Archive for the ‘ Killers ’ Category

Joanna Dennehy on trial

Stony-faced serial killer Joanna Dennehy bragged about her killing spree to an alleged accomplice by glibly remarking: “Oops, I did it again.”

A court heard of the chilling admission along with two terrifying accounts of men who survived separate knife attacks by evil Dennehy.

During one of the bloodthirsty assaults, Dennehy told her petrified victim, “I’m going to f***ing kill you” as she repeatedly stabbed him.

A friend of hers also claimed how Dennehy had boasted about killing a total of eight people.

It came to light during the trial of Gary Stretch, 47, and Leslie Layton, 37, who are accused of helping Dennehy, 31.

The twisted mother-of-two has already admitted murdering John Chapman, 56, Lukasz Slaboszewski, 31, and her landlord Kevin Lee, 49.

She stabbed the three men in the heart and dumped their bodies in ditches in Cambridgeshire in late March last year.

Full Story here

This woman needs to be put down!

Joanna-Dennehy-mugshot

The ones that helped her need to be put away for life!

MASONS_TALLEST_VILLAIN_02.jpg

Seriously, these are some evil people.

aA retired firefighter told Cambridge crown court how he almost became another victim when she launched an attack on him days later in April.

Robin Bereza told the jury how he had taken his dog for a walk near his home in Hereford when he was targeted at random by Dennehy.

He recalled how a car pulled up behind him and he was stabbed twice.

He added: “I saw the lady with something in her hands. I got worried then, frightened. I said, ‘What are you doing?’

“She said, ‘I want to hurt you. I’m going to f***ing kill you’.”

The husband and father, 68, explained how Dennehy seemed calm throughout the attack, showing no emotion.

He added: “She appeared to stare right through me.”

Another survivor added to this woman’s creepiness and the need for her to be forever removed from any society.

John Rogers described how he also survived a similar attack where he was stabbed repeatedly in the back and the chest while walking his dog, also in Hereford on the same day.

Recalling his assailant’s expression, the 56-year-old said: “She was very matter-of-fact about it all, as if it was something she had to do.

“She didn’t seem to be showing any emotion at all.

“She didn’t seem that she was enjoying herself, she was just going about her business.”

Once she was done stabbing him she stole his dog! I mean talk about adding insult to injury.

She was and is not insane. She knew what she was doing was wrong and went to lengths to hide her crimes even though she later bragged about killing people.

More disturbing details surrounding the case were also revealed in court , including how Dennehy claimed she had dressed one of her victims up in her black sequined dress and made attempts to “make it look like a sexual act”.

Dennehy and Stretch also told Miss Page they had hidden at least one body in a wheelie bin, but that Mr Lee had discovered it.

Miss Page said: “Jo said when Kevin Lee came back he opened up the bin and saw the body – so she had to kill him.”

They covered another body with bleach before leaving it, which Stretch said made the skin look “cracked”.

This trial is still going on. It is a shame that there is no possibility for capital punishment.
I hope that there is some justice for the victims and their families.

Victims

Judge in ‘Grim Sleeper’ serial murder case OKs use of DNA

Article here

Rejecting defense arguments that a suspect in the slayings of 10 women and the attempted murder of an 11th had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the DNA he left on pizzeria plates and utensils, a California judge on Tuesday OK’d the evidence gathered by a police officer who posed as a restaurant busboy.

The ruling by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy helps clear the way for the case against Lonnie Franklin Jr. to proceed toward trial this summer, reports the Los Angeles Times. Franklin, who is about 60 years old, is being held without bail following his arrest in 2010.

The suspect in the case was nicknamed the “Grim Sleeper” because of a seeming years-long hiatus in slayings that took place over a period of over 20 years, according to authorities.

Although his DNA was not initially in a database available to law enforcement, investigators focused on Franklin as a suspect after asking the state to try to match DNA recovered at the crime scenes to individuals in the database who might be a relative of the suspect.

He is not even arguing that it is his DNA only that the cops obtained it the wrong way. I do not care how the cops got his DNA I am just happy that they finally took this bastard off the streets.

Tommy Lynn Sells gets his execution date

HOUSTON (AP) – A Texas death row inmate who’s been linked to more than a dozen slayings and who’s claimed to have committed as many as 70 murders around the country has an execution date.

Fox report and video

Tommy Lynn Sells is set for lethal injection April 3 in Huntsville.

Sells is 49 years old.

Sells’ lead appeals attorney said Friday lawyers were “kind of surprised” when they received a copy of the order.

Why??? The man brags about killing 70 people! He calls hiself “Coast to Coast” bragging about killing from coast to coast. I am surprised it is taking this long to rid the world of this piece of crap!

Wikipedia article on Sells

From an interview with Sells

INTERVIEWER

But, so, are you telling me that you walked in there intending to kill the woman with your bare hands?

