Chilling Web Site Reveals a Killer’s Obsessive Plans
For months Liam Youens cried into the silence of the World Wide Web, describing his loneliness, suicidal fantasies and vacillating love and hate for a former classmate.
But no one heard him.
His Web site was filled with tirades in which he hatched plans for a shooting rampage at his former high school, plotted to kill another former classmate and described his favorite weapon--an AR-15 assault rifle.
But no one listened.
“Who am I?” the 21-year-old asked at the start of his Web page. “Well if i had 20 people buried in my backyard my neighbors would have described me as ‘Quiet, basically kept to himself.’ ”
On Oct. 15, Youens broke the silence.
He drove his mother’s car to the Nashua office where 20-year-old Amy Boyer worked as a dental assistant. He parked next to her car and waited, just as he had written that he would. Just as he had practiced many times before.
Boyer got into her car around 4:30 p.m. Before she could drive off, Youens shot her repeatedly with his Glock 9mm semiautomatic handgun. He then killed himself.
Suddenly, Youens had everyone’s attention. On Thursday night, he even figured in the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire. One questioner asked if, in light of the case, it was time to regulate the Internet.
Youens was the troubled kid for whom the cracks in the system were chasms. He was teased at school. He never dated. Friendless, he ate lunch alone, standing in a corner of the school cafeteria.
He fell in love with Boyer at an eighth-grade church youth group, but never had the courage to tell her. Her friends and family say she never even knew him.
A few years later, Youens watched her call to another boy on the school bus and decided she needed to die.
“I turn my head slightly and whoops, ‘God I love her.’ Oh great, now I’m really depressed, hmmm.. looks like it’s suicide for me,” he wrote on his Web site. “Car accident? Wrists? A few days later I think, ‘hey, why don’t I kill her too?’
“That was the basic plan for the next half decade,” he wrote. “I work fast don’t I?”
The site, which has been removed from the Web, provides a rare glimpse inside the mind of a killer. It is preserved in a 489-page police report that also contains the text of police interviews with his family. Family members did not return telephone calls.
“One of my favorite things in life is watching CNN and have those words come on, ‘CNN BREAKING NEWS,’ ” Youens’ wrote on his site. “Those helicopter shots of people running, the SWAT team converging the scene guns drawn. Not as good as the Amy death high, but still quite enjoyable.”
(Excerpts in this story use Youens’ original spelling and syntax.)
Clarissa London, Youens’ mother, told police her son, the youngest of six children, was a loner who rarely spoke to his family. He survived on frozen pizzas and soda, which he ate alone in his room. The door always was locked, she told police. She couldn’t remember the last time she had been inside.
He spent hours on his computer, which police found filled with photographs of Boyer, pornographic video clips and violent video games including “Doom” and “Quake.”
Youens, who was was 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 130 pounds, thought he was unattractive and too thin, his mother said. He almost never allowed anyone to take his picture.
“In the beginning I was not yet self aware of my own existence,” he wrote on his site. “La La La, my main focus in life was: ‘God I hate being made fun of, I can’t wait to get out of school.’ ”
Youens identified with Luke Woodham, the Pearl, Miss., teenager who killed his mother and then shot two girls to death at his high school in October 1997.
“When Luke Woodham went on his rampage, people called his note ‘rambling’ and said the shooting was a boyfriend-girlfriend thing,” Youens wrote. “Ha! what an obvious attempt to put him beneth you. You know full well that he would Never have done it if he was not psychologically abused in school regardless of a passed relationship.”
Youens graduated from Nashua High School with Boyer in 1997 and enrolled at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y. Unhappy living in a dormitory, he dropped out after a year, his mother told police. Back home in Nashua, he lasted one semester at a local college.
Afterward he worked mostly unskilled jobs, including the third shift at a convenience store. Working nights gave him more time alone, his mother said.
Youens’ only known violent episode prior to the shooting was in November 1996. Angry that his mother refused his plea for plastic surgery to fix his sunken chest, he threw her china cabinet down a flight of stairs. He was convicted of criminal threatening and criminal mischief and ordered to attend anger-management classes.
Those appear to have had little effect.
When he was arrested, he threatened to kill himself. His mother told police she didn’t think he was serious, but on his Web site, Youens accused his mother of ignoring signs that he was suicidal.
“I said, ‘why don’t I just buy a gun.’ which any rational human being would see as a suicide threat,” he wrote. “Good one [expletive deleted], burn in hell.”
Youens’ writings in the months before the murder reveal a deep obsession with Boyer and violent fantasies dating back years.
