Keillers Park Murder
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There are a lot of criminal cases from around the world that barely (or never) make English-language news. I'm about to walk you through one of those that was pretty famous in Sweden, but you're unlikely to have heard of it unless you follow Swedish crime, black metal (particularly second wave), or Satanic news.
Let's orient ourselves first with this beautiful drone footage of Keillers Park created by YouTuber Agnis Bušmanis. The park is on Hisingen island in Gothenburg, Sweden, and on Hisengen island is a mountain called Ramberget. Ramberget means "Raven Hill" in English.
It's a stunning landscape with an unusual feel to it. The rock faces and boulders peeking out of the ground came from an ice sheet about 12,000 years ago. The entire area is popular with outdoor enthusiasts and tourists. You can see why on that drone footage.
23 July 1997
A sixteen-year-old boy was out for a literal walk through the beautiful Keillers Park in Gothenburg, Sweden. He stumbled across the body of a man, face down, at the base of an old water tower. The boy, who was probably traumatized for life, contacted the police.
Did you know?
Using "literal" or "literally" for metaphor or hyperbole is controversial in some circles. The claim is that people are dumb and misusing the word and should stick to the original meaning. However, those people are wrong. It's called semantic drift. It's literally a thing. Languages are living forms of communication that constantly evolve. If they didn't, we'd all be talking in "thee" and "thou" right now. Besides, using "literally" in this way isn't new. If you want to blame anyone for its use as metaphor or hyperbole, point your finger at Charles Dickens. He used it for emphasis in his 1839 novel The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. And Dickens wasn't even the first—it goes back to at least 1759. That's the same year Pope Clement XIII finally allowed the Bible to be translated into other languages. Do you know what happened literally seventeen years after that? The Declaration of Independence for the United States of America was literally created.
— Me. I'm literally block-quoting myself here.
Police arrived and quickly determined that the man had been shot twice. Once in the back—the bullet went straight through his heart—and a second shot to his head after he was already on the ground. Police found a bag and a head cap next to the body. The man had no identification on him.
Luckily, an officer recognized the man as someone who frequented nearby Svingeln, only about an hour's walk away. Police searched the Svingeln neighborhood. They discovered the man's name was Josef and that locals often saw him in the area with a Finnish-looking man. From the lead in Svingeln, police were able to identify the man as Josef ben Meddour, age 36, from Algeria. Josef had been living in Sweden for about ten years. He was gay, and the Finnish-looking man was his boyfriend.
At some point in your life, you may have heard that most murders are committed by someone known to the victim, often a friend or a romantic partner. Stats I found from the United States FBI and from the Office for National Statistics reporting on England and Wales showed that this generally holds.
Police located Josef's boyfriend (according to some sources, the man was Josef's ex-boyfriend) and took him into custody. They interrogated him for a few days and eventually released him due to lack of evidence. There was simply nothing to link him to the murder of Josef ben Meddour.
Let's go back to those stats I found. If you didn't click that link for England and Wales, check it out now right here. Look at the differences between male and female victims by their relationships with the perpetrator. Suddenly, the idea of Josef ben Meddour's boyfriend as the murderer isn't so solid, at least statistically. I have a decades-long career in tech and deal with statistics daily, and I can tell you this is a perfect example of why stats can be helpful, but you should always be careful about how you look at the data.
Investigators moved to their next best lead.
From 1991 until 2002, Algeria fought a civil war between the Algerian government and Islamist groups. During that time, there was an organization called the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, aka GIA from the French name: Groupe Islamique Armé. They wanted to create an Islamic state in Algeria by destabilizing and overthrowing the existing Algerian government. Josef, an Algerian national, was murdered in 1997—right amid the civil war going on in Algeria.
The GIA was actively engaged in kidnapping, assassination, bombings targeting security forces and civilians, massacres of entire villages (civilians), murders of expatriates in Algeria, terrorist attacks in France, and the list goes on. They were also known for tracking down and murdering members of the GIA who left the organization.
That sixteen-year-old boy taking a walk through Keillers Park found Meddour's body on 23 July. Investigators discovered that Josef received a visit from the GIA a day or two before his body turned up in Keillers Park. It turned out that Meddour opposed the GIA. Police believed Josef may have been the victim of political assassination by the GIA.
A sound theory—but they were wrong. Police tried unsuccessfully to dig up evidence supporting this idea but ended up with nothing.
And that was it. There were no other substantial leads to follow.
Nearly five months later and 290 miles (466 kilometers) away, police had an unexpected breakthrough in the case.
15 December 1997
A woman walked into a police station, asking to file a complaint against her boyfriend, a 22-year-old going by the alias Vlad. She told police that Vlad had beaten and threatened to kill her. Not only that, but Vlad bragged to her that he and his 20-year-old friend Jon were the killers in the Keillers Park murder case. She also said she knew the location of the murder weapon, a 9mm pistol.
