There is no real consensus as to the meaning of “serial killing” or “serial killer.” There are no official records concerning serial killing. It is difficult to identify serial killers The conclusion that one unsolved murder is part of a pattern is easier when committed in the same jurisdiction. It is extremely costly to investigate serial murders
Dennis Rader - He is known as the BTK killer (or the BTK strangler). "BTK" stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill,“murdered ten people in Sedgwick County (in and around Wichita, Kansas), between 1974 and 1991 Gary Ridgway - Green River Killer, was initially convicted of 49 separate murders and later confessed to nearly twice that number. He strangled the women, usually with his arm but sometimes using ligatures. After strangling them, he would dump their bodies throughout forested and overgrown areas in King County, often returning to the dead bodies to have sexual intercourse with them. Believed to have killed 71.
Season 9 criminal minds – the inspiration Wallace Hines – a serial killer inspired by the praying mantis. Killer has visions hears voices. Very few are found insane. Ed Gein was one Many have pled insanity – Kallinger - was an American serial killer who murdered three people and tortured four families. He committed these crimes with his 13-year-old son Michael. Kallinger pleaded insanity, claiming God had told him to kill. He was found sane, however, and sentenced to life in prison Bianchi,- Hillside strangler – claimed MPD At his trial, Bianchi pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, claiming that another personality, one "Steve Walker", had committed the crimes. Bianchi even convinced a few expert psychiatrists that he indeed suffered from multiple personality disorder, but investigators brought in their own psychiatrists, mainly Martin Orne. When Orne mentioned to Bianchi that in genuine cases of the disorder, there tends to be three or more personalities, Bianchi promptly created another alias, "Billy". Eventually, investigators discovered that the name "Steven Walker" came from a student whose identity Bianchi had previously attempted to steal for the purpose of fraudulently practicing psychology. Police also found a small library of books in Bianchi's home on topics of modern psychology, further indicating his ability to fake the disorder. Once his claims were subjected to this scrutiny, Bianchi eventually admitted that he had been faking the disorder. He was eventually diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder with sexual sadism. David Berkowitz – Son of Sam - During questioning, Berkowitz claimed that his neighbor's dog was one of the reasons that he killed, stating that the dog demanded the blood of pretty young girls. He said that the "Sam" mentioned in the first letter was his former neighbor, Sam Carr. Berkowitz claimed that Carr's black labrador retriever, Harvey, was possessed by an ancient demon and that it issued irresistible commands that Berkowitz must kill people. Berkowitz said he once tried to kill the dog, but was unsuccessful due to supernatural interference.
From these, Matza and Sykes created the following methods by which, they believed, juveniles justified their illegitimate actions: Denial of responsibility. The offender will propose that they were victims of circumstance or were forced into situations beyond their control. Denial of injury. The offender insists that their actions did not cause any harm or damage. Denial of the victim. The offender believes that the victim deserved whatever action the offender committed. Condemnation of the condemners. The offenders maintain that those who condemn their offense are doing so purely out of spite, or are shifting the blame off of themselves unfairly. Appeal to higher loyalties. The offender suggests that his or her offence was for the greater good, with long term consequences that would justify their actions, such as protection of a friend. Disbursement of blame. can occur in a group or co-accused situation where an offender may deny the degree to which they were involved (passing the blame) Dehumanization of victim. can occur when offender place the victim in a subhuman category e.g. all men are pigs. Misrepresentation of consequences. where an offender tends to psychologically minimize the injurious consequences, and focus only on the rewards. 2 categories of humans – good/bad – will treat some people in their lives very well, but others have no regard for. Psychology of Evil
Stop video at 1:39 A 1969 United States Supreme Court decision that held that people could view whatever they wished in the privacy of their own homes caused the United States Congress to fund the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, set up by President Lyndon B. Johnson to study pornography. The commission's report, called Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, and published in 1970, recommended sex education, funding of research into the effects of pornography and restriction of children's access to pornography, and recommended against any restrictions for adults. On balance the report found that obscenity and pornography were not important social problems, that there was no evidence that exposure to such material was harmful to individuals, and that current legal and policy initiatives were more likely to create problems than solve them. The report was widely criticized and rejected by Congress. The Senate rejected the commission's findings and recommendations by a 60-5 vote, with 34 abstentions. The senate rejected the following findings and recommendations in particular; That there was "no evidence to date that exposure to explicit sexual materials plays a significant role in the causation of delinquent or criminal behavior among youths or adults." That "a majority of American adults believe that adults should be allowed to read or see any sexual materials they wish." That "there is no reason to suppose that elimination of governmental prohibitions upon the sexual materials which may be made available to adults would adversely affect the availability to the public of other books, magazines, or films." That there was no "evidence that exposure to explicit sexual materials adversely affects character or moral attitudes regarding sex and sexual conduct." That "Federal, State, and Local legislation prohibiting the sale, exhibition, or distribution of sexual materials to consenting adults should be repealed." President Richard Nixon, who had succeeded Johnson in 1969, also emphatically rejected the report. Did find a link between violent pornography and violence.
