Library patrons treated to an evening of ‘Mayhem & Murder’

Published 10:00 am Saturday, October 22, 2022

The popularity of true crime documentaries and podcasts has skyrocketed recently, and the Clark County Public Library might have been ahead of the curve.

Ten years ago, Adult Services Librarians Jennifer Mattern and Angela Turner started the Murder & Mayhem presentations featuring true crime tales.

The presentations were some of the library’s most popular programs until the COVID-19 pandemic stopped them.

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On Tuesday, 20 patrons came to the first program in almost three years to hear two tales from the American Midwest.

“Mine was Donald Harvey, who was a serial medical professional killer that we know was convicted of killing 44 people. He killed in London and the Cincinnati, Ohio area. He was ultimately killed in prison,” Mattern said.

Turner’s presentation focused on Gene Westerman from Missouri.

“My murder was a 15-year-old boy who murdered his father because he did not like him,” Turner said. “He was prompted to do that by his mother and her lover because they wanted to get the father out of the way.”

The programs initially centered around local crimes.

“We always picked historic crimes so they were not anything recent and would be offensive to remaining family members,” Mattern said. “We did that for years until we ran out of good stories and then branched out into Kentucky stories.”

The local stories were a huge hit with audiences.

“People enjoyed hearing about stories they could relate to and see a picture of the house that somebody lived in in the area,” Mattern said.

Turner, who grew up in the area, said having a knowledge of local matters spiced up the tales’ appeal.

“The local ones were so interesting because you knew the family names and knew the landmarks,” Turner said.

And every so often, the descendant of a tale’s subject showed up for the presentation.

“We had a man whose relative committed one of the murders that we did, and even he found that quite interesting,” Turner said.

Turner and Mattern bonded over their shared love of true crime and before they decided to start offering a program based on them.

Mattern said she loves to listen to true crime podcasts.

Turner is a fan of true crime books and loves reading crime/thriller fiction.

“I’ve always found it kind of fascinating to try to see what is behind the things that people do … What motivates people to do such horrendous things,” she said. “You hate what they do, but it is so fascinating.”

For more information about upcoming events at the library, visit its website at or check the weekly “What’s happening at the Library?” article published in the Sun.