Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Addicted to Murder: The True Story of Daniel Conahan Jr.

Crossing the Line

On the afternoon of April 16, 1996, a private meeting was held in the parking lot of Cox Lumber Yard, in Punta Gorda, Florida. A man driving a station wagon pulled into the parking area and called out to a young man who was standing off to the side waiting for him. He knew the driver only by his first name, Dan. The two men had no association with the business and were using the grounds as a neutral meeting place to finalize plans they had discussed earlier. After a brief commentary, the younger man got into Dan's station wagon and they were soon driving down Highway 41, in a forested area far from the commercial strips.

As they continued down the road, they discussed the photo shoot Dan had propositioned and the financial arrangements. Again, Dan explained that he wanted the young man to pose for naked photographs to use in a magazine article. The younger man agreed and they were soon traveling down several dirt roads. The farther they traveled, the denser the woods became.

Once satisfied that he had found a secluded area, Dan pulled over. The two began making their way deep into the woods. The atmosphere was somewhat eerie, with Oaks and Maples towering high all around them. Dan eventually found an old hog trail, which they navigated down until they stumbled upon a majestic foreground in the middle of the forest. According to The Fifteen Most Horrific Murder Cases Ever to Shock America, by Bill Kelly, the two men then came to a stop and began discussing the photo shoot.

"Have you ever had pictures of yourself taken in bondage?" Dan asked as he pulled out a camera.

"No," came the young mans nervous reply.

"Well here, let me show you," Dan said as he set the camera down on a nearby log.

Within minutes, Dan had his subject nude, with his hands bound around a tree. He was obviously excited by the spectacle he had created and he began erratically clicking photos. Suddenly, Dan stopped and set the camera down. His eyes became focused and his stare became the essence of evil. He had fantasized about this moment for a long time. He began to ask himself whether he was prepared to cross the line between fantasy and reality. He had already come this far, so what was to stop him from acting on his desires?

Dan quickly produced a length of rope and walked behind the tree. He draped the rope around his subject's neck and placed his foot on the tree for leverage. As he pulled, he could feel his victim struggling and hear him crying out in short raspy breaths. "Die you son-of-a-bitch! Die!" he shouted, as he pulled tighter on the rope. Eventually, his subject remained motionless. All struggling quickly ceased. He was dead.

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