EDMONTON – An Edmonton man who survived an attack by one of Alberta’s most notorious killers is telling his riveting story.
Gilles Tetreault authored The One Who Got Away, a personal account of his near-death encounter with Mark Twitchell.
“The motive was just to get the word out of what exactly happened to me and as well as maybe to make some awareness about online dating,” said Tetreault. “I just feel more comfortable now. I just didn’t want to talk about it at that time.”
Tetreault told Global News he wrote notes about his experience after it happened and during Twitchell’s trial.
“Just writing things down, it just helped me out so much,” he said. “Years later, I started reading through it and thought, ‘Hey, maybe I can write a book about it.'”
In 2008, Tetreault met who he thought was a woman named Sheena on a dating website. What he didn’t know was the person on the other side of the computer was aspiring filmmaker Mark Twitchell. Within a few days, he said the woman he thought he was talking to asked him on a date. He said he was asked to meet in a garage in a backyard because it was the easiest way to get to her suite. Despite saying some red flags went up for him, Tetreault said he wanted to meet new people and decided to go anyway.
When Tetreault arrived at the garage, he was violently attacked by a man in a hockey mask.
During his dramatic testimony in 2011, Tetreault told court he was attacked in the garage by a masked man who prodded him with a stun baton and then later threatened to shoot him.
“I’m thinking, ‘What’s going on?’ I’m still bewildered and I’m thinking, ‘Is this Sheena playing a trick on me or something?’ But as I turned around to find out who it was, all of a sudden I see this man in a painted-up hockey mask hovering over me and I just got chills down my back and I couldn’t believe it. As soon as I saw that I knew there was no date, there was no Sheena, it was all a hoax to get me there.
“At first I thought I was going to get mugged. Then as it progressed, I knew it was getting worse than that.”
Tetreault testified that when he lunged at the gun, he realized it was fake. He fought with the masked attacker before he was able to escape.
Watch below: Edmonton man recounts fending off an attack by one of Alberta’s most notorious killers.
Twitchell admitted during the trial that he had attacked Tetreault, but denied he ever intended to hurt him. He said he had staged the attack as part of an elaborate hoax for a book, movie and online entertainment project. He said he hoped Tetreault would write about the experience in the garage on the Internet, which he hoped would generate buzz for his project.
A week later, Twitchell murdered Johnny Altinger by luring him to the same Mill Woods garage rented by Twitchell.
Similar to Tetreault, Altinger thought he was going to meet a woman he met online when he showed up at the garage. When he arrived, Altinger was ambushed by Twitchell, beaten and stabbed.
Court heard how Twitchell, an amateur director and devoted fan of the TV show Dexter, followed his own movie script in killing and dismembering Altinger.
Twitchell wrote in detail about what had happened, which he claimed in court was fiction. He said he was trying to convince Altinger to take part in a publicity stunt for a slasher movie Twitchell had recently shot, but the two got into a fight.