PANAMA CITY, Panama – Accused U.S. serial killer William “Wild Bill” Holbert asked for forgiveness Monday for the crimes attributed to him in Panama and said that he never killed anyone from the Central American country.
The 37-year-old Holbert, a one-time Costa Rican resident who has admitted to the murders of five expats on his Panamanian property, pleaded to local officials ahead of his trial to be lenient in sentencing since he has never been accused of killing anyone from Panama.
“I ask the people of Panama to remember I have never in my life harmed a Panamanian citizen,” Holbert said in a written communication that he read aloud to local news outlets. “I never killed a Panamanian. My crimes were… only among the expat community.”
In addition to the five people he admitted to killing in Panama, Holbert has also been accused in Costa Rica of murdering a U.S. traveler in the Caribbean beach town of Puerto Viejo in 2007.
After being arrested in Nicaragua in 2010 with his wife and purported accomplice Laura Michelle Reese while they were on the run from authorities in Costa Rica, the couple was charged with the murder and robbery of five U.S. citizens.
The two were deported to Panama where they have been imprisoned ever since.
“I am completely sorry and I accept my guilt for my selfish actions,” Holbert added in his statement. He was set to begin trial Monday in Panama but the start was postponed by his lawyer for medical reasons.
According to the accusations against Holbert, the North Carolina native would establish friendships with wealthy U.S. expats and travelers. After gaining their trust, he would murder them and steal their property. Panamanian authorities found the bodies of five U.S. victims buried in the garden of Holbert’s Villa Cortez hotel on the Bocas del Toro islands.
“I have confessed and supported prosecutors 100 percent during this whole process and I have participated in the social programs that the prison system has offered me,” Holbert said.
Holbert has expressed deep admiration for Adolf Hitler, as well as a desire to start a church for drunks where he would be the main priest, sources close to the case told AFP.