By Stephanie Johnson
Published In Serial Killer Magazine
March 23, 1971, Aileen Wuornos pushed against everything tangible, excruciating pain shooting through her from stem to sternum, glaring back at the jeering looks from those who surrounded her to both witness and aid the birth of her child. Shortly after, ragged and in pieces splayed out on the birthing table, with nothing left in her to contest, her baby boy was ripped from her side and adopted right out from under her. It was decided that a fourteen year old would know nothing about raising a child, still being one herself. She had said later that her child was her brother, Keith’s, although there was no evidence except for her word.
Having been drained and left out to dry, Wuornos made her own way, selling the only thing she had to sell, herself. Despite the scars on her face from a lighter fluid accident when she was six, she managed to drum up enough customers to get by, being that she was exiled from her family and community.
In 1974 Wuornos tried her hand at being someone else, someone completely new: Sandra Kretch. Unfortunately, Sandra Kretch was a lot like Aileen Wuornos, she was jailed in Jefferson County, Colorado for disorderly conduct, drinking in a vehicle and firing a pistol from a moving vehicle.
Just two years later she married a seventy year old yacht club president named Lewis Gratz Fell. Their marriage lasted a mere nine weeks before it ended in divorce and a restraining order against Wuornos for beating Fell with his own cane. If her motive for marrying a man half a century older than her was money, the necessity was no longer there after her brother had died of throat cancer, leaving her 10,000 dollars, just four days before the divorce was finalized to Fell.
And then the money ran out, and on May 20, 1981 she was caught for armed robbery. When she was released she tried her hand for the second time at an alias. She used her aunt’s name: Lori Christine Grody. Being Lori got her through a couple of other petty crimes like forgery, driving without a license, grand theft auto, and things of that nature. It was under this alias that she was first caught for robbing one of her customers at gun point in her vehicle.
1987 was the year of Susan Blahovec, and it was at this time that she met her lover Tyria Moore, seven years younger than her and working as a maid in a hotel. Wuornos, Blahovec at the time decided to support herself and her lover through prostitution, a career that she had pursued off and on for more than half of her life. Wuornos kept to her wild ways and was unable to stay off the radar.
So the next year Wuoronos took her final alias, Cammie Marsh Greene. But even as Greene, little altercations followed her, arguments between her and city bus drivers, landlords, and grocery store managers over lottery tickets pulled at her and tugged. Keeping her head down and muddling through was all she could think to do to make it through the world with her Moore.
In 1989 she rarely went anywhere without a pistol, and it came in handy one night while with a John by the name of Richard Mallory allegedly got out of hand with Wuornos, tying her hands to the steering wheel and torturing her on a dirt road close to I95 in Volusia County, Florida. Pictures were taken of the steering wheel, showing scratch marks that could prove that Wuornos’ wrists were secured to the wheel. Wuornos claimed self defense, in the murder of Mallory. It was later revealed that Mallory had served ten years for rape, but this information was neglected at the time of Wuornos’ trial.
Mallory’s body was found naked wrapped up in a carpet by two men looking for sellable junk on December 13, 1989. But Wuornos didn’t stop with Mallory, an unidentified body was found May 5, 1990 naked on I75 in Brooks County, Georgia. After that, the bodies were found one right after the other:
June 1, 1990—David Spears, I75 Citrus County, Florida
June 6, 1990—Charles Carskaddon, I75
July 4, 1990—Peter Siems’ car (no body), State Rd.315, Marion County, Florida
August 4, 1990—Troy Burress, Ocala National Forest
September 12, 1990—Dick Humphreys, Marion County, Florida
November 19, 1990—Walter Gino Antonio, logging rd. in Dixie County, Florida
Wuornos was caught and with the help of Tyria Moore, was given a death sentence by the state of Florida in 1992. After ten years in prison, suffering maltreatment from state employees, Wuornos made the decision to withdraw her prior plead of self-defense, and claim cold blooded murder:
I killed those men, robbed them as cold as ice. And I’d do it again, too. There’s no chance in keeping me alive or anything, because I’d kill again. I am so sick of hearing this ‘she’s crazy’ stuff. I’ve been evaluated so many times. I’m competent, sane, and I’m trying to tell the truth. I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again. –Wuornos, 2001
Wuornos is hardly the first female serial killer in America, let alone the world, and after learning her story one starts to wonder whether or not she even qualifies as a serial killer to begin with. The majority of female serial killers tend to use a more intimate weapon, like poison. And many of their victims are people who have been close to them. There’s a certain level of feelings associated between the killer and her victim. Wuornos’ weapon of choice, on the other hand, was a .22 caliber pistol, a fast and clean method of murder, and her victims were complete strangers she picked up as Johns.
Her style lacks a certain familiarity that females have, and instead moves to a more anonymous feel that her stiff-upper-lip lifestyle cultivated. Even though this is out of character, it is hard to believe that every month or so, she had to kill in self-defense. It would mean that her dangerous life-style was only ever a detriment once a month in the year 1990, out of all the years that she’d been working the highway. Or that after Mallory supposedly mistreated her, she became a magnet to all other creeps, and once a month she had to defend herself.
Or, we could recognize this for the cycle it is, notice the regularities: naked men, monthly cycle, in cars near highways, .22 caliber shots. There is a pattern here.
Was it her environment chipping away at her until she cracked? The beatings she faced as a child from her grand parents, the baby that was stolen from her, her life of selling flesh, they were all just bricks in the wall. Or perhaps it was genetics. Wuornos’ father was Leo Arthur Pittman, a convicted child molester, passed his time in his younger years would tie two cats together by their tails, and toss them over a clothesline to fight.
Regardless of her motive, Aileen Wuornos will go down in history as a killer that preyed on truck drivers and who’s last words claimed to be back with a mother ship.
AILEEN WUORNOS QUOTES
"May your wife and children get raped, right in the ass. (to the jurors who convicted her) "
"They say it's the number of people I killed, I say it's the principle. "
"They're daring me to kill again. "
"To me, this world is nothing but evil, and my own evil just happened to come out cause of the circumstances of what I was doing."
"Everything they said about me was so full of lying. It wasn't funny. None of that stuff was true. I am totally sane. I didn't do drugs."
"I am a serial killer. I would kill again."
"I need to die for the killing of those people."
"I really got tired of it all. I was angry about the johns."
"I robbed them, and I killed them as cold as ice, and I would do it again, and I know I would kill another person because I've hated humans for a long time."
"I wanted to clear all the lies and let the truth come out. I have hate crawling through my system."
"I'm one who seriously hates human life and would kill again."
"My main concern is if this composer has been made aware of the fact that I've come clean in all of my cases. I killed in pure hate, robbing along the way. So if this person hasn't, then I'd sure appreciate it if someone would inform him or her of it."
AILEEN WUORNOS TRIVIA
She had requested that Natalie Merchant's song "Carnival" be played at her funeral.
Within weeks of her arrest, Wuornos had engaged agents to sell the rights to her story as well as three of the law enforcement agents who were tracking her down. Inaccurately touted as "the first female serial killer," Wuornos' life has been documented in numerous books and portrayed in several films and television shows.
The 2003 movie Monster, starring Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci, tells a highly fictionalised Wuornos' story from the moment she met Selby Wall (based on Wuornos' lover and four-year companion, Tyria Moore) until her first conviction for murder. For her performance as Wuornos, Theron received the Academy Award for Best Actress. This award was given on what would have been Wuornos' 48th birthday, although this was not mentioned in Theron's acceptance speech. Theron donned prosthetic teeth, wore spray-on freckles and gained thirty pounds to play Wuornos.
Wuornos declined the traditional last meal, which could have been anything she wanted for under $20, and instead was given a cup of coffee.
Her last words were "I'd just like to say I'm sailing with the Rock and I'll be back like Independence Day with Jesus, June 6, like the movie, big mothership and all. I'll be back."
Why Do Women Kill?
By Lorenzo Garza
Published In Serial Killer Magazine
It is a common misconception that serial murder is a boy’s club. But with the not-so recent release of “Monster” people have a much larger misconception; that female serial murder is a new phenomenon. Though Aileen Wuronos has received the most media coverage and deemed “America’s First Female Serial Killer”, this couldn’t be farthest from the truth. There have been several cases of female killers long before the term “Serial Killer” was born. So what makes Wuronos so different? I believe that the methods, victims and motive that Wuronos selected did not fit normal female characteristics not only for serial murder, but in general.
Method: Most female serial killers who act alone, like Belle Gunness or Mary Ann Cotton, fall into the category of poisoners. What makes Wuronos interesting to the general public, I suppose, is that she used a gun. Comparing a female killer’s pathology to a male is to compare basic female to male character traits. Using a gun or knife is a very violent, phallic way of showing dominance to one’s victim. So, in turn Wuronos established violent , masculine behavior unlike her previous female counter parts. It is a natural instinct for a female to nurture, hence, poisoning a loved one’s food.
Victims: One of the most important differences in the pattern between male and female murderers are victims. Although it is a common trait amongst all killers to murder people they are familiar with, (Like Thomas Harris’ infamous character Hannibal Lecter says, “He covets what he sees everyday.”) but the female killer seems to murder people they actual care about, people very close to them. Serial murder should be closely compared in all regard to dating. The biggest difference of course, the wanted outcome is murder and not just sex. Unlike a male, who can have sex with (or kill) as many anonymous partners (victims) as they can, a female’s pathology tends to take time to get to know their partners (victims). Whether the woman is a poisoner, Black Widow, or a women with P____ Syndrome, the need to know their victims on a personal level seems to be there. The way a women will associate sex with love and family, the perverse of that manor of thinking to a psychopath is to associate murder with love and family.
Female Serial Killers
By Jessica Robinson
Published In Serial Killer Magazine
The first recorded female serial killer was Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Transylvania. Born in 1560 to a wealthy and renowned family, she was known to be particularly brutal to her servants and tortured them on many different occasions. She began murdering young girls after she discovered their blood revitalized her skin. In 10 years, she killed over 650 young women. At first, she was very careful with the disposal of the bodies. Farmers would find the corpses in their fields completely drained of blood (which might have fueled legends of vampires). But after a while, she knew no one could or would do anything to her, so she supposedly had servants toss the bodies off the top of the castle. When she was finally caught, she was sentenced to death, but it was commuted to life imprisonment and she was bricked into her bedchambers (an opening was left so her guards could feed her). She died at the age of 55.
Since then, there have been several other female serial killers, and close to 44% of them committed their crimes as an accomplice. They are usually partnered with a male, and when these duos are captured, the women usually testify against the men and get significantly shorter sentences. The 1980s in Los Angeles saw the emergence of Carol Bundy and Douglas Clark. This pair killed at least six young women who were either hitchhiking or working as prostitutes on Sunset Boulevard. Clark would pick up his intended victim, then shoot them in the head while they were performing oral sex (I don’t know about you, but this seems like a very risky way to kill somebody. What if the bullet goes through their mouth, or they clench their jaws after they are killed?). He would then have sex with their cadavers. Carol didn’t have much to do with the murders. On one occasion, she sat in the back seat while Clark murdered a victim in the front. She also applied make-up to a severed head so Clark could have sex with it in the shower. When Clark’s interest in her started to wane, she attempted to impress him by murdering a male victim and severing his head.
Carol had tried on at least one occasion to turn her partner into the police. She never identified herself, and it was assumed that she was a crank caller, but she had detailed information about each murder. Unfortunately, the call was accidently disconnected, and Carol never called back. It wasn’t until she told a coworker about the murders that they were arrested. Clark was sentenced to die, while Carol was given two consecutive life terms.
Another famous killer duo was Charlene and Gerald Gallego. This pair was responsible for the murder of 10 victims, mainly teenage girls, between September 1978 and November 1980. They normally kidnapped girls from the Sacramento shopping malls, but they also killed in Nevada and Oregon. They would rape them, and then beat their heads in with a tire iron or shoot them with a .25-caliber pistol.
Charlene came from a stable family background. She was a violin player and had an IQ of 160. Like most teens/young adults, she rebelled against her middle class family and started doing drugs and having sex. She met Gerald while buying drugs at a club. Gerald had a long history of sex offenses, beginning when he was 13 (he raped a 7-year old girl). For whatever reason, Charlene was drawn to his “bad boy” persona. When the pair was finally caught, Gerald was sentenced to death, and Charlene received a 16-year sentence for testifying against him.
Perhaps one of the strangest cases of a man and woman teaming up to kill others was husband and wife Ray and Faye Copeland. Ray was 75 at the time of his trial, and Faye was 69. They had been accused of murdering five drifters, although seven more remained unaccounted for. They would lure the men into their home, send them to pay for cattle at auctions with bad checks, then shoot them in the back of the head when they were no longer needed. They were buried on the couple’s property, and it is said that Faye made a quilt out of their clothes.
At her trial, Faye claimed that she had no idea Ray was committing the murders. Her defense attorneys tried to claim that she suffered from battered wife syndrome. While it is probably true that she was an abused spouse, the jury didn’t buy it and sentenced her to four counts of murder and one count of manslaughter. Apparently, the quilt and a list with all of the drifter’s names written in Faye’s hand were enough to implicate her. Unlike many of the other female accomplices, Faye was sentenced to death by lethal injection. She was never executed, though, because in August of 2002, she suffered a stroke that left her partially paralyzed, and in September of the same year she was paroled into a nursing home. She died on December 30, 2003. Her husband died in prison of natural causes while awaiting his death sentence.
There is one account of two women teaming up together to commit murder. These women were Gwendolyn Graham and Catherine May Wood. Wood was a 450-pound recently divorced supervisor in a nursing home, and Graham was a nurse’s aid. They entered into a lesbian relationship, and Graham thought it would be a sexual thrill to murder six elderly patients. Things didn’t work out exactly as they planned, but Graham did kill five victims while Wood stood guard. When they were caught, Wood received a 20- to 40-year sentence in exchange for her testimony, while Graham was given six life sentences.
Female serial killers who don’t work with a partner are rarer, accounting for “nearly one out of five serial murderers.”1 Male serial killers usually kill for sexual gratification, and they target strangers. A community knows they have a male serial killer on the loose because they find the victims. Women serial killers are harder to identify and catch because they usually target victims in hospitals, retirement homes, boardinghouses, hotels, or within their own families where the killings can go unnoticed or are not recognized as murders. Women serial killers are classified into three categories: Black Widows, Angels of Death, or Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.
Black Widows are the most common type of female serial killer. They focus on victims with whom they have an established extensive relationship such as their husbands, children, and lovers. “Almost 85 percent of these types of killers use poison to murder their victims,”1 and their motive is material gain. Belle Gunness was probably the most prolific Black Widow serial killer in the U.S. She was born November 11, 1859, in Selbu, Norway. She was 5’8” and over 200 pounds. It is a fact that she killed most of her suitors, boyfriends, and two daughters, and she is suspected of murdering both of her husbands and all of her children.
Her first victim was her husband, Mads Ditlev Anton Sorenson. He died on July 30, 1900, suspiciously the day that his two life insurance policies overlapped. His body was inspected by two doctors--one who believed he had suffered from strychnine poisoning and the family doctor, who believed that he died from heart failure (he had been treating him for an enlarged heart). An autopsy was never performed. The insurance company awarded her the $8,500, and she used it to buy a farm on the outskirts of La Porte, Indiana, where she moved with her three daughters.
Belle then married Peter Gunness on April 1, 1902. One week after the ceremony, his infant daughter died of unknown causes while in Belle’s care. In December of 1902, Peter died in a tragic accident. Apparently, he had been working in the shed when part of a sausage-grinding machine fell from a high shelf and split his head open, killing him instantly. This death netted Belle $3,000. Jennie Olsen, a 14-year old adopted daughter of Belle, supposedly told a classmate that her mother killed her father, but she denied the claim later. Unfortunately for her, it was enough to have her killed and buried on the property (but that wasn’t until later).
Belle was a suspect in the murder of her husband, but the jury found her not guilty. After her hearing, she hired a man named Ray Lamphere to help run the farm, and it was later in this same year that Jennie disappeared. It was also around this time that Belle ran a personal in the Chicago daily newspapers. Basically, she claimed to be searching for a husband with equal means so that they could combine their fortunes. All of the suitors who answered the ad never made it off the farm alive, except for one.
Ray Lamphere was still working for her at this time, and he became incredibly jealous of all the suitors. For some reason, he was deeply in love with Belle, and grew tired of seeing her with other men. He began making scenes, so she fired him in 1908. After she got rid of him, she went to the local courthouse and demanded that they perform a sanity trial on Lamphere. He was found to be in his right mind, so she went back later and claimed that he was a threat to her family. He was arrested for trespassing, but he kept coming back, and she kept driving him away.
Between Lamphere and the brother of a suitor that had been murdered, Belle needed to cover up her crimes. She told a lawyer in La Porte that she feared for her life and her children’s lives because Lamphere had threatened to kill her and burn down her house. She made a will that left everything to her children, then on April 28, 1908, her house was destroyed by a fire. They found four bodies in the cellar, one of which was a woman who could have been Belle, but the head had been cut off, so they couldn’t identify her. The other bodies were those of her children. Of course, the blame was put on Lamphere. He was accused of murder and arson, but on November 26, 1908, he was cleared of murder and sentenced to 20 years for arson.
Shortly after the fire, investigators unearthed the remains of more than 40 men and children that had been buried in shallow graves on the property. On January 14, 1910, the Reverend E.A. Schell came forward with a confession from Lamphere that revealed Belle’s crimes and swore that she was still alive. According to the confession, when a victim arrived, Belle would make them comfortable and cook them a large meal. She would drug his coffee and wait for him to fall into a stupor, then split his head open with a meat cleaver. On some occasions, she would wait for him to go to bed, then chloroform him in his sleep. She would then take the body down to the basement and dissect it. The remains would either be bundled and buried in the hog pen and in the ground around the house, dumped into the hog-scalding vat and covered with quicklime, or merely chopped up and fed to the hogs in the middle of the night. Lamphere also told the priest that the headless woman in the basement was a woman from Chicago who was lured to the farm under the pretense of becoming a housekeeper. Belle drugged the woman, bashed in her head, decapitated her, then threw the head into a swamp.
According to some reports, Belle accumulated over $250,000 from her victims. She was sighted in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles for decades after her supposed murder. To this day, they still do not know the fate of Belle Gunness.
Angels of Death have a tendency to be women who murder patients in their care. The motives behind the killings range from profit to the praise they receive when they revive a patient (usually unknown to others that the emergency was induced by the killer). Some Angels of Death commit the crimes because they receive a sense of power or thrill from taking a life. Others believe that they are missionaries; these individuals think that certain types of patients do not deserve to live or that they are saving their patients from unnecessary pain.
Genene Jones is an Angel of Death. She was a pediatric nurse in several medical clinics around San Antonio, Texas. It is purported that she killed between 11 and 46 infants who were in her care, but she was only sentenced for the murder of Chelsea McClellan and the attempted murder of Rolando Jones. Jones supposedly killed the babies so she could feel like a hero and needed by others.
Jane Toppan could also be considered an Angel of Death. She was born in 1854, and confessed to killing 31 people. She began training as a nurse at Cambridge Hospital in 1885, and during her residency, she used to experiment on her patients with morphine and atropine. Apparently, she altered their prescribed dosages to see what it did to their nervous systems. In 1889, she worked at Massachusetts General Hospital where she claimed several more lives; she was fired the following year. She went back to Cambridge, but was fired from there because she recklessly prescribed opiates. After that, she began a career as a private nurse.
In 1895, she began a poisoning spree by killing her landlords, and in 1899, she murdered her foster sister. By 1901, she had moved in with an elderly man, Alden Davis, and his family to take care of him after the death of his wife, who she killed. It only took a few weeks before she killed him and two of his daughters. She then moved back to her hometown to court her late foster sister’s husband. Toppan poisoned him so she could nurse him back to health, and even poisoned herself to illicit his sympathy. Unfortunately, her ruse didn’t work, and he threw her out of his house.
The surviving members of the Davis family were suspicious, so they ordered toxicology exams on the youngest daughter. They found that she had been poisoned, and the local authorities arrested Toppan on October 26, 1901. In 1902, she confessed to 11 murders, and on June 23, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to the Taunton Insane Hospital where she died.
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is a convoluted syndrome, but most of the killers who are classified here are looking for attention. The syndrome was named after Hieronymus Karl Friedrich von Munchausen who was an eighteenth-century German baron and mercenary officer in the Russian Cavalry. When he returned from the Russo-Turkish wars, he entertained his friends by telling them stories of his many exploits. As time went on, the stories grew more and more expansive, and he gained some notoriety after a collection of his tales were published.
In 1877, Charcot observed adults who attempted to gain hospitalization and treatment through self-inflicted wounds or fake medical documents. In 1951, Asher noticed a similar pattern in patients who made up histories of illness. Invariably, these stories led to complex medical investigations, hospitalizations, and some needless surgeries. Today, it is recognized as a psychiatric disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.
Genene Jones would fall into this category, along with some women who have killed their children for the attention they get from their families. They like to be the center of attention. Marybeth Tinning is a good example because eight of her children died between 1972 and 1985. At first, it was believed the children had died from SIDS, but after the eighth child died (her 9-month old daughter), concerned relatives insisted on an autopsy. The findings were that the child had been suffocated, and Tinning confessed to the murder of the infant and two other children, but claimed she did not kill the others. She also claimed to be poisoning her husband. She was sentenced to 20 years to life in 1987.
Most female serial killers fit nicely into one of the above categories, but there always has to be one that defies all the rules. That one is Aileen Wuornos, who targeted victims she picked up while prostituting. Wuornos was 35 years old and killed six men in Florida. She robbed her dead victims, but her motive for killing was not for money; her murders stemmed from revenge or rage that was induced from a life-time of real and perceived abuse. During her trial, she claimed her murders were committed in self-defense, which could have been true of her first victim who was a convicted rapist, but the other five had no records of sexual assault. She was executed on October 9, 2002.
Wuornos’s family life is comparable to many male serial killer’s lives. She was born February 26, 1956, in Rochester, Michigan. Her mother was 16 years old and divorced from Aileen’s father, who was a child molester who spent most of his life in and out of prison. When Aileen was born, he was imprisoned for the rape and murder of a 7-year old girl (it might not have been a bad thing that she never knew him), and he hung himself in his cell. In 1960, Aileen and her older brother were abandoned by their mother, who left them with their maternal grandparents.
Wuornos engaged in sexual acts with multiple partners (including her brother) from a young age, and she gave birth to a son at the age of 13. She claimed that she had been raped by an unknown man, and her son was given up for adoption. Her grandmother died of liver failure on July 7, 1971, and at age 15, Aileen was rendered homeless by her grandfather, so she entered into prostitution. Aileen had a long list of arrests. Her first murder occurred on November 30, 1989, and she was apprehended on January 9, 1991.
During her trial, she “became a cause for some factions of the feminist movement, who believed that her crimes were a response to systemic abuse at the hands of men.”1 There is no denying that abuse had taken place, but whether it was by the men in her life or by her, that is a different story. Many of her arrests were due to confrontations at bars where, in one incident, she was accused of throwing a cue ball at a bar tender’s head. Her husband (70-year old Lewis Gratz Fell) took out a restraining order against her after she hit him with his own cane.
Most of her victims were found in wooded areas, and they had been shot in the back of the head. Like a male serial killer, Aileen is often presented as a sexual killer, mainly because the murders took place while she was working as a prostitute. Although, it is debatable whether or not the killings gave her sexual gratification.
The vast majority of female serial killers are white with a median age of 30. They are usually employed and come from a higher socioeconomic class. Like their male counterparts, they generally contemplate and plan their murders carefully. Unlike male serial killers, women’s killing careers last for about 8 years, which is twice as long as a male serial killer. Although the occurrence of female serial killers is rare, they are not any less deadly than men, and the nature of their crimes makes it difficult to catch them. It is possible that there may be more out there that have gone undetected.
Male Vs. Female Serial Killers
By Melissa Hogle
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
When people think of serial killers they generally think of men and that's hardly a surprise since a vast majority of serial killers are, in fact, male. But it would be a mistake to think that women, "the fairer sex" as the old saying goes, aren't every bit as capable of multiple murders as their male counterparts. They tend to go about their murders a little differently, and select different kinds of victims to prey upon, but they are no less guilty of their crimes and get no less of a thrill in causing the deaths of others. And, of those chosen to be their victims, they are no less terrifyingly dangerous.
Male serial killers are well known for being abhorrently violent towards their victims. They stab, shoot, and bludgeon. Their kills are unmistakably aggressive, there's no hiding a serial murder done by a man should the body be found. This isn't the case with women serial killers. They kill in much more quiet, far less detectable, methods but whether they are "gentler" methods is really a moot point: Would you rather be shot in the head or smothered by a pillow?
Likely, more than even smothering, female serial killers are known for poisoning their victims. It's hardly a surprise...poisons are easily accessible, difficult to detect (compared to a knife wound), and incredibly effective. Nannie Doss, a.k.a. the "Giggling Granny", killed four husbands, two children, a grandchild, two sisters, and her mother between the years of 1929-1953 by slipping rat poison in their whiskey, coffee, or stewed prunes. Rat poison, by the way, tends to include the rather infamous poison of arsenic as an ingredient; this deadly poison is also found in wallpaper, paint, weed killer, pesticides, and tanning products. So it's almost natural that women aiming to kill should end up using arsenic, it's likely already in their home or part of an easily excusable purchase ("Well of course I bought a large supply bug spray, I have a garden and whole backyard to tend to!").
I Love You To Death
Another major, and somewhat frightening, difference between male and female serial killers is their victim choice. Male serial killers select victims they don't know and a great deal of their efforts goes into trolling for victims that suit their needs (this is outside, of course, the few that sometimes start or end their killings with a relation such as Ed Kemper with his grandparents and mother). For the most part, if able, they gear their victimology towards their sexual preference; straight male killers go for women, gay male killers go for men, bisexual killers will attack either, and pedophile killers target children. But, no matter what, they tend towards targeting strangers; whether it’s those they come across the day of the kill or those they follow for awhile to get to learn the routine of, the victims themselves are not those the killer has known for years and have an already established relationship with. This is not true with female serial killers.
Victims of women serial killers are close to them, victim and killer know each other and have a relationship of some kind; the victims are dating, related to, or otherwise under the care of the killer. Due to the victims they select these killers have earned themselves rather catchy monikers such as Blackwidows for those women who marry, then kill, men over and over (frequently having the secondary motive of gaining life insurance money from them as with Mary Ann Cotton who killed 20-21 people, including 4 husbands) and Angels of Death for those nurses choosing to prey upon their helpless patients. One more recent Angel of Death was Genene Jones of Texas who killed as many as 46 infants and toddlers from 1971-1984. Using injections of the blood-thinner heparin and the muscle-relaxant succinylcholine to induce medical crises in her patients she would then try to revive them in order to receive praise and attention...sadly most the little ones in her care never survived that first injection.
So, with these keys differences in male and female serial killers it's only natural to wonder if there are any similarities. Yes, there's one core similarity...They both get a sick, sadistic, sexual thrill out of their kills. Jane Toppan played nurse as she killed 31 people via poison from 1885-1901 and, once caught, confessed that killing gave her a "voluptuous delight". She went on to admit that her murders were motivated by "an irresistible sexual impulse" and that she would climb into the beds of her victims as they were in their death throes in order to achieve orgasm. ...Man or woman it's clear that a serial killer will have that same underlying motive of achieving a twisted pleasure from their victims’ pain and death. So why the differences in methodology and victimology?
It's somewhat related to the cliché of men having to "stick it wherever they can" and women needing to "settle down and nest". Male sexuality is penetration-based, it's promiscuous, and it’s rather undiscriminating. In the male serial killer, that relates to weapons that enter or batter the body, killing an individual of their preference (male/female/child) and quickly moving on to the next and then the next, and making whatever strangers they can their prey. Women serial killers, on the other hand, need to have a relationship with the victim before they kill the person. Their pleasure comes not from violating some stranger's body with a penile substitute (such a knife or bullet) but from perverting the very concept of love into a gruesome show of tenderness and intimacy and, from there, the differences in the rest arise.
(End Note: There is one exception to the rules above: Aileen Wuornos. But, since she's the exception and not the rule in female serial killers she'll be covered separately at another point in time.)
The Myth of Male Victims
By Melissa Hogle
Published In Serial Killer Magazine
Frequently, when victimology (the study of victims of crime) is discussed in criminal profiling it conjures up thoughts of beautiful young women and the near unspeakable things a serial killer has done to them. But that image discounts a large portion of victims…the men. Male-victimhood is very real and the idea that men can't, or are rarely, victims of serial killers is a big, and potentially harmful, myth. It’s important for law enforcement and the public at large, especially the male population, to be more aware of the potential danger so we all can stay just a little safer. In order to do so here are five common, but inaccurate, beliefs that people should be aware of:
Myth #1: Men aren't really victims of serial killers.
Au contraire mon fraire, they most certainly are! The reasons they become victims are varied, some are just the unfortunate guy between the killer and the girl while others are, in fact, very much the target. Their murders just happen to be seriously downplayed or overlooked. A series of murders in which the victims are all gay men strangled to death may be attributed to a series of lover's spats or sexual encounters turned violent without a connection ever being made. And a woman who loses a few husbands might be considered to just have terrible luck instead of a possible suspect. But, in both cases, it’s very likely that those men were victims of different kinds serial killers – likely a gay male serial killer (like straight male serial killers hunting women the gay serial killer is most likely to target the culture, he feels, has rejected him) in the first scenario and a “black widow” (a woman who marries, then kills the husband, whether for profit or enjoyment or both) serial killer in the second.
Myth #2: The men that are victims aren't victims of serial sexual homicide.
It's naive to think that and also totally wrong. Anyone remember Jeffery Dahmer? He murdered 17 males between 1978-1991; murders that included a number of sexually charged acts beside the kill itself - such as rape, torture, dismemberment, necrophilia and cannibalism. Even without those sexually charged acts Dahmer's own quote concerning what he did makes it a sexual homicide: "I would cook [the body], and look at the pictures and masturbate." He killed, it got him off, so Dahmer was very much committing serial sexual homicide and his victims were exclusively male.
Myth #3: Only gay men are victims of those types of murders.
Not at all. True Dahmer targeted gay men...but then he was a gay man himself and (outside the previously mentioned reason gay males attack other gay males) it was simply very easy for him to pick up a guy at a gay bar, bring him back home for sex, and then attack. Honestly the victim's sexuality has little to do with whether or not they're a victim...it's more about the sexuality, or apparent sexuality, of the killer. John Wayne Gacy, who was bisexual, killed straight men (or boys considering the age of some of his victims). He frequently offered his targets jobs to lure them to his place where he would then ply them with liquor and (straight) porn to get their guard down before attacking.
Myth #4: Men can fight off their attacker.
Sure, sometimes, but then so can women…That doesn't always mean they'll always win. Just like the serial killer targeting women the serial killer targeting men is going to pick a guy he's pretty sure he can take. The little guy's a pretty frequent target, so is the overly drunk or drugged (which can happen before or after the victim and killer meet). A killer might also blitz attack first - it's kind of hard to fight back if you're smashed over the head with a bat beforehand - to ensure they have total control. The killer wants to be successful no matter the victim he chooses so he'll do just about anything to make sure he is.
Myth #5: Men only have to fear female serial killers who are "black widows".
One name, two words: Aileen Wuornos. She shot and killed seven men, all of whom were her "johns". Think of it this way...it's a little hard to avoid becoming the victim of a female killer with your pants down and a gun in your face.
Vain woman or urban myth
By Kamyelle Powell
Published In Serial Killer Magazine
The sadistic Slovakian Countess of the 16th and 17th century put a cornerstone of interest in many horror fanatics, with the release of “Stay Alive”. The movie made a fantasy about a woman that had a thirst for blood; unfortunately it was just a fragment of the true story of one of the most sadistic female serial murders of the century. Incidentally this wasn’t the first myth that would help her claim to fame. I believe every myth needs the true story behind it, because sometimes the truth is scarier than the myth.
Elizabeth Bathory was born in present day Bratislava, which at the time was split into several different territories. Some of the myths claim that she might have been in the Louisiana area when her crimes were committed, but her best known home was the illusive Transylvanian castle that some of her most gruesome deeds were committed. Also there she would meet her own deathly fate.
In her early life for a brief point she was a civil human being, until her royal parents found out that she had became impregnated by a young peasant right before she was to marry Ferenc Nadasy. They locked her in his estate until the baby was born and she had gone a bit mental.
Tragically that would be the same way her life would end after her gruesome acts would come to the light.
Her strange behavior wouldn’t start the way most of the myths state it would. She started slowly being cruel to young peasant girls while her husband was away. It would progress even farther as time went on.
Bathory’s sadistic methods weren’t limited to her draining blood of her victims, like most myths claim. She would learn new ways of torture and try them out on her young female peasants, socially it was normal. She just took it to a more sadistic level.
Some of her work includes sticking pin needles into sensitive areas of their body’s, sometimes even under there finger nails. One of Bathory’s more infamous acts was stripping a peasant, throwing them out into the cold, and splashing water on them until they froze to death.
Contrary to most of the myths out there, she did have a few partners in crime. When her husband came back he joined her in her sadistic games even - teaching her some new ones, twists on her old ticks. Later on Anna Darvulia, a woman about who very little is known would become Bathory's main associate in crime during the years following her husband's death. There shortly after there short acquaintance she would fall ill and die. Soon after that she would meet a widow of a farmer; she would be the one to bring the downfall for Elizabeth Bathory.
Erzsi Majorova, her new cohort would advise her to try to bring a few noble blooded women into her ring of victims, because peasants would not want to work for her because of the stories they heard. It would bring Elizabeth‘s reign crashing down. In 1609 she would kill a noble women, Elizabeth would escape from judgment of that with accusations of suicide.
In 1610 an official inquiry began because of their concern about Elizabeth’s behavior and actions. Unlike most people think it wasn’t the vast number of Bathory’s victims that condemned her, but rather political concerns instead.
On December 19th,1610, Miss Bathory was arrested and put on trial, mostly for show. Later In January of 1611 there would be a second trial.
Everything in her home would be registered as evidence, even the names of 650 victims. All in Elizabeth’s very own handwriting. They determined how each victim died by how their role was in the torture. She would be convicted at that trial.
Elizabeth would be sentenced to solitary confinement for her crimes.
She would be held in a room in her very own castle. There were no windows or doors just a few slits for air and food to come through.
