hollywood spin from the stories and allows the reader to hear the story from the perpetrators of the actual crime and their co-conspirators."

John "Woody" Woodring
John "Woody" Woodring

On March 10, 2005, Derek Hodges, a reporter for the Sylva Herald, spoke with Woodring about his book. During the interview, Woodring said he was a veteran of the Gulf War and the victim of a "very rough childhood." He also described several run-ins with the law, including a DUI and a brief jail stay for an assault. It was during that jail term that Woodring claimed to have developed an interest in criminal behavior. "When I was in jail, I got curious about why people do the things they do," he said. Woodring said that upon his release from jail, he entered college and his fascination with criminals turned into an obsession with true crime. That obsession led him to begin corresponding with the criminals he read about. "I wanted to know what the real story was, without the Hollywood spin on it," he said. "There's always a few out there who are just wired wrong, but most of the people I talked to had rough childhoods...prison really changes a person."

Woodring Graduates
Woodring Graduates

In May 2005, Woodring graduated from Western Carolina University. That month was especially busy for Woodring, as Bonnie finally agreed to marry him. Their small wedding was held in Gatlinburg, Tenn., on May 20, 2005. Afterwards, the newlyweds celebrated their union in Hawaii.

Bounty Hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman
Bounty Hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman

During their Hawaii honeymoon, Woodring went to see world-renowned bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman. Unfortunately for Woodring, Chapman was out of town at the time. Nonetheless, always ready to self-promote, Woodring made sure to leave an autographed copy of his book with Chapman's secretary.

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