Krystian Bala

Krystian Bala (born 1973) is a Polish murderer, self-published writer, and photographer.[1]

Murder of Dariusz JaniszewskiEdit

In 2007, Bala was sentenced to jail for 25 years for planning and committing the murder of Dariusz Janiszewski, a Polish small business owner, in Wrocław in 2000. Janiszewski's dead body was discovered floating in a lake.[2] For three years the Wrocław police had failed to solve the murder, until a detective found some physical clues linking the murder to Bala. More sensationally, clues to the killing were found in Bala's first novel Amok (2003), published three years after Janiszewski's death.[3] It was as if Bala had written a "fictionalized" version of the real-life killing into his novel, using information only the murderer could have known.[3] The case drew widespread media coverage in Poland and resulted in increased sales of the novel as readers looked for clues in the novel to the real-life events of Janiszewski's death.[3]

Prosecutors believed the motive for the killing was tied to jealousy, as Bala had assumed that his estranged wife was having an affair with Janiszewski.[4]

In 2007 while Bala was in prison, an appeals court ordered a retrial of the case.[3] In December 2008, Bala had a new trial and was again found guilty and continued to serve a 25-year sentence.[5] Bala is working on a second novel tentatively titled De Liryk.[3] Police report evidence found on his computer of plans for killing a new victim to tie in with his second novel.[6]


The case was the subject of a 2008 investigative article by David Grann in The New Yorker, called "True Crime",[3] later published in The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession (2010). In 2010, Grann's article was optioned to be made into a movie by Focus Films.[7] The completed film, Dark Crimes (formerly titled True Crimes),[8] was shown at the Warsaw Film Festival in October 2016, and the Berlin International Film Festival the following February before being picked up for US distribution in April 2017.[9][10] The crime was also the subject of a dramatization in one segment of True Nightmares, Season 1, Ep.6, "No Way to Die", first aired November 18, 2015.

The case was also covered by Casefile True Crime Podcast on 15 October 2016.

In 2017, Krystian Bala's book Amok was the inspiration for the feature film Amok directed by Kasia Adamik. It was released theatrically in Poland on March 24, 2017. At the 42nd Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdansk, Lukasz Simlat won an award for Best Supporting Actor.[11]


  1. ^ * Polish author jailed for murder, BBC News, September 5, 2007
  2. ^ Brosnan, Joe (14 May 2015). "True Crime Thursday: Krystian Bala and Truth-Laced Fiction". Retrieved 10 February 2018. ... The detective, Jacek Wroblewski, unwillingly inherited the case of Dariusz Janiszewski, who was found dead floating in a lake.
  3. ^ a b c d e f David Grann, "Letter from Poland: True Crime", The New Yorker, Feb. 11 & 18, 2008, pp. 120–135.
  4. ^ "Murder, He Wrote: Author Sentenced to 25 Years over Homicide He Described in Novel". Spiegel Online. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2018. Prosecutors believed the motive for the murder was jealousy -- Bala supposedly thought that his estranged wife was having an affair with Janiszewski.
  5. ^ David Grann, "True Crime" in The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, 2010.
  6. ^ "Deception And 'The Devil And Sherlock Holmes'", NPR, Talk of the Nation, March 9, 2010.
  7. ^ "Mastromauro finds Identity", Variety, February 15, 2010.
  8. ^ "True Crimes (2016)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  9. ^ "True Crimes (2016) - Release Info". IMDb. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Jim Carrey, Charlotte Gainsbourg Film 'True Crimes' Lands at Saban". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Festiwal w Gdyni 2017: gala rozdania nagród. 'Cicha noc' tryumfuje". gazetapl (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-04-22.

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