Elizabeth would die three years later on August 12th,1614. Her reign of terror would end, but her legend would go on.
What would you do for love?
By Deanna Mullins
Published In Serial Killer Magazine
Just how far would you go for that special someone? Would you go as far as telling a lie, stealing for them or even kill for them? In the 1980’s a beautiful blonde almost did just that, her name was Veronica Compton. At the age of 23 she was an inspiring actress and play writer. With her whole life in front of her which came to an abrupt halt when she meet Kenneth Bianchi. Bianchi and his cousin Angelo Buono were sent to prison for life for the murders of ten women. To the press and everyone else they were known as the Hillside Stranglers. At the time, Compton was writing a play called “The Mutilated Cutter”. She knew one person who could help her - no other than Bianchi. Compton became fascinated with Bianchi, he saw a opportunity and used it to his advantage. He convinced Compton to go around the country killing women as if the murderers were still out there. Bianchi smuggled Compton a rubber glove full of semen to place on the body. Compton checked in to the Shangi-La motel in Bellingham. At the time Compton was fully intoxicated and on drugs. There she noticed a woman working behind the bar. She then convinced the woman to come back to her room. Compton was going through with the plan till the woman started fighting back and escaped, and quickly after the woman identified Compton as her attacker. Compton was arrested and charged. She is now serving a life sentence in Washington Correctional Center for women. But when she thought her dating days were over while she was incarcerated she met another man named Doug Clark. For you all who don’t know Doug Clark he is also a serial killer. Doug Clark and Carol Bundy were arrested for the murders of 6 women and 1 male. They were known as the Sunset Stripper Slayers. While in trial Clark devised a plan, he knew Compton and Bundy were being held at the same prison together. Without a second thought Clark tried to gain and win Compton’s trust and affection through letters. He sent one romantic letter after another. He also sent a Valentine card, not just any old Valentine card with it he had a picture of him and a headless female corpse. The day of the trial he sent a rose to her in effect to woo her. Like a cobra he knew it was the right time to strike. He wanted Compton to say that Bundy confessed to her saying that she committed the crimes alone and was responsible for them all. Clarks trial began Oct. 1982 Compton was committed to testify as a witness, even though just across the hall the Hillside Strangler case was in progress. Compton shocked Clark and everyone when she pleaded the Fifth Amendment. Clark was convicted on 6 counts of death. Once again another relationship of Compton’s came to a halt. After that Compton became a strong and independent woman. She wrote a book and was published in2002 called “Eating the Ashes”.
On Feb 12, 1858 a couple's love, their brutal murdering, as well as their lives came to a devastating end. Charlotte Jones was the first woman executed in Allegheny County as well as her lover Henery Fife. They were hanged in the courtyard of the county’s second courthouse. On April 30, 1857 the two murdered and confessed to the killing of Jones elderly uncle and aunt, George Wilson and his sister Elizabeth McMasters. The victims lived together across the river of McKeesport, in a log cabin Wilson was stabbed repeatedly to death as his sister was savagely beaten to death with a poker. On Jones arrest she had this to say “the reason why I did this was the great love I have for Henery Fife and in order to get money to go to housekeeping with him”. Sheriff Patterson gave 24 attendance cards to the prisoners to watch the hanging. Although some of Allegheny County’s Commissioners had other ideas: they too handed out tickets left and right as though as they were handing tickets out to a sideshow performance. But when on lookers and spectators started to arrived, they were turned away at the avenues of entrance. There on the gallows stage Fife stood scared, nervous, and with regrets. He then read his statement for everyone to hear “And, oh how often I have wished I could restore George Wilson and his sister back to life” “Maddened by a thirst for gold and stimulated by drink I gave them the fatal blow that robbed them of life and sent their souls without warning to the bar of gold.” Reverend John Brown stood beside the two and prayed for their soul. The post reported that John and Fife was repeating every word that was uttered by the Minster. Then two glasses filled with liquor was brought to the two. Fife drank his straight down. Jones barley tasted hers she then handed it to Fife in which he gulped hers. Fife looked over and starred deeply at Charlotte. He knew it was coming closer to the end for them. He quickly leaned over and kissed her. The last word’s for Fife was “Remember gentlemen, I die game.” Charlotte’s last words were a prayer to God for her salvation and a declaration of her love for Fife. Then without hesitation Sheriff Patterson stepped on the lever to the gallows. The drop fell the two were propelled through the air. The execution did not go according to plan the two were cut down after 30 minutes. The doctor on site checked them and noticed that there necks didn’t brake like they were supposed to instead they were slowly strangled to death. In the end one woman lost her freedom and the other lost her life for love. What would you do to find love?
By Jessica Fairfield
Published in Serial Killer Magazine
Anyone who's studied serial killers even remotely can tell you many of them wear masks in public and remove it when they kill. The masks they wear are so well made that sometimes even when all the evidence points to one individual, the authorities do not make an arrest because they don’t believe such a friendly person could be a cold-blooded killer. This was the case with Ted Bundy. After a description and composite drawing were released, four different calls came in (one from Ted’s own wife) claiming that a Mr. Theodore Bundy fit the suspect's description perfectly. He was questioned briefly and detectives made judgments and decided to remove him from the suspect list. They felt such a gentleman couldn’t possibly be the serial killer on the loose. Bundy’s genius and ingenuity are the cause behind many unnecessary deaths. His public persona was such a good disguise that he had had everyone who knew him (or thought they did) fooled completely. When Bundy was proven to be the killer these same people were absolutely stunned.
In many cases above and beyond Ted’s the personality killers present to the public represent upstanding, friendly, and well-to -do citizens, leading nothing but an ordinary life. In fact nothing could be farther from the truth. As a result of their alter egos some well-known serial killers have actually portrayed themselves as heroes or good Samaritans when presented with such opportunity.
Before his arrest Ted volunteered for a suicide hotline. While there he worked alongside author Ann Rule who claims Ted saved more lives then he took. During another occasion Ted was witness to a purse snatching and took it upon himself to chase down the thief and retrieve the purse. And there is still another time Ted was able to help out. He pulled a drowning toddler from the water. I’m sure regardless of anything else Ted ever did the parents of the toddler he saved appreciated his help.
John Wayne Gacy, one of the most despicable killers ever, loved to dress as a clown, a well known fact, but what is not so commonly known is the fact that he would perform as Pogo the clown, for free, for children’s hospitals. He’d also host a BBQ in his town every year. He did all the cooking himself on a grill that stood mere feet away from his collection of dead bodies.
Arthur Shawcross, infamous for his string of murders near Genesee River in New York, was also the savior of at least one life. Before he’d ever killed anyone that authorities knew about, he was in jail for setting fire to an old workplace. While there a riot broke out and several prisoners had a guard cornered and would have undoubtedly killed him had it not been for Arthur stepping in and helping the cop out of the situation. It earned him an early release. However it was during another incident when someone needed Shawcross’ help that his switch went and he made his first kill.(according to authorities, but according to Arthur’s records he’d killed several times before while in the army) While wandering the woods one day he came across a young boy stuck in a mud hole. He pulled the boy to safety and then instructed him to go home and clean up. Instead he followed behind Shawcross through a creek and deeper into the wood. Somewhere along the line the boys company became a bitter annoyance for Arthur and he lashed out, leaving a slaughtered little boy in the repulsive aftermath. However he did not stop there. He proceeded to cannibalize the boys heart and genitals as well as raping his corpse. Afterwards the boy was burried in a shallow grave, but this was not the end of his degradation. Arthur later returned and dug up the body for more necrophilia. After this kill he killed a little girl but then changed his victims of choice over to hookers and took up the method of disposing of the bodies in the Genesee River, thus earning him his nickname, the Genesee River Killer.
Robert Berdella was a member of the crime watch in his community in Kansas City, Missouri. He also turned half of his own home into a halfway house for troubled youths. Yet, another room in the same house was reserved especially for the torture and death of seven young men. One man made it out alive by pure luck. His ranges of torture endured had been particularly disturbing; one of Berdella’s cruel methods was to inject his victims with animal tranquilizer to turn them into what he called “playtoys”. All were kept alive for torture until they died from lack of food and water. After death the bodies were dismembered in his tub and thrown out in trash bags. Had it not been for the one victim who did escape, its hard to say how long this hellhole would have been able to carry on. After his arrest Robert claimed he was a decent human being and to back this up he set up trust funds for the families of his victims.
To each and every person are good and bad qualities. The dark side of serial killers is very demented. The fact that they can limbo in and out of personalities however should come as no surprise. We all wear our own masks in public and take them off when we're home. In the world of norms the mask although not shielding murder can be hiding something just as despicable. In any case should a good deed not be a good deed just because of the other actions a person has committed? How would the near-drowned toddler feel had Ted not been there? Would the prison guard have found his own means out of his sticky situation had Shawcross not been there? After Arthur had been convicted of murder, did it change the guard's opinion of him? And, while were at it, I wonder if the victims families ever used the money flowing in from the trust fund arranged by their dead relative's murderer.
Journey Into the Minds of Serial Killers
by Jessica Fairfield
Published in Serial Killer Magazine
Serial killers have left professionals stunned, officials disgusted, and families devastated. They can be as deadly as a war, plague or natural disaster. Given, the body counts differs drastically, but keep in mind that some 200 serial killers are in operation on any given day since the mid 20th century. Then consider how often a war, plague or natural disaster occur, this may help you even out the odds a little better. The issue of serial murder is one that should be of great importance to everyone. Undeniably, serial murder has been responsible for many inhumane and unnecessary deaths.
The evil perceived to exist inside of serial killers is so great that to anyone who is not a serial killer they are a mystery. To some they may be a fluke, to others, just a bad seed, to some a phenomenon of man. Either way to write them off as accidents made by mother nature is just about the worst way of protecting ourselves from them. It is human nature to question the unknown and the only way to find a solution is through logical thinking. To achieve results we must ask ourselves why, why do serial killers lust to kill, and not answer ourselves with the short justifications we’re comfortable with. To find the appropriate answer we must journey into the minds of serial killers.
Brain damage or defunct is the number one suspect and the most widely accepted explanation for serial murder. In deed, one would have to be at least a little crazy to savagely kill his victims while his family slept around him, as John Wayne Gacy did. Then to go on to bury the bodies in his own crawlspace, any reasonable mind would know that keeping such strong evidence in their own home would be dangerous. The brain is the central life force in anyone’s life and is therefore the first to blame when someone turns up with 33 bodies planted in their crawlspace. Many serial killers are in fact affected by brain damage or defects, but so are many non-serial killers. So clearly, problems with the brain are not the sole creators of serial killers.
Malfunctions of the brain have a strong hold on any affected by them. These malfunctions can be caused or acquired in many different ways. Some may be born with a disorder and others develop problems through life experiences such as injuries or abuse. Injuries are all unique, and so are their affects. Some affects are a direct result of a brain injury, others a side affect, per say feeling self conscious about a scar or deformity left behind by the injury. Emotional trauma is also a leading cause of brain defects. An abused child can experience chemical imbalances or underdevelopment of certain vital sections of the brain as a result of the abuse they experienced. They may also have multiple problems if they are receiving both physical and mental abuse. Sexual abuse can also tug and pull the brain out of shape. But, can brain damage excuse a person from responsibility of murder? Where should the line between full responsibility and diminished responsibility be drawn? Even if a universal line was agreed upon, brain defects are not always easy to see or prove. You may have an X ray in front of you that shows clear damage to the frontal lobe area, a location in the brain responsible for such human tasks as thinking, planning, and problem solving, but who is to say exactly how said damage would affect the person in question and how much the damage would impact an individual. Each head injury or brain defect is unique and its results cannot be predicted or even understood.
To have a better chance of understanding what if any traits of a serial killer are brought about due to a suspected cause, you must compare serial killers with these causes and then compare their outcomes. If a similar trait is found then it can be suggested that this trait of serial killers is brought about by this cause.
For instance, say brain damage. You must take two serial killers affected by brain damage, we’ll use Henry Lee Lucas and Bobby Joe Long, and compare their outcomes.
Henry Lee Lucas was 50% of the dangerous duo that inspired the famous Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies. Bobby Joe Long was known as the Want ad Rapist. Both serial killers had experienced serious head injuries that left clear brain damage. Around the age of 12 Henry was beaten with a 2 by 4 so badly that he was put into a coma for a week. The beating was administered by his mom who also left him where he dropped while he was out cold for a week. Bobby had multiple injuries that could have caused brain damage. At five he fell from a swing and was knocked unconscious, at six he had a bike accident that sent him flying head first into a parked car, at seven he fell off a pony and landed on his head. Then he took a few years off but his worst head injury was still to come. In his 20s, Bobby had a motorcycle accident, his head was smashed into the pavement with such force that it had cracked his helmet. Other then the head injuries and the fact that they were both serial killers, Henry and Bobby seem to have little in common.
Henry was raised by an abusive prostitute mother with some input from her many johns. His father, who had been left legless after dancing with a train one drunken night, died of an pneumonia while Henry was still young. The pneumonia that killed him was acquired when he slept outside in protest of what his wife was doing with herself. Bobby was raised by his mother too, but she was a waitress who struggled with her finances throughout Bobby’s youth. She was only able to provide them with a motel room, and at that it was only a one bedroom. Bobby slept in bed with his mom until the age of 12. By her accounts she was always fully clothed. Bobby does not complain about the living conditions, he complains that his mother was always out on dates until it was morning when he would be leaving for school. Henry’s life had been a downward spiral from the day he was born. As he grew in age he traveled further and further down his downward spiral and eventually landed in jail convicted of serial murder. Aside from what was either clumsiness or just very bad luck Bobby had led a somewhat normal life until that final head injury in the motorcycle accident. He was happily married and living in Florida when it happened and afterwards his sex drive skyrocketed. He excessively demanded sex from his wife two to three times daily. Eventually his outrageous sexual demands led him to rape. His MO, find items for sale in the newspaper, schedule a daytime meeting to go look at the object in question, and then go to the home in hopes of finding a helpless and alone housewife. When he did, the poor unsuspecting women would be tied up and raped. Bobby raped countless times, but always left the victims alive until one day when he began to take more then just their dignity. In the end Bobby was responsible for the deaths of ten women. Henry had been a killer since he was a young boy, but his victims then had been farm animals. He claims he was about 15 or 16 years old when he claimed his first human victim. She had been a 17 year old rape victim of his who fought him off too hard. His next victim would not come for another eight years. This time it was his mom who was killed in the heat of another of many bitter arguments. He stabbed her to death. For this incident he spent 11 years in a hospital for the insane. In 1970 he was paroled and managed to kill a girl only a few blocks from the prison on the day of his release. In 1976 he tied up with killing partner Otis Toole and the duo went on to kill more then could be counted.
There are many differences in their stories. Bobby worked alone, Henry had a partner. Bobby targeted woman specifically and his murders were premeditated very tediously. Henry’s murders were hot blooded, heat of the moment incidents. Bobby was caught because he got careless, Henry confessed when he had a sudden attack of conscious. It seems they have nothing in common, but there actually is a few similarities. Both raped before murder and in both cases rape did eventually lead them to murder, even if Henry did start out on farm animals. But, even more important then this is there similar desire for non-objectionable sex partners. Bobby kept his tied up, Henry killed his off before sex. When questioned as to why he preferred sex with the dead, Henry answered, “I just wanted a little peace and quiet.” Both Bobby and Henry would have left childhood with tainted and promiscuous images of their mothers. Henry’s mother was clearly the worse of the two, she not only had better things to do, but she was out to destroy her own son. Both were left starved for affection from any source. That may explain why both had a need for a completely submissive sex partner and why Henry’s case is more extreme since he goes as far as to prefer a dead sex partner. So while we know that head injuries alone cannot cause a serial killer perhaps the combination of head injuries, and a neglectful and promiscuous mother can lead to a lethal and dominating sex drive that is common among serial killers.
It has also been speculated that adopted children, foster children, and all children raised by someone other then family members have a disadvantage for becoming a serial killer. Some of these unfortunates go through childhood knowing no place as home, never feeling secure or loved while being passed between institutions, foster homes, and other temporary shelters. They never form the social bonds necessary for proper human development. Just as with head trauma and brain effects cannot single handedly mold a serial killer, neither can this type of upbringing. Many have had these disadvantages and have grown to become functioning members of society. However, there have been quite a few cases of serial killers who have been raised in this way and so it merit’s a look into the situation. Charles Manson and Albert Fish are two such examples. In Manson’s case his father was never in the picture and his mother never wanted him. Like Lucas mom, Mrs. Manson was a prostitute who had little time for her son. As a result Charlie became involved with crime at a very young age and so began his juggling between institutions and boys homes. Charlie claims that this upbringing caused him to become dependent upon a government controlled surrounding. The only life he knew was an institutionalized life and in his own words he would be unable to function in a normal society. When the parole board disagreed with his findings, he proved them wrong by concocting a cult and masterminding the slaughter of celebrities.
Albert Fish was placed in an orphanage at the age of five. There discipline was often and fierce. The usual punishment was to be stripped completely naked and whipped. All this was done in front of the other boys for maximum humiliation. Fish found the only way to cope with his harsh surroundings was to learn to love it, which he did. Throughout the duration of his life, Albert mixed pain with pleasure and found pain to be an erotic, sexual thrill, which he thoroughly enjoyed. He was able to maintain a normal life from all outward appearances. He married and had children. His wife left him alone with the children, and he played the role of a caring, loving father to his children. But years into his life, his childhood trauma reappeared with killer force and took over. Fish could no longer cage his demons and began to target, rape, and kill young children. Manson’s victims were selected for their financial and social status for maximum impact on the world, while Fish selected the black boys from the slums as they went unnoticed. Manson had an extensive criminal record while Fish kept a low profile. It seems the only common trait is that they were serial killers, but careful examination will reveal a similarity.
Manson’s yearn to affect the world with his crimes was blunt and obvious. Everyone one knows Manson the hippie cult leader from the 60s. Fish however is not quite as common a name. Although he may never have achieved the notoriety Manson has, his famous letter to a victims mom shows his urge to attract attention to himself and his crimes. Often serial killers, being the uniquely strange individuals that they are, grow pompous and proud of their crimes. They expect to be caught one day at which point they will no longer be able to kill, but will be able to finally take credit for their deviant accomplishments. In his famous letter Fish boasts to the mother of poor Grace Budd of how much joy he had in killing and eating her daughter, how delicious she had tasted and so on. Taking credit for his work seems to be exactly what Fish was looking to achieve. Had he never wrote the letter he may have never been apprehended for any murders. Perhaps that was the last thing Fish wanted. Maybe the years spent in institutions, during their constant search for placement, love, and acceptance left children like Manson and Fish with a lifelong hunger for attention as well as a lack of self development. They may have been trying to confirm their self worth which they felt could only be done by attracting the attention from many. They may have felt a need to leave their mark on the world, that in doing so they made themselves someone. They may have been trying to compensate for what they lacked in childhood. They were always they forgotten one and they wanted to change all that. The demented means by which they went about making names for themselves were molded by their personal life experiences, but their common trait, starved for attention, may have been brought about by their similar childhood dispositions. So while we know that being an unwanted child cannot alone cause a person to kill, perhaps being the unwanted one leads to a desperation for attention, by any means necessary.
There are many subjects of interest aside from the two I focus on that are believed to be causes of serial murder. There is also much speculation about what may be signs of a future serial killer. Many serial killers practiced on animals before moving on to human victims, some wet the bed years after they should have been over the problem, some show sadistic and/or awkward fetish’s. But, signs of serial murder like causes of serial murder all dead end. Many have had similar or even worse problems but do not become serial killers. There is no one cause or sure sign of serial murder. And, vice versa, normally serial killers cannot be classified as simply an adoptee or a mental case. They usually have had multiple disadvantages. While Fish was institutionalized he was also abused and had religion drilled strictly into his head. Henry had his head injuries and the resulting affects, a neglectful, rejectful, and abusive mother and showed famous signs of the serial murderer such as killing and raping animals as well as becoming involved with petty crime at a young age. H H Holmes was physically abused by a strictly religious father, rejected by his peers, and also dabbled in animal torture and killing. Along with all this he also had a backwards and disturbing interest in human anatomy. David Berkowitz was an adoptee who enjoyed setting fires. His mother waited until David was just old enough to have grown very close with her before putting him up for adoption, leaving him with a lifelong feeling of rejection from women. Each serial killer has his or her own unique story. In most cases their life stories can help explain why they did what they did, but the victims are still dead, having had their lives rudely snatched from them prematurely. There is no sure way of detecting a serial killer in the making or of pin pointing one single cause for them or even many. There is only our vast knowledge on what is or isn’t detrimental in the developmental stages of life. Advancements in child service programs is our best bet at avoiding or detecting a problem. They have the power to decide what is or isn’t a stable home and the capability of making a better life for disadvantaged children. Time will bring more knowledge of how to better handle this reoccurring problem.
By Jessica Fairfield
Published in Serial Killer Magazine
Just as each individual serial killer has their own unique methods of stalking, killing, and disposing of their victims, they also have their own unique ways of ending their killing sprees. In most cases serial killers carry on killing as long as possible. They take all the precautions they can think of and are usually not stopped until enough detective work and evidence gathering is done. Often times, one does not think they will actually get away with it. Maybe they hope they will but apparently what’s more important to these types is their uncontrollable urges to kill. For one insane reason or another they find the urge to kill simply irresistible. However, when they actually do get away with it they feel invincible and are bound to strike again and again and again. If they are successful too many times they grow bolder, which leads to more killing, more notable victims, and in more public places and times. As a result they sometimes grow careless and begin to leave more and more evidence. Some may feel so invincible that they begin taunting authorities, the public or even sometimes the families of their victims. This can lead to their undoing, as was the case with Albert Fish. He felt it necessary to write a letter to the mother of 12 year old Grace Budd, a girl he’d strangled to death and cannibalized afterwards, to explain in detail the atrocities carried out on her daughter and to let her know how much pleasure he’d gotten out of it. This very letter would prove to be his demise. The foolish old man had a return address simply scribbled out on the envelope he sent it in. A lousy precaution possibly brought about by a feeling of invincibility. In some cases it is pure luck that they are able to get away with any of it and vice versa it is sometimes pure luck that leads to them being caught.
John George Haigh, otherwise known as the Acid Bath Murderer operated in the early 20th century. His victims were anyone he could gain a profit from after death. His weapon of choice varied but his method of disposal was always the same. His victims were kept in 40 gallon vaults of sulfuric acid until they dissolved; afterwards the sludgy remains were dumped down a sewer drain.
He was born in Britain in 1909 and his childhood surrounded by strict religious beliefs. In this particular case the religious upbringing led to a criminal lifestyle, most likely it all started as rebellion. Before he was a murderer he was a scam artist, but apparently not a very good one. He was arrested on fraud charges by the age of 24. He served 15 months for that offense. A little over a year after his release he was in trouble with the law again. This time it was due to a phony solicitors office he’d set up to run stock market scams. He served 4 years this time around. Again it was only about a year after his release that John found himself back to his old tricks. He was back in prison for scamming a young lady friend of his family. He chose to spend his time behind bars wisely (or so he thought) and studied law in an attempt to piece together the perfect crime. It was during these studies that he made the worst misconception of his life. He read in his law books that without a corpus delicti no conviction of murder could be made. The Latin term he believed meant a body actually meant a body of evidence confirming a crime has been committed. So at this point he came to the conclusion that the only thing between him and his riches were human bodies. He set out to find a way to completely destroy human bodies thus leading him to his famous method of disposal, dissolving the people in vaults of sulfuric acid. He was able to practice on field mice while in jail. He calculated how long it took for the mice to be dissolved and figured about how long it would take on a human.
In 1943, at the age of 34 he was released and ready to begin. He reconnected with an old friend named William McSwan who became John’s first unfortunate victim. After being bludgeoned to death with a lead pipe his body was dissolved and dumped in the sewers. John had forged documents which helped him gain power of attorney of his old friend's estate. To avoid Williams's parents from becoming suspicious John sent them a letter telling them their son had left for Scotland to avoid the draft. Yet McSwan’s parents were not persuaded their son would leave without telling them himself. When they pried too far Haigh disposed of them the same way he had their offspring.
He then took out a couple by the name of Henderson, this time shooting both in the head before dissolving their remains. Following the Henderson’s down the sewer was 69 year old widow, Olivia Durand Deacon. Friends missed her and went to authorities. The last they’d heard from her she was headed to John’s workshop, never to be seen again. Police confronted John George Haigh and in his possession was some of Olivia’s jewelry. When faced with this undeniable evidence John grew smug and challenged authorities. Seeing as he’d destroyed all traces of evidence, he claimed, you cannot convict me. He was of course dead wrong. And, had such a law even existed he’d failed in his attempts of destroying everything. In the sewers investigators recovered 28 lbs of human fat, 3 gallstones, 18 bone fragments, a piece of a foot, and Olivia’s dentures. Haigh attempted and failed at an insanity plea, even after taking himself so far into his lie that he drank a cup of his own urine. He was found guilty and hanged Aug 6, 1949.
Fritz Haarman, otherwise known as the Butcher of Hanover was not discovered until he made a careless mistake as well. His killing spree began in 1919, the same year he met his homosexual lover Hans Grans. Hans would select the victims (young boys and men) and Fritz was responsible for killing them. Sometimes he’d disguise himself as a cop to lure his victims in. Once in his clutches they were sexually assaulted before having their throats torn out by Fritz’s teeth. The total amount of men or boys who died at the hands (or teeth) of Fritz Haarman is unknown. As one final insulting atrocity to his victims Fritz would sell the meat from the bodies to the black market. The clothes from the victims were also sold if Fritz or Hans did not want them. The bones were thrown into a lake. On June 22, 1929 Fritz was caught trying to molest a young boy. Besides the fact that a search warrant was soon to be carried out on his home that would turn up much evidence, and the fact that fishermen were pulling up bones instead of fish, Fritz was also discovered when the mother of one of his victims recognized her missing son’s coat on another little boy. The boy was questioned as to where he’d got the coat from and he readily led them to Fritz Haarman. Fritz quickly confessed to his crimes and Hans involvement in them. Hans was given a 12 year sentence and Fritz was put to death by beheading.
Albert Fish, the famous cannibal, targeted children, mostly black or runaways. He killed an undetermined amount of victims during an undetermined amount of time. Had he stuck with the usual blacks or runaways there is no telling if he would ever have been caught or not. However he found the urge to kill a young girl named Grace Budd irresistible. Her case was the only case given a fair amount of detective work out of all his victims, and still her killer could not be found. A manhunt carried on for 6 years to no avail. No amount of detective work was going to solve this one. It would take the careless mistake of a foolish, sick, old man. While Albert sat at home one day he noticed a cockroach in a high corner. When he climbed up to kill it he found a stationery set up on a shelf and suddenly he got a wonderful, awful idea. He decided to write a note to Grace’s mother. Grace had indeed suffered a horrendous death. Then after death her body had been disgraced in many ways. Fish felt it necessary to quote every detail of the horror story in the letter to her mother. Satisfied with his despicable letter he scribbled out the return address on the envelope and sent it along. Once she received the letter, Grace’s horrified mother turned it over to the authorities. They were easily able to read the address that had been scribbled out and shortly thereafter Albert was arrested for Grace’s murder. He confessed to her murder and many more and then claimed that angels and God himself had been telling him to sacrifice children. He had been placed in an orphanage at the age of 5 where the typical punishment was to be stripped naked and beaten in front of the other orphans. He later said the only thing he learned there was to enjoy everything that hurt, a strange fact that was confirmed by the 27 sewing needles found jabbed in and around his crotch area. Fish said that he had jammed them in to help him climax. The jury did find him insane but regardless he was sentenced to death. They felt insane or not he deserved to die for what he’d done. On January 16, 1936 he sat in Sing Sings electric chair and was pronounced dead only minutes later.
Before Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy there was Arnold Karl Sodeman. Like Gacy he was married and had children. He worked and lived in South Yerra district of Melbourne, Australia. He was charismatic, well-known, and well-loved by friends and family. However, when left alone with his victim of choice he transformed into a hideous monster.
On November 9, 1930 Arnold spotted his first victim, 12 year old Mena Griffiths, with two friends playing on a swing set. He sent the two lucky girls off with some coins to buy sweets, keeping Mena behind for a “special errand”. A special errand he had for her indeed. Once alone he gagged the helpless little girl and strangled her to death. Her body was found two days later in an abandoned house. For one reason or another police suspicions took a wrong turn and an innocent man was arrested and convicted of Mena’s murder. Then in January of 1931, 16 year old Hazel Wilson was found murdered in the exact same manner as Mena had been. The innocent man was released. Arnold did not attack again until five years later in January of 1936. Ethal Belshaw’s body was found, her fate, the same as Mena’s and Hazel’s before her. In this case Arnold was questioned and found not to be a suspect. Again an innocent man was charged with the murder, but authorities realized their mistake sooner this time and not quite as much damage was caused. One year later Arnold took out a fourth girl, 6 year old June Rushmer. Witnesses said they’d last seen the girl with a man on a bike. Other than this witness account, there were not many leads. That was the case until one day a man came to the police with what he thought was suspicious behavior he’d observed in a co-worker named Arnold Karl Sodeman. While he and the guys were casually having a lunch break and discussing the current murder of 6 year old June one man said to Sodeman “Hey didn’t I see you walking your bike down the street that day?” In response Arnold turned bright red and answered angrily “No you bloody didn’t! I wasn’t there!” After his outburst he slammed his tea down and stormed off. Only two days later Arnold was in jail with a lynch mob nipping at his heels. Although Sodeman confessed police were a little apprehensive as they’d already falsely arrested and imprisoned two men before him. He proved himself guilty beyond all reasonable doubt when he showed authorities his special method of strangling his victims, explaining the previously unexplainable, unique bruising around the girl's necks. Also, seeing as he had lured his victims with sweets he was able to confirm what the victim's last meal had been. He pleaded insanity, but was convicted and hanged on January 1, 1936.
The Beast of the Black Forrest, otherwise known as Heinrick Pommerencke made the careless mistake of leaving his gun (a murder weapon) behind after leaving a tailor shop. The tailor reported it to police and they were able to trace it back to Heinrick.
Born in Bentwich, Heinrick claims as a child he had no friends. By the age of 15 he’d taken up the habit of hanging outside dance halls trying to pick up women. Those who rejected him were sometimes beaten and/or raped. In 1953 he was forced into voluntary exile to Switzerland where he was arrested anyhow on other charges. By 1957 he’d accumulated quite a criminal record. He was charged in countless rape cases, served a year in jail for robbery, and assaulted two young English women in Austria. In 1959 he attacked Dagmer Klinek who was asleep and alone in a railway carriage. When she resisted he shoved her off the train and then signaled a stop. He hopped off and ran down the track to find Dagmer unconscious lying on the ground. She was first raped then stabbed to death.
Heinrick claimed he felt compelled to kill after watching a movie called the Ten Commandments. He was not stopped until he left his gun behind and there’s no telling how long the killing may have carried on had he not made that mistake. At the age of 23 Pommerencke was sentenced to 6 life terms and 140 years imprisonment.
When Ed Gein killed Bernice Worden he’d waited just long enough to attack. She had been in the process of writing out a receipt for Ed’s purchase when he lunged at her, but she’d had just enough time to get his name on the receipt which led authorities to his home and the discovery of his horror story. Before that day Ed Gein was perceived as just a quiet, if slightly strange sort of guy. Of a very strange sort Ed definitely was, his character molded and formed by the worlds most over-bearing mother. Even though he only killed twice he has become one of the most talked about serial killers. Originally the Gein family consisted of George and Augusta Gein and their two boys Henery and Edward. Edward was born in 1906. In 1940 his father died and in 1944 his brother died leaving 38 year old Ed alone with Augasta. It was the ideal lifestyle as far as Ed was concerned until death came a’knocking a third time, this time in search of his precious mommy. Despite the fact that she criticized him for everything he did, his mother probably was the only person who showed him any type of love. He missed her sorely. The bedrooms of his dead relatives were boarded up and Ed stayed home alone becoming what he is so well-known to be. He led a life of loneliness solved by grave robbing and little hobbies like making lampshades, chair covers, and vests out of human flesh. He had nine heads mounted on his wall, only one of which was one of his victims. The discovery of Ms. Worden’s body (or what remained of it) was by far the worst discovery to be had. It hung upside down, beheaded and gutted, handled much the same as a hunter might a deer. Her head was found under a bed half made ready to be hung on the wall with the others. Gein was for obvious reasons found insane and was institutionalized for the rest of his life. He died of natural causes at the age of 78 and was buried next to his mom.
As a patrolman you are taught to expect the unexpected, but when Randy Kraft (the Scorecard Killer) was pulled over for drunk driving, the officers on duty that night were in for quite a surprise. When they approached his car there was a strangled corpse in the passenger seat. It is all thanks to Krafts irrational driving, and the cops who noticed it, that Randy’s homosexual killing spree came to a halt.
By day Randy was a computer consultant, by night he was a crazed killer who sometimes castrated his victims before death as one of many cruel torture methods. One victim had his eyes burned out with a cigarette lighter. Often times foreign objects were found shoved in the rectum and more then once he had chewed the nipples off of his victims.
He began killing in 1972 and carried on until he was pulled over that night in 1983. He is suspect number one in 67 cases of murder however he was only charged with 16 counts of murder, 9 counts of sexual mutilation and 3 of sodomy. On November 29, 1989 he was sentenced to die in San Quentin’s gas chamber.
Arthur Shawcross (the Genesee River Killer) was caught not once but twice because he could not resist the urge to return to the scene of the crime to relive his heinous killings and relish how really horrible of a person he was.
He grew up in a home where incest ran rampant. His childhood upbringing practically guaranteed he would become a disturbing individual. According to his recollections he was molested by an aunt, sodomized by his mother, raped by a pedophile in grade school, participated in incest with his sister and cousin, forced to give oral sex to a girlfriends brother, and practiced bestiality on many types of animals, some as small as chickens others as large as horses. He’d been fairly nicknamed Oddie by his schoolmates, had problems with bed-wetting well into his teens, and enjoyed starting fires.