TOMMY

I walked in there intending to do something, yeah.

INTERVIEWER

To whom?

TOMMY

Well, maybe once I get in there I went to the first room, and there he was, so there I went…

INTERVIEWER

But again, you’re saying maybe.

TOMMY

I’m speculating on, on, on, uh, seven, how many years ago?

INTERVIEWER

Seven.

TOMMY

Seven. I mean, you remember what you had for breakfast? I’m, I’m… Uh.

INTERVIEWER

But, but in fairness, it’s difference when it’s a murder than what you had for breakfast.

TOMMY

Well, it is until you let all of them run together. I, I mean, there’s thirteen that we know that, that we, we put a coffin in, a nail in that coffin. We know there’s thirteen of them that, that we, we went through, and each one of them had their own little P’s and Q’s, and you had to dot the I’s a certain way and cross the T’s. This is just another one.

Basically, having breakfast amd killing someone was all the same to him.

Now She Has a Name; Heidi Balch

Now She Has a Name: When a Serial Killer Visited My Small Town

Until the day the golfer spotted a dismembered head in the cool waters of Stony Brook, the scariest beast in Hopewell was the New Jersey Devil. As elementary school students, we were shown videos of the Devil rampaging flocks of sheep and terrorizing farmers in the Pine Barrens. This was frightening, to be sure, but the Pine Barrens were several hours by car southeast of Hopewell (pop. 2200) and the videos never showed the Devil’s face owing to budgeting constraints, as the filmmakers could not afford any special effects. Plus we had a professional hockey team named after him — the Devils — and they were an inspiration to young children, not a menace.

I remember receiving the news about the head late one night in a house in the Sourland Mountains in 1989. My friend George and I were locked in a fierce battle of Nintendo Ice Hockey, the chief variables of the game being to decide whether to choose a slow, plump player, who could shoot the puck hard and check anything in his path; a skinny player who was extremely lithe but who had a weak shot and could be easily bumped off his skates; or a medium-sized player who was a compromise between the other two body types. It was an addictive formula, and one that Nintendo continues to exploit in its games today. Anyway, we were engrossed in this battle when George’s parents mounted the stairs and solemnly told us that a severed head had been found in a creek by the Hopewell Valley Golf Club, and added that they had locked the doors and we’d been up late enough playing-your-games-and-you-should-get-some-sleep.

We did not sleep that night, of course. The thought of a head without its body was something that had never occurred to us, and we were old enough, about 10, to know that someone had killed this body before lopping off its head. We consoled ourselves, as our world views splintered and cracked, by watching The Ultimate Warrior thrash his opponents on the World Wrestling Federation until the sun pried open our dreary eyelids.

The local news followed the story of the severed head closely, and blood tests eventually revealed that it contained the AIDS virus. In 1989, AIDS was associated with two things, gays and blacks, and we believed you could contract it by cutting your head on metal and that the symptom was a long white hair on your tongue and throat. This only compounded our sense of terror: a dismembered head with a misunderstood virus.

The place where the head had been found was more bizarre, the seventh hole of an idyllic golf club. My family didn’t belong to the club, but I had been there with friends to swim in the pool, which had a deep-end colored a malevolent blue, so bottomless were its waters, and lifeguards that sneered as they twirled their whistles around their fingers. In my memories, the swimming pool is always sun-dappled and solar flared — enough to please J.J. Abrams — because we only went swimming on sunny days. Hopewell was a small town, and safe and complacent with its five churches, its family-owned deli, sport hunting shop, and pharmacy. It had once been a hotbed of the Ku Klux Klan, and before that a scene of fierce resistance during the Revolutionary War. Charles Lindbergh’s baby had been kidnapped from a second story window, and then discarded in the woods just outside town, but by the late 1980s Hopewell had become a desirable backwater with its ample green spaces, acres of woods, pristine creeks, Harvest Festival, and Memorial Day parade, where kids of all colors could roam freely without fear. We would ride our Huffies and Schwinns by the golf course, right over the spot where Stony Brook, the stream in which the head had been found, dipped beneath the road.

As time went on, and the head was never claimed, rumors began to circulate, and always seemed to end in one of two possibilities: the Mafia or a serial killer had done it. Serial killers were, of course, far scarier to a 10 year old than the Mafia. Unlike the Mafia, which (television had us believe) followed a moral code, serial killers were imbued with their own unique compass. As a kid, my main concern was to find out how many other killers were out there, because that would promote my survival. My parents reassured me that we were safe — what else could you say to a child about such a thing? — and I would believe them until the sun went down and our home filled with shadows. But there were deeper questions, too: Why hadn’t anyone noticed that a head was missing? Wasn’t the family looking for the head? The thought that no family member cared enough about this person’s head to claim it back was even more terrifying. If your family can’t search for your missing head, then what good are they, in the end?

