Killer Profile: Westley Allan Dodd
Westley Allan Dodd was a truly twisted dude, and the crimes he would go on to commit would be some of the most repulsive and vile things you could possibly do. He was thirty one years old when he was put to death, but Dodd's crime spree started way before that - at the shocking young age of just thirteen. He would later go on to take the lives of three children over the course of just months, and for his crimes he was executed by hanging; a sentencing some would suggest was way too easy of an escape from his crimes. But before we get too ahead of ourselves... this is the story of Westley Allan Dodd.
Dodd was born on July 3, 1961 in Washington to parents Jim and Carol, and he was the oldest of three children. He originally claimed that he had a typical childhood experience, and that he was never neglected or abused as a child. He did mention that his parents never actually told him "I love you," and that he could not remember ever saying them to his parents. While this may not be the first thing you think of when someone mentions a child being neglected or abused, it most certainly falls into both categories - and is a trait seen suspiciously often in many serial killers cases. Regardless, after examining Dodd's personal diary that he maintained while he was locked up, The Seattle Times reported that Dodd wrote that he was emotionally and physically abused by his father and that his parents would often have violent arguments, which supposedly led to his father's attempted suicide on Dodd's fifteenth birthday. Some attribute Dodd's growing up in a loveless home a factor in what his future crime history that would begin at the age of just thirteen. Westley would expose himself to passing children neighbors from his house, and as he began to realize the dangers of what he was doing, he began to take his bike around town looking for opportunities to expose himself to others. His father would later go on to admit that they were aware of their sons activities, but that they had a lot going on already dealing with their own divorce, plus they chose to look the other way since besides their sons predator-like activities, he was a good kid who never caused any other problems. So Jim and Carol both never confronted their son nor sought help for him in dealing with his strange sexual behavior.
After the divorce, even less attention was given to Westley, which is when he began to really dabble in his unusual perversions. He began to molest those who were closest to him: his younger cousins and the children of a woman his father was dating. Eventually he moved on to molesting neighborhood children who he would offer to babysit - and they would become regular victims to Dodd's sick and messed up activities. As he grew into his teenage years, he grew to be a good looking and personable kid who neighbors would trust with their children, with whom Dodd would molest as they slept. He was finally arrested when he was fifteen years old for indecent exposure, but unfortunately all that was offered to him was professional counseling which we would later learn didn't help him in the slightest. Dodd would begin molesting children in parks and demanding that they follow him into a secluded area where he would then demand they remove their clothing. In August of '81, he tried to abduct two young girls but even after reporting him to the police, nothing was done to reprimand Westley; shortly after, he joined the Navy where his molestations only continued as he preyed on children on the base and at the local movie theater. After luring young boys into a game of strip poker, he was arrested and even after admitting to police he was going to molest the boys, he was let off the hook until he was arrested again shortly after for exposing himself to a boy, which led to him being discharged from the Navy.
After attempting (and thankfully failing) to lure a young boy into an abandoned building in 1987, Dodd was picked up yet again but - yet again - received minimal punishment because he didn't actually touch the boy or expose himself. By this point, prosecutors were fully aware of Dodd's devious sexual antics and recommended he be sentenced to five years in prison, but in the end he only ended up spending 118 days locked up and on probation - a slap in the face to every young child who fell victim to Dodd. After his release, he moved to Vancouver, Washington where he would continue his molestation spree as well as his arrest spree, where he would continue to be picked up for child molestation. By this time, though, Dodd seemed to have become more confident in his actions as his actions became more violent and his fantasies more sickening. In his diary, he would mention how he had an interest in cannibalizing the genitals of his victims. Dodd had officially crossed the line between sicko pervert into full out psychopath. He would dream of performing "experimental surgeries" which would essentially his victims into mindless, obedient zombies that one could assume Dodd would use to continue to fulfill his sickening sexual fantasies. His desire for children grew and grew, and his ability to control himself was growing harder to restrain. Instead of just drawing up ideas for his sick torture rituals, he went as far as actually building a torture rack, and his thoughts became overrun with thoughts of violence, torture, and cannibalism. Westley Allan Scott had reached his breaking point: he now had a desire to kill.