At 23 years of age Arthur was drafted and sent to Vietnam. During his time there he claims to have raped, slaughtered, and cannibalized two peasant women. Though likely, there is no evidence to collaborate his story. He also claims to have murdered many prostitutes in Saigon. He was discharged in 1969 after less then a year of service and suffering from a case of posttraumatic stress disorder. He returned to his home in New York where an army psychiatrist recommended he spend some time in a mental hospital. Unfortunately, Shawcross’ wife would hear of no such thing and refused her signature on the commitment papers. As a result Arthur’s bad habits resurfaced. He was back to lighting fires, one of which caused $280.000 worth of damage at a paper factory he used to work at. He was sentenced to five years for that mess, but was released after only two years when he saved the life of a prison guard caught in a sticky situation. Then on June 4, 1972, less then a year after his release Arthur killed for the first time (that he has proof of anyway). While strolling through the woods one day he came across Jack Blake, a ten year old neighbor boy who was stuck waste deep in a mud hole and crying for help. At first Arthur responded as any normal person would and helped Jack out of the pit. Once the boy was on dry land Arthur orders him to go home and clean up. Instead Jack follows Arthur deeper into the wood. When Jack becomes a nuisance Shawcross lashes out at him and throws a fatal blow into the boy's throat. Afterwards he was raped and strangled. Arthur cannibalized his penis, genitals, and heart. Yet Arthur, who never got enough, insisted on returning to the crime scene to relive the kill and commit necrophilia on the corpse. The boy was buried in a degradingly shallow grave.
About three months later in September of 1972 he struck again. This time his victim was 8 year old Karen Ann Hill. The helpless little girl was raped and buried alive. Leaves and wet mud were crammed in her mouth and nose to suffocate her. Later that same day, true to character, Arthur returned to the scene and sat there happily licking an ice cream cone. He was spotted by more then one witness and indicated as a suspect as soon as Karen’s body was found. He confessed to the murder of Karen and Jack and was sentenced to 25 years. Amazingly enough, he was paroled in only 15 years. His parole officer wrote: the writer considers this man to be possibly the most dangerous individual to have been released to the community in many years. Yet, the system released him anyway. As a result 11 more people died at the hands of Arthur Shawcross. In January 1988 he picked up a 27 year old prostitute. She was strangled to death and her body flung into the Genesee River. He targeted hookers mostly, sometimes eating their sex organs and always returning for necrophilia. One of his victims was a slightly retarded woman of 30 he was casually acquainted with. Again his compulsion to return to the kill sight proved to be his demise. In June of 1990 he was spotted by a helicopter, masturbating over the same bridge he threw bodies over. He was convicted and sentenced to 10 consecutive 25 year terms.
The very infamous Son of Sam also damned himself with a stupid and careless mistake. His cowardly method of attack was to approach cars and shoot its occupants suddenly, and then run off like a thief (or murderer) in the night. His first shootings were on July 29, 1976. Donna Lauria was killed, her friend 19 year old Jody Valente was wounded, while they sat in a car outside Donna’s apartment. On October 23 he wounded Carl Denaro and Rosemary Keenan while they sat in a car outside a bar. On November 27 he wounded both Donna Demas and Joanne Lumino while they sat in a car outside Joanne’s home. All victims had been shot with a .44 Bulldog earning him his original nickname the .44 Killer. He struck again on January 30 of 1977. Christine Freund was killed, John Diel was unharmed. Again on March 8 this time the victim was randomly selected and shot dead while she walked along the street. April 14 Valentina Suriani and Alexander Esau were both killed in a car. This time David left a letter in which he scuffed at the nickname the press came up with and suggested his own, Son of Sam. June 26 Salvator Lupo and Judith Plecido were wounded in a car. July 31, Stacy Moscowitz was killed and Robert Violante was blinded. When he returned to his car after this attack he found a parking ticket left on his car and in a fit of rage cursed and threw the ticket on the ground. A woman walking her dog just so happened to see the whole thing. She thought it rather odd and told police about it. A trace of tickets issued the night before in her area brought up the name David Berkowitz. When confronted he confessed willingly. On August 23, 1977 he was sentenced to 365 years in Attica prison, NY.
Dennis Nilsen was born November 23,1945. After a troubled childhood, an awkward time growing up, and years of military service, Dennis took to luring young men back to his apartment and murdering them. Afterwards he’d keep the bodies hidden under some floorboards, taking them out from time to time for company, bathing, or necrophilia. He began killing in1978 and was not caught until 1983 by a stupid yet huge mistake. He thought it might be a good idea to flush the dismembered remains of his victims down the toilet. Shortly thereafter the whole apartment building was having plumbing problems. Plumbers were called and upon inspection of the sewer drain they found what they felt sure were human remains. The plumbers phoned the manager who said he’d come and look at it in the morning. The plumber on duty spoke with Dennis and asked if he ever flushed dog food down his toilet. Dennis shrugged him off. Overnight Dennis went out to the manhole, climbed in, and began to collect, with his bare hands, the chunks of human flesh. He dumped them in bags which he then carried out and dumped them behind a garden hedge. Two of his neighbors had heard him moving about and tampering with the manhole. The next day when the plumber returned with his manager and once in the sewers again he was furious and flabbergasted to find the change. Determined to prove he was not crazy he plunged his hand in and fished through the feces and came up with a hand full of flesh and bone. The plumber questioned neighbors who told him about Dennis toying with the manhole the night before. Immediately police were called. They approached Dennis with their find and he tried to fake surprise and disgust. Then they asked him, “Where’s the rest of the body?” He answered by opening a closet with bags of human remains inside. He confessed to16 murders and was charged with 6 counts of murder and 2 counts of attempted murder. He was sentenced to a mandatory life.
Some of the mistakes made were truly careless mistakes. More often then not, after one gets away with murder time and again they feel everything is under control, their control, and fate is on their side. Yet sometimes killers have claimed that they were careless on purpose because they wanted to be caught. Either way it’s a shame the mistakes could not have been made sooner.
Characteristics of a Serial Killer
By Jessica Robinson
Published in Serial Killer Magazine
When one mentions the word “serial killer,” the first image that generally pops into your mind is that of a white, middle-class man who murders women. For the most part, that is a pretty typical image. Serial killers within the United States are generally single, white males. They have a high IQ, but usually don’t do well in school, and they have a hard time holding down a job. Most killers come from unstable families, and they are typically abandoned by their fathers and raised by domineering mothers, which leads to a mistrust of their parents. Their families have a history of criminal activities, psychiatric problems, and alcoholism. It is not uncommon for a serial killer to have been abused as a child, whether it is psychologically, physically, and/or sexually. The killers may have spent time in an institution as a child. Serial killers have high rates of suicide attempts, and from an early age, they are very interested in voyeurism, fetishism, and sadomasochistic pornography. As children, they have a fascination with fire starting and the sadistic activity or torturing of small animals.
Not every serial killer fits nicely into the characteristics. There are serial killers who are not white, and every continent (with the exception of Antarctica) has had a serial killer. Some serial killers are female. Not every serial killer is going to fit nicely into the characteristics that describe them, there are always exceptions to the rules, but the majority of serial killers fit the majority of the characteristics (that is why they were created!). Even though the characteristics can be applied to serial killers, they are generally not noticed until after the killer has been caught. Serial killers know how to elude capture; it is part of their character.
Definition of a Serial Killer
By Jessica Robinson
Published in Serial Killer Magazine
The term “serial killer” was first coined in the 1970s and is attributed to former FBI Special Agent Robert Ressler. It is used to define a person who kills two to three or more people over a period of more than 30 days. The number of victims attributed to serial killers is highly debatable; the FBI insists that a minimum of three is required to constitute a serial killer while others claim that two or more murders on separate occasions is sufficient. The killer’s motivation for murder is based largely on psychological gratification, and generally, there is a sexual element involved. Most serial killers are creatures of habit or ritual, and their murders are attempted or completed in a similar fashion. Sometimes, but not always, the victims will have something in common.
The major element that sets serial killers apart from other murderers is that there has to be a “cooling off” period between each murder. The typical serial killer is controlled, aware of what they are doing, and avoids being arrested. They are meticulous in choosing their victims and ritualistic in carrying out the murder. Unlike other murderers, they return to a “normal” life after they kill.
Serial killers are addicted to killing. The first murder, whether it was intentional or accidental, starts an intense cycle that begins with a homicidal sexual fantasy. They desperately search for victims, murder them brutally, then return to daily life. Since a “normal” life is full of unbearable stresses, disappointments, and hurts, this leads the serial killer to more homicidal fantasies and the search for more victims. Like any other addiction, the serial killer discovers that they need to kill more victims more often to sustain the high they felt with their first victim. This causes them to become more frenzied, and the frequency and brutality of the murders escalates until they are either caught or grow weary of killing.
The Difference Between Serial Killers and Mass Murderers
By Jessica Robinson
Published in Serial Killer Magazine
At one point in time, serial killers were classified in the same category as mass murderers, but as law enforcement and experts (FBI profilers, psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists) learned more about them, serial killers were moved into their own category. The major difference between serial killers and mass murderers is that serial killers kill on separate occasions, and they have no intentions of getting caught. Mass murderers usually kill several people at one time and are either killed by the police or kill themselves.
Mass murder “is the act of murdering a large number of people, typically at the same time or over a relatively short period of time. Mass murder may be committed by individuals or organizations.” To be classified as a mass murder, the individual or group must kill more than four people during one particular event.
Most mass murderers come from stable, lower-middle-class families. Unlike serial killers, they are not usually adopted, illegitimate, or institutionalized as children. Most mass murderers aspire to be more than they can achieve, and when they fail, they blame other people for keeping them down. This leads to feelings of exclusion, and eventually an irrational hatred develops that leads to homicide. There are three classes of mass murderers: the family annihilators, the paramilitary enthusiasts, and the disgruntled workers.
Although mass murderers are driven by emotion and only go on a rampage after they are fired or break up with a girlfriend, that doesn’t mean they are disorganized. Those who committed shootings required a lot of ammunition, and the shooters generally had more than one gun. Those who kill with bombs have to build the device and wire it so that it goes off as planned. Like serial killers, they claim a lot of victims, they just do it in a shorter amount of time.
Mass murderers are like fireworks: they go off in spectacular fashion, but they are only good for one show. Serial killers are like those snakes: they keep going and going until they are caught or burn out. Despite the distinctions between the groups, they all have one thing in common: they leave behind a large body count.
Types of Serial Killers
By Jessica Robinson
Published in Serial Killer Magazine
The FBI classifies serial killers into three categories: Organized nonsocial, disorganized asocial, and mixed (individuals who display organized and disorganized characteristics). Organized nonsocial offenders generally have an above average IQ (mean of 123) and plan their murders methodically. They usually abduct victims and kill them in one place and dispose of their body in another. Organized killers maintain a high degree of control over the crime scene. They follow their crimes in the media, and usually have some knowledge of forensic science, allowing them to cover their tracks. Organized killers are very socially adept, and usually have friends, lovers, and occasionally a spouse and children.
Ted Bundy was an organized nonsocial killer. He would often put on a fake cast and ask women to help him carry something to his car. Once there, he would beat them unconscious with a crow bar and carry them away. Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, was also an organized killer. He specifically targeted prostitutes because they would voluntarily go with him under the pretense that he was a customer. After he strangled the women, he placed their bodies in clusters and would litter the crime scene with evidence that would confuse or lead investigators away from him.
Disorganized asocial killers have a below average IQ (less than 90), and they usually commit their crimes impulsively. The disorganized killer murders when the opportunity arises, and usually leaves the body in the same place they found the victim. It is rare that a disorganized killer will cover their tracks, but that does not mean they are easy to catch. They evade capture because they have a level of cunning that keeps them on the move, and their erratic behavior makes it difficult for police to narrow down a suspect. Disorganized killers tend to be introverted with few friends, and they may have a history of mental problems.
An example of a disorganized serial killer is Miguel Rivera. Known as Charlie Chop-Off to the local children, he would attack young boys in apartment buildings in New York. He would kill them by stabbing them multiple times before chopping of their genitals. His victims were found in hallways, on rooftops, and in basements. When he was apprehended, he exhibited severe signs of mental illness, and claimed that God told him to transform little boys into girls.
Average Male Vs Serial Killer
Published in Serial Killer Magazine
Serial killer Vincenz Verzeni confessed, “I had an unspeakable delight in strangling women, experiencing during the act erections and real sexual pleasure.” A disturbing thought, but a rather accurate statement as many other serial killers (male and female) have described gaining a sexual thrill in their kills. It seems, for a serial killer, it just might be the norm... their torture frequently comparing to our foreplay and their sex being that moment when they kill their victim, when they have all the power, and when they can believe they are God.
For the purposes of this larger piece sexual homicide will be broken down into stages that relate to the standard sexual interaction, using them to compare the average male to the male who commits sexual homicide (for simplicity's sake we'll stick with heterosexual males throughout the piece). There's the fantasy, the seduction, the foreplay, the act, and the aftermath.
Of course, the average person doesn't suddenly go from normal sexual appetites to macabre ones over night no matter what a serial killer might claim later. No demon enters their body, nor do they suddenly "snap" and go about getting their jollies killing others. Ever found yourself suddenly having sex with another person for no particular reason, having never thought about that person sexually before? Didn't think so. Serial killers and those committing sexual homicide fantasize beforehand just like everyone else. Fantasy is a key element to the killer throughout his life...both before, during, and after the kill and during his "cooling-off" phases.
~ In Development ~
Like a person developing a normal (i.e. not a killer's for the purposes of this piece) sexuality it's a slow, steady, process that leads up to their committing sexual homicides. That, however, is about where the similarities end. The average child, when very young, may play superhero with their action figures and, when they get a bit older, daydream about being a sports star. As they grow up and hit puberty, their attentions will likely turn to sex and the desire to be intimate with those they find most attractive.
For the serial killer the fantasy starts early and there is almost always a linkage of sex and violence and those two things forever represent the same thing to them...Power! Little boys who grow up to be killers frequently recall having early childhood thoughts about violent sex acts. They dream of dead people or force their siblings into playing death/murder games with them...something their siblings are highly unlikely to be all that excited to play. As the budding killer gets older his fantasies grow in scope, number, and specificity, as does the amount with which he is aroused by the fantasies. While the average teenage Johnny is masturbating to thoughts of Jane down the lane coming out of the pool dripping wet, serial-killer-to-be Tommy is masturbating to thoughts of Jane covered in blood weeping for the mercy he won't give her (because he has the power not to).
~ In Action ~
Now the average young man will probably spend a few days thinking and planning before asking a woman out. He'll debate how to approach her, what to say when he does, and try to figure out all the ways in which he can increase the likelihood of getting her to say yes. He'll imagine what will happen when he does ask her...Will she smile? Be flattered? Say yes, she'd love to, and really always liked him but was too shy to ask him out herself? Even for those men only aiming to sleep with a woman he met at a club the idea of fantasizing beforehand fits. The approach, what's said, ways to get her to agree, and her possible reaction are all played out in the guy's mind, there just might not be as prolonged a period between the fantasy and the seduction stages. The everyday guy will probably go through his fantasy scenario with the woman a fair amount of times, but never as much as a killer.
A serial killer is no different in thinking and planning for his kills. Bundy might’ve pictured himself walking up to his victims, maybe on a lovely day at the park, imagining what they'd be like…a trusting, young, co-ed from the nearby college, perhaps? He'd think of possible ways to lower any nerves she might have in going off alone with a stranger and consider every possible reaction she could give – the screaming, the crying – once she realized his true sadistic intentions. Will she call out for help, for her parents, or beg for her life? How long can he torture his female victims before she succumbs to blood loss and the life finally leaves her eyes? In most cases Bundy would’ve had to do some prep work as well and this would go into the fantasy stage – whether it were considering the tools he'd need for his rouse, where the best spot would be to take his victim, or how long he could torture a person before time ran out (he was spotted, the victim died, etc) – the details would need to be thought out ahead of time. Before he even steps out of his house Bundy, like other serial killers and those who commit sexual homicide, will have gone over every single detail in his mind probably thousands of times.
Let's assume the average Joe has finally worked up the courage to ask out that special girl (and that she’ll say yes). For the purposes of comparison the interaction from then until the walk to the door that would normally be considered the end of a date all cover the seduction stage. The seduction starts, at its bare bones, with how the man appears. He'll be clean, well shaven, and dressed to impress, whether this is in a suit or something else depends on both the girl he's trying to attract and the circumstances of date. After appropriate appearance comes behavior and interaction. In wanting to make a good impression a man on a date may do a number of things...open doors, pay for meals, offer his coat, and walk her to her door after. ...Those more into "picking up" women than dating them may also use pick-up lines, special moves or ploys (like those involving a "wing-man"), or even wear certain clothes to vastly accentuate something they consider a good aspect of themselves and distract from more negative ones (a.k.a. "peacocking"). Whatever tactics are used the goal is ultimately the same, to get the young woman to feel comfortable, even enamored with him, enough to trust and get close to him.
With serial killers the goal of seduction stage is almost disturbingly similar, it's actually pretty much the same. A serial killer wants to lower a victim’s defenses enough so they can get close. Like the average gentleman it starts with their appearance. What they decide to look like depends greatly on what they think will work best to attract the type of victim they wish (assuming they have a preference) and their hunting grounds. A nice suit will work wonders in trolling for victims around an upscale neighborhood or in a business district where the killer can mix in with those going to and from work. Going into a lower socioeconomic part of society? Jeans and a tee shirt might just do the trick. And, if they want to get fancy, pretending to be disabled or putting on some kind of uniform (police officer, repairman, etc) can work wonders for a killer. Presuming they're not drooling, staring like a complete psycho, or making a big scene most have the correct behavior down just fine. After that there's the "pick-up" line, which can usually be any of a number of things including; "Need some help?", "Can you help me?", "Repairman!", and "Hey, wanna see my puppy?" Once the person falls for whichever ruse the killer has used and gets close enough they're frequently just a knock on the head or chloroform cloth over the mouth away from becoming a victim.
Ah, foreplay, the beginning of measurable pleasure that can last a few minutes or even hours if paced right. The main point in foreplay is, naturally, to build up the arousal between (presumably) two people...to get the juices flowing, so to speak. Which "juices" flow and why depend on if it's two lovers or a killer and his victim. In this section the average male foreplay will cover from the first kiss to sexual activity for the sole purpose of orgasm (as opposed to arousal). For the killer it'll cover the moment he reveals his "true self" to the victim and the violent activity done for the sole purpose of orgasm – which is typically the killing of the victim).
~ Average Joe ~
It starts, typically, with a kiss...that first kiss, accompanied by that first moan from his lover, is likely enough to get the heart to start pumping just a little faster than normal. Kisses, soft and sweet to start, quickly build into something more demanding from both lovers. Hearts start to pickup their pace and breathing begins to grow heavy with anticipation. Joe shrugs his jacket from his body as his female companion steps out of her shoes. By the time they reach the bed shirts have been lost and they fall back onto the mattress together, kissing and letting their hands explore one other’s bodies. His body heats next to hers and her reactions - the labored breathing, the moaning, that look of pleasure in her eyes - all work together to make Joe's blood pound through his body in excitement. As both parties shed more clothes and more access to one another's bodies is allowed Joe may begin to feel himself getting further aroused, his member swelling and hardening with desire. Noting his arousal, seeing it, feeling it, may cause his mate's own to increase to the point where she is sufficiently lubricated enough to allow him to enter her which, in turn, may increase Joe's and thus a cycle begins...a cycle that progresses with penetration and into the next stage, The Act.
Depending on the couple there may also be different methods used to arouse one another or simply to prolong the foreplay. Roleplaying (with or without costumes), sex toys (vibrators and such), changing pacing or position of the lovers, and even just starting up only to stop, cool down, and start up again during intercourse are all possibilities. And all these things that work to arouse the lovers fall under the umbrella of foreplay.
~ The Killer ~
It starts, typically, with the killer revealing his true intentions and that first reaction his victim gives when she realizes she's made a terrible mistake in trusting him and her fear begins to show. Like the first moan for the average guy the first gasp or sob from a victim can be intoxicating to the killer. The killer's heart begins to pump faster, his breathing can grow labored, and his urge to get more fearful and pained reactions grows. The victim's heart rate may also increase, her breathing may also labor, though obviously for very different reasons as she's progressing from scared, to terrified, to both terrified and in pain. If stabbed the victim may begin to scream, cry, and moan in pain, all of which, including her blood flowing and looking up at her attacker in fear, is likely to cause the killer to begin to feel himself start to swell and harden into a full-on erection. At this point, depending on the killer, he may rape the victim or simply to build up his own lust (and her terror) by torturing her with increasing cruelty and depravity. ...A word on rape: it’s really just a means to an end, another way to increase the killer's feeling of power over their victim and to hurt and scare the victim.
Depending on the killer certain techniques and implements might be used (rape, in sexual homicide, falls into this category). The Zodiac Killer used a number of different things to manipulate, terrorize, and gain control over his victims. He used a costume of sorts with his black executioner’s mask that likely served to immediately intimidate his victims (which conveniently also was used to avoid potential identification) at Lake Berryessa. There were at least two weapons he used, a gun and knife, both of which were used for a few purposes during his killer foreplay - increase the fear in his victims, gain control of his victims, and cause his victims pain. The Zodiac Killer also had his letters to the press and police, which were a way for him to exude power and control and get a rush at the expense of law enforcement and even the public at large.
From the end of the foreplay stage to orgasm really isn't that long, just a moment or so. But that single moment is one of pure bliss, something that a person will want to experience again and again. Whether it's with the same person or not is a matter of preference. So is, exactly, what pushes the person over the edge and into orgasm. For the average male the act as a stage covers the end of foreplay up to, and including, orgasm; for the killer committing the actual murder or whatever specific act pre or post that which brings him to orgasm qualifies as the act stage. (For those that get their sexual gratification post crime, like David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, it'll be whatever part of the crime they're thinking about when sexual release occurs.)
~ Average Joe ~
Some men can orgasm through just intercourse with their partner; some simple adjustments in pace and force of thrusts and they're all good. Others, however, might require something extra or something more specific to push them over the edge. Frequently these are things that have started during foreplay and are then done with increased frequency (and/or pressure and/or speed depending on what they are) as orgasm gets closer. For some men it's a phrase or word or even just a sound from their partner and for others it's a certain "move" - stroking or pulling of the hair, soft kiss or bite of the neck, etc - they or their partner makes that sends them over the edge. Of course it could also just be the look of love, attraction, and arousal in their lover's eyes that causes the man to climax...feeling so good that they gave their partner so much pleasure. Whatever it is that pushes them to the moment of orgasm, when it occurs, it's an incredible release of pressure that'd been building since the first stage of the fantasy.
~ The Killer ~
Similar to the average male some killers are just fine getting off with the straight up act of killing by whichever method they might prefer (the preference can be part of the fantasy or simply because one method is easier than another for the killer). Most need a great deal more than that though, probably because they have a richer fantasy stage than any normal person would. Generally they need to act out a whole scenario, one that's started (in action) in the foreplay stage. However, like the average Joe, there can still be one thing that really sends them over into ecstasy. For some it's the look of utter terror in their victims and others it's the blood and/or tears they cause to seep, ooze, or pour out of their victims. Still others it's actually something that occurs after the murder itself - like the mutilation of the victim's body or a provocative pose they put the body in postmortem, for instance. No matter what it is that brings the killer to climax it's the power they feel over their victim that's at the core...it’s this feeling of power, of control over another human being, that is so arousing to these killers. And, like with the typical male, the moment of orgasm is an incredible release of pressure that'd been building since their fantasy phase started in their youth.
Everything that occurs after sexual release for the average male and the kill for those committing sexual homicide falls under the aftermath and, whether a typical guy or a serial killer, what's felt and done in the aftermath depends a great deal on how the act stage worked out. Did it live up to the fantasy? Or was it just a great big disappointment?? (Of course it also depends on logistics as well.)
~ Average Joe ~
Much of what is done during this stage could very well all depend on whether or not the sex was enjoyable for the typical man. Let's say that it was everything that was fantasized and more...in that case, if able, the man may decide to spend the rest of the night with his lover. He may engage in sex again later or simply remain content sleeping with his lover in his arms. Should he have to leave due to logistics he's likely to call and arrange another meeting (whether it be a date or "booty call") at another time. If sex was not enjoyable he may create an excuse to leave right after or catch a nap (if he's tired and the bed's there, why not?) and then leave. Rarely, if ever, is the average guy turned off from sex as a whole after a bad experience, instead they're simply turned off from the girl herself and so move on to pursue other women.
~ The Killer ~
Let me first say that no serial killer who commits sexual homicide is completely satisfied with the act stage. The act itself can never really live up to their elaborate fantasies and this is one of the reasons they kill again and again; they're trying to perfect a fantasy and, as most anyone can tell you, nothing is completely perfect. That being said they can be reasonably satisfied enough to feel mighty good about themselves after. However, unless the murder occurred somewhere the killer was ensured privacy and it's his preference, it is highly unlikely he'll just relax by the body afterwards. Instead he might have a whole lot of practical issues to deal with – clean-up (of both himself and the murder site), body disposal, and getting himself a believable alibi are all top priorities.
How killers celebrate their triumph over their victim in a sexual homicide varies; some take souvenirs from their victims, some take pictures of their victims, some return home to remember the crime and get off on it (either again or for the first time, with or without a partner), and some just go out for a nice meal. Let's focus on the souvenirs, which are usually taken for two reasons. The first is so the killer can look at them later and relive what he did to his victim in his head, just like the average Joe might buy a souvenir if he went on vacation with a loved one whether it was something for them to display in the house or for the woman to wear some other time. As an example, a normal man may go to the tropics, buy his beloved a nice necklace from the area, and then get a little rush of excitement remembering that night of love-making on the beach whenever she wears it; meanwhile the killer may kill a woman, take her necklace from the dead body to give to his wife/girlfriend to wear, and then get a little rush remembering the kill whenever she does. The second reason for souvenirs is to show off, in which case it’s called a trophy. If the average guy puts in a lot of effort and hard work he might get a trophy for a sports activity or a nice award from his job; the killer feels he puts in the effort to make a successful kill and does a good job he might just take a trophy for himself in the form of something belonging to the victim. Like average Joe placing his trophies on the mantel or hanging up an award the killer committing sexual homicide might just show off his trophy at his home, job (the one outside his killing, if he has it), or by having his significant other wear it…the killer may also get an added feeling of power and control in having his souvenirs, his trophies, hiding in plain sight, considering himself very clever for openly displaying evidence of his kills with no one the being the wiser about it.
Pleading Insanity? – You Must be Crazy
By Brad Barrett
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
On a lazy Sunday afternoon, there's nothing better than taking some time for you. You might want to while away the hours cramming long needles in the space between your anus and scrotum. Or, if that doesn't tempt you, you might want a mouthful of your own crap, washed down with hot, salty urine. Still no takers? Anybody even hear voices? Anybody?
If there's one thing about Albert Fish that seems painfully obvious, it's this: He was nuttier than squirrel shit. What else can you say about a man who was a pedophile, a sadist, and a masochist? What other conclusion can you draw about a man whose obsessions included castration, cannibalism, coprophillia, urophillia and piquerism?
I'll save you the trouble of going to Wikipedia to find out what those last three mean. In short, Albert was obsessed with feces, urine, and stabbing (both himself and others). His favorite method of flagellating his own body involved a paddle filled with nails. He would often beat himself into a bloody mess.
He is well deserving of his nickname. He is the real, honest to goodness Boogeyman.
He first realized he was a few rounds short of a clip when he was still a child. After his father died, his mother put him in an orphanage where he was beaten unmercifully. So were all the other children. The difference was Albert liked the beatings. He enjoyed them so much they gave him erections. This gave the other children hours of entertainment at Albert's expense. It probably did wonders for his self esteem in the process.
It was much later, after his wife had left him, when Albert began to hear "angels" telling him to dash out the brains of children. That would have been cruel enough. Crueler still was what he actually did to them. He beat them for hours. He cut off ears. He extended smiles up the sides of faces. He removed noses, heads, limbs and anything else that would come off. He sucked the blood from their punctured stomachs. Then, he feasted on them for days, taking great pains to make the preparation process long and involved, lengthening the experience.
Once, for good measure, he wrote a letter to the family of one of his victims. Grace Budd's mother couldn't read, so her son had to read the letter detailing the awful things Albert had done. This ultimately proved to be his downfall.
When Albert Fish had his day in court, Captain John Stein asked why he had written the letter. Albert didn't know. He supposed he "just had a mania for writing."
When asked why he had done such a horrible thing to young Grace, Albert said, "You know, I never could account for it."
His legal defense entered an insanity plea. It seemed like a sure fire way to keep him from being executed. Most normal people wouldn't mind seeing Albert take a nice long dirt nap, but doctors and psychiatrists would likely have wanted the chance to examine him further. He was, after all, a perfect storm of mental illness. A run-of-the-mill psychopath is just plain boring in comparison.
Quick show of hands, anybody think the Boogeyman isn't crazy?
If you raised your hand, you are of the same opinion as the United States government. That's right, folks. Legally, Albert Fish is perfectly sane and completely responsible for the atrocities he committed.
You see, in order to be criminally insane in the U.S.A., you must be unable to distinguish between right and wrong. Note that it doesn't say you have to care. It doesn't say you have to feel guilty about it afterwards. To be sane, you merely need enough competence to know, deep down inside somewhere, that what you're doing will be frowned upon by others, if not yourself. It doesn't matter if your mother abandoned you. It doesn't matter if you were abused. It doesn't matter if the ghost of Adolf Hitler possessed you. It doesn't even matter if the fabric of time tore in half and you were kidnapped by ray gun-wielding slime creatures that hypnotized you and sent you back.
By its very nature, the legal definition of insanity will exclude nearly every serial killer in history. If you have no idea what you're doing is wrong, you won't take steps to cover it up. Therefore, you won't ever get the chance to become a serial killer.
Allow me to make a few clarifications. Technically, a serial killer has killed more than one victim. Those killings must have occurred at more than one time. A spree killer might have a shot at the insanity plea because their crimes take place all at once. Any sort of premeditation, however, will likely prove their sanity. Their sanity, in turn, will prove their guilt in the eyes of the law.
Upon learning of his verdict and his sentence, a Daily News reporter wrote that Albert's "…watery eyes gleamed at the thought of being burned by a heat more intense than the flames with which he often seared his flesh to gratify his lust." He supposedly thanked the judge for that method of execution. On January 16, 1936, Albert Fish was executed. His final words were, "I don't even know why I'm here."
Crazy as he was, it took the jury less than an hour to determine Albert was sane and guilty. If this man was judged to be sane, there seems to be little hope for anyone relying on an insanity defense. To plead insanity… well, that's just plain crazy.
The motives of a serial killer
By Rhiannon Edwards
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
What drives one to kill? It can seem like a simple idea to assess but you will find it goes beyond what the majority can possibly fathom.
There are two categories of ultimate motives which seem to direct further motives of serial killers. A distinction between the psychopathic and the insane, which fosters a common misconception to this day.
Insanity can be defined as an “unsoundness of mind or lack of understanding” leaving one not responsible for their behavior and almost completely helpless. Whereas psychopathic tendencies relate to antisocial personality disorder which is “often manifested in; aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse”. There are differences at hand which are significant and valuable as it is brought to our attention that Psychopathy is an easily attainable nature which often goes undetected or misjudged causing faulty treatment and hindered understanding of the psychopathic mind. Depending on if one is psychopathic or insane, there are significant differences in the further motives spawned from the foundations at hand.
One who could be seen as insane may suffer delusions which trigger their acts; their motives may be clouded as they themselves don’t always understand what they are doing. If they are capable of realizing what they are doing, their motives may take on an unrealistic tone… rather than an urge to do something, a need to do it due to the fact there is a possible force behind it controlling them. Ed Gein who was considered schizophrenic at the time of his crimes was further motivated by an unhealthy relationship with his mother who brought him to feel conflicted about women and soon develop a particular psychosis leading him to commit the acts he did. Albert Fish being another example motivated initially by insanity, and then further by a religious psychosis enabling him to believe he was a Saint of sorts who had to do what he was doing, reasoning often that if his actions were wrong he would have been punished by an angel. Contrary to popular belief however, serial killers are very rarely insane or guided by these motives.
Concerning the psychopathically motivated individuals, there are a number of further motives which have been recognized and repeated throughout the years which come into play such as Infamy and Revenge. Criminal psychologists Holmes and DeBurger note categories such as Missionary, Hedonistic, Gain-motivated, and Power/Control.
A simple example of one motivated in a missionary sense could be the mindset of particular infamous dictators like Adolf Hitler, who wanted those exterminated which did not meet the standards of his Aryan race ethic. Aileen Wuornos is considered a missionary killer due to her targetting patrons of prostitution.
Many serial killers are hedonistic, killing for sheer pleasure and often becoming addicted to this pleasure which fuels their continuation of murder, this includes killers such as Dennis Rader (the BTK strangler) who vastly enjoyed the hunt as well as the kill of his victims, and Jeffrey Dahmer who was satisfied with what he could do with the body after his victim was killed.
There are those who are influenced heavily by media depictions of serial killers and who grow to obtain a deep interest in them to an extreme point where they find they would like to achieve the success of a killer they have heard about. They often crave the fame or rather infamy which goes along with the act they commit, and they are motivated by this thoroughly as well as the power they seem to have during the process. Power and control, as mentioned, can take on a level of it’s own concerning types who seek to feel something they may have been restricted from at another time in their lives… or simply for those who dream of obtaining the kind of power others possess regularly in what seems to be an easier form. The power itself can prove an addicting motive and is often cited as one that a high number of killers possess during their “reign of terror”.
The motives of a serial killer vary, and to most they confuse, but it is significant to note that a lot of motivations present are an average phenomenon seen amongst society but often simply expressed in different, more accepted ways. These motives presented, aside from other factors contributing, tend to be the main trigger in what allows any human being to kill.
Necrophilia: Desiring the Dead
By Melissa Hogle
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
Necrophilia, the cornerstone of every psycho it seems...and a damn creepy idea to the rest of us. After all who in the world would want to have sex with a dead person?! Well there are a number of different reasons, some more comprehendible and romanticized and others more ghoulish and, honestly, stomach-turning. Whatever the reason though it's pretty safe to say that this love/sexual preference/fetish is not the norm and likely (if not certainly) indicates some serious mental, emotional, and social problems in those who have it.
Romancing the Remains
The first category of those with this philia don't so much love the dead as they loved the person so much when he or she was living that they sort of just take that last kiss goodbye too far. Famed American author, Ralph Waldo Emerson, confessed in his journal to be being so distraught over his young wife, Ellen's, death that shortly after she was buried he dug her back up. What he did after that is anyone's guess (he never said) but should he have done anything more than another farewell kiss he'd fall into this category.
