Claim: A man killed 27 people after he underwent a heart transplant using an organ obtained from a serial killer.

Example:[Collected via e-mail, December 2015]

So I keep seeing these posts on Facebook about an Atlanta man who murdered 27 people after getting a heart transplant,  donated from a serial killer. Is this a true or false rumor?

serial killer heart transplant

Origins: On 2 December 2015 the web site World News Daily Report published an article titled “Man Killed 27 People After Being Transplanted Heart of Serial Killer,” which posited that:

A man was arrested this morning in the Georgian capital for the murders of 27 people over the last two years. 54 year-old Michael Rodriguez is accused of killing 23 women and 4 men, slaying at least one victim per month since December 2013.

According to his ex-wife, who divorced him in February 2015, the date at which the murders began coincides with Mr Rordiguez’s heart transplant operation. She says that his personality changed dramatically after he got his new heart, and that the operation is responsible for his actions. … The identity of organ donor is often kept secret, but the police investigators were given access to Mr. Rodriguez’s file. They discovered that the organ donor was a convicted serial killer named Dereck Emery, who was executed by the state in 2013.

The article included photographs of two men: purported serial killer Dereck Emery (above, right) and donor heart recipient Michael Rodriquez (above, left). However, the individuals depicted were actually Derby, Connecticut, resident Anthony White (arrested in September 2015 for an altercation with a cab driver) and Tampa resident Bernard Marsonek (arrested in March 2014 on animal cruelty charges).

Moreover, death row inmates and organ donations are a sticky bioethics-related subject. As of 2013, all requests made by condemned prisoners to offer their organs for donation after their executions have been denied.

World News Daily Report is a fake news site who admits in their disclaimer that all their articles are works of fiction:

WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website — even those based on real people — are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.

Previous World News Daily Report hoaxes include a claim that a baby in the Philippines was born with stigmata, that a lottery winner died after attempting to gold plate his testicles, that a 14-year-old virgin became pregnant as a result of receiving a flu shot, and that a slaughterhouse employee surreptitiously murdered dozens of his coworkers over a span of nearly two decades.

Last updated: 7 December 2015

Originally published: 7 December 2015