As a young boy walks a garbage bag to the dumpster behind his parent's Chicago apartment, John Wayne Gacy Jr., one of America's most prolific serial killers, beckons from his car.
"Hey kid, you want to go talk about that job? " propositions Mr. Gacy, the man executed in 1994, for abducting and killing more than 30 boys during the 1970s.
"I can't. I have to go meet my mom," the boy replies. But Mr. Gacy lures the unsuspecting child back to his house where he toys with him and ultimately kills him.
This was what Michael Briere, the man charged with the murder in Toronto of Holly Jones, was watching two nights after the 10-year-old was abducted and dismembered.
He rented films at a rate of more than one per week, but the list is so diverse that it reveals little about the man's character. More than anything, he seemed to be swayed by whatever greeted him on the shelf of recent releases at Video 99, the medium-sized store near his Toronto apartment.
Records from Mr. Briere's video store show that on May 14, the 35-year-old software developer rented Gacy, the 2003 docudrama about a man who appeared within the community to be a model citizen and loving father but who had 29 of his young victims entombed in the crawl space under his house.
The next night, after Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino told a packed news conference his officers were "one phone call away from apprehending this monster," Mr. Briere selected suspense thriller The Truth About Charlie, directed by Jonathan Demme of Silence of the Lambs fame.
While Mr. Briere's ex-wife, Vicky Bolduc, has told reporters she left him in 1997 because of his addiction to video games and violent movies, the list of 184 rentals shows little evidence of these excessive habits. It is as peppered with horror films such as Jason 10 as it is with lighter romantic comedies such as Kate & Leopold.
While he veered toward the occasional gruesome thriller about serial killers -- like Red Dragon or American Psycho or From Hell -- Mr. Briere also spent evenings at home watching Erin Brockovich and The Green Mile.
In early May, a week before Holly was slain, he picked out two Hugh Grant movies -- About a Boy and Two Weeks Notice.
Even as images of Holly Jones filled TV screens across Toronto, Mr. Briere's viewing patterns remained relatively unchanged.
On June 5, the day police released a computer-generated image showing Holly in the clothing she was wearing when she disappeared, Mr. Briere spent the night with Jack Nicholson who depicted the depressed and lonely Warren Schmidt in About Schmidt.
The last movie he rented before being arrested on Friday was The Pianist, about a Polish musician who survived the Holocaust, but lost his family.
Mr. Briere rented that drama on June 13, the day police released a sketch of another suspected west-end child predator.
At the end of Gacy, the Chicago criminal is apprehended. Police later determined that in his exploits he picked up more than 2,000 boys.
Twenty-nine of them were found buried in Mr. Gacy's crawl space and four were retrieved from the Des Plaines River.
Mr. Gacy's last words before being killed by lethal injection in 1994 were: "Kiss my ass."
Recent videos rented by murder suspect.
Murder by Numbers
Josie and the Pussycats
The Wedding Planner
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
What Women Want