As promised, FBI Profiler Pete Klismet is back to profile women serial killers…

Pete Klismet

Pete Klismet

Pete, a few months ago you piqued my curiosity when you mentioned female serial killers.  In the book I’m currently working on, Victims of Love, my villain, Jillian Black, is a female serial killer. Now that the holidays are over, I’m going to prevail on you yet again, because I found what you had to say very interesting and I’m curious to know if I got the female aspects of her profile down.  So where do we start?

Good question, Diane.  Maybe we start with you!

Me?  What have I done?

Diane Kratz

Diane Kratz

Well, you ARE a woman, and the last time I checked, everything about women is different than men.  And when we launch into the virtually-unknown realm of female serial killers, the first stopping off point we arrive at is just that – those differences.  Everything about men and women is different, including their thinking, their methods, and when it comes to this dark area of murder, even their motives.

Alright, now you’ve really got me wondering.  If it’s fair to say there is a sexual or power and control component involved for men, then where are we headed with women?

You’re right about men.  Pretty much.  In the past interviews we’ve done, we’ve kicked that down the road a few times.  But when it comes to women, it is very rare when we have those factors involved in any manner.

So why don’t you find a good starting point, and let’s launch ourselves into this.

Photo by: www.telegraph.co.uk

Aileen Wuornos Photo by: http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Let’s do it.  I think a good start might be to talk a little bit about the only female killer we know whose motive was related to sex.  That would be Aileen Wuornos.  She was a prostitute who killed seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990.  She claimed until her execution by lethal injection in 2002 that she killed the men because all of them tried to rape her.  Thus, her belief—and I think it was delusional—was that she was killing in self-defense.  I’ve spent a little bit of time studying her, and I think she was driven by a deep-seated anger for men.  She was physically abused as a child, and I don’t think that’s something that ever leaves us.

Aileen as a child. Photo by: twistedminds.creativescapism.com

Aileen as a child. Photo by: twistedminds.creativescapism.com

But, Pete, other prostitutes have been raped.  How many of them have killed seven men?

Good question, Diane.  And the answer is, none. That’s why this case has always been so interesting to me.  I think this anger developed inside her. While she was working as a prostitute, I think she had a lot of bad encounters on the roads.  That’s the nature of her business.  And I think this anger just spilled out from inside her and finally exploded into incredible violence. It was her way of surviving. I think Aileen really believed that she had killed in self-defense. I think someone who’s deeply psychotic can’t really tell the difference between something that is life-threatening and something that is a minor disagreement.  She would get into a screaming black rage about it. And I think that’s what caused these things to happen.

Photo by: www.picstopin.com

Aileen Wuornos Photo by: http://www.picstopin.com

But she’s one in a million, right?

Or more than that, really.  Unless there’s another one out there I don’t know about, she’s it, and there are about three billion women in the world now.  Plus an equal or far greater number that have lived over history.  Speaking of which, there is some history of a European countess or someone of similar rank (!) – I never could figure out what a duchess or a countess was.  Anyway, this woman lived in a huge castle on a hill above a town.  She had a delusional belief that if she would bathe in the blood of virgins, she could maintain her youth.  From what I’ve read, she may have killed over 600 women, drained their blood and bathed in it.

 http://www.theresabathory.com/legend_of_elizabeth_bathory.html

Elizabeth Bathory
Picture from: http://www.theresabathory.com

Ok, time out.  Where is the sexual motive in that?

Good catch by you.  A lot of people would hear those facts and immediately conclude sex.  But the way I see it, they were probably dealing with someone who was driven by her delusions.  And if we take that to the next step, we’re looking at someone who was probably psychotic…schizophrenic.  There are probably some other similar things in past history, but I can’t think of one right now.

But it’s fair to assume none of them involved 600 victims.

Probably not.  In fact, if we think about what this woman did, she could well be the worst serial killer in history.

And there you have it.  The world’s most prolific serial killer was a woman.

