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Chilling Web Site Reveals a Killer's Obsessive Plans

Crime: Liam Youens spelled out scheme in detail, but apparently nobody read it. A woman paid with her life.

December 05, 1999|J.M. HIRSCH | ASSOCIATED PRESS

NASHUA, N.H. — 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.

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