Most of my questions about the head were fed by what my parents called “an active imagination,” but in hindsight the threats were never were too far away. While vacationing at my grandparents’ cabin in Wisconsin, my mom hid an ax under the bed because the bodies of slaughtered children had been turning up in the woods, before Jeffrey Dahmer had been caught; my best friend in Hopewell had once lived in Arkansas down the street from the mother of John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer who had apparently visited her regularly as my friend rode his bigwheel tricycle down the street.

Much later, working with asylum seekers in South Africa, I regularly met men and women from the Democratic Republic of Congo who fled war-torn areas where roving militias dismembered the bodies of civilian victims. The difference was that the practice was fed by a heady mix of psychotropic drugs, psychological warfare, and perverted interpretations of animist traditions. The scale of such murders was terrifying, but there were reasons in place. It was war and the militias feared the spirits of their victims. There was a certain logic.

As a Nigerian-American, I’ve also become accustomed to a few stereotypes, most of which revolve around Nigerian email scams, but also the selling of body parts. Not just internal organs, but arms, legs, feet, little fingers. (Just watch the South African film District 9, and you’ll see Nigerians who get off on dismembering people and also having sex with aliens from outerspace.) But again, there is a sort of reasoning to that illicit traffic. The bodies for these occult rituals are sliced apart for spiritual purposes, not as ends unto themselves.

Last week, after a 24-year search for more information about the head, the New Jersey State Police finally discovered the identity of the victim. She was a prostitute who had changed her name no less than 15 times, and she was identified by DNA tests that matched her with her aunt, who had filed a missing persons report with the police in 2001. Her name was Heidi Balch. She is believed to have been the first victim killed by Joel Rifkin, who confessed to murdering someone with the name of one of her aliases in 1993, and who had been sentenced to 200 years in prison after killing 17 prostitutes on a rampage. Rifkin claimed to have begun murdering prostitutes because he had contracted AIDS from one.

The HIV virus was the main character of South African author Kgebetli Moele’s 2009 novel The Book of the Dead, and the protagonist moved from victim to victim boasting of its conquests. It was not Moele’s best book — that would be Room 207, a must read — but it was chilling to read how the virus thrived on intimacy and broken relationships. Revenge was never the point of the virus in that story: it lived only for the sake of living. Rifkin, by contrast, claimed to be butchering for revenge and not for pleasure. In this, the fictional virus holds the moral upperhand, for it doesn’t pretend to be serving some larger purpose.

Like science fiction, serial killers twist our values on their head and allow us to reflect back on ourselves — What would happen if our planet had two suns instead of one? Or if we communicated through telepathy? — and, in the case of serial killers — what if you didn’t care if you killed someone? Or took pleasure in the killing? Serial killers are big business. Their psychological profiles and crafty, nefarious plotting can be patiently examined in a television series like Dexter or Bates Motel and people will watch them.

Only after I read the news about the discovery did I realize how long I had suppressed even thinking about the murder. For two decades, I now realized, I had been holding my breath as we drove along the road past the golf course; and all that time the head loomed spectral and ghoulish in the crenellations of my mind.

The New Jersey State Police managed to trace Heidi Balch’s identity by searching records of prostitution offenses at the time. If my consciousness was first shattered in 1989 when they found the head, it was this fact that shattered it again. Heidi Balch was killed because she had been pushed, by will or by circumstance, to the margins of our society to the extent that her very livelihood was a criminal act. Rifkin, Dahmer, and Gacy preyed on the weak and marginalized. It’s hard to imagine a sober conversation about legalizing prostitution in America today or empowering sex workers with rights, especially when abortion laws are becoming still more restrictive. Heidi Balch was unclaimed and nameless for 24 years. Now we know her name, but if she were alive today what would prevent us from forgetting her again?

Again we see how far the ripples of a killer reach into society. How it touches kids and parents and how and what they do.

Serial killer Anthony Sowell’s aftermath continues

Serial killer Anthony Sowell’s aftermath continues to stoke fears on Cleveland’s East Side: Phillip Morris

Convicted serial murderer Anthony Sowell’s Imperial Avenue home in Cleveland,OH, is demolished, Tuesday, December 6, 2011. But fear in the wake of his slaughter remains strong in certain Cleveland communities.

I first met Renee when they started pulling bodies out of Anthony Sowell’s backyard in 2009.

She called and said she wanted to talk to a reporter. She warned me that she was in the middle of a nervous breakdown and needed to scream.

When I arrived at her East Side home, Renee met me at the door with a picture of Kimberly Yvette Smith in her hand. She gave me the photo and began to shake and sob uncontrollably.

Awkward and haunting doesn’t begin to describe that introduction, but it’s the moment the serial killing became real for me.