Yup.  Unless someone knows something different.  I suppose one could argue for Stalin or Hitler, Pol Pot, or some of those politically-driven power fiends, but in terms of what you and I are talking about right now, she’s a clear-cut winner, so to speak.  Probably not a good way to put that.

Pete, you are a rascal because you’re good at getting me off topic.

Thanks, Diane. I do that with my wife all the time too.  Drives her crazy.  But you’re right, we’ve gone a little far afield, and I know what you want to focus on.  In a manner of speaking, we’ve actually done some of that.  Let me get us back on track with a couple of quotes I’ve found over the years in doing some research on this.  And l want to make a parenthetical note here – while I have done some research on this topic, it has not been as much of a focus to me as male serial killers. 

Photo from: http://www.erichickey.com

Dr. Eric Hickey
Photo from: http://www.erichickey.com

Dr. Eric Hickey taught criminology at Fresno State for quite a few years.  Eric did a lot of research on this topic, and I found an interesting quote in a paper he wrote.  He says, “They’re every bit as lethal as their male counterparts, but we’re rarely aware of one because of their low visibility.”  I know Eric, and I respect the work he’s done over the years.

Interesting.  It sounds like “low visibility” is the key here, right?

Absolutely.  When men are doing it, you see headlines in the paper every day.  Another author, whom I don’t know, Michael Kelleher, did a book titled “Murder most Rare:  The Female Serial Killer.”  Kelleher searched back for many years and researched over 100 different cases involving women.  What he says “…..they are more successful, careful, precise, methodical and quiet in committing their crimes.”

Okay, so now we’re going right back to what you were saying when we started this conversation – women are very different from men.  And here again a word is key –methodical.”  Am I right?

Exactly.  And here’s one way to best exemplify that.  On average, male serial killers’ “careers” last four years.  Women, on the other hand, average eight years.  Let me play professor here.  What does that tell you?

I’m not sure, but perhaps the word I’d use would be “patience”?

Photo taken from: ocarm.org

Photo from: ocarm.org

Perfect.  I wish I had you in my college classes.  You pay attention rather than texting!  If you look at the nature of men and women, the latter are far more patient as a whole.  I know my wife is much more than me.  If she wants to take a trip, she slowly tosses something out over a period of time.  Then some more, and finally she has the hook set and I’m trapped with no way out.

LOL! And this is related, how?

You really do ask good questions, and once again you’re right on point.  Guess what – studies show that the most common means of killing by women is poison in slow doses over a period of time.  This is what I’ve found in research, so I’m not making it up all by my own bad self.  Men?  Do you think we’d have the patience to persist with this over a period of many months?  Forget it.  We just go down and buy a gun and, bang, it’s over in a hurry.

Okay.  Well and good.  Now what I want to know is what the primary motive is for women.

You know, Diane, I think I’m going to un-retire from teaching and make you be in all my classes, because that’s probably the best question you’ve asked me yet.  Let me do what I did in my classes. I’ll throw that question right back at you.  What do YOU think the primary motive would be?

Oh my.  I wasn’t ready for that.  Let’s see.  I guess I’d have to go with revenge?

Picture taken from: commons.wikimedia.org

Picture from: commons.wikimedia.org

I’m glad you said that like a question, because that’s far and away the most common answer I’ve gotten.  But here’s the truth, and I don’t want you to hit me in the head with a hatchet.  In over seventy five percent of the cases, women’s motivation was money.

goggle

Picture from goggle.com

Money.

Yup.  Revenge is in the other twenty five percent along with control and anger, but it comes right down to the dollar bill in most instances.

You mentioned anger.  How about the women who have been abuse victims and finally have had enough?  There have been quite a few cases of that happening.

You’re right, and several pretty famous ones, like the one which the movie “Burning Bed” with Farah Fawcett was based on.  But if you think about it, those are one-time things.  It’s easy to figure them out and I can’t think about an occasion where a woman has gotten away with it more than once.  More common are the types of cases where women find what looks like an accidental way to kill their spouses. 