On the far more grotesque end of love gone beyond the burial service is that of Carl Von Cosel in 1930's Key West, Florida. The radiologist, who worked at a sanitarium, fell deeply in love with a 22-year-old tuberculosis patient of his, Maria Elena de Hoyos, and his love carried over into her death. He snatched the young woman from her burial place and brought her back to his place to keep as his love, and lover, for the next seven years or so. Even as the woman's body began to discompose. Over the years Cosel was forced to use piano wire to hold her bones together, replace rotting skin with wax and silk, use glass eyes to replace real ones long gone, and even insert a tube between her legs to have a "vagina" to continue having sex with her. When his activities were finally discovered and what was left of Maria Elena was returned to rest in peace Cosel continued to love, and lust after, her using a personalized sex doll in her place...when he died in 1952 he was found clutching said doll which had a death mask of his dearly departed on it.
The next type of necrophile has a slightly more "open relationship" with the dead...still not violent, but certainly not one to settle down with just one corpse as it were. It's with these folks that we tend to find those misbehaving morticians and gravediggers who get busy with those they're trusted to care for by loved ones. These types do love the dead, not because they're dead per say but because they can't say no. These men (there are some cases of female necrophiliacs, but the vast majority are men) don't do so well with the living ladies - too shy, too weird, etc - and so turn to those that they're certain won't (re. can't) reject them.
Viktor Ardisson was a mortician and gravedigger who supposedly had sex with over a hundred of the dead - or, in some cases, at least parts of them. He was caught when the smell of a decomposing three-year-old girl, who'd he'd been performing oral sex on since digging her up, alerted neighbors enough to call the police. Also found at his place of residence was his "bride"...the severed head of a thirteen-year-old girl that he kept on his beside table and was known to kiss from time to time. (It's important to remember, despite the ages of the two defiled mentioned, Ardisson was not a pedophile - it was the fact they were dead, not their ages, that aroused the man.)
Another such corpse loving creep, Henri Blot, was caught fast asleep after having dug up and had sex with a recently deceased ballerina. While on trial the judge commented that what he had done was depraved to which Blot was quoted as replying, "How would you have it? Every man to his own tastes. Mine is for corpses."
The final form of necrophile being covered is the dangerous, violent, killing kind. At the core these types, necrophiliac killers, are the same in that they use sex with the dead as another form of power over their victims. Once the victim is dead they want that one last form of "owning" their victim in performing some sort of sexual act upon them whether it be intercourse or giving or receiving sexual pleasure in some other manner.
Some big names in the serial killer world were involved in doing the dirty deed with the dead. Ed Kemper not only would rape his dead victims but also was said to have done so after decapitating one of them. The "Sunset Slayer" Douglas Clark (with the help of his girlfriend Carol Bundy) would pick up hookers for oral sex and then shoot them in the head during the act, climaxing with the now dead woman's mouth over his member - he kept one victim's head in the freezer as a morbid sex toy. And, after strangling his victims (thus leaving them with the common "Angel Lust" erection seen in strangulation cases), Jeffery Dahmer would perform oral sex on his victims...he was also known to cut the bodies open to have sex with the victim's innards.
...While mentioned at the start of this section these killers are the same at the core, there are subtle differences that are to be made. With those like Dennis Nilsen (who killed 15 men and boys in London) the murders seemed more just a means to an end; the end being a lover to have power over and that will never, ever, leave. Others, like Ted Bundy and Andrei Chikatilo, the raping of corpses seem to just be an extension of sexual sadism, another way to completely dominate the victims. It will hardly matter to the victims’ loved ones, of course, but for those in law enforcement these small differences may help in catching the killer and possibly getting them to confess and/or convicting them of their crimes.
In Search of America’s Most Evil Serial Killer
By Rhiannon Edwards
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
Throughout history, millions have killed. From that we determine categories of killers, there are some who kill at war, and some who kill at random. It is true that killers take on all shapes and sizes, many different demeanors, and have an array of different methods. When you pinpoint serial killers, it’s simple to see all of them the same. We separate them according to their motives but often think that all were equally brutal in their crimes. However, this is not the case. It can be said that there are some killers, who take that extra step… committing acts that bring them from man, to monster. Some killers bring a style to the table that others can’t ignore, that leaves a mark and places them aside from the rest. Some killers are far from troubled or apathetic, looking at what they have managed to do we can say that they are evil incarnate. With that said, who then crosses this line into such depths the farthest? Who can we peg, as the most evil?
There has been interest in the topic recently, of just how we can determine the most evil serial killer and why they earn their placement.
There are killers I have discovered throughout the world who deserve a placement on this list. However this in particular is a compilation of those few serial killers who; through specific acts of torture, unique hedonistic methods, and brutal reasoning, we can come to the conclusion might just be the most evil serial killers in American History thus far.
It's evil enough to kill another human being, But to kill your loved ones is an incomprehensible act that can't be ignored.
With this, Belle Sorenson Gunness is added to the list at number 5. Mother, lover, and serial killer.
Known as "one of America's most profligate known female serial killers,"
it is said that Belle is estimated to have killed both of her husbands and all of her children. She is known to have killed most of the men she has been involved with, and her two daughters, Myrtle and Lucy. Her apparent motives involved collecting life insurance benefits. This is one of the killers that hit close to home, for the fact that considering your family…it is difficult to think that you might sacrifice them for money in such a way. Belle cared very little for who she killed, regardless of their status in her life. To her, the children and the lovers were worthless unless they could bring her profit.
Reports estimate that she killed more than twenty people over several decades and got away with it, many people claim that her body count may have reached over one hundred. She makes this list for key reasons; One of those reasons being her targets – all supposed “loved ones” who she shamelessly slaughtered for some extra cash, another being the fact that like most serial killers she did not feel any remorse…this presents the fact that her killing was mainly for money and out of annoyance, she also grew to care nothing about what she had to do in order to keep herself content. This of course is only one example of cases where mothers have killed those closest to them, and fathers as well. It is a longstanding trend. What is unique about this case in comparison to the others is that Belle was not mentally unstable, just plain ruthless. In many situations where the mother has killed, it was out of instants of delusion and misguided thinking. Belle’s murders were a landmark concerning one who would be so bold as to willfully and proudly make family just for the chance to kill them off.
Topping the brutality of Belle, we come to our number 4 placement, filled by none other than the infamous Dennis Rader, also known as the BTK strangler.
Bind, torture, kill. With torture in his name you couldn’t have expected him not to be on this list. Dennis Rader is well known for his acts of torture on his victims, and one serial killer who enjoyed this method to an extreme, making it one of the pillars of what he stood for. Rader bound, tortured, and killed his victims, making sure to cover all aspects of his art. He would strangle his victims until they lost consciousness, but it never ended there. Rader would then let them revive, and promptly strangle them again. He would repeat this pattern many times, forcing them into a near-death state all the while becoming sexually aroused at the visual created of their struggles. Often the final step of his killings would include Rader strangling them to death, which would be followed with masturbation where he would ejaculate into an article of their clothing to end things off, usually their underwear. BTK’s idea of a step by step process to putting his victims through hell before he finally ended their lives is something that was an influence to many killers later on, being something he prided himself on and something that set him apart from other murderers of the time. Aside from being influential, his methods were extremely sadistic and applied to a hedonistic mindset. All of this was very much a game, some work involved of course, but resulting ultimately in enjoyment and successful completion of his desires which he would blatantly throw in the faces of law enforcement. When you look at it that way, you can see that Rader went a step further in his indifference towards human beings and chose to deal with ending their lives in a lighthearted and so, grizzly fashion.
“[I c]ut one of my belts in half, slit these halves in six strips about 8 inches long. I whipped his bare behind till the blood ran from his legs. I cut off his ears, nose, slit his mouth from ear to ear. Gouged out his eyes. He was dead then.” The words of number 3 on the list, Albert Fish. What else did he do to this victim? He engaged in continuing the knifing of this boy, and ultimately “made a stew out of his ears, nose, pieces of his face and belly.” Albert Fish is best known for the intricate and unbelievable murders of children. Just how many children he had killed, no one can know for sure. He was quite literally a stereotype of the “boogeyman”. For quite a long time he got away with it, due to his silent and gentle exterior to people around him. Who would ever think that this man was capable of so nonchalantly killing two birds with one stone, play time and dinner. His acts have been heavily publicized since the day he was found to have murdered, and for good reason. Fish, through his psychotic religious delusions, took hold of his human ability to kill and used it on one of the more innocent creatures on this earth, children. Unlike Belle Gunness who took the number 5 spot, these were not his own kin. That however, does not make the killings at hand any less gruesome. What stands out about his crimes is the way he killed, the disturbing reasons behind the killings, and also what he did with the bodies. The astonishing revelations we make about him can turn up from reading or hearing his descriptions of the murders and how he reacted towards them. He salivated with the thought of his actions, no true remorse found, and despite what he claimed to have forced him to commit these acts – the glory was often in what he was able to make of young bodies.
“At frequent intervals I basted his behind with a wooden spoon. So the meat would be nice and juicy. In about 2 hours, it was nice and brown, cooked through. I never ate any roast turkey that tasted half as good as his sweet fat little behind did.”
What do we make of this? When one not only enjoys the torture of fellow human beings, but the torture of children, and then not only that aspect, but the ability to physically consume those he has tortured – cooking them proudly as if he had discovered the most expensive of roasts on sale. To most cannibals, human meat makes an increasingly better meal than that of what you can purchase at the store.
Albert Fish enjoyed his work, he would never regret one moment of it. Making a sadistic lifestyle look easy to incorporate into his daily schedule, he is by far one of the most evil serial killers in America for blatantly ruling out of his mind what makes his acts so cruel and unusual to us, allowing a mindset that sees the torture of an innocent as a necessity in order to satisfy his common needs.
As we reach the penultimate spot on the list, number 2, we must now really consider aspects of all prior killers mentioned on this list and somehow come up with who can possibly top all of them as well as accommodate all of their methods in one. Who could get away with killing more people than the others mentioned? Who could possess the ability to find even more unique ways of torture and murder…and therefore the charm to lure victims into such a trap?
The answer is in who is depicted to be the first true serial killer in American History, Herman Mudgett, better known under the alias of “Dr. Henry Howard Holmes”.
Very rarely would his lovers and hotel guests leave his presence alive, and if they ever had they would leave seriously and indefinitely scarred for life. Holmes would torture, and kill his victims. One way of doing this would be to lock them in soundproof bedrooms which were fitted with gas lines that allowed him the luxury of asphyxiating them at any given time. Others were locked in a huge bank vault which was near his office, where he could sit back comfortably and listen as they screamed, panicked, and then eventually suffocated from their struggles. His killing extended to “patients” who died as a result of his abortion procedures, no doubt intended to lead them to their demise. The whimsy of his obscure and indecent methods do not end there. With little respect for the lives of the humans he was able to take without much trouble, he used their dead bodies to strange extents not often dealt with by many other killers you will have heard of. These bodies went by a secret chute to the basement, and afterwards some were meticulously dissected, stripped of flesh, crafted into skeleton models, and then actually sold to medical schools – this includes the corpses of the women dying of their abortions, which were processed and also sold. There were some bodies cremated, and some placed in lime pits for destruction. Holmes also possessed two giant furnaces, as well as pits of acid, and various poisons to use at his leisure. One of the most alarming gadgets of torture and death which he owned was a stretching rack, allegedly in order to create a race of “giants” and other such experimentation. Medical school proved beneficial to him, allowing him to sell off his left over skeletons and the organs of victims with minimal difficulty. The existence of Holmes and his slayings is a mysterious one, we can estimate the number of his victims to be between 20 to 100, and some say even higher, which can only be based upon missing persons reports of the time and testimony of neighbors who reported seeing unusual events as well as young women accompanying Holmes into his hotel who never exited. The single verified number is 27, which is still an amazing amount to get away with – police however, had commented that “some of the bodies in the basement were so badly dismembered and decomposed, that it was difficult to tell how many bodies there actually were”. Again, counting the charm of this man, women were easiest to bring in, but this never stopped him from getting his hands on men and also children. What is so significant of these murders may not even be the ways in which they were tortured, or how their bodies were disposed of, but perhaps how dignified Holmes was able to act…and the composure kept during the entire process. This can signify that potentially, Holmes could have continued with his ways for years with ease. It is a disturbing thought that he had medical connections, and also that due to this it made killing and getting rid of bodies all the more simpler. These days although creative minds like that of his exist, they can never truly amount to the extent that brought all of this to be. It is obvious that, realizing what this man was capable of including the nature of his simply activity seeking induced crimes, he is a true candidate for one whom we may always see as one of the most evil human beings from the start that could be dealt with…
But not quite the most evil, not on this list anyway, because there is one more spot to be filled which is the number 1 placement.
The serial killer most intensely bonded with his torture seeking methods and body count, is none other than one that to this day surprisingly not a lot of people are familiar with. His crimes are questionable, and often debated over in terms of accuracy and capability. What this man is proven to have done reveals a depravity so potent that it would be difficult to keep him off of this list from any angle you approach. This man is Donald "Pee wee" Gaskins, said to be the most prolific serial killer in South Carolina history.
Donald’s victims were both male and female, child and adult. His acts included cannibalism, various acts of torture, and ultimately killing of these victims. Anyone could have been a potential target for his brutalities. Saying this seems a vague and average thing amongst the ranks of serial killers, unless you know the details.
As a child Gaskins was treated with disdain by his family, and not well liked by his peers as he grew older. Often teased and punished, he quickly developed an intense hatred towards those around him and battled this on a daily basis. As time passed and the hatred stayed with him, Gaskins took part in criminal activities and as a result was punished in many ways including jail time and reform school. However, punishment could not control what had been unleashed within Gaskins so long ago. Something had been deeply rooted within him and could easily be provoked at any given time, which became most apparent when he was confronted on an undesirable subject and acted out by taking a hammer to the head of a girl, which split her skull. For this he was charged for attempted murder. If he was capable of this, what else could he wind up involved in?
Donald Gaskins was just beginning his reign of terror. To build a persona that others would fear, he shed the face value of his small stature and learned to intimidate through his actions, which started violent and increased in violence as time went on. Although he had followed through with an array of disturbing acts, there were specific instances that pegged him as infamous for the monster he was.
His “vision” into “bothersome feelings” as he described it, led him to his most well known crimes. One instance of these inclusions can be noted as his tendency to keep his mutilated victims alive for days. Perfecting his torture methods, he would sometimes also cannibalize their severed parts as they watched, or were forced to participate in the consumption of their own flesh. This rarity and horrific experiment in torture was committed without a second thought on Gaskins’ part, as he allowed himself the luxury to do whatever was necessary in order to satisfy his visions of cruelty.
Continuing with his sadistic rampage, he identified his highway murders as recreational killings whereas his serious murders were reserved for those he knew personally. A chilling look into how he dissected his habit of homicide. Although his acquaintances often found him to be mentally disturbed and so distanced themselves from him, there were those who were friendlier to Gaskins – which sadly did not protect them from meeting the fate he had conducted. A prime example of this being that of Doreen Dempsey, who was pregnant at the time. Accepting a ride from Gaskins, he had taken her on an unexpected route to an isolated area of the woods in order to inflict his plans upon her. After raping and killing Dempsey, he also managed to sodomize her baby which Gaskins would later sickeningly describe as the best sex of his life.
His massacre truly did not stop at merely women and men, as he had not only violated and taken the life of this child, but many others; crushing their necks, cutting their throats, stabbing them, poisoning, drowning, beating them to death and even shooting them execution style. All of this a picture of how worthless and objectified he was able to render an innocent soul in his mind.
Gaskins had absolutely no regard and no consideration for any human life, other than his own, inflating his status in order to appreciate himself and committing acts which made him feel more powerful in his individual view. Having been possibly connected to over 100 murders, the few we have detailed stories on are enough to reveal this man’s nature and so enough to have him perceived as intensely evil in the eyes of those who see through his crimes. There’s a reason that Gaskins is sometimes referred to as the “Meanest Man in America”, from what I can see, he certainly fits the position. His unfathomable crimes stand notorious amongst serial killings due to their highly violent and unrelenting status, proving surreal and shocking to those who take the time to immerse themselves momentarily in his existence. Donald Gaskins is more than a maniac, and more than a sadist, he is America’s most evil serial killer.
by Chris Bartholomew
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
The FBI estimates that there are currently 500 serial killers at large. Other estimates are much lower, around 35 - 100 serial killers currently committing crimes. In 1983, they estimated that 5000 Americans or 15 people a day were killed by strangers. Every year, between 3500 - 5000 people in America are the victims of serial killers. In the past 20 years, 160 serial killers have been identified or captured, and 120 of them were in the United States.
Sometimes in the profile of a serial killer, authorities will use the dump sites as a guide in that profile, an example would be that if the body is dumped in a wooded area, the killer might be a hunter or fisherman who is comfortable in the woods. Studies have been done showing that in most cases where the serial killer wasn't traveling, such as a truck driver covering a lot of territory, serial killers go a certain distance within a triangle space when dumping the body.
Sometimes the serial killer will go back to the dumping grounds to spend more time with the victim, or to relive the experience. Sometimes they will go back to make sure they didn't leave any evidence behind, or in some cases, when they've integrated themselves to the local police, to help in the investigation, or to taunt the police and leave clues. Gary Ridgway didn't chew gum or smoke, but he did leave chewing gum and cigarette butts at dump sites. Once he even scattered airport motel pamphlets and car rental papers to imply that the killer was a traveling salesman. Sometimes (also Ridgway) they go back to the dump site to have sex with the remains.
There are studies which suggest that the average serial killer travels about a half an hour from home to dispose of a body. Unless work or some other activity puts them further away, they likely live more or less than thirty minutes from the site.
Maurice Godwin, a former police officer from North Carolina, conducted research into geographical profiling involving 54 American serial killers. An analysis of the crimes of the 54 killers, who had each murdered at least ten victims, disclosed that the average distance between the killers' home and his chosen dumping ground was 14.3 miles while the abduction area was only 1.4 miles away.
Here is what 150 Serial Killers did about the question of hiding bodies:
Put in Trash Bags (along highways):
Patrick Kearney and David Douglas Hill (The trash bag murders), Belgium's Butcher of Mons, Bob Berdella (Put remains in can for collection by trash collectors), Jeffery Dahmer, Richard W. Rogers, Grim Sleeper (victims covered by trash bags, found near dumpsters), Bruce Mendenhall, Larry Eyler (The Interstate Killer), Jefferson Davis Parish Louisiana serial killings (unsolved), Robert Pickton, Unknown serial killer in Seoul, The Family murders (Adelaide, Australia), Jeffrey S. Mailho, Vlado Tanevski, Jeffrey S. Mailhot,
Fed them to Animals
Joe Ball - The Alligator Man, Ottis Toole, Robert Pickton, Belle Gunness, Carl Panzram
Sold them as food
Fritz Haarmann, George Karl Grossman
Under houses, crawlspaces, basements
John Wayne Gacy, Kendall Francois, Jesse Harding Pomeroy, David Maust, Jeffery Dahmer
Rivers or other bodies of water
John Wayne Gacy, California Astrology Murderer, Gary Ridgeway, Sean Vincent Gillis, Lewiston Valley Killer, Amelia “The Baby Farmer” Dyer, Fritz Haarmann, The Atlanta Child Killer,
In or around Dumpsters in Alleyways
Daytona Beach SK (unsolved), George Russell, Eight Street Killer (Miami unsolved, 31 victims),
In the woods or fields
Gary Ridgeway, Ted Bundy, The I-45 Killer or Killer(s),east Texas and Montrose Killer(s), "killing fields" murders, Fort Myers killer, Gary G. Grant, James Edward Ruzicka, Gary A. Shaw, The 1969 Parkway Murders (Both Gerald Eugene Stano and Ted Bundy claimed credit for the Parkway Murders but were cleared), Ted Bundy (ditches and parks)
Robert Lee Yates, Edmonton Canada missing women (unsolved)
Dennis Radar, Angel Maturino Reséndiz, Zodiac Killer, Richard Ramirez, Jack the Ripper, Jesse Harding Pomeroy, Herbert Mullin, Aileen Wuornos
Under the bed
Jeffery Dahmer, Earl Nelson
Left them 'posed'
Albert Desalvo, Danny Rolling, the Grim Sleeper, George Russell
Dismemberment, cannibalism, hid some remains
Albert Fish, Jeffery Dahmer, Joachim Kroll, Arthur Shawcross, Henry Lee Lucas & Ottis Toole, Bob Berdella, Edmund Kemper III, Richard Trenton Chase, Douglas Clark & Carol Bundy, Andrei Chikatilo, Alfred Packer, Mark Sappington, Surender Koli and Moninder Singh Pandher
In house or apartment
Fritz Honka, Jose Luis Calva, John Christie, Charles Albright, Harrison Graham, Yang Xinhai, Moses Sithole, Tommy Lynn Sells, Dennis Radar, Richard Ramirez
Never found the Victims'
Gert van Rooyen and Joey Haarhof,
Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo, Juan Corona, Gilles de Rais, The Bloody Benders, Delfina and Maria de Jesus Gonzales, Pedro Alonso Lopez, Dorothea Puente, Reginald Christie, Fred West and Rosemary West, Gordon Northcott
Just dumped the bodies
Kenneth Alessio Bianchi and Angelo Buono
Gilles de Rais, Steven Avery, Sudhakar Gajare, Uresh Warik, Ravi Poojary, Charles Sobhraj, Nicolae Bonner, Thomas Svekla, Jeremy Bryan Jones, John Childs, Ohio Cincinnati killer (unsolved), Dr. Marcel Petiot, Herman Webster Mudgett (H. H. Holms), Countess Erszebet Bathory, Gilles de Rais, The Alberta Serial Killer, Larry Bright
Dissolved in acid (or kept hidden in vats or drums)
John George Haigh, Javed Iqbal Mughal, Nuevo Laredo, Santiago Meza López, Jeffery Dahmer
Dumped near highways (and deserted roads – vacant lots)
Rory Conde, Last Call Killer, Robert Lee Yates, Jr., James Ruzicka, Randy Kraft, The I-5 Killer: Randy Woodfield, Dewayne Lee Harris, California Occult Murders (unsolved), Gary Michael Hilton, Donald E. Younge Jr, Edmund Kemper, Derrick Todd Lee, Highway of Tears Killer (unsolved), Ortega Highway, (The 44-mile stretch of highway, officially part of California Route 74, where many bodies have been found, William Bonin threw one here, so did Randy Kraft, Patrick Kearney did too), Mack Ray Edwards, Clifford Olson, Larry Eyler, New Bedford Highway killer (unsolved)
Dennis Nilsen, Surender Koli, Joachim Kroll,
SERIAL KILLERS AND INSANITY
By: Jessica Robinson
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
In a perfect world, serial killers would be insane. This would allow the public to understand why they did what they did, and it would give them the chance to be treated. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, and most serial killers are not insane. What does it mean to be insane? Surely anyone who kills another, eats their body parts, or has sex with a headless corpse can’t be in their right mind. Insanity, as defined by the Law Dictionary, reads as follows: “mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.” The definition continues for criminal insanity:
In criminal cases, a plea of ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ will require a trial on the issue of the defendant’s insanity (or sanity) at the time the crime was committed. In these cases the defendant usually claims ‘temporary insanity’ (crazy then, but okay now). The traditional test of insanity in criminal cases is whether the accused knew ‘the difference between right and wrong,’ following the ‘M’Naughten rule’ from 19th century England. Most states require more sophisticated tests based on psychiatric and/or psychological testimony evaluated by a jury of laypersons or a judge without psychiatric training. A claim by a criminal defendant of his/her insanity at the time of trial requires a separate hearing to determine if a defendant is sufficiently sane to understand the nature of a trial and participate in his/her own defense. If found to be insane, the defendant will be ordered to a mental facility, and the trial will be held only if sanity returns.1
The M’Naghten Rule, which was the earliest and most common test for criminal insanity, was based on a man named Daniel M’Naghten. He believed that he was personally being threatened by Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel. He went to defend himself, and accidentally shot and killed Peel’s private secretary. He was acquitted on the grounds of insanity because he was not aware of his actions or the difference between right and wrong.
The only serial killer who has used the insanity plea successfully was Ed Gein. At the time of his arrest, he was found to be mentally incompetent, so he was considered unfit to stand trial. Instead of prison, he was sent to Central State Hospital in Waupun, Wisconsin. When this hospital was converted into a prison, Gein was sent to Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. His doctors determined he was sane enough to stand trial in 1968. He was found guilty of first-degree murder, but since he was already declared legally insane, he spent the remainder of his life in a mental institution.
Several other serial killers have attempted to convince the courts and the public that they are insane, but usually to no avail. One of the most common ruses is to create an alter ego. The hope here is that the killer will appear to have multiple personalities, making them less culpable for their actions. Multiple personality disorder, now referred to as dissociative identity disorder (DID), is defined as:
a mental illness that involves the sufferer experiencing at least two clear identities or personality states, each of which has a fairly consistent way of viewing and relating to the world...This disorder was formerly called multiple personality disorder (MPD) and is often referred to as split personality disorder. Although statistics regarding this disorder indicate that the incidence of DID is about 3% of patients in psychiatric hospitals and is described as occurring in females nine times more often than in males, this may be due to difficulty identifying the disorder in males. Also, disagreement among mental-health professionals about how this illness appears clinically, and if DID even exists, adds to the difficulty of estimating how often it occurs.
Some professionals continue to be of the opinion that DID does not exist...[A] concern about the diagnosis of DID involves having to rely on the traumatic memories of those who suffer from this disorder. That DID is significantly more often assessed in individuals in North America compared to the rest of the world, for the most part, leads some practitioners to believe that DID is a culture-based myth rather than a true disorder...Research on individuals with DID that have little to no media exposure to information on the illness lends further credibility to the reliability of this diagnosis.
If professionals can’t agree on how to diagnose it or if it even exists, then it must be easy to fake. H.H. Holmes created “Edward Hatch,” who he claimed was the evil mastermind behind the Pietzel children murder. (It should be noted that this in itself is an interesting defense considering “H.H. Holmes” was an alias created by Herman Webster Mudgett.) William Heirens created “George Murman,” John Gacy created “Jack Hanley,” and Kenneth Bianchi created “Steve Walker.” These alter egos fall apart under scrutiny because actual cases of DID are extremely rare. In the case of Kenneth Bianchi’s Steve, it was discovered that Bianchi had seen the movie “Sybil” days before his psychiatric evaluation.
These men tried to manipulate the system into thinking they were insane. One of the reasons they might have done it was so they wouldn’t get the death penalty, but then again, they might have just done it because it is their nature (I will expand upon this idea later). Serial killers aren’t stupid. That is evident in the fact that they can get away with multiple murders before finally being caught. Some of them are even able to hold together families. They know how to appear “normal.” So why would it be so hard to believe that they would want to appear insane? One of the most famous cases of attempting to be insane is Edmund Kemper.
After Kemper murdered his grandparents, he was sent to the criminally insane unit at Atascadero State Hospital. Kemper learned to manipulate the system. He “was such an endearing model prisoner and so intelligent that the staff trained him to administer psychiatric tests to other prisoners. Kemper later admitted that being able to understand how these test functioned allowed him to manipulate his psychiatrists.” He stayed in the hospital for 5 years before he was declared cured; he was no longer a danger to the public. He continued to see his probation psychiatrist, all the while fantasizing about murdering women. On one occasion, he even went to his session with a victim’s head in the trunk of his car. Because of his ability to appear “normal,” his psychiatrists believed that he was a well-adjusted individual.
But that is not to say that there are no instances of insanity among serial killers. One of the most common diagnoses for serial killers is schizophrenia, which is defined as:
A psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. Distortions in perception affect all five senses, including sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, but most commonly manifest as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking with significant social or occupational dysfunction. Onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, with approximately 0.4-0.6% of the population affected…Studies suggest that genetics, early environment, neurobiology, psychological and social processes are important contributory factors; some recreational and prescription drugs appear to cause or worsen symptoms.
During Albert Fish’s trial, he claimed that he heard voices from God telling him to kill children. His family had a history of mental illness, including a family member who suffered from religious mania. Several experts took the stand, including several psychiatrists and his own 17-year old step-daughter. Nevertheless, he was found sane, and sentenced to death.
Peter Sutcliffe, The Yorkshire Ripper, pleaded not guilty on the grounds of diminished responsibility at his trail, but he was found sane and found guilty of murder on all counts. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Later, he was diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia. In March 1984, he was sent to Broadmoor Hospital.
Herbert Mullin murdered thirteen people because voices in his head told him to do it to prevent an earthquake. He confessed to his crimes, so his trial focused on whether or not he was culpable for his actions. Despite the fact that he was in and out of mental institutions since the age of 21, he burned himself with cigarettes, and was evicted from an apartment because he repeatedly pounded on the floor and shouted at people who weren’t there, he was found guilty of first-degree murder for two of his victims and second-degree murder for eight. It was FBI profiler Robert K. Ressler who asserted that Mullin was schizophrenic. He claimed that it manifested as early as his senior year of high school and was accelerated by the use of marijuana, LSD, or amphetamines.
It is interesting to note that Mullin was claiming victims at the same time as Kemper, and they spent some time in the same prison. According to Peter Vronsky:
Kemper and Mullin were incarcerated in the same prison block, and Kemper tormented Mullin by calling him ‘Herbie,’ a diminutive Mullin hated. ‘He had a habit of singing and bothering people when somebody tried to watch TV. So I threw water on him to shut him up. Then, when he was a good boy, I’d give him peanuts. Herbie liked peanuts. That was effective, because pretty soon he asked permission to sing. That’s called behavior modification treatment.’
Asked if Kemper thought Mullin was insane, he replied, ‘Yes, judging from my years in Atascadero, I would say he is mentally ill.’3
Just because a serial killer is diagnosed as schizophrenic, that does not mean the disease was the cause of their murders. Whether or not violence is a symptom of schizophrenia is a very contentious issue. “Studies have indicated that 5% to 10% of those charged with murder in Western countries have a schizophrenia spectrum disorder.”4 Yet, there are also statistics that claim “Individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are often the victims of violent crime—at least 14 times more often than they are perpetrators.”4
Most individuals who are diagnosed with schizophrenia tend to shy away from social situations because of their hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized and unusual thinking and speech. Since the disease usually manifests in late adolescence or early adulthood, the person’s social and vocational development can be severely disrupted. According to Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, a well known researcher, psychiatrist, and author in the field of schizophrenia:
There appear to be three primary predictors of violence and three other less well-defined predictors. The most important one is a history of past violence; this is the most significant predictor of violence no matter whether a person is mentally ill or not. In trying to predict future violent behavior, the person’s history is the single most critical piece of information.
The second important predictor is drug and alcohol abuse, and this is also valid whether the person is mentally ill or not. In 1994, Jeanette Smith and Stephen Hucker reviewed studies of substance abuse in persons with schizophrenia and noted ‘a growing body of research suggesting a significant link between schizophrenia, substance abuse, and violence.’
The third important predictor is the failure to take medication...Those who do not take prescribed medication appear to be much more likely to commit violent acts.
Albert Fish was born on May 19, 1870, in Washington D.C. His father was 43 years older than his mother and worked as a river boat captain and a fertilizer manufacturer. Fish’s father died of a heart attack, and his mother was forced to find work. She was unable to care for her son, so she placed him in an orphanage where he was frequently whipped and beaten. He discovered that he enjoyed the physical pain, and would get an erection from the abuse, which led the other kids to tease him. His mother eventually got a job with the government and was able to take him back. In 1882, Fish began a relationship with a telegraph boy who introduced him to drinking urine and coprophagia (which in itself might seem crazy, but the court did not find that his fetishes were caused by insanity). Perhaps if Fish had not been subjected to this abuse, he wouldn’t have murdered kids. Since violence was enacted on him, he felt he needed to enact it on others, which is very common in the cycle of abuse.
Herbert Mullin decided to stop taking drugs in January 1973, after he had murdered three people. He blamed his friend Jim Gianera from high school, who had sold him marijuana. But his spree did not end after he stopped taking drugs. He went on to murder ten more people.
The only known treatment for schizophrenia is antipsychotic medication. But, like all medications, they are only effective if taken regularly. It is unknown if any serial killers were prescribed antipsychotics or if they took them on a regular basis.
Schizophrenia describes the actions of some serial killers. Most experts (Peter Vronsky [an investigative journalist and author] and Dr. J. Reid Meloy [author of The Psychopathic Mind: Origins, Dynamics, and Treatment]) agree that serial killers can be classified as psychopathic, which is commonly known as antisocial personality disorder. As I mentioned earlier, serial killers may do what they do because it is in their nature. Vronsky claims:
Psychologists theorize that psychopaths have a diminished capacity to experience fear and anxiety, which are the roots to the normal development of conscience. Psychopaths are often very charismatic and very able at manipulating people. They are highly talented in feigning emotions while inside feeling nothing. They have no remorse for their victims and have highly developed psychological defense mechanisms such as rationalization (‘She should have known better than to hitchike’), projection (‘She was a heartless manipulating slut’), and disassociation (‘I don’t remember killing her’). They have a very weak realization of self and compensate for that with grandiosity and an inflated notion of entitlement—meaning that they feel that they are special and ‘entitled’ to act above the law or morality. Most notable, psychopaths lack any sense of empathy with the feeling of others.3
The list of serial killers who fit this profile seems endless. Ted Bundy calls himself the “most cold-blooded sonofabitch you’ll every meet. I just like to kill, I wanted to kill.” John Gacy never showed remorse, and called his victims “worthless little queers and punks.” Sutcliffe believed he was “cleaning up the streets.”
Dr. Meloy asserts that the psychopath’s relationships are based on power, not attachment. He believes that it starts in early childhood development. There is a split between the “soft me,” which is the vulnerable inside, and the “hard not-me,” which is the punishing outside. The child goes through neglectful or painful experiences, and expects that all outside experiences are going to be painful, so he turns inward. He distrusts everything and everyone outside, and refuses to allow anyone in. Because of this distrust, the child cannot identify with the parents, and soon, the child has no empathy for anyone.
The majority of serial killers came from rough childhoods. Many of them grew up with abusive parents and suffered horrible forms of torture. It’s possible that the reason Fish murdered children was because he held animosity toward those who made fun of him in the orphanage. He could exert his power over those who were younger and weaker than he was.