Kim, an attractive young lady, was the ninth woman to be found buried in the home of Anthony Sowell, the convict Cleveland serial killer. She was also a close friend of Renee’s, as were four of the other women whose remains were found at the Imperial Avenue property.

But Renee wasn’t worried about Sowell. His career was over. She was worried about someone else; a man who she believed posed a continuing threat to her.

“I’m scared, Mr. Morris. There is someone else out here raping us. I was raped in July at gunpoint. The same guy, with the same M.O. has raped at least three more of my girlfriends. How can we get this guy off the street before he kills someone?

I’ve thought of Renee often in recent days as the level of tension and fear begins to rise again in certain neighborhoods on Cleveland’s East Side — neighborhoods near the house where Anthony Sowell killed and stashed the bodies of eleven women.

Police took the extraordinary step this week of issuing a warning to women to remain vigilant against stranger abductions as they seek whoever killed 20-year-old Jazmine Trotter and 45-year-old Christine (Crissy) Johnson-Malone.

The bodies of these two Cleveland women were found about a mile from each other last week in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Both died of head trauma and strangulation. Police say they have no evidence the incidents are connected, but a highly stressed community is already rushing to its own judgements.

The fear that another serial predator might have emerged continues to evolve, especially with the news Monday of an attempted abduction in the general vicinity of the two killings.

Perhaps it’s a community’s overreaction. But that is what can be expected in the wake of a successful serial killer, who operated under a city’s radar for years. Even after Sowell’s 2011 capital conviction, the paranoia and fears he stoked live on.

The current attacks have caused some to wonder whether another violent sociopath has picked up the killer’s mantel and resumed his work.

Cleveland, to its benefit, has changed in some important ways since Sowell made women disappear. The city’s police department doesn’t take missing person’s reports as cavalierly as it once did. Officers appear quicker to handle the complaints and more eager to ascertain a missing person’s whereabouts.

And the community is much quicker to report those who go missing. Families are doing a better job of keeping an eye on their own lost sheep and vulnerable loved ones.

Such proactive behavior helps improve the overall level of public safety, as sloppy predators – like Sowell – no longer have the luxury of operating in a climate marked by rank indifference.

Still, the warning and plea of Renee continue to haunt me. I don’t know if she’s living or dead. I have been unable to locate her.

If you’re out there Miss RYO, give me a call.

Her concerns remain just as valid now as they were when we spoke.

The first line of defense against a predator remains vigilance. Members of a community who assume direct responsibility for each other thwart a serial killer from operating under our radar.

Original Article

Charles Manson in the news again

Charlie just can not seem to behave and stay out of trouble even in prison. I mean, I am sure he had no idea that his follower (yes, Charlie still has plenty of them)  was trying to sneak him a cell phone. Just like Charlie had no clue that his other followers were murdering people.

probability-wat-duh-ffff

CORCORAN, Calif. — A follower of Charles Manson has been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle a cell phone inside a California prison where the mass murderer is housed, authorities said Tuesday.

Craig Carlisle Hammond, 63, was arrested Sunday for investigation of conspiracy, possession of an illegal communication device and attempting to bring a cell phone into a prison, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections.

He was taken to jail and was released after posting bail. He is scheduled to be in court next month.

Craig Carlisle Hammond mugshot

Hammond had a wrist watch cell phone that was found by a correctional officer at Corcoran State Prison in an area where the device is prohibited, authorities said. The phone never got into Manson’s hands.

However, the notorious cult leader who is serving a life sentence for orchestrating a series of gruesome murders more than 40 years ago has been caught with a smuggled cell phone twice in the past four years.

In 2009, Manson was found with a phone and he had been calling and texting people in California, Florida, New Jersey and British Columbia. Two years ago, he also was found with a phone.

Recent legislation in California makes it a misdemeanor to smuggle a cell phone into a prison, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.

Hammond goes by the name Gray Wolf that was given to him by Manson and regularly visits the 78-year-old, according to the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/10fOUVL).

From Huffington Post

More info from L.A. Times

Manson has been caught with a cellphone in his cell twice. Manson called people in California, New Jersey and Florida with an LG flip phone found under his prison bunk in March 2009. For the offense, 30 days were  added to his sentence. The cult leader was again found with a cellphone in his cell Jan. 6, 2011.

That fall, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a Senate bill that makes it a misdemeanor to possess an unauthorized cellphone in prison or to try to take one into a prison. Violators face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

The proliferation of cellphones in prisons is a significant public safety concern, officials say. Inmates have run street gangs from behind bars, intimidated witnesses and orchestrated assaults on guards, they said. In 2011, 15,000 cellphones were found inside prisons.

Manson sees few visitors, but Hammond is among his regulars. Hammond controls a copyright on Manson’s music and is a self-described follower of the the inmate.