We had one when I was stationed in Grand Junction, Colorado.  This woman was on her third husband in about ten years, I believe.  They took a trip to the Grand Canyon and she pushed him off a cliff to his death.  She’d done something similar with the first two husbands, but they couldn’t prove it.  So she collected their life insurance and went on her merry way.

So we’re back to money again?

Back to money.  But there are some other odd things, and most of us have heard about some of them.  We have what we call the “Angels of Mercy,” sometimes called “The Angels of Death.”

I’ve heard of them, but can you give me an example?

 Picture taken from: www.thesteampunkempire.com

Jane Toppan
Picture from: http://www.thesteampunkempire.com

Sure.  One I remember is a woman named Jane Toppan.  She was a nurse at Mass General Hospital some years back.  I believe it was in the forties.  Her own statement was, “It would be safe to say that I killed over 100 persons.”  When the police asked her why she did it, her answer was, “I thought it was fun.”

Fun?

Yeah, fun.  I’d rather go to a movie or watch a Broncos game (just a little dig there at you and your Chiefs).  But I do think her statement is instructive in a way.  I personally believe she was one who was driven by control.  In other words, it was her decision when these persons would die.  Sort of a god-like feeling, I suppose.  There are a lot of men who have exactly the same motive.  Ted Bundy would be a good example.

Ted Bundy-Picture taken from: www.biography.com

Ted Bundy
Picture from: http://www.biography.com

Interesting parallel right there.  But Pete, you’re the profiler, so I want to pin you down and ask you if there is a profile for women serial killers.

A great question right there.  As you know, with men we can usually put them in the category of “Organized” or “Disorganized” killers.  But with women, it’s here we part ways, big-time.

And why would that be?

Picture from: www.giaba.org

Picture from: http://www.giaba.org

Because all women are organized.  Well most, anyhow.  When Eric Hickey looked at this phenomenon, he said what you have to do is look at “typologies” rather than “profiles” when it comes to women.

Which means?

Very simple.  You categorize them in one of two ways – they acted alone or they acted in partnership.

Picture taken from: imrozsworld.blogspot.com

Picture from: imrozsworld.blogspot.com

And that would be with a man?

Yup.  Just that easy.

But can’t you say the same thing about men?

In some rare cases, yes.  But don’t forget, with the men we have deeper psychological motives.  With women, it comes down to much simpler motives.

And that would most often be money.

That’s right.  It sounds like that would make it easy, but it’s anything but.

How about someone like Andrea Yates who, I believe, killed all five of her kids by drowning?  I think that was in Houston.

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Andrea Yates and her family
Picture from: 2010.newsweek.com

You’re right, it was.  In her case, it was what I believe they characterized as a temporary mental illness.  I don’t know if I understand that.  It seems like pregnancy, you either are mentally ill or you’re not.  Evidently they seemed to think they’d cured her, and from what I remember, she’s back in society once again.  But we can’t call her a serial killer because she drowned all of her kids at the same time.  So she’d be what we’d classify as a mass killer.  There is a difference.

And hopefully someone who would have no more children, or at least recognized the symptoms of postpartum despression, could get some help and had family who made sure she was taking medication.

Hopefully.  There was another woman down in Texas by the name of Otty Sanchez.  She killed her infant child and started to eat it before she was caught.  I know this is gross, but she was eating the child’s brain about the time she was arrested.

Picture from: abclocal.go.com

Picture from: abclocal.go.com

EWWW! Sounds like Hannibal Lecter.

Pretty much.  But she was deemed to be psychotic, and in her case it wasn’t a temporary condition.  I think she wound up with a full-ride scholarship to the Rubber Ramada and is still there.

Alright, can you give me an example of a female serial killer who went on for years without being caught?