Kemper murdered women he believed he could never possess. His mother was overbearing and abusive. She constantly blamed her troubles on her son. She constantly belittled him and made him feel worthless. Kemper mainly murdered coeds because they were easy prey. Kemper’s mother worked at the University of California in Santa Cruz, so she gave him a parking sticker so he could pick her up from work. Even though students were warned not to take rides from strangers, the sticker in the window made them feel more at ease. He had power over the women, which was more than he could say with his mother.
The pattern continues with other serial killers. Those who suffered abuse from the hands of their mothers generally wound up killing women. Gacy, who suffered abuse from his father, wound up killing adolescent boys and men. The killers feel a sense of helplessness, a sense of worthlessness, so they kill those who are weaker to provide themselves with power and meaning.
Not every psychopath becomes a serial killer. Vronsky explains:
While not all psychopaths are violent, they are prone to violence more than average. It is estimated that 20 to 30 percent of prison populations consist of psychopaths. But the same might be said for the populations of corporate CEOs, performing artists, and certainly for politicians. Being a psychopath alone does not make one a serial killer.3
Kemper’s first profession of choice was to be a cop. At 6 feet 9 inches and weighing 280 pounds, Kemper tried out for the California Highway Patrol, but he was rejected because of his size. That did not stop him from hanging out with the police and becoming friends with them. After he started killing, he received inside information on the course of the investigation. He was so liked by the Santa Cruz police that when he called to confess to the murders of eight women, no one believed him.
There is no indication why Kemper went from wanting to be a cop to killing women. Perhaps it is because he wanted to be in a position where his lack of fear and anxiety would be put to good use, but since he couldn’t use that to help people, he used it to harm. There is a clear distinction between cops and criminals, between good and bad, and since Kemper couldn’t be good, his only other option was to be bad.
No one really knows why some psychopaths become violent and others don’t. It is theorized that the violence emerges out of personal social conditions and biological and genetic factors. There also seems to be an imbalance of chemicals that are linked to depression and compulsive behavior. There are a myriad of theories out there. But the truth is: no one really knows why serial killers kill.
The prevailing theory is that there is a delicate balance between a chaotic or abusive childhood and biochemical factors that can trigger murderous psychopathic behavior. Healthy social factors can prevent a biochemically unstable individual from committing criminal acts; healthy biochemistry can protect a person with a turbulent childhood from growing up to be a killer. Violent offenders emerge when both elements are out of balance. This theory goes a long way to explain why some children with difficult childhoods do not become serial killers and not everyone with a head injury behave criminally.3
Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure for psychopaths. It cannot be traced to a single chemical, viral, or organic agent. Psychiatric facilities have no influence on a psychopath, with the exception of giving them more ways to manipulate the populace (see Edmund Kemper). Fortunately, it seems that psychopaths cure themselves as they age. For whatever reason, “Starting from age twenty-one, approximately 2 percent of all psychopaths go into remission every year. The older the psychopath becomes, the more likely that he will become adjusted to society—especially in his midforties.”3 This may explain why most serial killers kill in their mid-20s, and perhaps why Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac Killer disappeared without being apprehended.
While it is possible for a serial killer to have a serious mental illness, most of them are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. They are not legally insane because they know the difference between right and wrong; why else would they try to hide their actions from the public? On the one hand, this can be comforting. If serial killers are declared criminally insane, they cannot be given the death penalty. On the other hand, it is very frightening. If there is no treatment or cure, there is no way to stop it from occurring in future generations.
How Serial Killers are Caught
by Chris Bartholomew
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
It is said that most Serial Killers are caught while being arrested for other things, traffic stops, speeding, stealing, etc. Here is a list of how some were caught.
Albert Desalvo - In 1960 De Salvo was arrested by police responding to a breaking and entering call. He was arrested him after a short foot pursuit in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Albert Fish – He wrote a letter about a murder to the victim's parents in which the paper was able to be traced back to him.
Andrei Chikatilo - The Butcher of Rostov - caught when trying to approach young children while under police surveillance.
Angel Resendiz - The Railroad Killer – turned himself in after relatives, who had knowledge of his whereabouts, contacted authorities who then began secret negotiations to win the suspect's surrender.
Angelo Buono Jr. Kenneth Bianchi - the Hillside Stranglers - an eyewitness caught sight of two men forcing a young woman into their car.
Anna Maria Zwanziger - At the urging of his servants (who had survived poisoning) Judge Gebhard (her former employer) had their food analyzed. Traces of arsenic were found after Anna had already escaped. Before her getaway she filled every salt shaker and sugar container in the household with generous doses of arsenic. On October 18, 1809 Anna was arrested after she had sent several letters to the Gebhard household extolling her love for the dead baby and saying the she was willing to forget the wrongs she had suffered and was ready to resume her duties. After six months of questioning, Anna finally broke down confessed.
Anthony Hardy - "trail of blood" led the police to Hardy's flat located a short distance from where the bodies were discovered. They promptly obtained a warrant and searched his ground floor apartment, where they found a great deal of incriminating evidence. At the time of the search Hardy was nowhere to be found. CCTV video surveillance camera caught him on tape on January 1 trying to fill a prescription for his diabetic medication at a London hospital.
Arthur Gary Bishop - He was caught in July of 1983 after killing a 13 year old who he was scheduled to chaperone on a camping trip.
Author Shawcross - caught in 1990 when police intentionally left the body of this final victim where they found it with the idea that a criminal will always return the scene of the crime. The police were right and serial killer Arthur Shawcross was caught
Beverly Allitt - When deaths were so common police saw the pattern, she was the nurse in every death.
Bruce Lee – (Peter Dinsdale) –arrested for arson, he confessed to other fatal fires.
Bruce Mendenhall – Police found his truck, followed it to where the last woman Nicole Hulbert was killed (his truck description being given as being seen around the victim), when police opened his door, they saw blood stains and at that point police said they apprehended Mendenhall and transported him to police headquarters, where he admitted to being responsible for Hulbert’s death, police said.
Bruno Ludke - on January 29, 1943, the cops, while doing routine investigating stumbled upon Bruno, who went crazy on them, assaulting them, before being arrested.
Carl Panzram - In 1928, Panzram was arrested for burglary and held in Washington, D.C.. During his interrogation and jail time he voluntarily confessed to killing two boys.
Carl Stayner - When a fourth body was found in the park (Yosemite National Park) in July, he was questioned and arrested by the FBI. His truck yielded evidence linking him to the victim. He eventually confessed to all four murders.
Carlton Gary - His fingerprints were found at four of the crime scenes.
Charles Cullen - Somerset Medical Center fired Cullen on October 31, 2003, for lying on his job application. Police kept him under surveillance for several weeks until they had finished their investigation.
Clifford Olson- arrested on suspicion to abduct 2 girls.
Coral Eugene Watts – The Sunday Morning Slasher - Watts was picked out in a line-up and arrested on assault and battery charges. He admitted to attacking 15 females.
Danny Rolling - was arrested for an armed robbery
David Berkowitz - eventually caught after receiving a parking ticket at the time and near the place of the Moskowitz murder.
David Gore - On July 26, 1983, Vero Beach authorities received an emergency report of a nude man firing shots at a naked girl on a residential street. Surrounding the suspect house, owned by relatives of Gore, officers found a car in the driveway with fresh blood dripping from its trunk. Inside, the body of 17-year-old Lynn Elliott lay dead with a bullet in her skull. Outnumbered by the police, Gore surrendered, directing officers to the attic where a naked 14-year-old girl was tied to the rafters.
Dennis Nilsen - a neighbor arranged to have the drains unblocked -and the remains of the victims were discovered.
Derrick Todd Lee - linked by DNA
Dorothea Puente - On November 11, 1988, police found a body buried in the lawn at 1426 F Street. Seven bodies were eventually found, and Puente was charged with a total of nine murders, convicted of three, and is now serving two life sentences. She came under suspicion when neighbors noticed people went missing.
Earle Nelson - When Nelson stopped in a general store to buy food, he was recognized by the storeowner and a patron who knew of the $1,500 reward and notified the law.
Ed Gein – arrested when there were so many clues to who killed his last victim.
Eddie Leonski - Confessed to three murders after being picked out of a line of American servicemen by witnesses.
Efren Saldivar - In March 1997, about a year before Michael Swango was arrested on federal charges pertaining to his forged medical credentials, a hospital worker at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center in Glendale, California, told a supervisor that a respiratory therapist named Efren Saldivar had killed an elderly patient by injecting a muscle relaxing drug called Pavulon into the patient’s I.V. This one was ignored, but evidentially, others reported leading authorities to arrest.
Elizabeth Bathory - The King of Hungary ordered her arrest when she began murdering nobels instead of peasant girls.
Eric Edgar Cooke - He was caught when the gun used to murder one of his victims, Shirley McLeod, was found, and police waited for Cooke to collect it.
Emile Louis - caught almost two decades later when his daughter found items in his house belonging to several of the victims.
Fritz Haarmann - A woman who had purchased one of his black-market "steaks" became convinced it was human flesh and turned it over to the police. In the summer of 1924, several skulls and a sackful of bones were found on the banks of the canal. Searching Haarmann's rooms, detectives found bundles of boys' clothing. The landlady's son was wearing a coat--given to him by Haarmann--that belonged to one of the missing boys.
Fritz Honka - In January 1975, he torched his flat, but firemen noticed mummified remains among the ashes and police were called.
Gary M. Heidnik - On March 24 Heidnik loosened the reins on Rivera (he kept his victims in the basement) a bit too much and the woman fled while on an unsupervised trip outside of the house. She notified police who apprehended Heidnik and searched the house, discovering the remaining women huddled in the dank basement.
Gary Ridgeway - On September 10, 2001, almost twenty years after the first known Green River murder, there was a match found between semen samples taken from the victims and Ridgway.
Gerald Schaefer – On July 21, 1972, Schaefer, while on patrol, picked up two teenage girls who were hitchhiking. He abducted them, took them to some remote woods and tied them to trees where he threatened to kill them or sell them into prostitution. However, when he got a call on his police radio, Schaefer had to go, leaving the girls tied up. He vowed that he would return. The two girls, who were aged 18 and 17, escaped their bonds and went to the nearest police station, which was actually their kidnapper's own station.
Harvey Glatman - Lorraine Vigil, a first time model, agreed to pose for him at a studio. He claimed that Lorraine was getting on his nerves, so he tried to tie her up, but she fought. She finally kicked the door of his car open. She ran to the light and much to her
relief, two police officers were found. They began questioning him about the other victims. They insisted that he was the one who killed the other girls. Harvey finally confessed that he had indeed killed them.
Henri Desire Landru - In 1919, the sister of one of Landru's victims, Madame Buisson, attempted to track down her missing sibling. She did not know Landru's real name but she knew his appearance and where he lived, and she eventually persuaded the police to arrest him.
Henry Lee Lucas - Lucas was desperate for money and called an ex-employer named Ruben Moore who lured Lucas with $100.00 to work on the Moore Ranch. The police arrived the next morning. They could only hold him for left of a vehicle in Maryland. He was released again but later came back into the authorities hands to be captured for the final time.
H. H. Holmes - there are three different versions as to how the police caught up with Holmes. The first is that detectives traced Mudgett through his mother who told them the whereabouts of her son, the second is that while Jailed in Missouri, Holmes shared a cell with the infamous train robber Marion C. Hedgepeth, "The Handsome Bandit", perhaps wanting to brag about his own criminal prowess, Dr. Holmes told Mr. Hedgepeth about the Pitezel scam,and Hedgepeth squealed. And the third is that, aided by Mrs. Pitezel, the police captured Holmes.
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley - Myra's brother-in-law phoned police, directing them to Brady's address. The raiders caught Ian and Myra at home, retrieving a fresh corpse from the bedroom, along with the bloody hatchet and Brady's library of volumes on perversion and sadism.
Irene Leidolf (with Maria Gruber, Irene Leidolf, Stephanija Meyer, and Waltraud Wagner) They were caught after they were overheard bragging about their latest murder at a local tavern. They confessed to 49 murders, but may have been responsible for as many as 200.
Jeffery Dahmer - caught on 22nd July 1991, when 31 year old Tracy Edwards managed to escape from him. He found two policemen sitting in a police car and explained how he had been assaulted by Dahmer.
Jeffery Gorton - DNA evidence from a slaying matched his.
Jesse Pomeroy - When Pomeroy's mother moved out of her house , laborers working on the flooring found the decomposing remains of Katie Curran buried in the basement's floor.
Joe Ball - A joke circulated around that Joe Ball must have fed a missing waitresses to his pet alligators. The police took this joke seriously enough to investigate, especially when a neighbor of Ball's complained about a foul-smelling barrel that he had dumped nearby. On September 24, 1938, the deputies came to arrest Joe Ball, who took a swig of beer, hit the NO SALE button on his cash register, grabbed a .45 from the drawer, and shot himself through the heart.
Joel Rifkin - caught after a high-speed police chase, police inspected Rifkin's truck and discovered the corpse of his seventeenth and last victim.
John George Haigh - a jeweler from nearby Horsham called to say that a man had pawned a victim's jewelry the day after she went missing. He identified Haigh and that was enough for police to arrest him.
John Wayne Gacy - Robert Piest was the last boy to be killed by Gacy. Piest had been at work at the local pharmacy and Gacy had offered him a construction job, as he ran his own construction business. At the end of his shift, Piest was picked up by his mother, and told her he was just popping back inside to speak to a man about a job. He never returned and she left to go home. When he didn't return home at all that night the family contacted the police and started to search for him. They discovered that the construction man was John Wayne Gacy.
Joseph Duncan II – caught when he walked with victim Shasta Groene into a Denny's.
Joseph Paul Franklin - a nurse in Florida taking the blood he was selling recognized a bald eagle tattoo on his arm.
Juan Corona – A neighboring farmer noticed a fresh grave and called the police.
Jurgen Bartsch - was arrested after an unsuccessful attempt to torture, kill and dismember a young boy.
Kenneth Erskine - police found a handprint at the scene of one of the crimes, and it matched one on their files.
Larry Eyler - On September 30, 1983, an Indiana highway patrolman spotted a pickup truck parked along Interstate 65, with two men moving toward a nearby stand of trees. One appeared to be bound, and the officer went to investigate, identifying Larry Eyler as the owner of the truck.
Leonard Lake - When the vise Leonard Lake and Charles Ng had been using in their victims' torture broke, they needed a new one. A clerk spotted Ng hiding the vise under his coat and called the police. Ng fled the scene, but Lake was arrested when police saw that he had a gun in his car, was using false license plates and had identification that seemed to belong to someone else. Lake gave up his partner's name and his own, announced that he was running from the FBI—then swallowed two cyanide capsules and passed out, dying a short time later.
Mack Ray Edwards - walked into the Los Angeles Police Department's Foothill station on March 6, 1970, and said he wanted to clear his conscience.
Manuela Ruda (with husband Daniel) - arrested at a gas station.
Marc Dutroux - an eyewitness remembered part of a license plate which matched Dutroux's.
Marcel Petiot - He was recognized and arrested at a Paris metro station. He carried a pistol, F31,700 in cash, and 50 documents in six different names.
Mary Ann Cotton – caught when a post mortem examination on one of her children revealed arsenic poisoning as the cause of death.
Marywbeth Tinning - Tami Lynne was Marybeth's ninth and last child. She was born in August 1985 but lived only four months. She was found dead in her cot and blood was spotted on her pillow. This aroused suspicion and an investigation was carried out. An autopsy revealed that Tami Lynne had died from suffocation.
Michael Ross - witnesses recalled seeing a blue sub-compact car near a murder scene.
Police began working their way through a computer listing of 2,000 sub-compact drivers, and they caught up with Ross.
Michael Swango - rrested and convicted of falsifying statements and documents related to a previous application for a position at a Veterans Administration hospital in New York.
Michel Fourniret - caught in 2003, when a Belgian would-be victim, 13, broke free after being kidnapped.
Patrick Kearney – (and David Hill) - July 5, 1977 the couple walked into the Sheriff's In formation Center in Riverside, saw a wanted poster of themselves and surrendered.
Paul Denyer - A piece of skin, possibly from a finger, was found on the neck of a dead girl. And the sighting of a yellow Toyota Corona on a road near the bike track at 3 p.m., the time the coroner estimated that the vicitm had been murdered. The observant police officer had written down its number from its registration label because the car had no plates.
Randall Woodfield - In March 1981, police investigating a shooting death in Beaverton, Oregon encountered Woodfield, who was a casual acquaintance of the victim. Citing his history of sexual assault, police searched his home and found evidence linking him to the murder, as well as the attempted murders of two young women.
Randy Steven Kraft - Arrested by Sterling for driving while intoxicated, the patrolman found the strangled body of a boy in the car.
Richard Angelo - One patient, Gerolamo Kucich, caught him. Kucich saw a bearded man put something into his IV, and he managed to reach for his call button before he succumbed.
Richard Chase – After his final kill, he left perfect hand prints and foot prints in blood and was apprehended.
Richard Ramirez – After a his mug shots were broadcast on national television and printed on the cover of every major newspaper in California he was caught by angry residents and the police were called.
Robert Berdella - April 2, 1988, a man jumped from the second floor window of Berdella's house wearing nothing but a dog collar. Police were called, the house searched, he was arrested.
Robert Black - caught July 1990, after he abducted a six-year-old girl. A man recognized the van and called police. The girl was found bound and gagged in the back of the van.
Robert Hansen – was caught when a woman he was trying to capture ran right into the police.
Robert Lee Yates - Caught after he tried to abduct a boy from a Camas movie theater.
Robert Picton - On February 5, 2002, the police executed a search warrant for illegal firearms at the property owned by Robert Pickton and his two siblings. He was taken into custody, and the police then obtained a second court order to search the farm once they discovered personal items belonging to one of the missing women.
Sante Kimes – (and her son Kenney) Kimes and her son, Kenneth, were arrested on a warrant for using a bad check to buy a car.
Ted Bundy - Bundy's Volkswagen car aroused suspicion in Salt Lake City and on August 16, 1976 a police stop found a number of suspect items in the vehicle's trunk. Among the things found were an ice-pick, ski mask, crowbar and a large number of tools. At first, investigators believed they had captured a burglar, but a subsequent search of Bundy's apartment found brochures and maps for places in Colorado where victims had been murdered. A test revealed a match between hairs in Bundy's apartment and hairs found at the murder scene of Melissa Smith. A witness who saw Bundy's photograph then came forward to put him near the scene of a crime in Snowmass, Colorado the previous year.
Thomas Neill Cream – A doctor, he was caught when he tried to frame innocent doctors for his crimes.
Vaclav Mrazek – Caught in March 1957 during a house inspection following a theft in the Libusin mine, where he was working as a spa staff attendant.
Vincent Johnson - fingered by another homeless man who was suspected of being the killer. The man was cleared because his DNA did not match, but he identified Johnson as a possible suspect and called officers when he saw him crossing the Williamsburg bridge.
Wayne Adam Ford – turned himself in.
Westley Allan Dodd - the law finally caught up with him after he botched an attempt to abduct another unnamed boy.
William Bonin - a young man in custody for car theft told the police he would give them the Freeway Killer if they would give him a break on the car theft.
William Suff – arrested after a routine traffic stop.
Serial killers in Pop culture
by Stephen W. Roberts
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
Serial killers in contemporary American culture is namely inspired by the convergence of two basic desires, that being violence and stardom. We as people desire notoriety, though most often this concept is unattainable. There lies a certain need within all of us to be noticed; be it by those whom we love and admire or by the world as a whole. This is a concept that every successful actor, musician, novelist, artist and serial killer have in common. They all longed to smile for the camera.
The elusive creature known as the serial killer has captured the attention of American culture. With the popular press churning out dozens of books and movies centered around the serial killer each year, the term has almost become a catch-phrase, replacing earlier terms such as 'homicidal maniac.' Fiction writers and the movie industry use 'serial killer' in such casual manners that it’s almost as if serial killers were either foreign to the American lifestyle or in fact fictitious themselves.
Serial killers do exist and Americans have perfected the art.
It cannot be denied that the serial killer kills. Killing, however, integrates a variety of meanings. A mere slip of the hand on the steering wheel can turn a normal person into a killer. And it is conceivable that a second such happening could turn an otherwise normal person into a serial killer of sorts.
I, for one do not recommend becoming a serial killer as to obtain some sort of celebrity status, but is it unconceivable that some may have already done this in history?
Perhaps it wasn’t forethought, but did most of them not bask in the glory of the hunt; knowing that the news would report on them, knowing cops could come for them and knowing reporters would take their pictures upon capture?
Just think of the book deals, movie deals and admiration from your peers and fans alike as you become the next flavor of the month in Hollywood. It’s enough to make a person sick, though perhaps it’s also enough to make a person kill.
If you’re a fan of pop culture then you’ll likely believe these all to be true or at least have heard of these clichés from time to time:
· Most Serial killers are white males in their late 20s to early 30s.
· Serial killers are always sexually motivated and always hunt the same kind of victim and murder them symbolically in the same fashion.
· All serial killers are methodical outside-of-the-box thinkers and require a special kind of person to track them.
· Serial killers are immoral and often are loners.
· Serial killers like to torture animals in their young age as they fantasize about the acts they’ll commit later in life.
· All serial killers wet the bed as children.
· Serial killers are pyromaniacs.
· They always follow the investigation and even taunt the police.
· Serial killers target veteran detectives to play cat and mouse with throughout the investigation.
· They always leave a signature
· Serial killers kill alone
· They prefer to kill up close and personal
· There are less active today than in the 80s and 90s
· Jack the ripper is the oldest documented serial killer
· Aileen Wuornos is the first female serial killer
· The green river killer holds the record for most slain by one individual
· The zodiac killer was never identified
· Movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre are based ENTIRELY on actual events.
· All serial killers are psychopaths
· They all possess some deep seeded motive linked to their unhappy childhoods
· All serial killers want to be caught for publicity, though never feel remorse
Now though some of this may be true some of the time, none of it is factually flawless 100% of the time. Serial killers come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. They make birth on every continent and can even be children.
Regarding motives, they can be placed into five different categories, although there may be some serial killers that seem to have characteristics of more than one type.
Contrary to popular opinion, serial killers are rarely insane or motivated by hallucinations and/or voices in their heads. Many claim to be, usually as a way of trying to get acquitted by reason of insanity. There are, however, a few genuine cases of serial killers who were compelled by such delusions.
Herbert Mullin killed 13 people after voices told him that murder was necessary to prevent California from suffering an earthquake. Mullin went to great pains to point out that California did indeed avoid an earthquake during his murder spree.
Ed Gein claimed that by eating the corpses of women who looked like his deceased mother, he could preserve his mother's soul inside his body. He killed two women who bore passing resemblances to his mother, eating one and being apprehended while in the process of preparing the second woman's body for consumption. He also used the flesh of exhumed female corpses to fashion a "woman suit" (as well as various other household adornments, such as curtains and lamp shades) for himself so that he could "become" his mother. After his arrest he was placed in a mental facility for the remainder of his life.
So-called missionary killers believe that their acts are justified on the basis that they are getting rid of a certain type of person (often prostitutes or members of a certain ethnicity), and thus doing society a favor. Gary Ridgway and Aileen Wuornos are often described as missionary killers. In Wuornos' case, the victims were not prostitutes, but their patrons. Missionary killers differ from other types of serial killer in that their motive is generally non-sexual.
This type kills for the sheer pleasure of it, although what aspect they enjoy varies. Yang Xinhai's post-capture statement is typical of such killers' attitudes: "When I killed people I had a desire sexual excitement. This inspired me to kill more. I don't care whether they deserve to live or not. It is none of my concern"
Some killers may enjoy the actual "chase" of hunting down a victim more than anything, while others may be primarily motivated by the act of torturing and abusing the victim while they are alive. Yet others, like Jeffrey Dahmer, may kill the victim quickly, almost as if it were a chore, and then indulge in necrophilia or cannibalism with the body. Usually there is a strong sexual aspect to the crimes, even if it may not be immediately obvious, but some killers obtain a surge of excitement that is not necessarily sexual, such as David Berkowitz, who got a thrill out of shooting young couples in cars at random and then running away without ever physically touching the victims.
Most criminals who commit multiple murders for material ends (such as mob hit men) are not classed as serial killers, because they are motivated by economic gain rather than psychopathological compulsion. There is a fine line separating such killers, however. For example, Marcel Petiot, who operated in Nazi-occupied France, could be classified as a serial killer. He posed as a member of the French Resistance and lured wealthy Jewish people to his home, claiming he could smuggle them out of the country. Instead he murdered them and stole their belongings, killing 63 people before he was finally caught. Although Petiot's primary motivation was materialistic, few would deny that a man willing to kill so many people simply to acquire a few dozen suitcases of clothes and jewelry was a compulsive killer and psychopath.
Power and control
This is the most common serial killer. Their main objective for killing is to gain and exert power over their victim. Such killers are sometimes abused as children, which means they feel powerless and inadequate, and often they indulge in rituals that are linked, often very specifically, to forms of abuse they suffered themselves. Many power/control-motivated killers sexually abuse their victims, but they differ from hedonistic killers in that rape is not motivated by lust but as simply another form of dominating the victim.
The above seems to cover the basics of motives for a serial killer, though it’s important for one to recognize that the fantasies involved could call for one or many variations of the above options.
No researcher, or writer, or even the FBI, however, has managed to make what now seems like a simple connection in the serial killer. It is well known that fantasy plays a large role in the life and motivation of the serial killer. And it is also widely accepted that the serial killer uses fantasy as a crutch, as a coping mechanism for day-to-day life. No researcher, however, has synthesized these two facts into a far more intriguing thesis. The serial killer, much like the chronic gambler and problem drinker, is addicted to the use of fantasy. So strong is this compulsion that the serial killer murders to preserve the addiction, in essence preserving his only remaining coping mechanism.
If being a serial killer is an addiction to fantasy, then what sets them apart from actors and fiction writers?
Do they not all live for the next fictitious thrill?
If this simplistic addiction is the cause of a serial killer, then why is one person able to pursue a live of addiction and gain fame and fortune, when others falls victim to their victims and go to prison…the answer is a choice. Serial killers may be compelled to act upon their addiction, but they alone make the choice to commit murder. Murderers decide to commit murder. So then, if by this recognition of a serial killer could we not be reading the next best seller written by Theodore Bundy about a serial killer named Stephen King?
In my opinion, this is true.
Every living being possesses the ability to commit evil acts and even though some of us are addicts, not all of us decide to commit murder to secure the continual existence of our fantasies.
In closing, I’d like to add that I DO NOT advocate any actions neither by or in interest of serial killers, nor do I suggest that anybody reading this should go out and become a serial killer for the fame, though I’m also not suggesting you become an actor or a novelist to maintain an addiction. Take from this what you will, acknowledge that the media has built up the serial killer as high as they have the rock star to sell merchandise and know that your life is solely in your hands…at least most of the time.
Why Serial Killers Kill – Some Theories
by Chris Bartholomew
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
When considering the question of why, we have to consider that some serial killers do kill just because they want to. In most cases, there isn't a clear cut reason, and so I haven't delved into the reasons of, wanting to kill, power and thrill as a motivation, criminal enterprise, ideology (one who would kill to further the goals and ideas of an individual or group, terrorist groups).
From the Behavioral Analysis Unit-2, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Critical Incident Response Group, Federal Bureau of Investigation:Serial Murder — Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators:
• Predisposition to serial killing, much like other violent offenses, is biological, social, and psychological in nature, and it is not limited to any specific characteristic or trait.
• The development of a serial killer involves a combination of these factors, which exist together in a rare confluence in certain individuals. They have the appropriate biological predisposition, molded by their psychological makeup, which is present at a critical time in their social development.
• There are no specific combinations of traits or characteristics shown to differentiate serial killers from other violent offenders.
• There is no generic template for a serial killer.
• Serial killers are driven by their own unique motives or reasons.
• Serial killers are not limited to any specific demographic group, such as their sex,
age, race, or religion.
• The majority of serial killers who are sexually motivated erotized violence during development. For them, violence and sexual gratification are inexplicably intertwined
in their psyche.
• More research is needed to identify specific pathways of development that produce serial killers.
Attendees at the Serial Murder Symposium agreed that there is no generic profile of a serial murderer. Serial killers differ in many ways, including their motivations for killing and their behavior at the crime scene. However, attendees did identify certain traits common to some serial murderers, including sensation seeking, a lack of remorse or guilt, impulsivity, the need for control, and predatory behavior. These traits and behaviors are consistent with the psychopathic personality disorder. Attendees felt it was very important for law enforcement and other professionals in the criminal justice system to understand psychopathy and its relationship to serial murder.
Psychopathy is a personality disorder manifested in people who use a mixture of charm, manipulation, intimidation, and occasionally violence to control others, in order to satisfy their own selfish needs. Although the concept of psychopathy has been known for centuries, Dr. Robert Hare led the modern research effort to develop a series of assessment tools, to evaluate the personality traits and behaviors attributable to psychopaths.
Why Serial killers kill is the question most people want to know, and it's also the reason that there are so many theories. We want a logical explanation of a thing that is completely illogical. Add to that the fact that we use actual serial killer interviews to try and get the answer, and well, you get the point, we don't know why but, as I pointed out, there are theories.
Abuse and Neglect
If you have read a lot of serial killer bios, then these terms have to be very familiar to you. This tells us that the FBI is right about childhood, and something lacking there very well may be most of the 'why' answer. Many children grow up neglected and abused, but do not become violent criminals or serial killers. Many serial killers came from normal families. Not everyone will fall under this umbrella.
I could say the above and leave it at that, because I know everyone reading this knows what a 'normal' childhood is, right? Probably not. From the list below, you can see what abnormal is:
Gary Heidnik, 3 years old, didn't clean his room properly; Father hung him by his feet out of a 3rd story window
7 years old Henry Lee Lucas, mother made him go to school dressed like a girl. Mother's lover beat him when his teacher gave him a pair of shoes and at 10 years old showed him how to kill animals and then have sex with them
Danny Rolling was 6 months old when his father kicked him into a wall, 1 year old when his father beat him when he crawled funny, 6-8 years old father beat him twice a week, 13 years old; father handcuffed him to his brother, beat them and left them outside.
1 year old Robert Garrow's father made him kneel for hours in the corner, 2 years old his mother split his head open with a crowbar during a beating, 5 years old he was knocked unconscious when mother hit him in the head with a piece of wood. 6 years old when he was beaten unconscious by his father, and made to wear his sister's bloomers out to play.
Joel Rifkin's father committed suicide in 1987 and the killing spree started two years after that.
Albert DeSalvo was sold into slavery by his father.
Ed Kemper's mother locked him in the closet numerous times.
Bobby Jo Long's mother had frequent sex with men in the same room that Bobby Jo slept in and then the men were abusive to him.
Gary Ridgway had a domineering mother who constantly yelled at their father and controlled Ted completely, and was never pleased with what he did.
Albert Fish - several of his family members had mental health problems. After his father’s death, he was put in an orphanage by his mother and he was whipped at the orphanage frequently
Herman Webster Mudgett – Dr. H. H. Holmes father was very strict and often bullied his son. He had a well-known fear of the local doctor’s office and due to this; other students in his school would often force him to touch human skeletons. What was meant to be a scare turned out to be a fascination, which led to him stealing corpses while in medical school.
Andrei Chikatilo He shared a bed with his mother and Chikatilo and often wet said bed, for which he was beaten. His mother told her children that his brother was eaten by starving villagers.
Bruce George Peter Lee - The son of a prostitute, Lee was brought up in children’s homes and suffered from congenital spastic disabilities in his right limbs, which left him with a limp in his right leg and a compulsion to hold his right arm across his chest.
Ted Bundy - born to an unwed mother, who later moved in with her parents, and assumed the role of sister to her son.
Michael Wayne McGray's father was a violent alcoholic and used to beat animals and encourage his son to do the same.
Peter Kurten, when his father was drunk used to force his wife to have sex in front of their children.
Cary Stayner - his younger brother, Steven, was kidnapped by a child molester Kenneth Parnell in 1972 and held captive for more than seven years before escaping and being reunited with his family. Stayner would later say he felt neglected as his parents grieved over the loss of Steven.
Carlton Gary was malnourished and abused.
Cayetano Santos Godino's father was an alcoholic physical abuser who suffered from syphilis. Cayetano attended several child-care organizations when he was between five and ten but always ended up ousted.
Charles Ng as a child was harshly disciplined by his father at every opportunity.
Danny Rolling - father, a police officer, was abusive to both him and his mother, and later his brother, Kevin. Claudia Rolling made repeated attempts to leave her husband, but always returned.
David Koresh described his early childhood as lonely, saying that the other kids teased him and called him "Vernie". As a young boy, he was abused by his stepfather. A poor student because of dyslexia, Koresh dropped out of high school.
Dennis Nilsen father was an alcoholic and his parents divorced when he was four years old. His mother remarried and sent her son to his grandparents, but after a couple of years he was sent back to his mother again.
Dorothea Puente - both parents abused her, and she often had to scavenge for food. Puente's father died when she was four.
Ed Gein's father was a violent alcoholic who was frequently unemployed. His mother blocked any attempt he made to pursue friendships. Besides school, he spent most of his time doing chores on the farm. Augusta, who was fanatically religious, drummed into her boys the innate immorality of the world, the evil of drink, and the belief that all women (herself excluded) were whores. According to Augusta, the only acceptable form of sex was solely for procreation.
Gerald Eugene Stano - His natural mother neglected him to such an extent that when she finally gave him up for adoption when he was six months old, county doctors declared him unadoptable because he was functioning at what they described as "an animalistic level". He was eventually adopted, however, by Norma Stano, a nurse, who renamed him Gerald Eugene Stano.
Henry Lee Lucas described his mother, Viola Lucas, as a violent prostitute. His father, Anderson Lucas, was an alcoholic and former railroad employee who had lost his legs in a train accident, and who suffered from Viola's wrath as often as his son. She regularly beat him and his half-brother. He once spent three days in a coma when his mother hit his head with a plank of wood, and on many occasions he was forced by his mother to watch her have sex with men. Lucas described an incident when he was given a mule as a gift by his father's friends, only to see his mother shoot and kill it.
Jerry Brudos - His mother had wanted a girl, and often ignored and belittled him.
Jesse Pomeroy, his father was extremely abusive to him and his brother, often taking them to their wood shed where he stripped them naked and beat them severely.
John Reginald Halliday Christie was abused by his father and dominated by his mother and sisters.
