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Serial Killer Mind

In the last three decades the USA has been troubled by an approaching problem,
the serial killer. A serial killer is a person who kills a number of people,
usually considered over five, with a cooling off period between each murder,
usually one murder at one given time). Two murders at one time occasionally
happen and these murders may go on for a period of months or years until the
killer is caught. Throughout the last three decades the US serial killer rate
has risen 94% and it is estimated that by the next millennium it will claim an
average of 11 lives a day. Serial Murder is an epidemic; there are at least 35
serial killers active in the USA today who claim one third of the annual murder
rate. The USA has 6% of the world’s population yet it has three quarters of all
serial killers. Not only are serial killers appearing in more numbers in the US
but also all over the world countries are terrorized by serial killers, which
are appearing in more numbers year and year after. KILLER TRAIT: A serial killer
is a typical white male, 20-30, and most of them are usually in the USA. Their
main motives are sex (even though the act of sex may or may not take place),
power, manipulation, domination and control. The sex motive is usually rape for
an organized killer and sadism for a disorganized killer. They act in a series
of 5 or more murders with a cooling off period between each murder. Serial
killers can go on for months and years before they are usually caught. The
victim is usually the same for every killer – prostitute, hitchhiker etc. Their
victims may also have the same or similar attributes in gender, age, race,
general look, residence etc. Serial killers also stick by their modus operandi
very closely and may change it with experience. Most murders occur by
strangulation, suffocation, stabbing etc. Serial killers act by a sex-murder
fantasy based with their control, they usually live in this dream world in their
teens until they act it out for real when they get into the adult stage. As each
murder occurs a serial killer may be disappointed by his murder fantasy and may
act it out again to achieve it to there own satisfaction. CHARACTERISTICS OF A
SERIAL KILLER: 1. Killings are separate (‘serial’), occurring with greater or
less frequency, often escalating over a period of time, sometimes years, and
will continue until the killer is taken into custody, dies, or is
himself/herself killed. 2. In common with normal homicides, killing tends to be
one on one. There are instances however where a serial killer has struck down
more than one victim in a single incident. 3. There is no (or very little)
previous connection between the perpetrator and the victim; the persons involved
rarely being related. 4. Although there may be a ‘pattern’ or ‘victim trait’,
individual murders within a series rarely display a clearly defined or rational
motive. 5. An increasingly greater spatial mobility (since the advent of the
automobile) has enabled killers (if they wish) to move rapidly from one place to
another, often before a murder has even been discovered. 6. There is usually a
high degree of redundant violence, or an ‘overkill’, where the victim is
subjected to a disproportionate level of brutality. MOTIVES: These are the
motives a serial killer might display (some killers display various motives):
? Visionaries – Acts in response to voices and is instructed by these
voices to perform the act of murder. These killers are usually schizophrenic and
psychotic. ? Missionaries – They think it is their responsibility to rid
society of unwanted elements. ? Hedonists – Kill because murder causes
them pleasure. ? Lust Killers – Kill for sexual gratification with acts
that are usually sadistic. ? Thrill Killers – Kill because of a desire
for a thrill or experience. ? Gain Killers – Kill for personal gain. The
killer premeditates the act to require financial gain or materialistic goods.

While gain is not the main motive in a murder some serial killers have took the
opportunity to steal from their victims for their own personal gain. ?
Power Seekers – Kill for the desire to have control over the life and death of
others. Mobility: These are the classifications for the stable killer and the
transient killer: The Stable Killer (eg. Gacy, Dahmer) – ? Lives and
works in one location for an extended period. ? Hunts and kills within
the local area. ? Disposes of bodies in the same or similar areas.

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? Disposal site selected for concealment. ? May return to the
crime scene or burial site. ? Seldom travels, but when forced to travel
it is usually for business, family visits, or personal recreation. The Transient
Killer (eg. Bundy, Lucas) – ? Seldom stays in one spot more than a few
weeks. ? Kills are spread out over a large area. ? Disposes of
bodies in random locations. ? Disposal site selected for convenience.