Sure can.  A woman by the name of Belle Gunness comes immediately to mind.   She started out by burning down her house and then a business she owned.  There was some money.  Then she killed two husbands and two of her children.  Did they have insurance?  Of course.  However, an interesting part of this is all four of them died of colitis which has symptoms similar to poisoning.

Belle Gunness picture from: en.wikipedia.org

Belle Gunness picture from: en.wikipedia.org

But it was back in the thirties, right? I know because I researched female serial killers with gusto, trying to get Jillian Black’s profile right.   I used  Belle’s name along with hordes of others in my book. Belle was something!

Yup, and medical science hadn’t reached the point where it’s at now.  For the next part of her act, she started putting personal ads in papers that would lure men of means down to her farm in southern Indiana, as I recall.  She’d marry them, bump them off and collect yet more insurance.

So what’s the estimate for the number of people she killed?

They now think it’s up around twenty.  That would make her pretty prolific.  But I’ll make this, as they like to say on TV, “Breaking News.”  Belle isn’t someone you’d want as a girlfriend or a friend at all.  She was definitely the most prolific female serial killer I know of.

Other than the countess.

Yeah, or the duchess or goddess.  Whatever she was.

Pete, let me ask you this.  Do you think in modern society there are more women like Aileen Wournos that will crop up?

I doubt it.  I read some research a few months ago that may help explain why.  Women are brought up much differently than men.  They’re taught to control their feelings and to work things out by talking.  I know that’s not a hundred percent true, but it’s much different with men.  By and large, we’re taught to be tough and even to work our feelings out with our fists.  So there’s a huge gap there.

Well, Pete, I don’t know if your last statement is right, although I hope it is. I tend to think we are just finding out more about these creatures and we will see more of them in our future. But you’re the profiler, and I know you know your stuff!

I can’t thank you enough for enlightening us on this topic!

So, folks, if you’re writing about a woman killer in your book, remember, it’s all about the money, honey!

Until next time,

Happy Writing,

Diane Kratz

To find out more about Pete Klismet and his experiences as one of the eariler FBI profilers, check out his book: FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil available at  www.amazon.com

FBI Diary Profiles of Evil

FBI Diary Profiles of Evil

To find out more about Pete Klismet and his experiences as one of the eariler FBI profilers, check out his book: FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil available at  www.amazon.com

Or visit him on his Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pete-Klismet-FBI-Diary-Profiles-of-Evil/425047067608997 .

Blog edited by: Sally Berneathy

Former FBI agent answers the question, “Are Serial Killers Crazy?”

 

Pete M. Klismet, Jr.

Pete M. Klismet, Jr.

Pete Klismet, Jr., a former FBI profiler, says, no, they are not.  “In talking about serial killers, I’ve heard comments from my college students and police officers in the schools where I continue to teach. “What do you mean they’re not crazy?”  Usually followed closely by, “Don’t they have to be crazy to kill all those people?”  And then, “But if they’re not crazy, why do they do it?”

If there is anything we can agree on, it would be that the acts of a serial murderer are, to say the least, a great departure from what we think of as normal.  To put it mildly.  Clearly, most normal people don’t wake up one morning, have some coffee, read the paper, check e-mails, and then decide, “Hmmm…..what am I going to do today?  Awww, what the heck, I think I’m going to start killing people.”  And off they go to their new adventures.

Picture from : www.documentingreality.com

We are all driven to seek answers and explanations for odd behavior.  We want to understand why a seemingly mild-mannered, quiet man like Gary Ridgway (“The Green River Killer”) could kill at least forty-eight women in Seattle.  What creates a monster like law student Ted Bundy who roamed from Washington State to Utah, Idaho, Colorado and finally Florida, brutally killing and maiming women along the way, eventually killing thirty-three women that we know of.  And how do you explain Jeffrey Dahmer?  What could have caused him to strangle seventeen young men and boys in Milwaukee, eat body parts so they’d be “a part of me,” keep their corpses in his apartment for days, and then dissolve their bodies in acid inside his apartment?  And they all performed sex acts on some of their victims after killing them.  If for no other reason, that would seem to be a huge clue that they simply have to be crazy…but are they?

