A woman admitted at a pretrial hearing in court on Wednesday that she killed her grandfather when she was 19, after the popular television show, American Horror Story, inspired her.
New York Post reports that Brittany Jane Dwyer, 20, appeared in an Australian court on Wednesday in connection with the murder of her grandfather, Robert Whitwell, 81. According to Dwyer’s lawyer, Craig Caldicott, the suspect killed Whitwell after watching and getting inspiration from the television show. The lawyer pleaded for leniency, indicating that Dwyer was a teen when the murder happened.
“That aspect of it is very troubling. The popular series explores humankind’s capacity for evil and general obsession with crime and murder.”
Yet, Justice Kevin Nicholson of the Adelaide Supreme Court called the act “cold and calculating,” noting that her age was a small factor that barely lessened such a horrendous crime.
Court documents indicate that Dwyer showed up to the victims home on Aug. 5, 2016, at around 11 a.m. New Zealand Herald reports that Whitwell greeted Dwyer and showed her family photos.
Afterwards, Dwyer sent a text to her friend, Bernadette Burns, who planned the murder with her, and said she couldn’t go through with it. Burns told Dwyer that “they had come all this way” and convinced her to keep with the plan.
“Mr Whitwell invited the accused [Dwyer] into his home and they looked at photographs and videos of the accused and her brother when they were children,” court documents stated.
Dwyer then told Whitwell that she had to leave, and as he walked his granddaughter to the front door, she lunged at him with knife, stabbing him in the chest and neck, according to the case summary.
“Five to ten minutes later, [Dwyer] told Mr Whitwell she had to leave. As he walked towards the front door, she pulled out the knife she had brought with her and stabbed him in the neck. he accused then stabbed him in the chest, and again in the neck.”
Whitwell made his way to the kitchen, bleeding profusely, searching for a bandage. Dwyer helped her grandfather bandage his wounds, then walked away and started doing the dishes. He asked his granddaughter why she stabbed him, but she ignored the elderly man while he continued to bleed out until he lost consciousness. He died shortly after.
Later, Dwyer texted Burns and told her the deed “was done.” Burns arrived shortly after, and the pair stole coins, $1,000 cash, and a camera from the home. They were searching for over $100,000 in cash that Whitwell had hidden, but failed to find it.
Three days later authorities found Whitwell’s body.
Both Dwyer and Burns pleaded guilty to murder. They’re both scheduled for sentencing later this month.
[Feature Photo: Police Handout]