A Manson website maintained by followers and believers of Manson’s ATWA group –an acronym for Air, Trees, Water, Animals — reported that Gray Wolf was detained at Level 4 visitation entrance. According to the website, Manson was meeting with another friend when Gray Wolf was detained by guards. Manson and the two visitors were subsequently searched and the two visitors also consented to their vehicles being searched. Gray Wolf was then taken into custody and asked for a lawyer, according to the website.

I am not linking to ATWA, if you are curious it is easy to find.

I actually giggled when I read this article. Do not get me wrong, it is sad, disturbing and a concern that Manson still has people willing to go to jail for him but the fact that the dummy was busted and Charlie did not get his way makes me happy.

I kind of felt like this

charles manson loses

His crimes are in no way a joke but really, his legacy has become one to most people.

People have not forgotten, it is just that many see him as something to make fun of rather than to follow and that’s not such a bad thing.
It would have been better to rid the world of him, but I can stomach him being an object of ridicule (by most) much better than as an object to follow.

Inside the mind of a serial killer: a psychologist’s perspective

Original article here.

by James Morgan

Not the television show...

Not the television show…

 

Perhaps because of the extreme nature of their crimes, serial killers pose somewhat of an ethical quandary for society. What is the ‘correct’ response to those who devise and commit multiple murders? On the one hand, the actions of such individuals seem alien and abhorrent to the vast majority of citizens. Even so, the inner workings of serial killers’ minds have long since served to inspire morbid fascination amongst the general public.

Serial killing is also an area that is of great interest to psychologists as it represents one of the most extreme examples of human behaviour. How can actions so vile and uncompassionate be explained from a psychological perspective? An initial response might be to label serial killers as ‘mad’. However, evidence suggests that these crimes are often committed by individuals who – although very different from the rest of us – are completely rational. Even more worrying is the fact that before they are detained, many serial killers operate unnoticed within their communities for significant periods of time. By improving our understanding of the cognitive factors that help to create and motivate serial killers, psychologists are uniquely positioned to assist those tasked with identifying and incarcerating such criminals.

As part of last week’s Flavour of Psychology event organised by the Northern Ireland Branch of the British Psychological Society (NIBPS) and hosted at Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB), Professor Peter Hepper delivered a lecture on how psychology contributes to our understanding of serial killers. During his talk, Professor Hepper, a Member of the Behaviour Development and Welfare Research Cluster at QUB, addressed a range of related issues including why society is so intrigued by these individuals and how a person becomes a serial killer.

In a feature interview with ScienceOmega.com, Professor Hepper outlined the ultimate psychological quest: to unravel the mind of a serial killer…

Why are the minds of serial killers so fascinating from a psychological perspective? Can they teach us anything about the minds of – for want of a better word – ‘normal’ people?
I would argue that all forms of human behaviour exist on a continuum. The behaviour of serial killers can be found at the extreme end of this line. In one sense, serial killers are totally abnormal; they are different from everybody else in society. However, the processes that have driven them to this point are the same as the ones that have affected every other human being who has ever lived. In this respect, the only thing that separates ‘us’ from serial killers is the outcome. Psychologists want to understand the factors that drive individuals to become serial killers. It is psychology’s job to explain human behaviour, and serial killing represents one of the most extreme forms of human behaviour.

Could you provide an example of the type of factor that might increase a person’s likelihood of becoming a serial killer?
One of the biggest challenges within this field is to explain what a serial killer is. We can do this in terms of the specific behaviour; serial killers are individuals who kill three or more people with a cooling-off period in between murders. However, some researchers have attempted to produce typologies of serial killers and to group them together. In my opinion, this is where things have gone wrong. Other than the fact that they have all murdered three or more people, serial killers are members of an extremely diverse group. There are many, many different paths that can lead to a person becoming a serial killer.

John Wayne Gacy

It is possible to look for certain influencing factors. For example, some people have suggested that brain injury is important. In the 1970s, John Wayne Gacy killed 33 young men across Chicago. He had previously suffered a serious brain injury after being knocked unconscious by a swing. However, the ‘brain injury’ argument doesn’t necessarily hold true when you investigate other serial killers. Ted Bundy murdered 30 young women during the same period yet he exhibited no signs of brain injury whatsoever. This is one of the main problems with this approach. The backgrounds of two serial killers who have committed comparable crimes might have very little in common with one another. At present, it simply isn’t possible to say that factor x causes a person to become a serial killer. This behaviour is undoubtedly the result of some combination of factors operating at a certain point during an individual’s life, but what these factors are, we just can’t say.