? Seldom returns to the region of the crime. ? Travels
continuously either for pleasure, to confuse law enforcement or for new hunting
grounds. ORGANIZATION: There is the disorganized killer and the organized
killer. Most serial killers (about 3/4) are organized and their victim counts
seem to be higher, that is also because they are usually above average
intelligence. The disorganized offender is lonely and his murders usually
display his anger, most are of a low IQ and suffer from some mental disorder,
the killing is not planned and is a usually spur of the moment thing. It should
also be noted that some serial killers display both the characteristics of a
disorganized and organized killer, these killers are typed as being ‘mixed’.

These are the basic typologies: Organized Killer (eg. Gacy, Bundy) – ?
Plans out the murder (may become accustomed to using it quickly). ? Will
bring a ‘rape kit- (rope, handcuffs, chloroform etc) if desired. ?
Personalizes himself with the victim (talks, leads, captures etc. the victim
into/for planned murder situation). ? Rape, torture etc. may take place
before murder, for the killer-s own gratification. ? Kills victim
with awareness of evidence at crime scene (which may cleaned destroyed etc).

? Might move the body to hide, bury it etc. in an attempt to evade/delay
discovery. ? Killer will not be involved further with the victim’s body,
but may take articles, jewelry etc. for trophy or gain. Disorganized Killer (eg.

Berkowitz, Chase) – ? Murder usually happens at the spur of the moment
(with no planning but the one simple objective to kill). ? Does not bring
any tools (‘rape kit’) to the kill except maybe murder device. ? No
contact with the victim prior to spur of the moment murder. ? No rape,
torture etc. will take place before murder. ? Kills victim but does not
care for evidence usually left at the crime scene (high degree of violence takes
place at murder). ? Will not move body in an attempt to hide, bury it
etc., unconcerned of its discovery. ? Killer might be involved further
with the dead victim (mutilation, necrophilia, cannibalism, etc) and may also
take souvenir. ORIGINS: Robert K. Ressler (a FBI Behavioral Science Unit agent)
coined the term -serial killer- in 1975. Before it was known as
being a ‘serial killer’ it was referred to as a ‘stranger killer’ because the
killers victims were usually unknown to him. Ressler concluded that sometimes
the killer did kill people he knew so the word -serial- (by meaning
series) applied to this sort of killer; the term serial killer was then adopted
to and used. The first cases of serial killers probably go back into early times
of history with no or few records. Some of the oldest recorded serial killers
are Gilles De Rais and Elisabeth Countess Bathory who go back into the
1500’s(most of these old century killers were thought to be vampires or
werewolves!). Jack the Ripper is widely seen as the first serial killer because
the nature of the crimes (with the typical sexual motive) line up more with the
more recent common ones, therefore serial killers are widely accepted to be only
125 years old. SOLUTIONS: In the late 1970’s the Behavioral Science Unit (BSU)
of the FBI took a bigger step to battling serial offenses by undertaking
profiling and larger behavioral studies. Profiling is understanding the
offender, looking at a crime scene and judging by the evidence there what the
possible killer is like and what he has done, to achieve this the FBI
established the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP) and the National
Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC). VICAP is a program used to
evaluate unsolved crimes and is used to evaluate similarities in crimes; most of
these have been done by putting certain information into a computer database.

NCAVC is a department in the FBI, which pools in such resources as behavior
studies, profiling, research etc. and using specially trained agents to operate
it and assist in investigations around the US. It must be said now that the
FBI’s purpose is not to solve a case but to aid police with a profile and/or
information to help the police solve it. One man at the forefront of the
activity is now retired FBI agent Robert K. Ressler. Ressler played a major part
in the BSU in the late 1970’s by undertaking the Criminal Personality Research
Project (CPRP) which was interviewing known killers such as Speck, Berkowitz,
Kemper, Manson and many other killers known and unknown; this helped with the
basis of profiling and other behavioral research. Ressler then took on profiling
and other behavioral projects such as doing lectures, studies, psychology etc;
he also helped establish VICAP and NCAVC. The FBI plays a crucial part in serial
murder and perhaps without their assistance serial killers would be more
born in Milwaukee in 1960. When he was a child he took an interest in chemistry
and mutilating animals, a boy also reportedly molested him at the age of eight.

