A serial killer has claimed that his victims were actually "criminals" and that he was trying to "save" the woman he held captive in a shipping container as a sex slave for two months.
Todd Kohlhepp, 46, made the outrageous claims from behind bars in a South Carolina prison, writing a letter to a New York Post reporter that has now emerged.
According to the Daily Mail, it is the first time Kohlhepp has spoken out since he pleaded guilty in May to seven murders and the rape and kidnapping.
The killer's crimes came to light when authorities searching for missing woman Kala Brown, 30, tracked her cellphone to one of Kohlhepp's properties in November.
Cops heard Brown's screams and banging inside a heavily padlocked metal shipping container, and found her sitting inside with a chain around her neck connected to the wall.
She told police that Kohlhepp had shot and buried her boyfriend Charlie Carver, 32, and raped her twice a day, every day, while holding her captive for two months.
Now, Kohlhepp preposterously claims that Brown "wasn't raped" and that he was actually trying to help her.
"She was in [the] shipping container because I didn't want to hurt her, refused to turn her over to someone else who would and was buying time while I figured out a way to resolve this non-violently," he claimed in the twisted jailhouse letter to Post reporter Melkorka Licea.
Kohlhepp bizarrely claimed that, far from being his victim, Brown was "as big a criminal as I am".
"All of my victims were criminals," he went on. "No one wants to really look at who they were, families, connections.
"Not that it makes it right, I was wrong to do what I did," he then wrote, in his only hint of remorse for the vile crimes.
In addition to killing Carver, Kohlhepp has admitted to six other slayings: a quadruple homicide at a motorcycle dealership in 2003, and the murder of a husband and wife who were lured to his property very similarly to Brown and her boyfriend.
In his epistle from behind bars, Kohlhepp accused the Superbike Motorsports shop in Chesnee, South Carolina, where he shot four employees, of being a "chop shop" with "US$80,000 cash sitting in [a] safe."
His letter made no specific mention of Johnny Joe Coxie, 29, and Meagan Leigh McCraw-Coxie, 26, the victims he shot and buried on his property in 2015.
Kohlhepp killed Coxie immediately and tried to keep McCraw-Coxie locked away, but he said he killed her after several days because she tried to burn the container after he gave her cigarettes.
In an earlier letter, Kohlhepp lashed out at prosecutors and prison officials, saying they were trying to "hide" him from the press.
Murray Glenn, a spokesman for the Spartanburg County prosecutor, told the Post that Kohlhepp is an "attention seeker" who "needs to stay in prison and be forgotten".
Investigators discovered an arsenal of weapons inside Kohlhepp's home after his arrest, which they suspect he obtained illicitly due to a 1987 felony conviction for kidnapping in Arizona that made it illegal for him to purchase or own firearms.
Photos from the sick killer's home show weapons stashed around the property in toolboxes, drawers and shelves for easy access.
Among the many weapons confiscated were a Barrett Model 83A1 semi-automatic .50 calibre rifle and a Beretta Model 92FS semi-automatic pistol with an Ultima 9mm Sound Suppressor.
"He had more ammo than some of my counterparts in other counties do in their whole departments," Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said.
Authorities earlier revealed Kohlhepp bragged in one video about wearing gloves when loading his gun to assure no fingerprints were on the casings.
He also told authorities he pulled the gun apart and threw the components into different trash bins, putting the barrel into a bag of used kitty litter.
Even though it had been 13 years, Kohlhepp detailed each shot he fired at the Superbike shop in the quadruple-murder, including final shots to the forehead of 30-year-old Scott Ponder; 52-year-old Beverly Guy; 30-year-old Brian Lucas; and 26-year-old Chris Sherbert.
"That was one big building. I cleared that building in under 30 seconds," Kohlhepp said. "I'm sorry, but you guys would have been proud."
The investigators asked if anyone begged for their lives or said anything to him.
"I don't remember any of that. I will tell you that once I engaged, I was engaged. It was almost like a video game. It's not a game - you've been there, sir, you know what I am talking about," Kohlhepp said.
Kohlhepp moved to South Carolina in 2001 after 14 years in prison for a kidnapping in Arizona.
Authorities there said the then 15-year-old Kohlhepp forced a 14-year-old neighbour back to his home at gunpoint, tied her up and raped her.