Ted Bundy

Given the diversity that you’ve just mentioned, can it ever be useful to create psychological profiles of serial killers who have yet to be apprehended?
I think that this strategy is potentially helpful from the perspective of law enforcement. Whilst profiling is never going to be able to provide the name of the individual responsible for a crime, it can help to narrow down the pool of suspects. Psychology, however, is interested in getting inside the serial killer’s head. Unfortunately, there exists such a multiplicity of factors that we are not yet in a position to group these people together appropriately, or to identify the most important drivers.

Obviously, the actions of serial killers disgust most members of society. With this in mind, why do you think we find these individuals so fascinating?

Hannible

This really is a difficult question to answer. The crimes that serial killers commit are absolutely horrendous. In real life, nobody would want to be associated with these acts. However, for some unknown reason, books and TV programmes have been written with serial killers as their central figures. For example, in the Hannibal Lecter series, the title character has transmogrified into the antihero. Hannibal is now a ‘good’ serial killer in contrast with Buffalo Bill, who is a ‘bad’ one. In Showtime’s Dexter, we also see a ‘good’ serial killer. On reflection, this trend seems quite odd.

Dexter

Many of us have a slightly darker side that has a tendency to become fascinated with things that lie beyond our comprehension. I think that this is partly the result of inquisitiveness – an attempt to understand actions to which we just cannot relate – but I believe that it’s also related to fear. Although rare, serial killers are random. They can pop up at any time and in any place. I would argue that the public’s fascination with this group is, in part, an attempt to reduce the latent fear that is evoked by serial killers.

Map of Known Serial Killers

What, in your opinion, are the most interesting avenues of contemporary research concerning the psychology of serial killers? Has our understanding of this group continued to advance over the years?
Yes, it has. For understandable reasons, the vast majority of research into serial killers has been conducted by individuals who are linked to law enforcement. Only recently has it started to move into the psychological arena. We need to address this extreme form of behaviour from a psychological perspective; to try to understand just what’s going on in the minds of serial killers. What causes them to do the things that they do? Why have they developed in this way? What are the main differences between serial killers? Psychologists want to create a clearer picture of what exactly is going on.

042912_0102_SerialKille1.gif

Do you think that psychology will ever be capable of identifying markers for this extreme behaviour before a person begins to kill?
I think that we will because I believe that psychology can endow us with an understanding of human behaviour. However, I think that the ability to spot potential serial killers is still a long way off. We need to develop a better understanding of the factors that drive these people; how certain events that happen to an individual can increase his or her likelihood of becoming a serial killer. Psychologists must identify the factors that have some predictive value in determining future behaviour.

But presumably, any new knowledge in this area would be useful. Even if it isn’t possible to identify markers in advance, a greater understanding could facilitate those working to apprehend serial killers…
That’s right. It may also be possible to identify factors that suggest a person is not a serial killer. We just don’t know at this stage. It all comes back to the level of specificity that we are able to achieve. At present, we’re still at the level of very general factors but as we explore the scene, these factors will become more and more specific. In the future, we might even be able to identify indicators for particular behaviours further down the line.

Are any of your current research activities related to the psychology of serial killers?
There is a general theme in my research that is related to this group. I am interested in behaviour development: prenatal learning, how we recognise our siblings, etc. When I started out as a psychologist, we looked at the individual and his or her behaviour as a whole. I am slightly concerned about the path that psychology has since followed. We now tend to ‘chop off’ little bits of behaviour in an attempt to understand them better. However, we don’t always replace these bits within the big picture. I want to return to a starting point whereby I try to understand why a person behaves as they do. Serial killing is of interest to me because it encompasses gross and extreme examples of human behaviour. If psychology is to succeed in understanding ‘the mind of the serial killer’, it must start by finding out why certain individuals exhibit these behaviours.

Read more

 

 

Families of killers, forgotten victims.

“Moore is a part of an exclusive group, those who share blood relations with someone perceived by the public as a monster: a mass murderer. With that unenviable tie can come isolation, guilt, grief, fear, disbelief, even post-traumatic stress disorder, in addition to a very public stigma.
In the aftermath of a massacre, questions and criticism are frequently directed at the parents, spouses and children of the accused. The public sometimes sympathizes, often criticizes and even goes so far as to blame family members for the actions of their kin.”

 

Families of killers and what they go through.

So often forgotten victims.

Susan Klebold said in an essay:

“For the rest of my life, I will be haunted by the horror and anguish Dylan caused. I cannot look at a child in a grocery store or on the street without thinking about how my son’s schoolmates spent the last moments of their lives. Dylan changed everything I believed about my self, about God, about family, and about love. I think I believed that if I loved someone as deeply as I loved him, I would know if he were in trouble. My maternal instincts would keep him safe. But I didn’t know. And my instincts weren’t enough. And the fact that I never saw tragedy coming is still almost inconceivable to me. I only hope my story can help those who can still be helped. I hope that, by reading of my experience, someone will see what I missed.”