He joined the US Army in 1979 and got stationed in Germany. In 1981 he was
discharged for disorderly behavior and alcoholism. While Dahmer was serving in
Germany there were three unsolved murders near his base. When Dahmer returned to
Milwaukee he was soon arrested for exhibitionism. In 1988 he was sentenced to 10
months jail for fondling a minor. Upon his release from prison he got a job at a
local candy factory and rented a small apartment, which later became the famous
apartment 213. Dahmer-s neighbors soon complained of an overpowering bad
smell and the noise pollution that emitted from his power saw. Dahmer-s
excuses was that his refrigerator broke down and the meat spoiled and that he
was building bookcases. In 1991 police responded to a neighbors call who
discovered a 14-year-old Asian boy, Konerak Sinthasomphone, bleeding and naked
who had escaped from Dahmer. Police who called it ?a homosexual lovers
spat¦ ignored this incident. Dahmer killed the boy later that night.

Another one of Dahmer-s victims, Tracy Edwards, escaped and flagged down a
police car. The police went back to Dahmer-s apartment where they
discovered photos of dismembered bodies, a head in the refrigerator, a kettle on
the stove full of hands and male genitalia, a heart in the fridge with the words’to eat later’ carved in it and the list goes on. Dahmer admitted killing a
number of young Asian and African-American boys. After getting his victims drunk
or drugged Dahmer photographed, strangled and dismembered his victims. Dahmer
committed acts of necrophilia on his victims and was also a cannibal; this was
evident by no other food in Dahmer’s apartment except the body parts of his
victims. Dahmer had killed a total of 17 males. In 1992 Dahmer was found guilty
of the murders and sentenced to death. While waiting on death row Dahmer was
murdered by a fellow inmate and was found with a mop handle stuck in his eye.

JACK THE RIPPER Known as one of the most infamous killers in history, Jack the
Ripper carried out 5 sadistic murders in the London-s East End Whitechapel
in the space of four months in 1888. His victims were all prostitutes, their
throats cut and their bodies mutilated. The murders seemed as most usually are,
sexually motivated. Jack the Ripper frustrated Scotland Yard, as they had little
to no clues to the killer-s identity. One thing that was obvious was that
the killer was familiar with East End streets. At the time of the murders
letters were sent to the police and media claiming to be that from the Ripper.

One such letter was sent to George Lusk, attached was half a kidney, the writer
said ‘I send you half the kidney I took from one woman. The other piece I fried
and ate’. The Ripper struck two times on the 30 September, killing Elizabeth
Stride and Catherine Eddowes, unusually Stride was not mutilated suggesting the
Ripper had been interrupted. On a building near the crime scene someone had
written – ‘The juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing’. But this
was wiped clean on order of the police commissioner. The last victim, Mary Jane
Kelly, was the only one to be mutilated indoors. After the death of Kelly, the
murders suddenly stopped. No one is nearer to finding the identity of Jack the
Ripper. Such suspects include known killers George Chapman, Neil Cream and
Frederick Bailey Deeming. Other theories suggest midwives, Freemasons, Royalty,
plus ranks of other suspects. PEDRO LOPEZ- THE MONSTER OF THE ANDES Pedro Lopez,
AKA ‘The Monster of the Andes’ killed more than three hundred girls in Peru,
Ecuador and Columbia in the late seventies and early eighties until he was
caught. When he was young he was molested by a pedophile and deserted by his
family. Getting into theft, at 19 he went to prison where 4 other inmates
sodomized him, he killed three of them as pay back. When released he traveled
from Peru to Columbia, by this time he had killed over 150 girls. He would
usually pick up prostitutes whom he strangled and later dumped their bodies in a
river. Lopez was finally arrested after suspicion of murder in 1980. He told
police of his amazing 300+ tally, and he led them to gravesites. Lopez was
sentenced to life imprisonment. H. H. Holmes Holmes, properly known as Herman
Webster Mudgett, killed twenty-seven people at his house in Chicago. Like Ted
Bundy he was a handsome man and a favorite with the ladies. Holmes first married
in 1878 while still a student, and in 1886 contracted a bigamous marriage with
Myrta Belknap. He took to fraud as a means of livelihood, and in 1888 worked in
Chicago as a drugstore chemist. The female boss disappeared in 1890, leaving
Holmes in command of a business that thrived on sales of patent medicine. Holmes
shared a flat above the store with a Jeweller called Icilius Conner and his wife
Julia who acted as Holmes’s secretary. Holmes purchased a large vacant plot
across the road from the drugstore to build a hotel. The Gothic-style hotel
resembled a castle and had 100 rooms. The hotel, aptly named ‘Holmes’s Castle’
was designed by Benjamin F. Pitzel, and completed in 1891. Many people stayed at
Holmes’s castle and many disappeared, including Conners’ wife and her daughter.