Social environment: Mass media and celebrity status – many serial killers become famous Society populated by strangers Depersonalization of others Culture that devalues certain groups of people – women, the elderly, children, prostitutes, homosexuals, the homeless Greater mobility – anonymity
MAOa/Brain Dysfunction/ Stephen Staynor – kidnapped at 7 by Kenneth Parnell and held for 7 years. Escaped when Parnell kidnapped 5 year old Timmy White to save White. There was a book, and TV Movie (he was portrayed by Corin Nemec – who has portrayed Ted Bundy and Richard Speck) His brother, Cary Staynor – became the Yosemite Park killer – convicted of killing 4 women now on death row. Said he was jealous of Steven’s fame, was sexually molested as a teen, wanted to kill women sice he was 7 (before Steven was ever kidnapped).
Depends on how you define serial killer They have IQs from all over the board – no correlation Not all. Can’t make a blanket statement. Bundy (law), Shipman (MD), HH Holmes (MD), Kaczynski (PhD), Randy Kraft BA in Econ, Rodney Alcala BA in Art, Chikatilo Degree in Russian Lit Common, but not universal Myth Common but not universal Possibly, more likely they feel nothing Abuse is common but not universal Common but not universal (28 had been treated for mental illness) I’ve seen no statistics on this Depends on how you define serial killer Myth! No evidence whatsoever Myth! No evidence whatsoever Common but not universal Source: Internal Association of Forensic Science, an article written by FBI Special Agent Robert K. Ressler"The Serial Killer," Harold Schechter
Citation: THE ORGANIZED/DISORGANIZED TYPOLOGY OF SERIAL MURDER: Myth or Model?, David V. Canter, Laurence J. Alison, Emily Alison, and Natalia Wentink, University of Liverpool
“All serial killers are likely to exhibit some aspects that are organized and some that are disorganized, but the differences between them are, more than likely, differences in the particular subset of disorganized variables that they exhibit.” This research throws a kink into the ability to use this dichotomy as evidence in a criminal trial – it wouldn’t pass the Daubert test.
Targets are women, children, and the elderly. Serial killers don’t like a challenge or a fight.
Freudian – circular reasoning “Why were they caught? Because they want to get caught. How do you know? Because they were caught.” It’s untestable – supposed to be based on hidden, subconscious motives. How do you measure something that is hidden and subconscious? William George Heirens - "The Lipstick Killer" was a serial killer in Chicago in the 1940s. Though a serial burglar named William Heirens confessed to the murders, he has since recanted his confession on the grounds that it was forced.
CS Day serial murder separating fact from fiction
Separating Fact from Fiction
There is an epidemic of serial murder
14,827 murders in the US in 2012 (65% clearance rate)
Estimates = less than
1% of all homicides
Serial killers are unusual in appearance and
Reality – they are very good at
blending in. Very average.
Serial killers are all insane.
Common psychological traits:
Doesn’t fit the legal definition of insanity
All serial killers are sociopaths
Common trait, but not
Some neutralize guilt or
• Use “techniques of
Serial killers are inspired by pornography
Example: Ted Bundy
Reflects their desires,
rather than creates it.
Reinforces sadistic impulses
Serial killers are products of bad childhoods
A bad childhood is neither a necessary nor a
Serial killers can be identified in advance
"There are 14 characteristics of a serial killer. Your son has nine
of the 14. Jeffrey Dahmer had seven.“ Dr. Phil (Family First,
No scheme for prediction of future criminality
has ever been developed
Best predictor – past behavior
Over 90 percent of serial killers are
They tend to be intelligent, with IQ's in
the "bright normal" range.
They do poorly in school, have trouble
holding down jobs, and often work as
They tend to come from markedly
As children, they are abandoned by
their fathers and raised by
Their families often have criminal,
psychiatric and alcoholic histories.
They hate their fathers and mothers.
They are commonly abused as
children — psychologically, physically
and sexually. Often the abuse is by a
Many serial killers spend time in
institutions as children and have records
of early psychiatric problems.
They have high rates of suicide
From an early age, many are intensely
interested in voyeurism, fetishism, and
More than 60 percent of serial killers wet
their beds beyond the age of 12.
Many serial killers are fascinated with
They are involved with sadistic activity or
tormenting small creatures.
All serial killers are organized/disorganized
(or there are distinct types of serial killers)
Developed by the FBI in the late 70s
Suffers from the Hollywood effect
If these are distinct types, we should be able to plot them out and see the differences!
Smallest Space Analysis (Multidimensional
Plot characteristics to see patterns:
For example: Republicans and Democrats
in the House have clearly different
“All serial killers are likely to exhibit some aspects that are organized and some that are
disorganized, but the differences between them are, more than likely, differences in the
particular subset of disorganized variables that they exhibit.”
Serial killers select victims who
somehow resemble their mothers
Tend to select vulnerable victims
Most serial killers don’t stick
Most serial killers don’t stick
to one particular type of
to one particular type of
Most victims are people in
Most victims are people in
the wrong place at the
the wrong place at the
Serial killers really want to get caught
Very “Freudian” idea.
Most try to avoid
The ones we know
of are the ones that
If you want to know more, register for
Soc 1194: Criminal Profiling
Offered Spring 2014
Columbus State Community College
Social Sciences Department