John George Haigh parents, John and Emily, were members of the Plymouth Brethren. He was confined to living within a 10ft fence that his father put up around their garden to lock out the outside world. Haigh would later claim he suffered from recurring religious nightmares in his childhood.
John Wayne Gacy - His father was an alcoholic who described Gacy as a "sissy" and who physically abused Gacy's mother.
Joseph Paul Franklin is believed to have suffered an abusive childhood at the hands of both his violent parents.
Jurgen Bartsch's adoptive mother, who suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, was fixated on cleanliness. He was not permitted to play with other children, lest he became dirty. This continued into adulthood - his mother personally bathed him until he was 19.
Mary Bell's mother Betty was a prostitute who was often absent from the family home, traveling to Glasgow to work. Accounts from family members suggest strongly that Betty had attempted to kill Mary and make her death look accidental more than once during the first few years of her life. Mary herself says she was subject to repeated sexual abuse, her mother forcing her to engage in sex acts with men from the age of five.
Michael Ross - his mother, who had abandoned the family at least once and had been institutionalized, beat all four of her children, saving the worst for him. Some family and friends have suggested that he was also molested by his teenaged uncle, who committed suicide when Ross was six.
Myra Hindley - She was believed to have been beaten by her alcoholic father, Bob Hindley, a paratrooper in the RAF during World War II, who was also alleged to have been violent towards her mother Nellie.
Ottis Elwood Toole - his father left the family when Toole was young. He claimed his mother was a religious fanatic, and that his sister dressed him in girl's clothes. Toole also claimed his grandmother was a Satanist who exposed him to various practices and rituals in his youth.
Patrick Kearney, a thin and sickly child, became a target for bullies at school. In his teens, he became withdrawn and fantasized about killing people. His mother, a prostitute with 13 children, caught him fondling his younger sister in 1957 when he was eight years old.
Richard Chase - An apparent victim of abuse at the hands of his mother, Chase exhibited by the age of 10 what is known in psychiatric circles as the "triad" of the early signs of a serial killer: He wet the bed, he started fires, and he tortured animals.
Richard Ramirez - his father, Julian, brought his children up with strict Catholic beliefs. Not shy of physical punishment, Julian Ramirez would beat his kids if they got into trouble as a way of discipline. Richard usually escaped, spending nights at a nearby cemetery. His father's temper was so bad that he once hit himself over the head with a hammer until he bled.
Robert Hansen as a child was small and sickly with perpetual acne and a severe stutter and spent much of his early life as a loner and a target for bullying from his peers and his strict, domineering father.
Robert Lee Yates - As a six-year old boy, Yates was allegedly molested repeatedly by an older neighbor boy. His father later described him as being "moody and violent" as a teenager.
Rod Ferrell - his grandfather raped him when he was 5. Rod also claimed that as a young child, he was exposed to occult rituals and human sacrifices, and was introduced to the "Dungeons & Dragons" role-playing game.
Robert Black - Locals and neighbors report that Black was often frequently and heavily bruised during his childhood, and acquaintances from primary school say he was "a bit of a loner but with a tendency to be bullied".
William Bonin - His father was a compulsive gambler and alcoholic, and his mother frequently left Bonin and his brother in the care of their grandfather, a convicted child molester.
Stewart Wilken alias ‘Boetie Boer'. He had been sexually abused during his childhood.
Henry Louis Wallace – They forced him and his sister to beat each other with a switch. His mother and sister would parade him around the neighborhood dressed as a girl. He witnessed a gang rape at the age of seven.
Joseph Kallinger was adopted by sadistic parents, who disciplined the young boy with hammers and cat-o'-nine tails. After a hernia operation his stepmother told the 6-year-old that the surgery was to keep his penis from growing. She would also hold his open hand over a flame until his skin began to smolder.
Jeffery Dahmers mother was a hysterical hypochondriac who spent most of her life in bed popping pills.
Brain Damage perhaps caused by head injuries
The prefrontal cortex is 29% of the brain and acts as a controlling mechanism for anger and aggression. The trademark of all social primates is a highly developed frontal brain, and human beings have the largest one of all. Damage causes this to stop working, perhaps allowing people to become murderers and cannibals.
Serial killers who had head injuries:
Paul Charles Denyer
Bobby Joe Long
Earle Leonard Nelson
Henry Lee Lucas
William Burke and William Hare
For Profit Serial Killers
The Motives of Female Serial Killers
Drugs, cult involvement, cover up, or feelings of inadequacy (24%)
Belle Sorenson Gunness
K D Kempamma alias Mallika
Aileen Carol Wuornos
Mary Ann Cotton
Dr. Harold Shipman
Maria Catherina Swanenburg
Blanche Taylor Moore
Margie Velma Barfield
Henry Louis Wallace
Although it's hard to put everyone who had a domineering mother into a category that says they killed because of the relationship that they had with the mother, there are a lot of them that did have strange relationships with that parent. Many of the mothers of serial killers were highly controlling, overbearing or overprotective of their sons. Since some serial killers kill women who have more than just a passing resemblance to their mother, this theory is very popular.
In the 1980's, a study was done of convicted sex-murderers by the FBI. In that study they found that 47% didn't have a father present throughout most or all of their childhood, and of those that did have fathers present, 71% reported that their mother was the dominant parent.
Some of those serial killers who had obvious strange relationships include:
Ed Gein – he might have actually killed his brother to be more alone with his mother.
Edmund Kemper – mother was domineering, he preyed on women who looked like her. He killed his mother.
Henry Lee Lucas killed his mother.
Joseph Kallinger (he's in the abuse list above)
Kenneth Bianchi (he's in the abuse list above)
Arthur Shawcross was obsessed with pleasing his critical mother
Jeffery Dahmers mother was a hysterical hypochondriac who spent most of her life in bed popping pills.
Bobby Jo Long (he's in the abuse list above)
Gary Ridgway (he's in the abuse list above)
Gerald Eugene Stano
John Reginald Halliday Christie
Joseph Paul Franklin
Ottis Elwood Toole
Wallace Joseph Kallinger
A list of names that fall into this category of theory isn't' even required for this theory, just saying that all serial killers have fantasies that they are trying to fulfill when they kill will suffice. In a study of 36 serial killers, 28 of them started daydreaming in early childhood. While daydreaming in itself isn't a harmful thing as everyone has done it, cultivating those dreams and fantasies and reliving them over and over again before going out and murdering people is. For a serial killer in the making, it is often like an addiction. He fantasizes his crimes over and over before he actually commits it. Those fantasies are also used as a coping mechanism for a day-to-day-life. As soon as they are no any longer sufficient to satisfy his needs, he will start living them out.
By Keimi Yamagata
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
While beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder, art may very well be too. Obsession with serial killers and psychotic behavior seems to grow each year so it’s not entirely surprising when art collectors pay thousands for a painting or everyday Americans go out in droves to buy novels all because serial killers were the creators. Despite it being a controversial practice, the phenomena of serial killers in the art world seems to have a long life ahead of it. From Manson’s sock puppets to Charles Ng’s origami, murderabilia never lacks in contribution.
Where else to begin than with “the killer clown” himself: John Wayne Gacy? Perhaps the most successful serial killer turned artist, one of Gacy’s paintings depicting baseball playing dwarfs competing against the Chicago Cubs once went for an unbelievable $9,500, but what Gacy is most famous for are his clown drawings and paintings. The alter ego of the clown stayed with Gacy from his murders through his art and the face of red, white and blue clown makeup would be the one to make Gacy so integrated in popular culture. On his alter ego, Gacy once said, “A clown can get away with murder” and while that may not have been the case for him; a clown certainly can rake in dollars from art collectors and all around macabre individuals. Cult director John Waters himself owns a piece which hangs in his guestroom and lead singer of metal band Cradle of Filth, Dani Filth, owns another. Not everyone is a fan of Gacy’s art, as would be expected. In June of 1994 a group purchased 25 of Gacy’s paintings for a bonfire they had planned. Nine victim’s family members attended to watch the blaze, along with 300 or so other spectators.
Protests range in size from killer to killer, but are always present. A not so overjoyed 1998 crowd in Texas stood outside an exhibit of Elmer Wayne Henley’s work with signs that read, “"Hang Henley, not his art." But when faced with the fact that so much backlash results from the sale of killers’ artwork or literature, many wonder why the prison’s themselves allow it to occur at all, but the answer is simple: art therapy. Many officials believe it’s a form of mental rehabilitation for serial killers and at the very least, prison guards would rather see once violent criminals painting as supposed to harassing and causing trouble. But many serial killers haven’t helped instill faith in that idea and many a clever criminal have found ways to use their art to cheat the system.
Jack Unterweger of Australia is a prime example of a man who “wrote his way” out of prison. Unterweger harbored a deep hatred of prostitutes springing from his resentment of his mother for her being one and assaulted many local prostitutes in his younger years. In 1976 he killed Margaret Schäfer, an 18 year old woman, with her own bra and was sentenced to life in prison. But it was in prison that Unterweger, who was illiterate entering, learned to read and write and published many short stories, plays, poems and ultimately an autobiography. After only 14 years of his sentence was served, the prison was impressed with his works and signs of improvement, also many prominent Australians asked for him to be pardoned, including Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, so on May 30th of 1990, the prison released him.
A free man again, Unterweger went on to do television shows and in 1991, an Australian magazine hired him to write about crime and prostitution. He was also asked by the local police to comment on crime scenes and even go along on patrols with them through red light districts. During this time, Unterweger would go on to murder 11 more women, 6 being in his first year released alone, and managed to deter the police from sensing it was him. But despite his ability to cover up the new murders so long, his trademark killing style was something he couldn’t always resist and eventually caught up with him. When police noticed that three recent murders were of women hung with there own bras, they finally woke up to the fact that Unterweger was one of the many who never truly had recovered. Unterweger eventually killed himself to avoid being taken to trial again and due to his timing, is still innocent on the books. But the allure of serial killer bodies of work was ever present in Unterweger’s case because even though the evidence was insurmountable, many supporters and fans of his work were adamant he was innocent and was no serial killer.
Another man by the name of Gary Gilmore was granted freedom through his art, but also squandered it. Most notable for his not appealing to the death penalty and welcoming it for his killing of two young men, Gilmore was a sad case in that he showed true talent in art and was given an opportunity he didn’t take. At an early age, despite having an IQ of 130, he didn’t do well in school and was in and out of prison on numerous car theft charges. In 1964 at 21 years old, Gilmore was given a 15 year prison sentence for robbery and assault for being a repeat offender. In prison, Gilmore began to use his artistic talents and the prison itself was so impressed with him, they granted him an early release in 1972 to a halfway house in Eugene, Oregon with the understanding he would enroll in the local community college and study art. Unfortunately, whether it was his inner need to kill or nerves and lack of confidence to register, he never enrolled and within a month of his conditional release had committed armed robbery and was brought back to prison. Whatever Gilmore could have been died along with him in 1978 when he was executed by firing squad in Utah.
In yet another failed attempt at recovery, Jack Abbott gained major celebrity after his best selling and popular book, In The Belly of The Beast, was released. The basis of the book had sprung from a relationship he had with author Norman Mailer throughout the 1970s. The letters he had written to Mailer and Mailer had written back served as inspiration and Mailer himself not only helped Abbott publish the novel, but stood before the parole board and got Abbott eventually released in 1981. Abbott had been in since 1965 for forgery when he stabbed an inmate to death and received a harsher sentence, which only increased with an additional 19 year sentence after he escaped and robbed a bank.
Once released, he did the local television circuit, including “Good Morning America.” But only 6 days after he had reclaimed freedom, he stabbed a waiter, Richard Adnan, to death. Obviously taken back to prison, he showed no remorse, but supporters who loved his novel were heartbroken. Abbott eventually published another book ridden with self pity entitled My Return, which was widely unsuccessful and in 2002, hung himself in his prison cell.
At this point one might ask if all hope is lost in art therapy, but successes have risen in ways prisons weren’t hoping for. Gerard Schaefer was able to vent, but in a troubling way. In his novel, Killer Fiction: Tales of an Accused Serial Killer, Schaefer writes of numerous gruesome murders in detail and while they all sound reminiscent of his killing style and possibly could be his own, he assures that they are only “the characters in my fiction.” Schaefer himself was in prison for murdering, raping, and abducting Susan Place, 17, and Georgia Jessup, 16. He previously had kidnapped two young female hitchhikers and tied them to trees to rape and most likely kill them but was called away through his radio because he was a police officer. When the two girls escaped and reported him, Schaefer told the chief he only meant to do it as a lesson to the girls so they wouldn’t hitchhike, but the chief saw through him, fired him and charged him with false imprisonment and assault. Schaefer eventually pled guilty to the charges and received only one year, which he served and was released to commit the two murders that gained him his two life sentences. Most troubling about his “venting” in the novel is that police are near certain he committed murder numerous other times and the events described in the novel could be real. When searching his bedroom they found journals of violent and hateful rants about women, jewelry, and human teeth from at least 8 different women or young girls who had gone missing over the years. In many cases its clear that art imitating life can certainly be a disturbing event.
Another “recovered” killer is Elmer Wayne Henley who vowed art had saved him and brought him close to God. Henley, assisting Dean Corl with fellow murderer David Brooks, murdered and brutally raped 27 boys across Texas in the early 70s. Vowing to never murder again, his recovery is questionable in that he admits he must look at photographs of naked young boys every now and then to get by.
Another trend is visible in serial killer art aside from a one way ticket to fame or freedom, the material that makes the world go round: money. To try and obtain the riches fellow serial killers seemed to make, Keith Jesperson, who murdered 8 people across 6 states, decided he lacked any talent and to borrow someone else’s to turn a profit. Jesperson used color pencils to trace and draw over photographs taken by a professional and wound up making $1,000 from a few in 2002. This naturally caught the eye of the original artist and also the prison superintendent who never gave him permission. Jesperson was then disciplined and is still in Oregon State Penitentiary today.
Not the only serial killer turned plagiarist, Donald Henry Gaskins has openly laughed at and admitted that he simply traced Disney characters he found in books or magazines, slightly changed them and had his lawyer see if they would sell, and they definitely did. The fact that Gaskins, once dubbed “The Meanest Man In America” for killing another inmate and reputedly 100 other people, drew Disney figures is, in itself, ironic.
But, perhaps the entire idea of collecting art by so-called monsters exposes the irony in its collectors. The things made from those we fear welcomed into our home. But does art therapy work for criminals? Did author R. A. Lafferty have it right when saying of literature and art that, “The monstrous and wonderful archetypes are not inside you, not inside your consciousness; you are inside them, trapped and howling to get out” in that serial killers can release their inner demons through art, climb out of it, and be reborn? Or is it that narcissistic element present in most serial killers that clamors for the fame and subsequent fortune? The answer is infinitely debatable and so the debate continues along side the ever present fascination with the things that go bump the night and their art. Those intrigued by monsters will never disappear and as obvious with one sitting and watching of the local news, there is no shortage of monsters in the world to intrigue them, so the art front known as murderabilia isn’t dying anytime soon.
By Keimi Yamagata
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
If art is said to be subject to interpretation, then those doing the interpreting are subject to controversy over what they consider art. A stroll along a wall in any art museum will undoubtedly show depictions of violent war battles, suicides, and numerous scenes of bloodshed in various shades of red paint. Gracing the walls of the wealthy around the world are such artworks to which fellow members of the elite compliment and ogle when invited into their homes. But, not all walls are created equal. Someone’s Monet is another’s Manson. The question is, who are these “someone”s who invite artworks or memorabilia of those whom we fear into their homes?
Perhaps the most well-known collector of murderabilia to date is Joe Coleman. An artist himself and once dubbed “America's premier portraitist of sociopathic murderers”, Coleman owns numerous pieces of highly desired items in the crime art world, including the infamous letter written by sadist and child rapist Albert Fish to victim Grace Budd’s mother. Coleman states that he creates and collects “outsider art” that deals with subject matter or people themselves that are outside the norm. Just some of the subjects Coleman has integrated into his own artwork include: Jeffery Dahmer, Harry Houdini, Edgar Allen Poe, and Carl Panzram, who Coleman made a comic strip of. Even as a child, Coleman’s first paintings were of saints bleeding to death or stabbings due to his devout Catholic mother routinely taking him to church and him taking in the surrounding imaginary. This theme carried on into the artwork he currently creates that has been sought after have people across the world, including celebrities Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio.
When once asked why he finds the entire practice of serial killer art so appealing, Coleman said, “That's the stuff I can relate to and understand because that's the stuff where the feelings are everything, where the person is everything... They're not concerned with trends, or with sales in the art world, or making a sophisticated statement in our history... They're desperate to put these things down on paper.”
Whatever reasons a collector may have, its clear that once hooked, a person’s hunt to gather more murderabilia never ends. Coleman is considered an aficionado on the subject now and recently lent his commentary to a documentary based on fellow crime art enthusiasts by Julian P. Hobbes called “Collectors.” Appearing in the film are Richard Staton and his companion and business partner Tobias Allen, the creator of the widely controversial serial killer board game that is banned in Canada. The documentary follows both men as they travel to Elmer Wayne Henley’s art show in Houston, Texas and covers the uproar from buyers and protestors alike. Henley, along with partner Deal Corll, murdered and raped 27 children in the early 1970s and currently serves multiple life sentences, but was prompted by Staton himself to take up painting. In the documentary, both men conduct a rare interview with Henley, visit various crime scenes and both spend time with Henley’s mother. The art show would prove to be a tumultuous event with a large turnout of protestors carrying signs that read “Hang Henley, Not His Art.” Nonetheless, the documentary itself has gone on to do well with Jack Anderson of Newsday saying, “Its effect is coolly appalling” and Frank Schreck of The Hollywood Reporter states, “As distasteful as it is compulsively to watch.”
But before the documentary, Richard Staton, a mortician, hadn’t been absent from the spotlight in the crime art world. Responsible for three “Death Row Art Shows” and dealers for numerous killers such as Henley and Henry Lee Lucas, Staton is said to have made the murderabilia industry what it is today, for better or worse. Beginning in the late 1980s, Staton wrote to various criminals in prison and would build up considerable correspondence with them. “It was really great for a while -- Manson and (Richard) Ramirez would call and leave messages on the answering machine. Gacy called about 80 times a day . . . but in the end, they're losers who live in a little cell and try to titillate guys like me on the outside. They're game-players, very evil sociopaths." Yet despite labeling them all as such, Staton began a business relationship with Gacy as Gacy’s exclusive art dealer. Although Illnois, the state where Gacy was incarcerated, halted Gacy’s right to sell his art, Staton helped him get around the law by visting Gacy in prison and then taking the paintings as “gifts.” Once on the outside with the artwork, Staton would sell them and drop off another so-called “gift” into Gacy’s prison account. Staton says on the relationship, “I got a third of the profit and Gacy got the rest. I guess I made about $3,500, all put together."
Nowadays, Staton considers himself retired from the industry and active trading with now over 1,500 crime art artifacts in his possession including pieces by Richard Speck, Ottis Toole, Lucas, Gacy, and Manson. Staton is now comfortable in his native Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a husband, father and bassist’s for his church’s choir. When asked about his murderabilia collecting in retrospect, Staton says, “Victims' families must think I'm the worst creature who ever breathed air, and maybe in that sense I am. I am not ashamed of it nor am I proud of (collecting). But I certainly wouldn't do it again. I remain haunted about it to this day."
Collector and art dealer Zachary Godwin is not as remorseful as Staton. An avid collector with numerous autographed photographs and letters from various serial killers including Charles Ng, Godwin recently became the proud dealer to jailed murderer Wayne Lo. Lo is in prison for the murdering two and injuring four people on a 1992 college campus shooting. A website created and managed by Godwin, skidlo.net, sells artwork and embroidered t-shirts handmade by Lo to any interested parties. As of now, the earnings stand at $300 and all the proceeds go to a scholarship in the name of Galen Gibson, one of Lo’s victims. Lo acknowledges how the industry can be insulting to grieving families of victim’s. “Victims' families have the right to be offended, but we are not trying to intentionally harm them in any way.”
The clash between families of victims and the crime art collectors is continuous. But sometimes realizing that there are indeed families of victims out there can be enough to shake a person. Knowing this firsthand is creator and front man of American band Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor. Reznor purchased the home where the infamous 1969 Tate LeBianca murders took place at the hands of Manson Family members as a place to record his new album at the time, The Downward Spiral, which went on to be the most successful selling album in Reznor’s career. At the time of purchasing the home, Reznor says he wasn’t even aware or certain of the house’s history until he and a friend researched it after it looked similar to photographs. After Reznor moved out, the house was soon demolished, but Reznor salvaged the front door that still had the faint impression of Susan Atkin’s scrawling of “Le Pig” in Tate’s blood from the night of the murder. The door currently resides in Reznor’s Nothing Studios in a converted funeral parlor in New Orleans. But Reznor’s murderabilia collecting will most likely stop there after a deeply moving encounter he had with Sharon Tate’s sister.
“While I was working on Downward Spiral, I was living in the house where Sharon Tate was killed. Then one day I met her sister. It was a random thing, just a brief encounter. And she said: 'Are you exploiting my sister's death by living in her house? 'For the first time, the whole thing kind of slapped me in the face. I said, 'No, it's just sort of my own interest in American folklore. I'm in this place where a weird part of history occurred. I guess it never really struck me before, but it did then. She lost her sister from a senseless, ignorant situation that I don't want to support. When she was talking to me, I realized for the first time, 'What if it was my sister?' I thought, 'F**k Charlie Manson.' I went home and cried that night. It made me see there's another side to things, you know?”
Along with Reznor, Jonathon Davis had his walk on the dark side and collection of murderabilia. Being the frontman of multi-platinum alternative band Korn, one would think Davis’s musical honors would be the items he treasured most, but that isn’t the case. “I really caught the bug of collecting serial killer artifacts” says Davis and that would certainly appear so. In his current possession, Davis owns numerous paintings by Richard Ramirez and Gacy, both Pogo and Patches clown suits originally worn by Gacy himself, the 1928 letter of detailed confession by Albert Fish, and a signed legal document and VW Bug belonging to Ted Bundy.
It is this VW, however, that has brought Davis under legal fire. A fellow collector of crime artifacts, Arthur Rosenblatt, sued Davis in June of 2004 for $4 million dollars for a breach of contract. Rosenblatt claimed he had set out to create a museum of criminal justice artifacts called the Museum Of Justice & Odditorium (MOJO MUSEUM) and in 2001, Davis approached him with the want to be involved and contribute $250,000 to the museum. But, Rosenblatt says he only received intimidation and two-timing from Davis. He alleges that between 2001 and 2003, Rosenblatt left his job to move out to Los Angeles to get the museum started with the aid of Davis, but wound up only loaning Davis over $20,000 worth of artifacts including Ted Bundy’s Bug that he never had returned to him. Rosenblatt claims that Davis did once agree to give the car back to him only if Rosenblatt didn’t sue him. Moreover, the museum idea itself was taken from him, Rosenblatt states, when Davis started appearing on local TV and radio shows stating it was a ‘serial killer museum’ and other contradictory terms to what Rosenblatt had set out to create.
The two managed to come to an agreement in December of 2005, but before the ink could dry, Davis said a few less than kind words about Rosenblatt in an interview, which Rosenblatt claims violated the terms of the contract, and Rosenblatt took Davis back to court in 2006 for Breach of Contract and Fraud by False Promise in the amount of $250,000.
Despite all the warring and the years of collecting, Davis has started to sell off his collection. Perhaps having the same epiphany Trent Reznor underwent, Davis says collecting has only filled his life with negativity and he can’t bear to be around them anymore. Davis states, “There is definitely a vibe and weird s**t attached to those things. I really don't want to glorify these people and what they did and display the s**t...I wasn't thinking straight when I bought that stuff. I was sucked into it because it was so dark, and I'm like, 'This is cool.'…When I started to think about it, I was like, 'What about those 70 girls' parents — their babies got killed in that car, and I wanna display it! That is f**ked up.'"
But regardless of the changes of heart felt by Trent Reznor and Jonathon Davis, numerous other celebrities continue to collect including shock rocker Marilyn Manson and cult film director John Waters who both own paintings by the killer clown himself, Gacy.
And so the industry goes on. A director of the mayor's Crime Victims Office in Houston, Texas named Andy Kahan did extensive research into the ever booming macabre branch of the art world and estimates that criminal artwork and artifacts have created an over $250,000 a year revenue. So it’s evident that as long as there are crime art collectors, incarcerated murderers or rapists will keep the murderabilia front filled with things to collect. Collectors’ walls will still accumulate the works of serial killers as long as morbid curiosity inhabits the human brain, while angered victim’s families hope for a form of conscience to take it over. And despite numerous states having put a ban on criminal’s selling their artwork, eager buyers will manipulate ways just as Richard Staton did. Perhaps a statement given from entertainment writer and reviewer Tom Joad on Staton’s documentary is in fact the most applicable to not only viewing the film, but when analyzing the collectors themselves. He writes, “You'll be left both enlightened by the macabre world of these collectors as well as mortified by their audacity.”
Making a Living
by Chris Bartholomew
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
Even serial killers have to eat, pay bills, and live somewhere. Here is a list of some serial killers and what they did to support their 'habit'.
Herbert Richard "Herb" Baumeister
Herbert Richard "Herb" Baumeister (April 7, 1947 - July 3, 1996) was the founder of the thrift store chain Sav-a-Lot and an alleged serial killer from suburban Westfield, Indiana.
In 1988 Baumeister founded the Sav-a-lot chain. The chain was a success and Baumeister became very rich. He also began spending a lot of time in homosexual bars in Indianapolis. He would bring men he picked up back to his mansion where he would strangle them and dispose of their bones in the woods behind his home.
Baumeister fled to Toronto and killed himself.
A search of his property uncovered the bones of 11 men. Baumeister was also suspected of killing nine more men and disposing of the bodies in rural areas between Indianapolis and Columbus.
Dr Marcel Petiot - The Butcher of Paris; Dr Satan
Dr Petiot was a respected doctor in Paris during the Second World War.
He was charged with the murder of 27 people, including Joachim Guschinow, M. and Mme Kneller, their son Rene Kneller, and Paul Braunberger between 1941 and 1944. Other sources suggest he killed 63 people, or even 150, and that the 86 dissected bodies pulled out of the Seine between 1941 and 1943 were also his handiwork.
Lured to his premises under the promise of a route out of German occupied France, his mostly Jewish victims would then be given a lethal injection, which he told them was to ward off foreign diseases on their travels. They would then be put into a small triangular room with extra thick walls, where Dr Petiot would watch them die through a small hole in the wall. Their bodies were then stored in a quick lime pit and later burned in a furnace.
Petiot was guillotined on 26th may 1946 in the Paris Sante Prison.
John Reginald Halliday Christie
John Reginald Halliday Christie was a 54 year old serial murderer and sexual psychopath who murdered at least 6 women. He also gave evidence at the trial of Timothy Evans, who was executed (later posthumously pardoned), for crimes almost certainly committed by Christie (who had served in the Army during World War One and been a Special Police Constable during the Second World War).
On the outbreak of World War II, he applied to join the police force and was accepted despite previous convictions.
He was arrested, tried, and hanged for murder in 1953.
A British serial killer who lived in London. He is known to have killed at least 15 men between 1978 and 1983, when he was eventually caught after his disposal of a body blocked his household drains and drew the attention of the police.
In 1961, Nilsen left school and enlisted in the British Army where he became a cook. He served in the army for 11 years before leaving in 1972 and served briefly as a police officer. From the mid 1970s, Nilsen worked as a civil servant. He was active in the trade union movement.
Paul Kenneth Bernardo
Bernardo committed multiple sexual assaults, escalating in viciousness, in and around Ontario. Most of the assaults were on young women whom he had stalked after they had exited buses late in the evening.
Bernardo worked for Amway, whose sales culture had a deep effect on him. He bought the books and tapes of famous motivational get-rich-and-famous experts. Bernardo and his friends practiced their techniques on young women they met in bars.
Karla Leanne Homolka
Homolka is a Canadian serial killer who was convicted of manslaughter in the rape-murders of two teenaged girls; her husband, Paul Bernardo, was convicted of their murders and admitted having raped numerous women. Homolka and Bernardo also were responsible for the rape and death of her sister Tammy.
She worked part-time in a pet shop at a nearby mall. After receiving her grade 12 diploma in 1989, she was hired as a veterinary assistant a Veterinary Clinic, which asked her to leave after she was suspected of stealing drugs. She then found a similar job at the Martindale Animal Clinic.
Dr. Thomas Neill Cream
He was a Scotish-born serial killer, who claimed his first proven victims in the US and the rest in England. Cream, who poisoned his victims, was executed after his attempts to frame others for his crimes brought him to the attention of London police.
Cream went to Chicago and set up a medical practice not far from the red-light district, offering illegal abortions to prostitutes.
Unsubstantiated rumors suggested his last words as he was being hanged were confession that he was Jack the Ripper, even though he was in jail at the time of the Ripper murders.
William Patrick Fyfe
A Canadian serial killer convicted of killing five women in the Montreal area of Quebec, although he claims to have killed four others. He allegedly killed his first victim in 1979 at age of 24. He was raised by an aunt and moved from Western Canada to Montreal in 1958. As an adult, he worked as a handyman.
Robert William "Willie" Pickton
Pickton is a Canadian pig farmer and serial killer convicted of the second-degree murders of six women. He is also charged in the deaths of an additional twenty women, many of them prostitutes and drug users from Vancouver's Downtown.
He confessed to forty-nine murders to an undercover police officer posing as a cell mate. The Crown reported that Pickton told the officer that he wanted to kill another woman to make it an even 50, and that he was caught because he was "sloppy.
Pickton and his brother, David Francis Pickton, ran a registered charity called the Piggy Palace Good Times Society, a non-profit society whose official mandate was to organize, co-ordinate, manage and operate special events, functions, dances, shows and exhibitions on behalf of service organizations, sports organizations and other worthy groups.
Denke was born in German. As an adult, he was well liked in his community, and worked as an organ player at the local church.
Denke was arrested after attacking a man at his house with an axe. Police searched Denke's home and found human flesh in huge jars of curing salts. A ledger contained the details of 40 people Denke had murdered and cannibalized over the years. It is thought he even sold the flesh of his victims at the market.
He hung himself in his jail cell.
He owned a rooming house and played an organ at his church.
Gwendolyn Graham & Cathy Wood
Both Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood were Nurses aids at a retirement home. They are attributed five victims, and imprisoned for life.
John George Haigh
He Lived in Great Brittan. Haigh was an Accountant at an engineering firm, and hanged for his crimes, he is attributed six victims, but there were possibly nine.
An American serial killer who lived in California, with 10 victims to his name. He is serving a life sentence. He was a Highway Department worker
Anna Maria Zwanziger
Zwangiger was a German serial killer with four victims. She was a domestic servant. She was beheaded for her crimes.
Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo - Butcher of Rostov, The Red Ripper or The Rostov Ripper.
A notorious Russian serial killer, he was convicted of the murders of 52 women and children. He completed a degree in Russian literature by a correspondence course and tried a career as a teacher in. There were several complaints of him perpetrating child sexual abuse on his students that were usually handled quietly and without police involvement, thus he was able to move from school to school. He eventually took a job as a clerk for a factory, using his many business trips around the Soviet Union to carry out his killings.
John R. Gasser
Gasser was a student and state employee in Seattle.
Gasser raped and strangled a 22-year-old carhop and dumped her body near the Sand Point Naval Station. Years after his release from prison, he raped and strangled a 49-year-old woman and dumped her body in a ditch outside Olympia in 1982. He is in prison in Washington.
Harvy L. Carignan - The Want Ad Killer
He was a gas station manager is Seattle and Minneapolis.
Suspected in dozens of sex-slayings spanning four decades and several Western states and provinces, Carignan is thought to have killed at least two women in Washington. He was convicted of two murders in Minnesota. He met some victims by placing newspaper help wanted ads. A map found in his Minnesota home had at least 180 areas circled -- including 18 in Washington -- where some bodies have been found.
He is in prison in Minnesota.
James Dwight Canady
City water department employee, in Seattle
He abducted, raped and strangled two women, and then dumped their bodies near Stevens Pass. Canady later attacked two other women and was being held in King County Jail on rape, assault and kidnapping charges when he confessed to the murders, leading detectives to one body. He is in prison in Washington.
Clark County parks employee, in Vancouver.
Forrest is suspected of kidnapping, raping and strangling six women near Vancouver. He was convicted of killing one and abducting, raping and attempting to kill two others, after serving seven years in a state mental hospital. He is in prison in Washington.
Gary G. Grant
Navy enlistee, Renton
He confessed to four sex-slayings, including the murders of two 6-year-old boys and two teenage girls. All victims stabbed, strangled or both, then dumped in wooded areas near a Renton trailer park where he lived with his parents. He is in prison in Washington.
Law student, Tacoma
One of the most infamous serial killers of modern time, the former Tacoma man and University of Washington law student is thought to have killed at least 36 young women and girls in Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Colorado and Florida.
He was executed in Florida in 1989.
Part-time church janitor
He attacked at least four women over 33-year span, killing two. Crimes include a 1966 robbery/kidnapping in Albuquerque, N.M.; a 1974 bludgeoning murder in Seattle; and the1998 fatal stabbing of one woman and sexual assault of another in a Lynnwood church.
He was executed in Washington in 2001.
James Edward Ruzicka
Stable cleaner, Redmond
Deemed a sexual psychopath after attacking two Seattle women, he escaped Western State Hospital, then raped and strangled two teenagers in West Seattle. He hung the body of one victim from a tree and hid the other in a field. He was arrested in Oregon after raping a 13-year-old girl. He is in prison in Washington.
Car lot worker, Aberdeen
He was committed to state psychiatric hospital as a sexual psychopath following child molestations in 1967. He stabbed two teenage hitchhikers to death near Moclips in 1975. He remains a suspect in the 1969 disappearance of a woman he had dated.
He is in prison in Washington.
Robert Lee Yates Jr.
Aluminum plant worker and Army Reserve helicopter pilot, Spokane.
He killed a string of prostitutes in Spokane and Pierce County since 1996. Admitted to 16 murders, convicted of 15. He would pick up prostitutes, shoot them and engage in post-mortem sex. Grew up on Whidbey Island and lived in several Washington cities.
He is on death row in Washington.
Kenneth Bianchi - The Hillside Strangler:
Security-alarm installer, Bellingham
Strangled at least seven women and left their bodies on hillsides in Los Angeles. He killed two Western Washington University students in Bellingham in 1979. He worked with an adopted "cousin" convicted of nine similar murders in Los Angeles.