An insurance fraud by Holmes, which resulted in the death of Pitzel, took police
to Holmes’s hotel, but Holmes had fled. He was captured in Philadelphia and
charged with embezzlement and later with murder. The police searched Holmes’s
castle and discovered a death house. Some of the rooms had chutes, which led to
the basement below, used as a victim cargo route. The basement contained vats of
acid, airtight rooms with gas inlets, windowless torture rooms containing trays
of surgical instruments. Also found were several female skeletons. At
Holmes-s trial in 1895, in which Holmes acted as his own defense, a
mechanic told of how he had worked for Holmes stripping flesh from bodies which
he thought had come from the city mortuary. Holmes was found guilty of murder
and sentenced to death. While awaiting execution Holmes confessed to
twenty-seven killings. He was hanged at Philadelphia-s Moyamensing prison
on 7 May 1896. On 31 January 1974, a student at the University of Washington, in
Seattle, Lynda Ann Healy, vanished from her room; the bed sheets were
bloodstained, suggesting that she had been badly struck on the head. During the
following March, April and May, three more girl students vanished with two more
in June. In July, two girls vanished on the same day. It happened at Lake
Sammanish. A number of people saw a good-looking young man, with his arm in a
sling, accost a girl named Janice Ott and ask her to help him lift a boat on to
the roof of his car, she walked away with him and did not return. Later, a girl
named Denise Naslund was accosted by the same young man, she also vanished. He
had been heard to introduce himself as ‘Ted’. In October 1974 the killings
shifted to Salt Lake City; three girls disappeared in one month. In November,
the police had their first break in the case: a girl named Carol DaRonch was
accosted by a young man who said he was a detective, he lead her back to his car
and he snapped a handcuff on her wrist and pointed a gun at her head; she fought
and screamed, and managed to jump from his car. That evening, a girl student
vanished on her way to meet her brother. A handcuff key was found near the place
from which she had been taken. Meanwhile, the Seattle police had fixed on a
young man named Ted Bundy as a main suspect. For the past six years, he had been
involved in a close relationship with a divorcee named Meg Anders, but she had
called the relationship off. After the Lake Sammanish disappearances, she had
seen a photofit drawing of the wanted ‘Ted’ in the Seattle Times and thought it
looked like Bundy. She telephoned the police. They told her that they had
already checked on Bundy; but at the suggestion of the Seattle Police, Carol
DaRonch was shown Bundy-s photograph. She tentatively identified it as
resembling the man who had tried to abduct her, but was obviously far from sure,
as Bundy had been in disguise at the attempted kidnapping. In January, March,
April, July and August 1975, more girls vanished in Colorado. (Their bodies-or
skeletons-were found later in remote spots.) On 16 August 1975, Bundy was
arrested for the first time. As a police car was driving along a dark street in
Salt Lake City, a parked Volkswagen launched into motion; the policeman
followed, and it accelerated. He caught up with the car at a service station,
and found in the car a pantyhose mask, a crow-bar, an icepick and various other
tools; there was also a pair of handcuffs. Bundy, 29 years old, seemed an
unlikely burglar. He was a graduate of the University of Washington, and was in
Utah to study law; he had worked as a political campaigner, and for the Crime
Commission in Seattle. In his room there was nothing suspicious – except maps of
Colorado, from which five girls had vanished that year. Also strands of hair
were found in his car that came from some of the missing girls. Carol DaRonch
had meanwhile identified Bundy from a police line-up, and bloodspots on her
clothes – where she had scratched her assailant – were of Bundy-s group.

Credit card receipts showed that Bundy had been close to various places from
which girls had vanished in Colorado. The evidence was, admittedly,
circumstantial, but taken all together, it formed a powerful case. The central
objection to it became apparent as soon as Bundy walked into court. He looked so
decent and clean-cut that most people felt there must be some mistake. The case
seemed to be balanced on a knife-edge – until the judge pronounced a sentence of
guilty of kidnapping. Bundy sobbed and pleaded not to be sent to prison; but the
judge sentenced him to a period between one and fifteen years. The Colorado
authorities now charged him with the murder of a girl called Caryn Campbell, who
had been abducted from a ski resort where Bundy had been seen by a witness.