Her Version of Events
Vlad and Jon were out partying in Gothenburg when they had a chance encounter with Josef on the street. The two invited Josef to take a walk to the park with them. They hiked up to an old water tower, then Jon and Vlad attacked Josef with a stun gun. Josef tried to run away, Vlad shot him in the back, and Josef fell. Vlad handed the weapon to Jon, and Jon shot Josef once in the back of the head.
Stockholm police contacted Gothenburg police, who confirmed that some of the woman's details matched the crime scene. I couldn't confirm this anywhere, but I assume she provided information that was never made public.
Police arrested Vlad at his home in Stockholm the same day. Vlad was carrying the 9mm pistol that the woman claimed was the murder weapon.
During a search of Vlad's apartment, police found a few interesting items.
- A satanic altar
- Pieces of human hair
- Human bone fragments
- A bottle containing human blood
- An old skull thought to be from a grave robbery
- Various films depicting human abductions
Unsurprisingly, the investigators felt they had a strong case. Police took him into custody pending charges for the murder of Josef ben Meddour, assault and threatening to kill his girlfriend, illegal possession of a weapon, and grave robbery.
He was also suspected of the murder of a 16-year-old girl named Malin Olsson, found strangled in a cemetery in 1994 at Östra kyrkogården in Gothenburg. Police never linked the case of Malin Olsson to Vlad or Jon, and the case is still an open mystery.
Jon Nödtveidt's Arrest
Police tracked down Jon Nödtveidt and arrested him at his apartment in Gothenburg a few days later.
Misanthropic Luciferian Order (MLO)
Both Jon Nödtveidt and Vlad were involved in an occult organization known as the Misanthropic Luciferian Order (now known as Temple of the Black Light.)
The MLO was founded in 1995 in Sweden. They released a modern grimoire called the Liber Azerate—cowritten by MLO member Magister Templi and Frater Nemidial, also known as Vlad.
At this point, I need to explain a bit more about the identity of Vlad. He had quite a few aliases:
- Born: Shahin Khoshnood-Sharis
- He changed his name to Nemesis Khoshnood-Sharis
- Alias: Vlad
- Alias: Falxifer
- Alias: Nemidial
- Alias: Frater Nemidial
- Alias: Victor Draconi (not to be confused with the fictional character Victor Draconi from author Jennifer Estep's young adult Black Blade series of novels.)
Why someone would have so few aliases, I'll never know.
Back to the Misanthropic Luciferian Order.
What are they? What do they believe?
I don't read Swedish and couldn't just crack open Liber Azerate for myself. So, I have unashamedly ripped this straight from Wikipedia.
The MLO believes in "Chaosophy": They believe that chaos is an infinidimensional and pandimensional plane of possibilities, in contrast to cosmos which only has three spatial dimensions and one linear time dimension. They also believe that, in comparison with the linear time of cosmos, chaos can be described as timeless in the way that it is not contained nor limited by one-dimensional time, and formless, because of its ever-changing and infinite number of space dimensions.
— Temple of the Black Light, Wikipedia
There's an interview hosted on an old angelfire.com website with a member of the MLO named Noxifer. Here's a link to it via the Wayback Machine, and the original angelfire.com site. The Angelfire website was last updated in 2002, which is why I've provided a Wayback Machine URL—in case the old Angelfire website goes down.
If the above description was confusing, then you're in luck because Jon Nödtveidt gave an interview for the Metal Centre webzine in June of 2003 and was asked about the MLO.
"I'm a member of the MLO (Misanthropic Luciferian Order) since 1995. MLO is a Chaos-Gnostic order, which seek the true light of Lucifer through the study, development and practice of all dark, gnostic and Satanic magical systems. Our goal is to create a synthesis between the dark traditions of all aeons, this way creating the occult keys that shall open the gates to the forthcoming endless dark aeon. My status within the order is the one of a full member of the second grade and a Priest of Satan. To become a candidate one must first of all already be an Anti-cosmic Satanist and actively practicing black magician. He/She must wholeheartedly sympathize and share the misanthropic and anti-cosmic values of the order, and then be ready to dedicate his/her entire existence to following his/her true will in accordance to the dark gods. Becoming an initiate is a long and hard process and and can take several years."
— Jon Nödtveidt via Metal Centre, June 2003
As far as the MLO and the murder of Josef ben Meddour, police interviewed former members of the organization and discovered that Vlad bought cats through classified ads and sacrificed them during rituals. From talking to former members, investigators also found that Vlad recently discussed performing human sacrifices followed by mass suicide.
