Indonesia’s Gay Serial Killer Releases a Memoir and a Pop Album


Verry Idham Henyansyah may soon be put to death. For murder. Many, many murders. Henyansyah, the gay Indonesian serial killer known best as “Ryan,” is not going quietly. Though he faces a possible firing squad verdict handed down this month, the man responsible for the grisly murders of at least 11 people, including a mother and her toddler, is less focused on the end than he is being a creative artist. Indeed, behind prison bars, where he’s been since his July arrest, Ryan has penned an autobiography and a pop album.

If his serial killer status wasn’t enough for notoriety, living as an openly gay Muslim in these parts would be. And now he stands to profit from his fame, with the book and record, something American killers don’t get to do.

In his memoir The Untold Story of Ryan, the 31-year-old, who hasn’t denied the allegations against him, invites you into his childhood. He says was “a good boy who graduated at the top of his class from both elementary school and high school, and who went on to become a Koran studies teacher — ironically he also dated his first Koran studies teacher, a man, for nine years from the age of 20,” reports the Jakarta Globe. “He also related forays into the modeling and the fitness industries — he was an aerobics instructor — and his sporting interests.” Profits of the book, which has an initial print run of 4,000, will go to Ryan’s mother, he says. A frightening scenario, given the disturbing material in the book:

The book features a map of the backyard of the family home in rural East Java, which Ryan drew himself. In between a septic tank, a chicken coop and a fish pond are shown the graves of 10 of Ryan’s alleged victims, marked with letters that correspond with their names in the margin of the map.

Ryan writes that he killed some of his victims in a rage, which they provoked.

“Zaky and Aksony [two of the victims] did not only strike me with hurtful words, but their hands groped my vital [sex] organ so that I would date them. I hated their acts. Especially when my homosexuality was used as a reason for them to satiate their lust,” he wrote.

Four of his victims, three men and a woman, Ryan wrote, came to his house and attempted to seduce him into having sex with them, which infuriated him and led to their deaths. Ryan claimed that he fought both verbally and physically with some of his victims. But he also said in “Untold Story” that he couldn’t clearly remember all of his crimes.

After narrating the first five murders, he wrote: “If you ask me why I had the heart to kill those five, I cannot explain it with certainty because I really cannot remember all of it clearly.”

The penultimate chapter of Ryan’s jailhouse autobiography includes a detailed account of the last murder, that of Heri Santoso at Ryan’s apartment in Depok, West Java Province. “After regaining consciousness, apparently the red color that I saw was a pool of blood and the pieces of meat around me were pieces of a human body,” he wrote.

And then there’s his record My Last Performance, tracks of which he happily sang for an AFP reporter.

Remorse for his crimes was the motivating force behind the album, which he recorded in prison, Henyansyah told AFP.

“I write the songs for people I love. ‘Forgive Me Mother’ is for my mother. Another song, ‘Sun,’ is about lovers missing each other because they are separated until they die,” Henyansyah said.

Of the gruesome murders, Ryan adds:

Henyansyah said he killed Santoso, whose body was found on the Jakarta roadside, after Santoso offered him money and a car to have sex with his boyfriend.

“I can’t explain how it happened. I was furious and jealous. I only realised he was dead after I saw cut-up pieces of his flesh on my lap… the blood, the bad smell,” Henyansyah said from his prison cell.

“Suddenly I was gripped with extraordinary fear. All I wanted to do was to get rid of him,” he said.

According to Henyansyah, it was often jealousy or the unwanted romantic overtures of others — and the accompanying offers of money or reward — that drove him to kill.

He said he killed one young woman after she attempted to seduce him, then killed her young daughter because she was a witness.

“Most of (the victims) were gay men like me. They made me feel cheap. I got angry, we fought and I accidentally killed them,” he said.

“Not all gay men are promiscuous. Love is very important to me. It makes me furious when people say there’s no such thing as loyalty in the gay world.

All of which reminds us of a certain other gay killer in the news, who, now that the crime has been committed, hopes for fame and fortune.