“In the last 4 years I have had 3 or 4 dreams about Amy, but in the last month I’ve dreamt about her every single night,” he wrote. “The last dream I had Amy was pregnant, so I stabed the fetus through her, then cut her throat.”
Although his conviction prohibited him from buying guns, it didn’t stop him from getting his hands on them.
“The NPD [Nashua Police Department] believed it could prevent me from getting guns HA!,” he wrote. “Some people thought that me working at 7-11 was hilarious, Idiots! The only reason I would get that job would be to spend every cent I earned on powerful assault rifles to execute my vengence. . . . I have always lusted for the death of Amy.”
The dark monologue angers Tim Remsburg, Boyer’s stepfather, who thinks the Internet companies that hosted Youens’ Web site should be held responsible for not alerting authorities to the threats. However, federal law protects Internet companies from liability for material their customers post on personal Web pages.
One of the companies, Geocities, would not comment. Officials at the other one, Tripod, said they were unaware of what Youens was posting on the site. They said the site had been visited a handful of times, perhaps only by Youens himself.
Even so, someone should have noticed something was very wrong with Liam Youens, says Roger Depue, former chief of behavioral sciences for the FBI and founder of the Academy Group, a Manassas, Va., consulting company of former FBI and Secret Service agents.
Youens was a classic stalker who was “just reeking with symptoms,” Depue said after reviewing copies of Youens’ Web pages and police reports at the AP’s request. “This guy is obviously paranoid, obviously angry, not only angry at this young girl, Amy, but angry at the world and feeling a need to injure,” he said. “People would have heard this guy saying at least bizarre things, if not violent things.”
The site opens with a picture of Youens in sunglasses, holding one of his six rifles. After the murder, four of them were found in his bedroom, fully loaded.
Killing Boyer was not Youens’ only obsession. He also thought of killing another high school classmate, Owen Bank.
“I always have a plan whether it be killing Amy, killing Owen, or going on a rampage,” he wrote. “I attempted to kill Owen on numerous occations: I bought that Rem700 to snipe him from his backyard. . . . I then bought that Marlin to kill him at his dorm room.
“I drove to UNH [University of New Hampshire] four times and once got right to his door, but chickened out again. Then more recently I went there with my Glock to shoot him, failed again.”
In another section of his Web page, Youens hinted that his anger with Bank may have stemmed from a perceived relationship between Bank and Boyer. The intended victim later told police he didn’t know Youens and couldn’t think of why the man would want him dead.
Under the heading “Plan: Mass Murder; Subplan: NHS,” Youens detailed plans for a shooting spree at Nashua High School:
“I’m trying to remember when lunch starts, 10:05 i think, I believe 10:20 would be a good time for the attack. I plan to start shooting people in the courtyard as fast as I can.
“Hopefully ill get to the second clip,” he wrote, “if so ill go for head shots head shots head shots! they are a MUST for a high body county.”
Youens’ online journal and e-mails also trace his efforts to obtain personal information about Boyer. He paid Internet search agencies hundreds of dollars to get her Social Security number and place of employment.
“I want to get vengence on all people assosiated with Amy and me, thats why I’m angry (?) and the only reason I feel I need to kill,” he wrote.
The journal chronicles how he stalked her at her home and office, and his paranoia that the people living in Boyer’s neighborhood were conspiring to hide her.
“The people on Woodbury Drive are ‘Protecting’ Amy and say ‘we make Amy safe from Liam..’ ooo you put the cars off the street thats sooo scarey,” he wrote.
By the end of September, Youens had found Boyer’s office.
“On Thursday September 30, 1999 at 4pm, she was there,” Youens wrote. “it was such a rush zero fear, but I had my gun and still didn’t go in. I pray to God that I won’t have any fear when I go there.”
A few days later, after watching the building, he learned her work hours and refined his plan: “When she gets in I’ll drive up to her car blocking her in, window to window I’ll shoot her with my glock.”
“On October 7,” he wrote, “I was making excuses because I was scared. I still feel unconfortable about sitting in the parking lot. I pray to God that she parks on the street like last friday, but I doubt it. My mother is going on vacation so I would be able to use her car. That may make me bold enough to park in the lot at 4:30.”
His final journal entry is dated Oct. 12, three days before the murder.
“I saw her car on the street the perfect place,” he wrote. “I parked my car there and sat at 4:35. but by 5:05 she still wasn’t there, what a waste of a perfect oppertunaty. I drove around and saw that she left around 5:45, but I didn’t see her and had no place to shoot.”
“I would have done it,” he wrote. “I feel good now.”
Above the final entry, three pictures of Boyer stand above an invitation to read the journal:
“So you wish to enter Liam Youens mind? Well be my guest.”
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