The Publisher of a “Hitman Manual” Was Once Sued for Aiding & Abetting Murder

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In 1999, an insurance company paid out a multi-million dollar settlement to family members of the victims in a triple murder case that had occurred seven years earlier. The company represented Paladin Press, a controversial book publisher.

Paladin, which specializes in action how-to manuals and supposedly forbidden knowledge, had published a book called “Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors” in 1983, which the killer used as a guide for the murders. Paladin also settled a similar lawsuit in 2006 for the book, which included such advice as “the proper way to make a kill with the recommended knife is to twist the blade before withdrawing it from a vital area.”
Above: The manual’s cover

The book was conveniently split into nine chapters, each detailing topics like how to find employment, how to scrub a serial number off the barrel of a gun, how to silence a barking dog, and how to improvise a silencer.

Obviously it wasn’t a good enough guide to help him evade capture however, and it later came out in the subsequent lawsuit against the publisher that it had been written by an imaginative Florida housewife, who probably wasn’t all that qualified to write advice on killing people.

As a result of the lawsuits it faced, Paladin stopped publishing the book and reportedly destroyed all remaining copies they held in their warehouse. But a handful of the books can still be found at rare book dealers and copies have circulated for free on the internet as a result.


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