Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Robert Anderson: Awakening The Devil

Confessions and Convictions

According to a January 20, 2002 Aberdeen News article, Andersons prison cellmate, Jeremy Brunner, contacted the attorney generals office in August 1997 with information about Andersons crimes. He told them that Anderson bragged excessively and in great detail about the murders of Piper and Larisa during a one-week period in which they shared a cell. Brunner was able to provide them with significant evidence, which would further implicate Anderson.

Brunner told the authorities that Anderson admitted he was a serial killer and that he kept trophies of his victims at his grandmothers house. He even told Brunner the precise location of the items. They were later found exactly where he said, tucked between the ceiling and the wall of Andersons grandmothers basement. The stash included a ring and a necklace belonging to Piper and Larisa, as well as Andersons gun.

Ring & necklace behind wall
Ring & necklace behind wall

Anderson told Brunner that he believed Walker might tell the authorities about the murders. He also had a feeling that Walker would reveal the location of Larisas body. In order to prevent the police from discovering the identity of Larisa if ever found, which could link the murder to him, Anderson decided to remove her skull and teeth from the shallow grave. Hazelwood and Michaud suggested that the remains that were exhumed were then thrown from Andersons car window as he drove from the scene. Brunners story explained why the police found only portions of Larisas body.

Brunner claimed that Anderson also bragged about abducting Piper. He said that Anderson admitted to raping and strangling her before disposing of her body in the Big Sioux River. Witnesses said that they saw Anderson on several occasions the day of Pipers disappearance. Brunner explained that the reason for this was because Anderson forgot his watch and the tent and returned to the trailer to retrieve them.

During another conversation, Anderson asked Brunner to murder Walker because he distrusted him and didnt think he would remain silent about the crimes. After Brunner agreed, Anderson drew up two maps for him. One of the maps depicted the location of Walkers house and the other map showed where Andersons grandmother lived. He told Brunner that in her basement he could find his gun. 

Even though Brunner agreed to kill Walker when he got out of prison, he had no intention of actually following through with the deed. Instead, Brunner struck a bargain with the police, exchanging the information he gathered for a shorter prison sentence. Brunners testimony, along with that taken from Walker and Hammer proved to be instrumental in securing another conviction.

On September 4, 1997, Anderson was charged with murdering Larisa Dumansky. He was also charged with the rape and murder of Piper Streyle. His trial was scheduled to begin in March 1999. This time, he would not be so fortunate.

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