He is in prison in Washington.
Sprinkler system installer, Seattle
He beat to death a Seattle prostitute, and then dumped her body near the South Park marina. Also convicted of assaulting two other Seattle prostitutes and acquitted of killing another.
He is in prison in Washington.
Produce salesman, Spokane
Suspected of killing up to 30 Northwest women, Bernson stabbed a 15-year-old girl to death and buried her in a shallow grave in Richland. Authorities in Oregon also charged him for the 1978 murder of a Umatilla teenager, whose body was found in 1985.
He is In prison in Washington.
Randy Woodfield - The I-5 Killer:
Bartender, Eugene/Portland, Ore.
Suspect in at least 13 homicides, including three in Washington. Best known for robbing, raping and killing women in communities along Interstate 5 from Bellevue to Redding, Calif. he often wore a false beard and hooded sweat shirt during his attacks.
He is in prison in Oregon.
Martin Lee Sanders
Long-haul trucker, Spokane
He was convicted of raping and killing two teenagers in Spokane in 1983. He also killed two teenage female hitchhikers in Grant County in 1980. He avoided prosecution in those murders by later pleading guilty to the Spokane homicides. He is in prison in Washington.
Army sergeant, Fort Lewis.
Shot and killed one prostitute, strangled and sliced the throat of another. Elton dumped his victims near Madigan Army Hospital in 1984. The Seattle native later pleaded guilty to the killings in military court to avoid a death sentence.
He is in a military prison in Kansas.
William Scott Smith
Cook, Salem, Ore.
He was convicted of two counts of aggravated murder for the sex slayings of two young Salem women in separate attacks in the spring of 1984. Smith was also questioned in the 1983 unsolved murder of a 14-year-old girl in Idaho. Although not officially a suspect in any Washington murders, Green River investigators at one time looked at him in relation to serial killings in this state. Smith also has family ties to Pierce County. He is in prison in Oregon.
Billy Ray Ballard Jr.
Truck driver, Plains, Mont.
He confessed to killing a Seattle couple who disappeared while sightseeing in the Columbia River Gorge. Their bodies were recovered at different times, dumped 30 miles apart, in rural Grant County. Ballard's arrest for the abduction, rape and torture of two women in Wyoming months later helped investigators match his fingerprint to one left on the Washington couple's abandoned car.
Status: In prison in Wyoming.
Laborer, mill worker, Longview
He admits to raping and strangling two young girls in Southwest Washington -- killings more than 11 years apart. Convicted of two other rapes, he also admits to abducting a teenage store clerk at knifepoint. Suspect in dozens of disappearances, rapes and murders since 1982. He is in prison in Washington.
Westley Allan Dodd
Raped, tortured and killed three boys in Vancouver-Portland area. Caught after he tried to abduct a boy from a Camas movie theater. Admitted to molesting about 30 children.
He was executed in Washington in 1993.
Scott William Cox
Long-haul trucker, Newberg, Ore.
He stabbed one prostitute and strangled another in Portland. Suspected in more than 20 other murders, including the 1988 homicide of Snohomish County transient Hazel Gelnett and the 1990 murder of Tia Hicks, a Seattle woman whose body was found in Montlake Terrace. Also suspected of raping and trying to kill a Seattle prostitute in May 1991. He is in prison in Oregon.
Keith Jesperson - Happy Face Killer
Long-haul trucker, Yakima Valley/Portland
He confessed to eight murders in five states. Jesperson typically raped, beat and strangled truck-stop prostitutes and transients, then dumped bodies along wooded roadsides. Sent taunting letters to media and authorities, signed with a "happy face." Caught after killing his girlfriend near Camas. He is in prison in Oregon.
John Eric Armstrong
U.S. Navy, Bremerton/Detroit, Mich.
Armstrong claims to have killed two women and a transsexual man in Seattle while stationed on the Bremerton-based USS Nimitz from 1993 to 1999, plus eight others worldwide. He was convicted of five Detroit-area prostitute murders. Police discount many of his claims. In prison in Michigan.
by Chris Bartholomew
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
There are seven psychological phases a serial killer goes through in his mind. They were identified and described by psychologist Joel Norris in 1988. Norris worked on the defense teams of several convicted killers from Georgia and completed 500 interviews with such individuals, during which he identified the following phases.
1. Aura Phase
He hasn't killed yet, but he starts to withdraw from family and friends, isolating himself more and more. He is like a person addicted to television, all he wants to do is to continue watching it, but the 'television' that he is watching is a fantasy in his head. People he comes in contact with might not even notice that there is a difference, but at this aura phase, he won't be trying to make any contact with other people that he isn't already obligated to talk to and interact with. It is here that he might start abusing alcohol or drugs, which usually leads to the fantasies intensification and after awhile these fantasies have to be acted upon. This phase can last from a few minutes to a few months. This is the time when he is getting up his nerve to put action to his fantasies, he's building himself up.
2. Trolling Phase
The killer has decided that he is ready, and he is looking for a victim. He's usually going to be looking in a place where he's been before, so that being familiar with the surroundings, he knows where he will most likely succeed in finding someone he won't be caught with. He has to find a good place to kill the victim. He also has to take into consideration where he will leave or dump the body. This phase takes as long as it takes, sometimes a day, sometimes months. He is looking for the perfect victim to act out those fantasies that have grown in his mind. By this phase, he has an idea of how he will approach the victim.
3. Wooing Phase
Note that the disorganized killer wouldn't be here at this phase, as the organized killer is more confident and has better social skills. He will try to socialize with the victim and gain their trust. Once he has their trust, he will get them to a secluded area that he picked out during the Trolling phase and move on to the next phase.
4. Capture Phase
This is where he betrays the trust he has gained. The capture. He somehow got the victim into the car (or knocks them out and puts them there) and he goes to the secluded area that he already picked out. He might pretend to need help with something to get them to the car. He gets pleasure out of the capture phase; he is in complete control and loves this. Once he's sure his victim cannot get away, he goes to the next phase. Note that some people have actually escaped or talked the killer into letting them go during this phase. It seems as though there is a way to interrupt the fantasy here, maybe mentioning children, somehow in begging for their life, some victims have been let go, sometimes the killer just walks away or drops them off on the side of the road or at a hospital.
5. Murder Phase
A disorganized killer is likely to kill the victim quickly, raping and mutilating after death. With the organized killer, time will be taken to act out his fantasy, usually raping and mutilating while the victim is still alive. The most organized serial killer will keep the person alive as long as possible to get the most enjoyment out of the act and make it last, because he is not really there for the kill, he is there to live out the fantasy.
6. Totem Phase
The fantasy is over, and the excitement is gone. He gets depressed because it's over and it didn't last. This is why some serial killers will take what we call 'trophies' away with them, so that they have something that will help them reenact the kill over and over in his mind. This helps him remember the power he had over the victim, it reminds him that he actually did it.
7. Depression Phase
This is the last phase before he starts again. He's emotionally let down. This can last for days or weeks, sometimes even months. This is the time that they might try to commit suicide, or even confess to the police before he kills again. Now that the victim is dead, they don't represent what the thought they did and the fantasy is still there. It never gets finished with a satisfactory ending. It's like an incomplete story. In every subsequent murder, he tries to make the scene of the crime the same as the fantasy, which is why there are almost always patterns to a serial killers kills. Serial killing is an addiction, and the killing patterns will be continued.
To date, there is not a way to stop a serial killer from killing but the catch them and put them in prison. The above phases help to explain this, as they did it, got away with it, still need to satisfy that fantasy, and will continue becuase there is no satisfactory end.
Serial Killers and the Media
by Chris Bartholomew
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
You pick up the paper and read the headlines: Killer Strikes Again. You are going to read the article, and every other article, and you'll keep reading until you know all about it because you live there and you want to know who he's killing, where he's killing, when he's killing, so that you can prepare to stay away from the places at that time of day or night, and you try to think of ways that you are different from his victims. The media has given you a chance to protect yourself by giving you information.
It's also human nature to be enamored by all of our feelings, especially fear. Most of us have had nightmares, and we will admit that while we don't like the images, we do like the feeling of being afraid. It makes us feel alive. It's why we read mysteries, and horror stories. It's why Steven King is such a hit. The love of the feeling is also why rollercoaster's always have the longest lines. We like to be afraid.
We also want to be known, we want people to know that we do our jobs well, that we treat our families well, that we are who we are. Worlds within worlds, we all have our places where we are known and appreciated. Some people want to be famous – actors, writers, singers, dancers... and serial killers.
Now that our nature is out of the way we can examine how media coverage might influence the serial killer, beginning with nicknames. As writers, we have to come up with super titles, a great lead-in to a story – and that's whether we are writing a book, story, or an article, a good lead-in is a must. Media gives nicknames to a serial killer because they don't know who he or she is. Plain and simple, it's easier for us to write, 'The Pink Panther Killer' than it is to keep saying, 'whoever killed the Keller woman has done it again', 'whoever the killer is', etc.
We can't say that all serial killer nicknames are sensational, or super-hero like, but some of them are. Some of them are named after the area, as in 'Highway Killer', or for how they might have killed as in 'The Cleveland Axe Murderer.'
The Zodiac Killer named himself, and so did Dennis Radar of the BTK (bind, torture, kill) murders in Kansas. Fearing the paper wouldn't publish his letter, the Zodiac Killer threatened to kill a school bus full of children. He was certainly after publicity. After years of keeping quiet, Dennis Radar sent the police a computer disk with a message that they were able to trace to the church where he did work. His want for attention got him caught.
"The Lipstick Killer" of Chicago; "Zodiac Killer" of San Francisco; "BTK" of Wichita; "Weepy-Voice Killer" of Minnesota; "Happy Face Killer" of Oregon; and "Zodiac Killer" of New York, are just a few of the serial killers who communicated with the media while they killed. They obviously wanted to be known for what they were doing.
There are always similarities in serial killings, but another bid for fame and the attention that it brings the killer are signatures. A signature killer has something that he does every time he kills, letting the authorities know that it's him. When you read an article where the killer left the bodies in a certain position, this is a signature, if he takes away with him a body part, it's a signature. Something that ties all of the victims together can also be called a 'signature' and this is communication with the media. While all serial killers may leave signs, not all of them leave signatures. Signatures are proof that one person did the deed. Who do they want to know that it's 'their signature'? The media so they will let the rest of the world know.
Does media coverage make a serial killer kill more people? Certainly it can be suggested that it does create copycat murders. If it weren't for media coverage, it's not likely that the average citizen could put the numbers and likelihood (similarities) together to figure out a serial activity. Only the media puts it all out there for everyone to read. No one can be a copycat without all of the information.
Not all serial killers set out to be famous. Some of them don't even know that they like notoriety until they experience it when they read a story about themselves in the paper. Once they read the story though, it has to have an effect. We don't know but that some serial killers might actually stop killing for fear of being caught after media coverage.
Bud Richards hated his nickname given by the media. "Nicknames are everything in the States," complained Richards. "If you haven't got a cool handle, you're like, nobody. I was hoping to be named something clever like 'The LA Clipper'or perhaps even 'The Nail Ripper', but instead I’ll go down in the annals of American criminology as ‘TheManicure Murderer’How gay is that?”
Why is the above quote included in this article? Because everyone knows that Americans have a fascination with serial killers, even serial killers know that. We read them like entertainment, and they are happy to keep us so entertained. Yes, they do get greedy for publicity, for the writer to get it right, for their name to keep coming out in the articles, in the movies, in the books. They want to be known.
But we are back to the question - does media coverage make the serial killer kill more people, or accelerate their work? You would have to agree that it does.
Serial killers have been featured in novels, movies, songs, comic books, true crime, video games and other media Films such as The Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, Scream, and the Halloween series, have featured serial killers as villains, antiheros, and even protagonists. Serial killers such as Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates, Carnage, Michael Meyers, Patrick Bateman, and Dexter Morgan have become some of the most famous; popular characters in modern culture.
America has proven that stardom can be obtained by a serial killer.
Before a killer is named a serial killer, he/she has to kill at least three people. Media doesn't 'make' a serial killer, they find them. Police are not willing to release information that there is a possible serial killer on the loose until the media makes it almost impossible to ignore in most cases.
Media is a necessary evil. On the one hand the writer wants to be known for their investigative work, the public wants to know what this 'mysterious' person is up to, and the serial killer wants their name in lights. They want fame. Media coverage is continued inspiration for them to live up to what's being written about them. They feel like they are super human, able to kill without being caught, sometimes for years.
The organized killer is considered to be socially competent, intelligent, a planner, generally targets strangers, someone who uses restraints, has sex with their victims and uses a vehicle. Typical characteristics would include living with a partner, follows the crime in the media, plans the killing, the victim’s body is hidden; evidence is often absent, may return to the crime scene and anticipates police.
In every serial killing, there are three participants: the killer, the victim(s), and the audience: the police, the media, or the public. The killer actively seeks recognition and acknowledgement of his killings, proof by acclaim and mention of his deeds. He preserves mementos, records his actions in detail, and preserves and revisits the crime scene. His feelings of influence and invulnerability to the consequences of his actions increase the more victims he rapes, mutilates, and murders.
Many killers enjoy media and law-enforcement attention, and when apprehended, not only confess to their crimes but sometimes even exaggerate how many murders they have committed.
Thinking logically, knowing that a serial killer is in your area, walking at night feels creepier. When people know that there is a serial killer in certain areas tourism is down. The media has an effect on everyone. It's just not logical to believe that a serial killer wouldn't be affected by the media.
Serial killers and Astrology
by Chris Bartholomew
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
I'm a Virgo, what sign are you? Chances are that you know your birth sign. The Zodiac Signs are all part of astrology, which is the study of the different astral bodies and how they influence human life on earth, or rather, how the position of these planets influence us.
Some people believe in astrology so far as reading their own horoscope to see what kind of day they will have. Some people don't believe in it at all, and some think it's a tool of the devil.
The horoscope is a map that appears as a two dimensional chart. It shows the position of the Sun, the Moon, and planets at the precise moment of your birth. The planets are frozen in their position at the initial moment of birth. That is why this type of horoscope is known as the birth chart or the natal chart.
In the 1980's several different people did studies, not scientific, but studies nonetheless, where they'd give an astrologer names, birth dates, and times of birth of serial killers, with their own name instead of the killers name to see if the results would show that serial killer's traits or life. It didn't work out; in fact, one teacher did this same thing, using the student's names and serial killer's information, handing out the findings to the students asking them to rate the reading. Most of the students rated this experiment high in the 'right' list, thinking the astrologer hit the nail on the head as far as their own lives were concerned.
A skeptic in Kansas City went to five professional astrologers giving as his own the birth data and computer-calculated birth chart of John Gacy. They described him as having a "well rounded personality", that he could "offer a good role model" and that he would "be excellent for working around young people" (which is the group that Gacy specialized in murdering).
On the other hand, astrologers have done studies on serial killers, using their name, date and time of birth, to see if their charts will tell anything that Serial Killers have in common, as in the position of certain planets, and to see if a reading of their lives would be correct using astrology.
Studies and readings have been done on many Serial Killers, among them:
Edmund Kemper (Sagittarius), Jeffrey Dahmer (Gemini), David Berkowitz (Gemini), Richard Ramirez, (Pisces) Dennis Radar (Pisces), Ed Gein (Leo), Marcel Petiot (Capricorn), Ian Brady (Capricorn), Myra Hindley (Cancer), Charles Manson, (Scorpio), John Wayne Gacy, (Pisces) Ted Bundy (Sagittarius), Bob Berdella (Aquarius), Dean Corll (Capricorn), Dennis Nilsen (Sagittarius), Arthur Shawcross (Gemini), Randall Woodfield (Capricorn).
An astrologer sent the FBI an astrological profile of the killer in the Atlanta Child Murders (which turns out was way off), and some police in different places have called on an astrologer to try to find a suspected serial killer, or to see if the chart would show something of significance between the suspected killer and the killings.
An episode of the television program, Unsolved Mysteries, profiled a segment concerning an experiment in astrology. The producers of the show had twenty astrological birth charts from people at random. Included with the twenty astrological charts, the producers put the charts of four serial killers: Jeffrey Dahmer, David Berkowitz, Richard Ramirez, and Ed Kemper. These astrological charts were given to Carolyn Reynolds, a well-known astrologer, to see if she could glean any information from them. Without knowing the identity of the people whose charts she was analyzing, she successfully identified the four people as possible serial killers. She was also able to give other specific information about these serial killers that proved correct. She was able to do all this just by analyzing their astrological birth chart.
There is a lot of talk about what sign most of the serial killers were born under, but in my searching, I got different results, but it doesn't really matter what the sign is, whether they have that in common or not, the key is what date, time, and place they were born –whether certain planets were in the same places of most of the killers or not, and it turns out that they were.
In understanding charts, I thought it would be interesting to see what my own would look like. You can do this free online, and there are places where you can go to find the meaning - the chart is a circle with the 12 zodiac signs, divided into 12 houses which are 30° each. The sun, moon and planets are then put into the places where they were at a birth time and place. Then there are lines going here and there. While it is interesting to look at, it means nothing unless you can figure it out. I did one of my own so that I could understand those of others.
After doing my own chart, which turned out pretty much right, I decided to pick a killer, get the chart and figure out what it would read. I decided to do someone everyone is not only interested in, but knows a lot about, Charles Manson. Here are some of the results:
Very intense and non-committal, primary motivation is unlikely to be prestige, or even authority, its real power. His power can absolutely be of the "behind the scenes" variety, just as long as he has it. He isn't afraid of getting his hands (or body or mind) dirty. He likes the darker side of life. It intrigues him, and he's always ready to investigate.
He never gives up. He has tremendous staying power. He's not in the slightest intimidated by anybody or anything. Confrontations are not a problem. Everyone would probably be in awe at all he's gone through. Trauma seems to follow him wherever he goes. When he learns optimism, instead of expecting the worst, he'll find that he possess amazing regenerative powers -- the power to heal, create, and transform.
Weaknesses: He is suspicious, defiant, and extremist: he is sometimes vindictive.
Social relationships are extremely important. He is generally charming with an easy-going manner. It is generally quite important that he is personally popular, and to be liked and appreciated. Sometimes, vanity is part of the package. He is diplomatic and a veritable expert at smoothing over (and sometimes glossing over) problems. He is openhanded with others, tolerant and accepting. When expressed negatively, he can be superficial and two-faced, and be very much tied up with appearances – his own, and sometimes others'. He is most attracted to people who express interest in him, or who respond well to his charms. He works his charms and draws people to him. His ability to attract others is very much tied up with ego.
He has faced a fair number of challenges in his life, especially in the first half, in which his attempts to express his will were often thwarted. There can be a persistent feeling that he doesn't get what he wants in comparison to others. He can feel unlucky at times. Attempts to control the environment, and sometimes others, may be frequent.
He wants to be considered an accomplished and important person, and when he faces obstacles, he doesn't always see that he is his own worst enemy. He may long to be considered important in the eyes of the world, yet he harbors fear of success at the same time. He takes failures and minor setbacks to heart, and may even practically beat himself up over them. Self-awareness to the point of real self-consciousness is a possibility.
He is not much scared of anything. He enjoys and embraces growth, especially of the psychological kind. He loves a good mystery, and is adept at solving it. He readily assigns meaning to what others might consider "ordinary" events. He looks for symbols, and reads between the lines in most any situation. The physical vitality is generally strong, and the body is usually able to heal quickly. He is not afraid of the "dark side" of human nature, and he will bend the rules from time to time if he feels the need to do so.
He is sociable, intelligent and lucid. Thanks to great sociability, he has many friends. He is modern, original, inventive, and non-conformist and brings new life to everything he does.
Weaknesses: he is eccentric, with sharp mood swings. Complex love life.
There is a conflict here between the head and the heart. His emotions tell him one thing and the mind tells him something else. The result is a see-saw effect: he can be emotional to the point of irrationality at one moment and logical the next. He has a tendency to misrepresent himself with what he says from time to time, but he is a charming, if a little kooky, friend.
He is sometimes indifferent to others, to those who surround him: he is, without thinking, negligent and indecisive. He may "feed" inner restlessness with excesses in gambling, shopping, or other comforts, and his honesty is sometimes a bit elastic. This aspect does not help professional success, especially as he tends to spend more than he earns. Sometimes enthusiastic and gung-ho, and other times indifferent, it can be challenging for others to understand him. He needs to find constructive avenues for his inner restlessness.
He has a feverish, non-constructive restlessness. He is too susceptible. His life is full of change. He is irritable and stubborn at times due to an inner restlessness that is hard to satisfy. He has difficulty concentrating on a job. His friendships are like his professional and love life - sometimes unstable. There is a strong need for closeness, but when people get too close, he gets cagey, as he values personal freedom just as much.
He has intense emotions and passionate feelings. He fears the loss of control of emotional and domestic matters, and fears change. At the same time, he attracts change and disruptions. The love life or marital life may be riddled with emotional scenes, jealousy, and possessiveness because he attracts intense partners.
He is extremely observant and astute, always reading between the lines and looking for the real meaning behind things. He is passionate in speech, and excellent at strategy. Natural psychologist.
He likes polemic, to criticize and, above all, to contradict. He lacks diplomacy and tends to dissipate his energy. He cannot stay in the same place, likes change even if it means a backward step.
He possesses people, and somehow makes it seem attractive to be possessed. He has a strong need to control his partner, although this won't be immediately apparent, and he may not ever admit to this.
He attracts the best fortune when he puts his "all" into a project or undertaking, and uses his magnetic powers to heal others.
He is too independent and his liberty is all-important. He lacks diplomacy, and his extravagance is shocking. He likes verbal battles and espouses extremist ideas in order to shock his companions. He has a number of internal tensions.
Weaknesses: bad luck, adversity, problems and disappointed hopes. Narrow-minded, violent, sectarian, and probably has psychosomatic illnesses. He pollutes the family atmosphere, and is destructive.
I thought that was a pretty interestingly correct view of the man's life, though of course some if it isn't true to how things worked out for him. Because society is so interested in serial killers, their lives are pretty well mapped out so astrologers can look at their chart and compare it with real life.
Profiling – A Closer Look
by Chris Bartholomew
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
Profiling a serial killer is a fascinating thing. It takes more than just hearing about a murder. It actually takes more than one murder, because you have to have something to compare. A profile is an investigative tool. It is not exact science. A criminal profiler takes all of the information the police have about a particular case, they talk to all of the officers and investigators that work on the case, and look at similar cases that have been solved; all of this together makes a profile. The profiler's education and experience with these types of crimes also are a very significant part of the profile.
I've chosen the unsolved case from California to compare the actual case with a profile done by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Miami Regional Operations Center. Keep in mind that the profile made that I have included at the end of the article was made when there were only five victims at three different places. In this article, there are two different cases (Original Night Stalker, and the East Area Rapist) that were found linked to one person through DNA evidence, at the time of the profile, this was not the case, they were only looking at the first murders that they knew about at the time. If you look at the names below, within the article, you can see where it was merged.
1) Lyman Smith, W/M 43 March 13, 1980
Charlene Smith, W/F 33 March 13, 1980
2) Keith Harrington, W/M 24 August 19, 1980
Patrice Harrington, W/F 28 August 19, 1980
3) Manuela Witthuhn, W/F 28 February 6, 1981
It is helpful to look at the profile with this newer information to see, when this case developed into the unsolved case that it is today, whether or not the profile could still possibly be right. It's also useful to note that the profiler had some information that the public was/is not necessarily privy to with this case (blades of grass in bed, etc.).
The first thing you have to know is the case:
Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist = the Diamond Knot Killer
In 2001 criminologists matched the DNA of a suspect in 10 Southern California murders committed between 1980 and 1986 with 50 rapes committed in Northern California from 1976 to 1979. Combining the Original Night Stalker, and the East Area Rapist, we now call the suspect the Diamond Knot Killer. The identity of this rapist/killer remains unknown. This suspect showed proficiency in tying ornate knots including the 'diamond knot', or 'Chinese knot'. (This evidence was shown only in the first two killings, not every one.)
The serial killer is thought to have begun his criminal career as a rapist in Sacramento in 1976, earning himself the name East Area Rapist because many of his attacks occurred in the Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights and Orangevale areas east of Sacramento.
The man would later become known as the Original Night Stalker, because his crimes started before those of convicted serial murderer Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker.
He stalked his victims. Sometimes there would be reports of prowlers for days before he attacked. Originally, he attacked single women, often after prying open sliding glass doors or windows of their homes with a screwdriver. He haunted upper-middle-class neighborhoods, prowling at night looking for unlocked doors. There were reports of screens missing from windows of houses other than where he struck - evidence that someone was sneaking around at night, looking for ways into houses.
His victims weren't just women. He started targeting couples in Southern California coastal communities in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Orange counties in 1977. He wasn't picky about his weapons and would shoot, stab or bludgeon his victims -- both men and women. The rapist frequently held a knife to his victims' throats.
The rapist would break in, often waking the victims by shining a flashlight on them or speaking. He usually cut the telephone cord and covered a lamp with something to dim the lighting. He would separate the woman from the man, often having the woman tie up her companion with bindings he brought to the house with him.
Speaking through clenched teeth in a whispering falsetto voice, he would tell the bound man he was going to kill him and the woman if he heard a sound. His warning came after he'd place perfume bottles or dishes on the man's back. He'd then leave to rape the woman in another room.
He left DNA evidence behind.
He ate from the victims' refrigerators and would tell his victims all he wanted was food and money, probably giving them a false sense of security that he would leave after he robbed them, making them feel safe enough not to try anything rash. He would rarely take anything of value, but occasionally would grab jewelry as a memento.
On April 14, 1978, the East Area Rapist struck again in the South Area of Sacramento County, attacking a 15 year old babysitter. The East Area Rapist was very methodical and calculating. He always wore a mask, so none of his victims had ever seen his face. He always wore gloves so he never left fingerprints behind. His vehicle was never parked near the crime scenes, so his license plate was never knowingly written down.
The East Area Rapist attacks came to an abrupt end with the last reported attack occurring on June 26, 1979. However, there are at least six East Area Rapist attacks that have been unaccounted for. The last reported East Area Rapist attack was listed in the media as his 44th attack. However, some law enforcement officials have referred to 50 attacks.
In 1979, the rapist turned more violent.
Detectives hosted town hall meetings after the Sacramento rapes to address residents' concerns. At one meeting, a man stood up and boldly proclaimed that he could protect his wife from the rapist. This couple was the rapist's next victims. He raped the wife and attacked the man. How must the people of the time felt when they realized that the killer must, no HAD to have been at the meeting. He also must have fit in with the other people there, in all over 300 attended and no one could think of one single person who stood out.
On Oct. 1, 1979, a man in a ski mask entered the home of Mary Brown and John Davis. The couple was awakened, a flashlight shining in their eyes, and Brown was ordered to tie up Davis with pre-cut lengths of cord that were brought to the house. While the masked intruder ransacked the house supposedly looking for money, Brown managed to hop outside to the front of her home and scream for help. The intruder pulled her back into the house. During this time, Davis made his escape into the backyard. While the intruder pursued Davis, Brown escaped again, this time running into the arms of a neighbor who had been alerted by her screams. Having lost control of the situation, the intruder was spotted escaping on a bicycle and he disappeared down a creek bed.
The man known as the East Area Rapist, would simply disappear and then re-emerge approximately three months later in Southern California and transform himself from a serial rapist into a serial killer.
Robert Offerman, 44, an orthopedic surgeon and Alexandria Manning, 35, a clinical psychologist, were both murdered in December of 1979. Both victims were restrained with braided twine, but they were shot, not bludgeoned. The killer brought a big dog to the scene, and ate from the refrigerator.
In 1981, 35-year-old Cheri Domingo, an office manager, and 27-year-old Gregory Sanchez, who worked at the Burroughs Office Machine Company, were murdered. There was no sexual assault this time, but the victims were both shot, beaten to death, and bound with twine.
When he murdered, Ventura, California attorney Lyman Smith and Smith’s wife Charlene, he left pre-cut lengths of drapery cord he’d used to bind them on the bodies and the fireplace log he used to kill them on the bed.
In August of 1980, the same year he killed the Smiths, he struck in Niguel Shores, CA - the victims were the Harringtons - Keith, a medical student, and his wife Patrice, a nurse. This time he took his bludgeoning instrument with him, but left some cord behind.
His next victim, in February of 1981, Manuela Witthuhn, was a loan officer. Her husband David was not home. He was in the hospital with a viral infection. The killer took the Witthuhn’s answering machine along with some other items this time, leaving the possibility that his voice was on the machine. The ligatures were not left behind at this scene.
In 1986 he killed his last known victim, 18-year-old Janelle Cruz. A friend had stayed with her until late in the night, reading poetry, and they’d heard strange noises outside several times. Janelle was raped and murdered, and the weapon and bindings weren’t left behind.
In 1990 or 1991 the rapist called one of his victims. Imagine answering the phone that night. He said over and over again that he could kill her, the victim heard children in the background and a woman speaking, possibly indicating the rapist had a family. His voice is higher-pitched than average male. When disguising his voice the suspect will attempt to make his voice sound husky or gruff.
The FBI describes the man as most likely being white with fair to light olive complexion and dark hair. He stood between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 11 inches tall. He would now be in his late 40s or early 50s. He wore a size 9 shoe. He would often carry pre-cut lengths of shoelaces or twine. He would tie his victims up with an intricate sailor's knot, called a diamond knot, which is incredibly difficult to tie and points to a possible naval background. He has Type "A" Blood. The suspect additionally is a non-secretor.
The suspect primarily targeted middle-class to upper-middle class neighborhoods with homes on or near cul de sacs or homes adjacent to vacant fields, schools, parks, creeks or homes under construction. Several of the neighborhoods targeted by the suspect had "homes for sale" or homes recently sold. Suspect is known to have posed as a realtor, building inspector or prospective home-buyer.
The suspect always wore a ski mask, usually the commercially available knitted ski mask. He apparently did not wear the same mask twice. On occasion the suspect wore a mask that appeared to be homemade. One time he had on a leather hood, another time he wore a hood with his eyes, nose and mouth exposed. This hood was Army green and made out of canvas or heavy denim material.
The suspect spent from one to three hours in the residence. During this time he would sexually assault the victim several times. In between sexual assaults the suspect wandered about the house eating and drinking. He wandered in and out of the house. Beverage containers have been found outside where he apparently stood, possibly watching for anyone approaching the house.
Because of his wanderings, the victim rarely knew when the suspect actually left the premises. It was usually thirty minutes to an hour before the victim was able to free herself and sometimes needed the assistance of a neighbor to get loose from her bonds.
Considerable research has been conducted in an attempt to find some common factor between all of the victims, without success.
Failing this it is believed that the suspect identifies his next victim by prowling and burglarizing. Burglaries of particular interest are those in which no loss or minimal loss occurs.
During the rape the suspect would frequently take small items of costume jewelry: class rings, an earring, etc. He looked through photograph albums and lingerie drawers.
Also of interest are prowler reports, particularly those where herringbone footprints are found.
The final analysis is based on probabilities. It should be noted that no two criminal acts or criminal personalities are alike. The offender may not fit the analysis in every category. (Every profile is prefaced with a note that tells the reader that it's not concrete. It is based on all of the things at the beginning of this article. The analysis is not a substitute for a thorough and well-planned investigation and should not be considered all-inclusive.)
All the victims resided in upper-middle to upper class single-story residences.
The victims were low-risk for becoming victims of violent crime.
All victims died as a result of excessive beatings to the head with a
blunt force instrument.
The first two victims, the SMITHS, had ligatures tied around their wrists and ankles.
The HARRINGTONS and MANUELA WITTHUHN had ligature marks on their wrists and ankles. JANELLE CRUZ had a bruise abrasion on her right wrist and evidence of a soft ligature used on her wrists.
All four female victims were sexually assaulted. Analysis of the semen revealed that unknown DNA profiles in all four cases were from one donor, and therefore one individual was responsible for these attacks.
Two of the female victims had circular contusions. One was located on the shoulder of PATRICE HARRINGTON and the other was located on the buttocks of MANUELA WITTHUHN. The shoulder injury was described as a possible bite mark, the other as being consistent with a punch.
The offender chose single-family residences in affluent areas with ready access to the freeway system. The first crime scene was located in close proximity to a naval facility. The last three crime scenes were located in close proximity to a marine air wing facility.
There was a distance of approximately 120 miles between the first crime scene and the other crime scenes. Although there was more than a five-year time span between the third and fourth homicides, the offender returned to the same area to commit his crimes. The distance between the third and fourth homicides was approximately 1.7 miles.
The first crime scene was located in Ventura County, California. The remaining crime scenes were located in Orange County, California. No similar crimes were reported in Los Angeles County, which is located between Ventura and Orange Counties.
There were approximately 5 months between the first and second homicides, approximately 5 ½ months between the second and third homicides and 5 ½ years between the third and fourth homicides.
The offender observed his victims from the exterior of the residences prior to making entry. There were prowler reports by neighbors and witnesses. There were unidentified shoe prints on some of the crime scenes. JANELLE CRUZ’ visitor reported that on the night of her death they had heard noises outside her bedroom window. Blades of grass in JANELLE CRUZ’ bed would support the theory that someone was standing outside the residence prior to entering.
With the exception of MANUELA WITTHUHN, there were no signs of forced entry to the residences. It is possible that the offender waited until the victims were asleep in some of the cases, because he was able to gain entry without alerting the victims. All the victims were attacked in their bedrooms while in bed.
The offender controlled his victims several ways, but primarily with items brought with him to each crime scene. The victims were initially controlled with weapons and then were bound with ligatures. This is evident because there were no signs of struggle or defense wounds on any of the victims. They did not resist being bound. There were bruises and scratches noted on some of the victims in the area of their mouths, buttocks and/or legs. Based on this the offender probably struck his victims as he gained their compliance. The ligatures that were left behind on the first crime scene were tied with
decorative diamond knots around the wrists of LYMAN and CHARLENE SMITH.
The ankle ligatures were tied with square knots, which were different from the wrist ligatures.
It is also evident that the offender used blunt force instruments found at the exterior of the crime scenes. In the first crime scene, a fire log previously located on the side of the house was used. Metal fragments were found in the injury to PATRICE HARRINGTON’S head, indicating a metal object was used as a blunt force instrument. KEITH HARRINGTON’S father had been installing a sprinkler system at the victims’ residence the day of the homicides. The sprinkler heads were readily accessible from the exterior of the residence. It was reported that a pipe wrench was missing from the exterior of the house by JANELLE CRUZ’ stepfather.