Criminal inspector Lars Ohlin, who led the investigation, wrote an article titled Satanistmordet i Keillers Park, initially published in the book Nordisk kriminalkrönika 1999. Lars said that a few weeks before the murder, the MLO met at Jon Nödtveidt's home and made a list of victims for their human sacrifices. It included an MLO member who had defected, various band members from Dissection, and Nödtveidt's girlfriend. The murder planning led to other members defecting. At the time of the arrests of Vlad and Jon, the MLO only consisted of three members: Jon, Vlad, and Vlad's girlfriend.
Now that we've established a clear relationship between Vlad and Jon, we still haven't fully explored their motive. Jon Nödtveidt was 20 years old, Vlad was 22 years old, and Josef ben Meddour was 36 years old. They met seemingly randomly in the middle of the night and took a walk into a public park. Then, Vlad and Jon murdered Josef. But why? Was it a human sacrifice? Was Satanism the motive for the murder of Josef ben Meddour?
Let's take a quick detour into that bit of information about the MLO making plans to murder members of Jon Nödtveidt's bandmates—and remember, Jon Nödtveidt himself was at that meeting, helping to brainstorm the MLO's list of human sacrifices.
In 1989, Jon Nödtveidt started a band called Dissection—a melodic black-death metal band heavily influenced Sweden's black and death metal scenes. They were one of the first bands to blend black metal with melodic death metal. While researching this entire piece to write, I found several people who write about the music industry say they consider Dissection one of the most important and influential extreme metal bands of all time. More on their musical style here.
The band is now defunct, as well as the official website. In 2004, Andrea Biagi, the band's former press secretary, put up a statement regarding the murder. I've copied it below in its entirety, completely unaltered.
These are the hard facts to the contrary of all sensational speculations in the tabloid press/media.
On the 18th of December 1997, Jon together with fellow MLO-brother Vlad was arrested and accused for having shot a 37-year old homosexual man to death with two shots on July the 22, 1997. The 37-year old man was killed out of anger because he had harassed the two accues men.
While Jon and Vlad by mutual agreement did their best to mislead the police investigating the shooting by telling different stories, staying true to this mutual agreement and their brotherhood, they would also learn that some of their earlier so-called "brothers" and "friends" were stabbing their backs. For example former Dissection guitarist and MLO member Johan Norman, with his girlfriend, actively helped the police and the prosecutor to nail Jon and Vlad, by telling everything he could as well as fabricating the most exaggerated and unbelievable lies. This was the biggest possible betrayal and treachery from someone both Jon and Vlad before had regarded as one of their closest brothers and friends. It was obviously not enough for Johan to run away, hide from and betray everything that Dissection and MLO stood for. Now he would openly and in public take his duplicity to new heights. Johan and his girlfriend was also assisted by, among others, Nils Karlén (all defectors from the MLO) in their cowardly acts of public defamation and betrayal during the trial.
Jon and Vlad were more or less on trial for being Satanists and thus supposed "dangerous persons", proved (note the irony here) by testimonies from betraying "friends" such as Johan as well as the prosecutor's and police's manic efforts to, in front of the court, paint the worst possible picture of the two accused men. The prosecutor was displaying "evidence" of Jon's and Vlad's Satanic beliefs, things that didn't have a thing to do with the crime that they were accused for, like pictures of their personal Satanic altars and Satanic/Occult paraphernalia from their homes to show the court what kind of "extreme" persons Jon and Vlad were and how deeply devoted they were to Satanism. Turning absolutely everything they could come up with against the two
Well, of course they were Satanists! They didn't deny that, but being a Satanist is not a crime! But it nevertheless made them look real bad and, with the lack of hard evidence, this definitely was crucial to their conviction. The distasteful reveling in the case and the speculations by the sensationalistic judeo-christian media only made things worse. It's also remarkable to see how blind people can be, willing to believe just any bullshit that they are forcefed by the media, the police and prosecutors, not realizing that these are just puppets of a corrupt system, where money is the only value, and public "information" is subject to selection based on sensationalism and sellingpoints for selling single copies. And what could be more commercially hard-hitting than a "Satanic murder"?!
Denying the crime, they were in 1998 sentenced to 10 years prison. Jon was besides being sentenced for assistance in the shooting also convicted for illegal possession of firearms.
"To all those brainwashed, ignorant fools condemning the killing and stating their opinions concerning me or Vlad, I just want to say; Fuck you! Who are you to judge anyone?!"
Story written by Andrea Biagi, Dissection band secretary
— via the Wayback Machine.
Jon Nödtveidt Confession
At first, both Jon and Vlad denied any involvement in the murder. However, Jon was remanded on probable cause and then confessed.
Jon said that on the night of 21 July 1997, he and Vlad and two other friends spent the night drinking and partying around Gothenburg. The two unnamed friends headed home early that morning, and Jon and Vlad went to the city center to roam around. They wandered by a park known as a meeting place for gay men, and a stranger came up to them and asked them if they were Satanists, based on their clothing.