 

I can not even begin to imagine that, how she feels. It has to horrible.

 

Melissa worried that she might also be a killer, a bad person or have some kind of evil inside of her due to her father being a serial killer.

““When I was growing up, my dad had put so much pride in my last name, and he gave me lessons on how to be a good citizen,” Moore said. “My name was now known for these horrific murders, and it started to make me wonder if I was like my dad.”
Brown says it’s normal for the family members of killers to doubt their own moral integrity. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right?”

 

Imagine for 1 second growing up with that fear inside of you. I can’t. It speaks of her courage, that she went on.

 

There is also often a survivor’s guilt for the families of the killers.

“Mildred Muhammad’s ex-husband and father of her three children, John Allen Muhammad, terrorized the Washington, D.C., area with random sniper attacks in 2002.
Soon, there were reports of shootings throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Once John Muhammad was captured, there were whispers that he had done it to get his ex-wife’s attention.
At first, Mildred Muhammad thought that if she’d only stayed with him, he would have killed her instead of killing 10 innocent strangers and wounding three. The guilt and disbelief were overwhelming.

It’s difficult to grasp the reality that a family member could cause nationwide sorrow, said forensic psychiatrist Helen Morrison, who has profiled dozens of killers. Also hard is the realization that it’s not the family’s fault.
Morrison said it’s imperative to get the individual to talk about their experience — their feelings, their doubt, their anger, their distress — and try to put that in a perspective that finally leads them to say, “It’s not my fault.”

 

This poor woman blamed herself for not being killed.

 

I can hope that there will not be anymore murders, but I don’t think that is a hope I can really expect to come to being.

So, I hope that in the face of a tragic event people can remember that the killer is alone in their blame.

The families are victims as well, even if that is hard to process.

Shattered Silence from Melissa Moore here.

Susan Klebold’s essay here.

Far From the Tree here.

Another excellent book on this subject, We Need to Talk About Kevin. This is a fictional account but it still has a lot of insight into this subject.

The Dead Man Talking Project

Hunting for Long-Gone Serial Killers: Inside the Dead Man Talking Project

 

Two California prosecutors are teaming to up to gather the DNA of deceased murderers and use it to close unsolved murders. But tracking down the saliva of a dead man isn’t always easy. Christine Pelisek reports.

By day, she runs the sex-crimes division of the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. In her spare time, she tracks down the DNA of dead rapists, murderers, and serial killers.

Carol Burke is on a mission to cross off as many cold cases as she can by matching swabs of known felons with evidence from unsolved-crime scenes. With Anne Marie Schubert, who is in charge of child-abuse cases upstate in the Sacramento D.A.’s office, Burke helps to run a project called Dead Man Talking, which has brought the pair closer than ever to bringing justice to the cases of some of the most sadistic serial killers in California history—even if the culprits themselves are long gone.

“It’s really rewarding,” Burke says of the project. “There is a lot of value to it, even though we can’t prosecute the offenders because they are dead. Families can at least have some closure. They finally know what happened to their loved ones.”

California has a DNA data bank that stores close to 2 million felon profiles. It also contains some 25,000 pieces of crime-scene evidence from murders, rapes, robberies, and burglaries—semen from a bed sheet, or a cigarette butt—that have never been linked to an offender.

Burke and Schubert believe that adding to the list of felon profiles could close countless unsolved cases. But a surprising number of known offenders are missing from the database. Schubert says that since 1984, close to 25,000 inmates have died in a California prison or on parole. Of those, nearly 19,000 were not swabbed for DNA before they died. Over 40 of them were death-row inmates.

Finding traces of these men can be extremely difficult, especially for two women with full-time jobs and no staff. Burke and Schubert are focusing first on death-row inmates and then widening their net to offenders who were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Each has their own white whale. Burke is devoted to tracking down the DNA of notorious “Freeway Killer” William Bonin, so called because many of his victims were left by the side of freeways in Southern California. “He’s my No. 1 target,” Burke says. “He was a really bad guy. He was so prolific.”

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Bonin was convicted of kidnapping, robbing, sexually assaulting, and killing 13 boys and young men in Los Angeles and Orange counties between 1979 and 1980. After he was arrested, Bonin, who had worked alongside various accomplices, including a factory worker named Vernon Butts, confessed to killing 21 young boys and young men, some of them he had picked up hitchhiking. Police believe his body count is closer to 30.

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However, when Bonin was executed in San Quentin State Prison in 1996 before submitting a DNA sample, any hope of linking him to more killings died with him.

“I originally assumed they autopsied people in San Quentin,” says Burke. “That’s not the case. They were only autopsying people who committed suicide or were killed in prison. So someone who died of natural causes or was executed like Bonin was not autopsied.”