After a morning courtroom session in Aspen, Bundy succeeded in wandering into
the library during the lunch recess, and jumping out of the window. He was
recaptured eight days later, tired and hungry, and driving a stolen car. Legal
arguments dragged on for another six months – what evidence was admissable and
what was not. And on 30 December 1977, Bundy escaped again, using a hacksaw
blade to cut through an imperfectly welded steel plate above the light fixture
in his cell. He made his way to Chicago, then south to Florida; there, near the
Florida State University in Tallahassee, he took a room. A few days later, a man
broke into a nearby sorority house and attacked four girls with a club, knocking
them unconscious; one was strangled with her pantyhose and raped; another died
on her way to the hospital. One of the strangled girl-s nipples had almost
been bitten off, and she had a bite mark on her left buttock. Bundy then fled
after a neighbour got suspicious. Three weeks later, on 6 February 1978, Bundy –
who was calling himself Chris Hagen – stole a white Dodge van and left
Tallahassee; he stayed in the Holiday Inn, using a stolen credit card. The
following day a 12-year-old girl named Kimberly Leach walked out of her
classroom in Lake City, Florida, and vanished. At 4 a.m. on 15 February, a
police patrolman noticed an orange Volkswagen driving suspiciously slowly, and
radioed for a check on its number; it proved to be stolen from Tallahassee.

After a struggle and a chase, during which he tried to kill the policeman, Bundy
was captured yet again. When the police learned his real name, and that he had
just left a town in which five girls had been attacked, they suddenly understood
the importance of his capture. On 7 April, a party of searchers along the
Suwanee river found the body of Kimberly Leach in an abandoned hut; she had been
strangled and sexually violated. Three weeks later, surrounded by hefty guards,
Bundy allowed impressions of his teeth to be taken, for comparison with the
marks on the buttocks of the dead student, Lisa Levy. Bundy`s trial began on 25
June 1979, and the evidence against him was damning; a witness who had seen him
leaving the sorority house after the attacks; a pantyhose mask found in a room
of the sorority house, which resembled the one found in Bundy`s car; but above
all, the fact that Bundy`s teeth matched the marks on Lisa Levy`s buttocks. The
jury took only six hours to find him guilty on all counts. Judge Ed Cowart
pronounced sentence of death by electrocution. Bundy was taken to Raiford
prison, Florida, where he was placed on Death Row. On 2 July 1986, when he was
due to die a few hours before serial killer Gerald Stano, both were granted a
stay of execution. Time finally ran out for Bundy in January 1989. Long before
this, he had recognised that his fatal mistake was to decline to enter into plea
bargaining at his trial; the result was a death sentence instead of life
imprisonment. Bundy then made a last-minute attempt to save his life by offering
to bargain murder confessions for a reprieve but failed. On 24 January, 7 a.m.,
Bundy was executed at the electric chair at Starke State prison, Florida. It is
quite unclear how many people Ted Bundy killed, figures showed he killed at
least 23 women although some say it was between twenty and forty. Bundy himself
told the police that in ran into double figures.

1. Gaute, J.H.H. (1979). The Murderer`s who`s who. New York: New Horizon
Press 2. Goldman, Jane (1988). Book of the Unexplained Volume Two. New York: 3.

Gregg, Wilfred (1997). The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. New York: Lyons &
Burford 4. Wilson, Colin (1982). The Giant Book of Serial Killers. New York:
McMillian 5. Jones, Richard Glyn (1993). The Giant Book of True Crimes. New
York: Carroll & Graf 6. Hawkes, Esme (1987). The Giant Book of Villains. New
York: Random House 7. Obler, Martin (1976). Fatal Analysis. New Jersey: New
Horizon Press 8. Jones, Richard Glyn (1989). The Mammoth Book of Murder. New
York: Carroll & Graf 9. Rumbelow, Donald (1975). Jack the Ripper. Chicago:
Contemporary Books 10. Carlo, Philip (1996). The Night Stalker. New York:
Kensington Books 11. Lewis, Dorothy Otnow (1998). Guilty by Reason of Insanity.

New York: The Ballantine Publishing Group


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