The man was Josef ben Meddour, and he wanted to know about Satanism. Jon claimed that he and Vlad initially tried to get away from the insistent Josef and his line of inquiry but eventually invited Josef to Jon's home. Based on Josef's behavior and speech, Josef touching Jon's hair and telling him it was beautiful, Jon and Vlad determined that Josef was homosexual. According to Jon, Josef's homosexuality offended Jon and Vlad and angered them.
They all arrived at Jon's home, but Josef refused to enter. Jon and Vlad suggested they take a walk to Keillers Park and continue discussing Satanism. Before they left, Jon entered his home and picked up a stun gun and the 9mm handgun.
Once they were at Keillers Park, Vlad took the stun gun from Jon and hit Josef with it. Josef attempted to flee, and Vlad took the 9mm from Jon and shot Josef in the back, then in the head.
After Jon made his confession, Vlad made his own. The story was essentially the same—only Vlad claimed Jon was the one who used the stun gun and the 9mm.
Lars Ohlin, who led the police investigation, stated that homophobia was an apparent factor, but the trial put a lot of focus on Satanism.
According to a Swedish radio documentary (P3 dokumentär om mordet i Keillers Park) the police officially classified and registered the murder as a homophobic hate crime.
The police recreation and prosecution's version of events didn't differ much from what Vlad and Jon offered up as confessions. The most significant difference was that Vlad and Jon each shot a bullet.
The trial sped along, considering both Jon and Vlad had confessed.
Vlad was convicted of murder, violence against his girlfriend, illegal possession of a firearm, and possession of body parts. He was sentenced to ten years in prison.
Jon Nödtveidt was convicted of assistance to murder and illegal possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.
They both appealed the verdict. They lost their appeals, and the court actually increased Jon's sentence to ten years in prison.
Release From Prison
In 2004, seven years after they went to prison, both Vlad and Jon were released.
Where Are They Now?
Victim: Josef ben Meddour
Josef was repatriated to Algeria and buried in Algiers. There are some unverified claims that his boyfriend gave an interview (with quotes from the man), but I haven't been able to find the source of this information. I couldn't find much information about Josef, so if anyone reading this knows more about him or even happens across a link to his obituary, please get in touch with me.
Criminal Inspector: Lars Ohlin
Lars was the criminal inspector who led the police investigation. He wrote an article about the case that was published in a book titled Nordisk kriminalkrönika 1999. The title means "Nordic Crime Chronicle 1999." It belongs to an entire series.
I found a great ~14-minute video that talks about the case and has a short interview with Lars. This video mentions three odd burns on Josef's back that are still unexplained. Warning: there are photos of Josef's body that the police took.
I also found a 1997 news Swedish news report on the case. ~4-minute video.
Convicted Murderer: Jon Nödtveidt
Jon committed suicide in 2006. He surrounded himself by a ring of lit candles and shot himself in the head. He left letters for his father and girlfriend. There was a book near him, but the reports are conflicting. It was either The Satanic Bible or Liber Azerate.
From my own research on the MLO, I would lean toward the book being Liber Azerate, because the MLO and Jon didn't seem to have anything to do with Anton Lavey's version of Satanism.
Convicted Murderer: Vlad
I found some unverified reports that Vlad and his girlfriend married. A few books have been released in a Liber Falxifer series, which leads me to believe he could be the author, as Falxifer was one of his numerous aliases.
As with most cases involving Satan, there's conflicting information out there, and I've done my best to both consolidate and uncover the truth. Stories like this have details located all over the place, and, weirdly, Wikipedia is both lacking and confusing to follow. I enjoy compiling as full of a picture as I can. If anyone reading this has any corrections or meaningful additions, please feel free to get in touch. If you were somehow personally involved with anyone mentioned in this story and you'd like to make a statement or be interviewed, definitely get in touch with me.
October 03, 2022: Update On Keillers Park Murder
A source close to the family of Josef ben Meddour reached out to me with more information about Josef, along with some photographs of Josef that have very likely never been seen before. Josef was born in a house in the Casbah of Algiers—at a commune that was popular back when the French colonized Algeria. Josef was raised by his father and mother, who both survived him years after his death.
The family knew Josef as kind and intelligent and always looked out and tried to help wherever possible, often going above and beyond expectations. He spoke English and Swedish and worked as a tailor as he never got around to finishing school. Josef left Algeria because one of his friends asked him if he wanted to go to France and the Nordic countries with her, and he accepted—eventually settling in Sweden to live. One anecdote from Josef's family was that someone asked him for a blender, so Josef left and later returned with six different ones.
The victims of crime often go overlooked, as the news tends to focus on the crime itself and the perpetrators. However, in all true crime cases, people's lives were affected, and the victims like Josef ben Meddour should be remembered, not only because of how their lives ended, but how they lived, who they were, and the people whose lives they affected while here with us.
Josef was buried in a cemetery in Algeria, along with his parents. May he rest in peace.