September 4, 1989 - Billy and Cole Neer - only 10 and 11 years old - were coming home through a park when they had the unfortunate fate of passing Dodd. He immediately ordered them to follow him, and they obeyed his commands, presumably out of fear since the park was empty at the time. He led them to a secluded area where he forced them to undress, tied them to a tree, molested them, and stabbed them repeatedly with a knife before fleeing. Older brother Cole took the most of the damage, but unfortunately in the end, both boys fell victim to Dodd's seriously sickening act. Billy was found alive but unfortunately passed away after being taken to the hospital. After alerting police that their other son had also gone missing, they went out and found the body of Cole. Dodd realized that police had no leads connecting him to the slayings, so he moved to Portland, Oregon where he would take his final victim: the heartbreaking killing of four year old boy Lee Iseli. Dodd told Lee that his father had sent him to pick the boy up and that he would drive him back to the house. Dodd took Lee back to his apartment where the truly repulsive and unforgiving acts against Lee were committed. He subject the poor child to all sorts of abuse and torture, and after Dodd finally had enough, he hung Lee to death in his closet. The sick maniac actually documented and photographed the entire process - from torture to death - in his diary before hiding the body behind some blankets and leaving for work. Dodd dumped Lee's little body in a lake before it was found on November 1st, destroying Lee's families dreams of having him return home safely. Truly heartbreaking.
Believe it or not, this didn't even fulfill Dodd's absurd fantasies, as he continued his disgusting behavior not even two weeks later. He attempted to abduct a six year old boy and after failing to do so, he was captured by the boyfriend of the boy's mother who held Dodd until police arrived. Dodd was brought to polcie headquarters where he was interrogated by police for three days as a suspect in the deaths of the Neer brothers and Lee Iseli. Initially, he denied having any knowledge about the deaths of the boys but he ended up confessing to the murders, and even began to show delight in sharing the details in the horrific slayings of the three young boys. After obtaining a search warrant for Dodd's apartment, police found the unused torture rack, Iseli's underwear, a bunch of photos taken of Lee, as well as photos of children in underwear advertisements. But they also discovered something which would provide some of the awful details into the mind of Westley Allan Dodd - his diary which he had maintained with details of the murders. Dodd's reign of terror over young children had finally come to an end.
Dodd was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted abduction. Initially, he pled not guilty to the crimes but would go on to change his plea to guilty. In court, the diary excerpts were read aloud and they showed the photographs Dodd had taken of Lee. Dodd was sentenced to death in 1990 for the slaying of the Neer brothers and the rape and murder of Lee Iseli.
What's fascinating about Dodd's case is what he had to say for himself after his sentencing. He went on to insist that the death penalty was the only way to end his messed up spree of molestation and murder, stating that he was uncontrollable and that if he were released back into the world, he would kill again. Washington state law allowed Dodd to choose his method of death: lethal injection or hanging. Dodd chose hanging, later stating in interviews that he wanted to die the same way his last victim Lee was killed. What made his choice gain extra attention by the media is that his execution was the first to occur by hanging since 1965.
His final words lacked an apology or any sign of actual remorse to the families of all of the children he molested, as well as the lives he took from from the Neer and Iseli families:
"I was once asked by somebody, I don't remember who, if there was any way sex offenders could be stopped. I said, 'No.' I was wrong. I was wrong when I said there was no hope, no peace. There is hope. There is peace. I found both in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Look to the Lord, and you will find peace."
Westley Allan Dodd was executed at 12:05 in the morning of January 5, 1993. He was pronounced dead by the prison doctor, and I can only hope that his death brought just the slightest amount of closure to the families of the children he hurt over the years. Hopefully they could finally rest knowing this disgusting excuse for a human being could never hurt anyone ever again.