Burke says Bonin’s court files and trial exhibits have been destroyed. Nor has she had any luck finding his blood, semen, or saliva with the Los Angeles or Orange County police departments or with the coroner’s office. An attempt to track down the DNA of Butts, who Bonin said was an active participant in many of the murders, almost came to fruition when she discovered that he had committed suicide in a Los Angeles County jail and was autopsied. But, she said, law-enforcement personnel destroyed the forensic evidence in 2010.  

 The dead ends can be frustrating. “Bonin is the most notorious and the one who most likely left unsolved murders in his wake,” Burke says. “It sure would be great to get his sample so we could solve some of the unsolveds out there.”

Recently she found better luck in the case of Roland Comtois, who abducted two teenaged girls in 1987, killed one, and sexually assaulted the other. The 65-year-old inmate died in a prison hospital from an infection in 1994, but was never autopsied. But Burke’s sleuthing uncovered a bloody shirt that had belonged to the killer—left when police shot him trying to escape arrest and stored as evidence. So far, his DNA has not been linked to any new murders.

Schubert, who created Dead Man Talking in 2008, started the project in part to solve some of Sacramento County’s most notorious serial-killer cold cases that date back to the ’70s.

“It was a killing field, and not just here,” she says. “The number of body dumps across the state was enormous.”

One of the killers high on her list is the “Original Night Stalker,” who is believed to be responsible for over 50 rapes that began in Northern California and ended with multiple murders in 1986 in Santa Barbara, Orange, and Ventura counties.
 
“It terrified Sacramento and the region,” says Schuster, who was a child when the attacks began. “We still haven’t solved it. It’s highly likely that he has died in prison.”

 Schubert spent over a year searching for the DNA of serial killer Gerald Gallego, who along with his wife was responsible for the sex-slave murders of 10 young women in California and Nevada in the late ’70s. Gallego, who was sentenced to death in both states, died in 2002 of rectal cancer in Nevada and was never swabbed.
 
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Eventually, Schubert says, she found a saliva sample buried inside 14 boxes at a clerk’s office.  

“I can say he was suspected in multiple murders and not just the ones he was convicted of,” she says.

Last year the pair had their first major success when they linked L.A. serial killer Juan Chavez to the unsolved murder of 60-year-old Lynn Penn. Penn was found strangled in his apartment in July 1990.

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Chavez committed suicide three months after he was convicted of killing five gay men. Schubert discovered that Chavez had been autopsied, and a sample of his blood was still in evidence. His DNA was uploaded into the DNA data bank  and last February it was linked to saliva found on a cigarette butt discovered inside Penn’s apartment.

 “I think I screamed,” said Schubert when she learned of the DNA hit. “I remember where I was. It’s like how everyone remembers where they were when Elvis died.”

Schubert is hoping to expand the project statewide and hire a full-time investigator. However, cold-case grants are hard to come by. Last year they were turned down for funding for the project.

“There are probably some people out there that are like, these guys are dead; it doesn’t matter. I don’t think that at all,” she says. “It does matter. It’s about seeking justice for those who were harmed by these people.”

 

I think it matters and I think it is very important to give the families closure. I applaud these two ladies and hope that the criminal justice system gets behind them.

Catherine Birni remains in prison

The Prisoners Review Board began the review in January and the final decision was made this week by Attorney-General Michael Mischin.

“The attorney-general has accepted a recommendation from the Prisoners Review Board that Catherine Birnie not be released on parole,” a spokeswoman said.

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Under law, Birnie’s life sentence is reviewed every three years, so her next statutory review will be in 2016.

Why is her sentence reviewed every three years? I will never understand why society does that, why we tempt fate by even entertaining the possibility of releasing serial killers.

Former Attorney-General Christian Porter, who last year left state politics for a tilt at the federal arena, in March 2010 decided Birnie would not be placed on parole or put into a re-socialisation program.

WA’s attorney-general in 2007, Jim McGinty, said Birnie should never be freed from jail.

 

Birnie and her late partner David Birnie raped, stabbed, strangled and clubbed to death four victims in their Willagee house, in Perth’s southern suburbs, in 1986.

They were caught only when a fifth intended victim escaped after they abducted her at knifepoint.

The pair were handed strict-security life sentences for the murders.

David Birnie hanged himself in his protective custody Casuarina Prison cell in 2005. She wasn’t allowed to attend his funeral.

A 2007 review of Birnie, who is serving her sentence at Bandyup Women’s Prison on Perth’s north-eastern outskirts, found she was at low risk of reoffending but her release was rejected because of the extreme nature of her crimes.

Birnie, now 62, left her husband and six children in 1985 to live with David Birnie.

She did not marry him but took his surname.

 
I can only imagine how Kate Moir feels every 3 years when she has to worry about the woman that abducted and tortured her getting out.
 

Wikipedia Article

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