Evidence reveals that the male victims were likely eliminated prior to the sexual assault and murder of the female victims. KEITH HARRINGTON was struck in the head with a blunt instrument. A crime scene assessment indicated that scratches and chipped wood on the headboard were likely made when KEITH HARRINGTON was struck in the head. A wood chip was discovered in the bed sheets between PATRICE HARRINGTON’S legs. The location of the wood chip would support the theory that KEITH HARRINGTON was struck first. Because this happened in the HARRINGTON case, it is likely that the offender struck and killed the male victims first in all the cases. The offender used a great deal of physical force when he bludgeoned the female victims. The women suffered crushing blows to their heads resulting from beatings with blunt force instruments. The amount of force used by the offender was extreme especially considering that they were bound and compliant and, therefore, unable to resist their attacker. The behavior of the victims during the assaults did not cause the offender to increase the amount of force used because they were not resistant. More force was used than was necessary to kill the victims.
The female victims were all sexually assaulted and were assaulted in the same manner. They were all assaulted vaginally and there was no evidence of oral or anal assault on the victims. The DNA analysis on semen from each crime scene revealed that the same offender was responsible for all four assaults. This would indicate that the offender was capable of ejaculation and, therefore, was not sexually dysfunctional.
The victims were covered with bedclothes so that the offender would not get blood on himself. This is evidenced in the progression and adaptation of the offender’s methods in committing the crimes. In the first crime scene, it is likely that the offender did get blood on himself. The fire log was covered in blood and there was blood spatter on the scene. This would indicate a direct contact between the victims and the fire log. The blanket was not pulled over their heads when they were struck. In the subsequent crime scenes, the offender covered the victims before striking them in the head. Because he later uncovered them to remove ligatures, we believe the act of covering was for "function” as opposed to “fantasy”.
An adaptation of the method of operation was seen in the offender's actions between the first crime scene and the remaining crime scenes. The offender adapted his methods when he covered his victims in the last three crime scenes. The offender also changed his methods when he took the ligatures and the blunt force instruments away from those same crime scenes. Valuable jewelry sold as one of a victims business ventures was in plain view and left behind. Jewelry was also removed from the third crime scene while other items of value were left undisturbed.
The offender took the time to alter the crime scenes. He altered the crime scenes by removing weapons and ligatures. In doing so, he made them appear as though burglaries had occurred. Items taken were of no real value while other items of value were left behind. The offender took the time to disturb items within the residences that would appear to be consistent with a burglary having taken place. In the first case, several large cushions from the furniture in the living room were removed as to indicate the offender had searched for valuables under the seat cushions. In this scene, several items of value were easily accessible and were not taken. In the case of MANUELA WITTHUHN, the
offender removed a large television set and left it on the patio. It is unlikely that
the offender intended to carry the television set over the high fence used as a point of exit at the rear of the residence. This behavior would be consistent with someone altering the scenes to make it look as though burglaries had occurred
Based on analysis of similar cases indicating that crimes of this nature are generally interracial, and the demographics of the areas of the crime scenes, it is believed that the offender is a white male.
Age is difficult to predict because this analysis is a measure of an offender's emotional age as opposed to his chronological age. Factors such as incarceration or institutionalization can delay the emotional growth of an individual. We believe that the emotional age of your offender would have ranged from approximately 26 to 30 years of age at the time of the crimes. This is based on review of similar cases revealing that this type of offender is the most mature.
The offender would be described as intelligent. This was evident in his ability to plan and carry out the crimes in advance. He was prepared for his crimes when he arrived at the victims’ residences. He brought a weapon for control purposes as well as bindings, a cutting instrument, and in one instance a screwdriver. He had the ability to plan and organize his thoughts in advance. He also had the intelligence and ability to adapt his method of operation.
The offender likely was in good physical condition. This is based on the physical strength necessary to cause the serious injuries resulting from the beating of the victims with blunt force instruments.
Since the offender blended into these communities, it is likely that he dressed well and did not call attention to himself when in these areas.
The offender was probably using a vehicle that was in good condition. He traveled great distances between crime scenes and would need to have a reliable, well-running vehicle for his endeavors. This type of offender would spend a great deal of time searching for his victims and would need a reliable mode of transportation. He would have parked near the areas of the crime scenes for a long period of time while he assaulted and killed his victims. Since the areas were described as affluent, the offender likely owned a vehicle
that would not “stand out” when parked near these areas for a period of time. Because the offender needed a vehicle in good condition that would fit into the area, it is likely that he had some means of income to afford the travel and a reliable car. He also failed to take cash and some valuable items at the crime scenes indicating he likely already had some means of income. This offender spent a great deal of time searching for and conducting surveillances on his victims at night and therefore was not employed during the early morning hours.
Typically, the first crime scene in a series of homicides will be the closest to the comfort zone of your offender. In this series, the first homicides occurred in Ventura, California, more than 120 miles from the remaining crime scenes. The offender’s comfort zone would have been in this area, meaning that the offender either initially resided or worked nearest to this area at the time of the offense.
It is significant that there was more than a five-year time span between the third and last homicides that were located only a little over a mile apart in Irvine, California. We have discussed the offender’s comfort zone being nearest to the first crime scene in Ventura, California. The killer returned to the same area in Irvine to kill again more than five years later indicating that he was also comfortable with this area.
This offender would have a criminal record. As stated, he has likely committed burglary. Since it is believed that he “peeped” on his victims, it is possible that he had been arrested for loitering and prowling or had been identified through uniform patrol’s field interviews as a result of suspicious activity. He would likely also have a criminal history for assaultive behavior from his deep-seeded anger towards women. This could include arrests for altercations or disturbances with both men and women. The main issue would have been that the offender was angered by the woman and this would have triggered the assaultive behavior.
The fact that the killer attacked his victims inside their homes is significant. The few serial killers that have been known to attack inside the victims’ residences proved to have histories of committing burglaries. In these four cases, the offender also was able to enter in a stealth manner without alerting his victims. Based on these facts this offender would likely be an accomplished cat burglar.
Research has provided information on the likely characteristics and traits of this type of offender. He would likely have been described by those who knew him as being neat, articulate, intelligent and organized. He also would likely have been described as rigid, arrogant, domineering and possessing an attitude of superiority. He would be further described as manipulative, a chronic liar, and unremorseful. He may have an interest in survivalist groups or racial prejudicial groups. This type of offender does not suffer from delusions where there is no sense of reality. He would know the difference between right and wrong.
The offender was very methodical. After the first crime, he took care not to get blood spatter on himself when striking his victims by covering the bodies. His behavior was repetitive with respect to his performing the same acts during each crime. He arrived at the crime scenes prepared with a “kit”. He selected his victims through peeping. He approached the victims in the same manner. He bludgeoned all the victims to death and sexually assaulted all the women in the same manner.
He planned his attacks very carefully, with great attention to detail, and likely would have rehearsed his attacks, either literally or in his fantasy many times. Virtually every phase-weapon, transportation, travel routes, instruments of torture, and bindings-would have been pre-planned, with the exception of the victim.
It is likely that this offender selected these affluent areas to offend for two reasons. First, these areas provided a degree of seclusion for him. All the residences were single-family homes with access to main highways. The properties were corner lots, had fenced yards or were located on cul-de-sacs, providing a degree of privacy. Peeping in the windows of these residences would be a lower risk than peeping in more populated areas such as apartment complexes or military housing. Secondly, this type of offender typically has a
grandiose sense of self-importance and believes that he is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or higher status people. Because of this arrogant attitude, the offender probably selected these affluent areas because he felt his victims were “worthy” of him.
This offender searched for his victims, spending a great deal of time and covering numerous miles. This type of offender most often attacks strangers because he does not want any ties between the victim and himself. The offender selected these communities to find a victim and then through peeping would select a specific victim. In the case of the HARRINGTONS, DNA analysis revealed that the victims had engaged in sexual intercourse prior to their death. JANELLE CRUZ was entertaining a male friend in her bedroom when they heard noises outside her bedroom window. We conclude that he observed the victims by peeping and reaffirmed his belief that the women were “whores” based on the behavior he observed.
This type of offender will formulate a plan to gain access to his victim. In this series, the offender selected his victims, observed them and then gained entry. Offenders with this sexual proclivity have been known to overpower a victim with a weapon and immediately instill fear. In all but one case, the offender likely gained entry via an unlocked door. He did, however, have the tools to force entry if needed. In the third case in this series the offender used a screwdriver to pry open a sliding glass door.
He likely prepared his equipment, or a “kit”, including whatever is needed to gain access to his victim. In these cases, the offender brought ligatures, a cutting instrument, a control weapon and a burglary tool to the crime scenes.
This type of offender used a method of killing that reflected his desire for complete mastery and control over his victims. In those scenes where two victims were killed, the offender was not discouraged by the fact that two people were present. In fact, it is more likely that the offender was gratified with his ability to have complete mastery over two people. Since this offender enjoyed the infliction of pain, whether physical or psychological, the elimination of the targeted victims’ spouses served two purposes: one, the increased pleasure of controlling more than one person; and two, to have complete mastery over the targeted victims through the fear and pain inflicted by the killing of their spouses. This would cause the female victims to suffer enormously while being restrained
and unable to defend themselves. All this was at the core of the offender’s desires and was reflected in his methods of killing.
The offender made the conscious decision to bludgeon his victims to death rather than to use some other simpler form of murder. This is apparent because he brought blunt force instruments into the victims’ homes. It is likely that he chose this violent form of death due to his enormous hate for the female victims. In doing so, they would suffer greatly. To kill them easily or quickly would not have been satisfying for him.
This offender was angry with women and used sex and physical force as weapons to punish and degrade them. He exhibited extreme anger and rage toward his female victims when he bludgeoned them to death. This behavior revealed his intense rage for the female victims and what they represented. He used excessive levels of force as the result of his rage, which was exhibited in the form of frenzied attacks on his victims. It is possible that in the mind of the killer these victims were a symbolic representation of a conflict involving a female. He blamed these women for his problems and believed he was superior to all women. He was getting even with women for their real or imagined wrongs. The victims were bound when they were killed and, therefore, were not able to resist their attacker. The amount of force used by the offender was extreme especially considering that they were bound and compliant.
Although the two male victims were also struck in the head with blunt force instruments, it is not believed that the offender was exhibiting his rage towards them as he did the female victims. He eliminated the men to concentrate on the intended female victims. The offender intellectualized the killings of the male victims. He logistically removed them as potential threats. He also likely intellectualized that the male victims got what they deserved because of their association with these women that he viewed as being low class and promiscuous.
Because the offender did prepare for his crimes in advance by bringing items with him, it is extremely significant that the blunt force instruments came from the exterior of the victims’ residences. It is assumed he had a weapon when he arrived on the crime scenes because he was able to control two people alone while inside the residences. The offender didn't use the weapon he brought with him because the weapon, likely a firearm, could be linked to him. He then likely planned to utilize a weapon from the crime scene. In using a log, pipe and possible a sprinkler head, he would not be connected to the murder weapon. This reveals that the subject was very evidence conscious. He further revealed his sophistication by removing the weapons from the crime scenes. Because the subject is so evidence conscious, it is believed that the offender disposed of the weapons soon after the crime and was not saving the items as trophies.
The offender might have studied methods of killing without leaving evidence. His planning murders and planning not to use a weapon connected to him, as well as removing evidence from the scenes, indicates he was knowledgeable and very sophisticated in this area. His knowledge could have been gained through experience or perhaps even military training.
It cannot be ruled out that the offender was employed by the military at the time of the crimes. It was reported that a naval station and a marine base were in close proximity to the crime scenes. In addition, the decorative knot tied on the ligatures of the first two victims was described as having a nautical or sailing application that can be used in the military service.
In order to justify the killing of these women, the offender needed to convince himself that these women were “whores”. First, the behavior he witnessed while prowling and peeping convinced him that the women were promiscuous. Secondly, when the subject engaged in sexual intercourse with the women this reaffirmed his belief that the women were promiscuous. The offender was enraged by his perception of the women’s behavior and his anger was the direct motivation for killing these women. The sexual assaults were not the primary motivation for the attacks. The sex occurred as a method of the offender justifying in his mind that the women were “whores”. Because of this rage, he made a conscious decision that they should die.
Fantasy is a component of this offender’s methodology. This offender has mentally rehearsed what he would like to do. There typically are masturbation fantasies in which he thinks about what he would like to do if he had the opportunity. He then actually made the choice to move from fantasy to action and made a plan to do it. When the offender committed his crime, he enacted his sexual fantasy. He was carrying out an action that had been previously imagined.
Items belonging to the victims are taken to provide a means for the offender to relive his crimes. In the first homicide, the victim’s personal jewelry was taken; however, the valuable jewelry she sold as one of her business ventures was in plain view and left behind. Jewelry was also removed from the third crime scene while other items of value were left undisturbed. The offender typically fantasizes about the crimes he has committed and receives gratification from these fantasies.
It is believed that the knots tied on the ligatures had significance to the offender. In the first case, the two victims’ ligatures were tied with decorative diamond knots around the wrists; however, the ankle ligatures were tied with a square knot. We believe the diamond knot was significant to your offender. He likely had fantasized about his crimes prior to committing them and had imagined the use of bondage and the tying of ligatures with this decorative knot.
The offender likely engaged in a number of sexually deviant behaviors. Research on sexual behavior has shown that when an individual engages in one sexually deviant behavior, it is likely that they will engage in a number of other sexually deviant behaviors. In these cases, the offender engaged in voyeurism when he peeped into the windows of the victims, he engaged in sexual bondage by use of ligatures and he received sexual gratification from the infliction of pain on his victims. These behaviors involved an intense sexual desire to perform a certain act, which provided sexual gratification. Sexually deviant behaviors involve human or non-human objects and do include child sexual abuse.
Because this offender needs domination, control and manipulation for sexual arousal, we would expect to see a history of assaultive or abusive behavior towards partners. This would result from the offender’s aggression toward his partner because this type of person will often use brutal force. If he was not arrested for incidents related to this behavior, an investigation into his relationships would likely indicate this type of abuse. The offender when in a relationship, would be able to come and go as he pleased, being the dominant and aggressive member of the relationship. The offender, however, would not have likely maintained lengthy relationships with women. Based on his deep rooted
hostility towards women, this offender was, in all probability, not married at the time of the crimes.
His sexual history would have included binding his partner during sexual intercourse. The binding of his sexual partner is a method of domination and control. This type of offender is sexually aroused when he is able to completely dominate and control. His sexual relationships will reflect this desire. Physical evidence revealed that the offender was sexually functional.
The offender was able to ejaculate during the commission of each sexual assault and therefore was not sexually dysfunctional. As is the case with offenders who are dysfunctional, he was not likely burdened by anxiety and was not unsure of himself. On the contrary, this offender was likely arrogant and confident in his abilities. The sexual assault occurred to demonstrate that the women were “whores”. The sexual interaction was about how the offender viewed the women. Having intercourse with them reaffirmed his belief that they were promiscuous. Since the sexual activity was not about how the offender viewed himself, his performance or masculinity, he would then not have a problem with sexual function.
It is significant that the offender was sexually functional. Research and comparison of similar cases reveal that most offenders exhibit some form of sexual dysfunction. This offender is among a small group of offenders that are sexually functional. This is significant because, in attempting to link similar cases, it would be unlikely that this offender would have committed crimes in which the offender was sexually dysfunctional and did not ejaculate.
There is documentation through the assessment of similar cases and research that this type of offender will attack strangers while having a compliant victim at home. Their appetite for sadistic sex would be described as insatiable. Women who have had sexual relationships with this type of offender reported that anal intercourse eventually became the regular routine and vaginal intercourse ceased. In addition, women involved with these offenders have reported being strangled to the point of unconsciousness during sexual acts.
This type of offender seeks sex with compliant victims to include prostitutes. We believe it was likely that this offender likely engaged in sex with prostitutes. He would have engaged in the same type of sexual acts with the prostitutes as he did with his victims. The insatiable appetite for sexual bondage, mastery and control would all be central themes to the sex acts performed. The analysis of behavior of similar offenders indicates that these types of offenders have reportedly engaged in sex with prostitutes but have not killed them because they differed in status from the type of women they victimized. It is likely that they are not harmed because of their different status and also because the offender does not have a need to punish them since they did not represent their victims.
It is believed that the offender followed media accounts of the crimes he committed. Because the first victims were prominent in the community, there was a vast amount of media attention. It is likely that the offender followed the media accounts of the murders and adapted his methods according to what was disclosed to the public. It was disclosed that the victims had been bound and struck with a log. Subsequent to this, the offender removed the ligatures and blunt force instruments from the scenes.
We believe this offender altered the crime scenes in attempt to disguise his motivation for these crimes and, in doing so, attempted to manipulate law enforcement so as not to link the crimes together. The offender was motivated by extreme anger, but altered the crime scenes to appear as though burglaries had occurred. As stated previously, items were moved and/or taken to give the appearance that burglaries had occurred. We believe the offender attempted to mislead authorities into investigating “just another burglary” that ended with the death of the victims. In the first case in which LYMAN and CHARLENE SMITH were killed, the crime was relayed in detail to the public through the media who had access to a large amount of evidentiary information. If subsequent murders revealed the same circumstances, the possibility existed that because of the enormous amount of media on the SMITH case, an investigator on a subsequent crime scene in another area might remember the SMITH case and associate the crimes together. We believe the offender disguised his motivation for the crimes because he did not want the murders linked together. Manipulating law enforcement into investigating the crimes separately would decrease the total information collected and therefore would decrease the likelihood of the cases being solved.
This is the most likely of all offenders to record his crimes. This can be done in many forms such as photographs, audio recordings, sketches, writings or newspaper clippings. In the first homicide of LYMAN and CHARLENE SMITH, newspaper accounts listed many details of the crime and the investigation. We believe the offender read the newspaper articles because he altered his behavior following their publication. We believe therefore the offender likely saved the newspaper articles concerning the homicides. The recording of these events is so that the offender, again, can fantasize and relive his crimes. Such fantasy provides sexual gratification for the offender.
It is suggested that additional investigation might be made into the decorative knot tied by the offender on the wrists of the first victims, LYMAN and CHARLENE SMITH. The knot was described by an expert as a decorative diamond knot with sailing applications or interior design applications. Further information may be obtained by consulting with Navy personnel. Specific knots have specific nautical uses. It may be possible to identify the type of use this knot would have in the Navy and therefore identify the occupation or type of individual who would have a practical use for this knot in his profession.
It is significant that five years and three months passed between the third and fourth homicides which occurred approximately 1.7 miles apart. The offender ceased committing these crimes but returned many years later to the same area. If the offender was incarcerated, institutionalized or moved from the area for a period of time, he later returned to the same city and community where he last killed. This would be a significant area for him and may be considered a comfort zone. This offender likely had ties to this area either through employment or residence. If not already done, investigation may uncover individuals who were transferred and returned to this area during this time frame
as well as individuals released from incarceration during the same time parameters.
These crime scenes present a significant set of facts concerning the type of area, location of the scenes and the extensive travel accomplished by the offender. The offender killed in a distance that spanned more than 120 miles across the West Coast of California. The crime scenes were all in close proximity to the freeway system and were all in affluent communities. The offender killed in two different counties in California and traveled a great distance between the two counties omitting the county between the scenes. In doing so, the offender chose not to kill in Los Angeles County, which offered numerous potential victims residing in affluent communities. Also, it is noted that the offender appeared to potentially have two different comfort zones. Because of this set of facts, it is believed that it would be beneficial to retain the services of Kim Rossmo, Vancouver Police Department, British Colombia, Canada, an expert in Geographic Profiling. Geographic Profiling could provide investigators with more specific information concerning the locations that the offender frequented, resided and worked.
The offender spent a great deal of time preparing and searching for a victim. The investigation reveals that the offender likely watched his victims through their windows prior to gaining entry. We would expect that the offender did spend a lot of time peeping in windows of others who did not become victims of homicide. The offender used a diamond knot on the wrists of his victims. Sexual bondage was very significant and important to the offender’s sexual arousal. The use of bondage and voyeurism are considered paraphilic behaviors. Such behaviors are intense sexual deviant behaviors that offer the individual sexual gratification. These behaviors are often “clustered”, meaning that an offender will often engage in a number of sexual deviant behaviors, or
paraphilias. In addition, the behaviors do not subside just because the offender
may have escalated to homicide. Because they are “intense” sexual desires, the offender will continue to engage in such activity for sexual gratification. These behaviors will remain constant. Records may be reviewed pertaining to reports of peeping in these areas and similar communities. Reports of domestic complaints involving sexual bondage and aggression can be reviewed for suspect development.
Individual queries of separate state and federal DNA databases may be considered. It is unlikely that the offender ceased this type of behavior. If he is still living, we would expect him to commit similar crimes. The likelihood does exist that he has moved from the area and therefore it would be important to inquire on a broad spectrum. Inquiring separately with each system that exists would ensure the thoroughness and quality of the comparison. Since a possibility does exist that this offender was employed by the military service, it may be fruitful to search incident reports, domestic complaints with bondage and the DNA databases available through the military.
At the time of occurrence for each homicide, teletypes were issued by the law enforcement agencies requesting information on these crimes or similar crimes in other jurisdictions. Since that time, teletypes have been reissued, searches of the California databases have been conducted and continuous searches of the offender’s DNA against new entries into the California DNA database system are ongoing. In addition, information concerning all four cases was submitted to the FBI’s VICAP system in an effort to link them to any homicide with similar characteristics nationwide. To date there are no known repetitions of these crimes.
In assessing this information the possibility exists that the offender either is in jail or has been institutionalized for a long period of time. The latter is not very likely since this offender was intelligent, methodical and would not suffer from a delusional type of disorder if he suffered from mental illness. There is also the possibility that the offender moved out of the country and resides in an area where the crimes would not be documented for linkage purposes. And finally, in attempting to assess where the offender may currently be located, the offender could possibly have died by either suicide or homicide. It is not uncommon for some individuals with the offender’s characteristics to take their own lives. More important, however, were the behavioral characteristics indicating his rage for the female victims. We have discussed his anger for real or perceived wrongs committed by a female or females and his need to inflict severe emotional and physical pain on women. His rage was so intense that he could justify why the men in two cases “deserved” to be killed by associating with these women.
The rage and anger would be more significant factors in determining this offender's demise as opposed to some of the other personality characteristics. Because of his deep-seeded hate towards women, the possibility exists that the offender could have been involved in a violent confrontation with a woman, or because of a woman, resulting in his death. It is also possible if the offender were deceased that he could have been killed in an attempt to commit a similar crime. If he were killed as a result of his entering a residence at night, the behavior seen in the four crimes assessed would not be present and, therefore the crimes would not have been linked through conventional means. We would suggest a search of investigations involving violent disturbances or burglaries resulting in the death of a male offender.
Should a viable suspect be developed in this investigation it is our recommendation that a consultation be scheduled with a Criminal Investigative Analyst (Profiler) regarding specific strategies for a specific individual. Assistance can be provided with an Indirect Personality Assessment of the suspect.
The most important aspect of the interview would be the preparation.
These types of offenders are aware of who they are and what they are, and because they are “police buffs” they are very much aware of law enforcement and investigative techniques. It would be important then for the law enforcement officers to understand the personality of this type of offender, the cases, the individual suspect and the paraphilias, or sexual deviant behaviors that he engages.
It is important to understand that these types of offenders are masters of manipulation, are intelligent, articulate, will consent to an interview, and likely will decline access to a lawyer. They are experts on themselves and their crimes.
The interviewer should know everything possible about the investigations.
The interviewer should have a rank of detective or higher, dress professionally in a dark suit, white shirt and conservative tie. The interviewer should be of equal or superior stature, build or condition in order to dominate and control the interview. The interviewer should be of equal or superior intelligence, be articulate, formal and professional at all times during the interview. The interviewer should be confident, calm and relaxed and at no time show personal feelings or emotion during the interview. The offender would likely view such feelings as weakness.
Should other cases committed by this offender become known following
the completion of this analysis, we reserve the right to amend our assessment.
Serial Killer Weapons of Choice
by Chris Bartholomew
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
In the united states, guns are used in murder more than any other weapon, cutting or stabbing is next and a tiny percentage are murders involving blunt objects, personal weapons, strangulation, asphyxiations and fire... serial killings do not stay inside the national average by weapons. The 140 serial killers below seem to bear this out. Twenty eight used guns, Twenty seven used a knife, fourteen used blunt objects, twenty used personal weapons, and Thirty one used strangulation, six by asphyxiation, and two by fire, Thirty nine are in the 'all other' category.
Aileen Wournos – gun
Albert Desalvo (Hillside Strangler) strangled with articles of clothing.
Altemio Sanchez - strangulation
Alton Coleman with Deborah Denise Brown - ligature strangulation
Andrei Chikatilo – knife
Andrew Cunanan - gun
Angel Maturino Resendiz – rocks, sledgehammer, a pointed garden tool, a tire iron, an air hose coupling (to bludgeon them with). Also used a gun.
Anna Maria Zwanziger – Poison
Arthur Shawcross - strangulation and battered women to death
Belle Gunness – poison
Beverly Allitt - drugs
The Bloody Benders- hammer and a knife
Bruce George Peter Lee – arson
Carl Panzram – gun
Carlton Gary – strangulation with stockings
Cayetano Santos Godino – a hammer and a nail.
Charles Cullen - overdoses of insulin, and the heart medication digoxin
Charles Quansah – strangulation
Chester Dewayne Turner - strangulation
Clifford Olson – strangulation, hammer, knife
Christopher Peterson - gun
Colon Ireland – suffocation with a plastic bag, strangled with a noose
Coral Eugene Watts - stabbing, slashing, strangulation and bludgeoning.
Dagmar Overbye - strangled them, drowned them or burned them to death in her masonry heater.
Dana Sue Gray – utility knife, fillet knife, phone cord,
Daniel Ruda and wife Manuela – stabbing
David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) – gun
David Gore - alligators, gun
David Parker Ray - whips, chains, pulleys, straps, clamps, leg spreader bars, and surgical blades and saws
Dennis Nilsen - strangulation and drowning
Dennis Radar - strangulation
Derrick Todd Lee - knife
Donald Harvey – smothering, disconnected an oxygen tank, smothered with plastic bags, also killed with morphine and a variety of drugs.
Donald Henry Gaskins – hatchet, knife, poison, drowning, fists
Earle Nelson – strangulation
Ed Gein - .22-caliber rifle
Eddie Leonski – strangulation
Edmund Emil Kemper III – gun, smothering
Efren Saldivar - injecting a paralytic drug which led to respiratory and/or cardiac arrest.
Elfriede Blauensteiner – poison
Elizabeth Bathory – torture
Edric Edgar Cooke – vehicle, gun
Fritz Haarmann - killed them by biting through their throats
Gary M. Heidnik – gun
Gary Ridgeway – strangulation
Genene Jones - injections of heparin and later of succinylcholine (killed babies)
George Chapman – poison
Gertrude Baniszewski – torture
Gerald Gallego Jr. and Charlene Williams - tire iron, gun, and shovel
Gerard John Schaefer - torture
Gilles De Rais – torture
Gwendolyn Graham and Catherine May Wood - smothering
Harvey Murray Glatman - strangulation
Helene Jegado - arsenic
Henri Desire Landru – strangulation
Henry Louis Wallace – strangulation, gun
Herbert Mullin - baseball bat, knife, gun
Heriberto "Eddie" Seda - gun
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley - shovel, knife, strangulation, axe
Maria Gruber, Irene Leidolf, Stephanija Meyer, and Waltraud Wagner - overdose of morphine, while one held the victim's head and pinched their nose, another would pour water into the victim's mouth until they drowned in their bed.
Ivan Milat – knife, gun
Janie Lou Gibbs - poison
Jerry Brudos - bludgeoning and strangulation
Jeffery Dahmer – barbell, torture
Jim Jones - poison
Joachim Kroll – strangulation
Joe Ball – Alligator
John Allen Muhammad – gun
John Regiunald Halliday Christie – choked
John Childs – knife, sword, axe, lead pipe, strangulation.
John Wayne Gacy – Underwear, socks, ropes, handcuffs
John Wayne Glover – hammer, strangulation
Joseph Paul Franklin - gun
Joseph Vacher – knife
Juan Vallejo Corona - machete-like weapon.
Karl Denke – axe
Kendall Francois - strangulaion
Kenneth Erskine – strangulation
Kristen Gilbert - injected patients them with epinephrine, causing them to have heart attacks.
Lemuel Smith – smothering
Leonard Christopher – knife
Lorenzo Gilyard - ligature
Luis Garavito – knife
Mack Ray Edwards – gun
Manuela Ruda – knife
Marc Dutroux – torture
Marie Noe - suffocation
Mark Goudeau - guns
Mary Ann Cotton – poison
Mary Bell – strangulation
Michael Hughes - strangulation
Michael Swango – poison
Michael Wayne McGray – knife
Nannie Doss - rat poison
Nathaniel White - knife
Patrick Kearney – gun
Paul Dennis Reid, Jr. - gun
Paul John Knowles – choked, strangulation, gun
Peter Kudzinowski - knife
Peter Kurten – strangulation, knife
Philip Carl Jablonski – gun, suffocation, knife.
Ray Copeland and Faye - gun
Raman Raghav - a hard and blunt object
Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck - hammer, strangulation, drowning
Randall "Randy" Woodfield - knife
Randy Steven Kraft – strangulation, gun, and a combination of torture and drugs.
Ravindra Kantrolle – knife, strangulation
Rhonda Bell Martin - poison
Richard Angelo – drugs
Richard Trenton Chase – gun
Richard Ramirez – gun, knife
Richard Fran Biegenwald - gun
Robert Berdella – torture
Robert Black – strangulation
Robert Hansen – knife
Robert Lee Yates – gun
Sante Kimes – drowning
Sylvestre Matuschka – train derailment
Ted Bundy - bludgeoning and strangulation.
Terry Blair – gun, strangulation
Dr Thomas Neill Cream – poison
Thug Behram – strangulation
Tillie Klimek – poison
Timothy Wayne Krajcir - gun
Tommy Lynn Sells – knife
Vincent Johnson – strangulation
Westley Allan Dodd – knife
William Bonin – strangulation
William George Heirens – knife,
William MacDonald – knife
William Patrick Fyfe – knife
William Suff – strangulation, knife
Yaang Xinhai - axes, meat cleavers, hammers, and shovels.
Unsolved Serial Killer weapons:
Serial Shooter - shotgun
Zodiac Killer – gun, knife
The Grim Sleeper, California (unsolved) - gun or strangulation.
Servant Girl Annihilator - Several victims were stabbed by some sort of spike in the ears or the face, he raped them before slashing or axing them to death.
Axeman of New Orleans – need I say it, an axe.
Bible John (unsolved) – strangulation
Jack the Ripper – knife
Serial Killer Who Wore Disguises
by Chris Bartholomew
Published in The Serial Killer Magazine
Serial killers become whatever they need to be in order to get close to their victims. We can agree with that, but in the long run, not many of them used disguises that we know of, although we can also agree that because of the fact that they blend in so will with society, the so called 'mask of sanity' is always there. Most of them look and act like regular members of the community.
Serial killers who used disguises:
Mark Goudeau - wore a wig of dreadlocks and a floppy fisherman’s hat as well as wearing disguises.
Andrew Phillip Cunanan – the FBI warned while looking for him that he may be dressed as a woman. Chameleonesque Andy, he was known for adroitly using disguises and makeup to change his appearance.
Ted Bundy – disguised as a person in need.
Dennis Radar - dressed as a Southwestern Bell employee, wearing a yellow hard hat and carrying a company manual and fake identification. His disguise was used to gain entry to the Wegerle home. Radar also wore a mask that he had put on his last victim. Rader had drawn in eyebrows, eyelashes, red lips and nostrils to a mask to make it look more life-like. "I pose myself in bondage pictures with my mask," Rader told authorities. Authorities found masks, some with red cheeks and long, dark eyelashes, at Rader's home. They also found photos of Rader tied in bondage while dressed as a woman in a wig and wearing a mask.
The Zodiac Killer - used a black mask with his symbol on it.
Louis Alfredo Garavito - often used a number of disguises to attract and lure his victims. He posed as a monk, street vendor, disabled person and even as a charity representative for a pretend children's organization.
Charles Sobhraj - A master of disguise, 'The Serpent' used stolen passports for different identities.
Angel Maturino Resendiz -used false identity papers to slip in and out of the country.
The Axeman – Rumors had it that he dressed up as a woman.
John Horace Oughton – The paper bag rapist, wore a paper bag over his head.
John Charles Eichinger - wore a "Scream" mask he stored in a cooler.
Ed Gein – wore the facial skin of women.
Andre DiMera – The Salem slasher – Wore a mask of Roman whenever he killed. Roman was the investigator and protector of a women target of The Salem Strangler.
East Area Rapist – EAR, He wore a ski mask, gloves, dark clothing with long sleeves, and tennis shoes or military-style boots.
Danny Rolling - wore black clothes, a ski mask and glove, and camped out in the woods during his Gainesville crime spree.
Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, Hillside Stranglers – pretended to be policemen making an arrest.
Sipho Dube – pretended to need directions or pretended to be a person of authority.
John Robinson – Internet Slavemaster – made people think he was a social service provider using the internet.
YOO Yeong-chul - He pretended to be a policeman, showing a forged identification card which he had made himself.
The Harps, Big and Little – They pretended to be the posse out after themselves.
George Russell - Eastside Serial Killer - pretended to be a cop.
Randy Woodfield - Often wore a false beard and hooded sweat shirt during his attacks.
Bill Bradford – pretended to be a photographer looking for models.
Unidentified possible serial killer in London - posed as a television researcher to trick his way into the woman's home and try to strangle her. He also pretended to be looking for a room to rent for his daughter.
Juana Barraza - ruled the Mexican women’s wrestling circuit as “The Silent Lady,” but she became infamous for another moniker, “La Mataviejitas”—the old-lady killer. Starting in the 1990s, Barraza knocked on the doors of Mexico City’s elderly women, pretending to be a social worker. Once inside, she grabbed a sock, piece of string or phone cord—whatever was handy—and strangled her victims to death (until blood oozed from their ears).
Rafael Resendez- Ramirez - changing names and Social Security numbers and using glasses and facial hair to hide his identity