There are a lot of questions posed at this juncture, so let’s pause briefly and take a look at some facts, beginning with the commonly-accepted (except in Canada and England) definition of the term “Serial Killer.”

FBI Pins

A serial killer was defined by the Behavioral Science Unit (now the Investigative Support Unit) in Quantico, Virginia, and combines three basic factors:

          1.    A person who kills three or more victims (most often one victim at a time).

          2.    The killings occurred over a period of time, usually days, weeks, months or years.

          3.    There is a cooling off period between the killings.

The latter point (cooling off) is what separates a serial killer from a mass killer (Columbine, for example, where all killings occurred in a single event), and a spree killer (where there might be a continuing and sometimes connecting series of killings in different locations over a day or several days, but no cooling off period).  With these killings, there is often a long period of seething anger which eventually boils to a point the killer decides to take some form of violent action.

jamesmarvel.blogspot.com

Many people, particularly the media, want to say they simply “snapped.’”’  It makes it so much easier to understand then.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  The anger has typically welled up in them for months or even years, much like a pressure cooker on low heat.  Eventually the pressure builds up to the point where they are seemingly unable to control themselves, to refrain from doing what they do.  It’s nothing like suddenly and impulsively deciding to go to their workplace or school and kill people who they believe have treated them unfairly.

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Next we can pose the question, “Are mass killers crazy?”  And the answer to that is also no.  A more likely explanation is that they finally reached the boiling-over point with anger and frustration and could see no other way out of their dire situation.  What they eventually did was something akin to an irresistible impulse they couldn’t control.  But they certainly aren’t crazy.

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If that’s the case, then we should review what the term insanity means.  In medical and psychiatric terms, the word insanity is avoided in favor of specific diagnoses of particular mental disorders.  The presence of delusions or hallucinations is more broadly defined as psychosis.  Most courts in the United States accept a potential insanity defense when experts can identify
a major mental illness (psychosis), but will not accept the numerous and less-than-psychotic personality disorders.

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Personality Disorders are a separate classification of mental health disorders which include such issues as Borderline Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder, and Histrionic Personality Disorder (this is only a part of a much more exhaustive list).

Commonly-diagnosed mental health disorders such as Bipolar Disorder, Generalized (not chronic) Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, Schizophrenia, and Depression are among the classification of mental health disorders termed “Axis I” disorders.  None of them meet the criteria for psychosis.

While the diagnostic criteria and the multiplicity of possible disorders and psychoses can become a bit confusing to non-trained professionals, the key issue from a legal standpoint becomes relatively simple – did the person charged with the crime have the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and did he know the behavior he engaged in was against the law?

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This is the difference between someone being legally sane vs. insane.  However, evidence and testimony from mental health professionals as to those issues must be clearly presented to the court or jury who must then make that decision.  And therein lies the crux of the matter when we’re considering serial murderers.  Conjecture, speculation and comments such as “Well, he just acted crazy all the time,” or “He was odd,” won’t work.  The word “crazy” doesn’t exist in the legal or psychiatric arenas, but the word “sanity” does.

A few specific cases can serve as a reference point. Several years ago a woman in San Antonio, Texas, killed and ate the body parts of her baby, including the brain. Most of us would call that crazy.

Story can be found here:  http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32171926/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/investigators-stunned-child-dismemberment/

After lengthy psychological evaluation, this woman was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder. The woman believed the devil made her mutilate and dismember her newborn son.  She was subsequently found not guilty of the crime by reason of insanity and was committed to a mental institution until deemed to no longer be a danger to herself or others.

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In a similar case in 2001 Andrea Yates of Houston, Texas, was shown to have been suffering from postpartum psychosis and, in this psychotic state, drowned each of her five children.  She later explained that Satan was inside her, and she was trying to save her children from going to hell. A jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity, and she was committed to a mental institution.

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In 1982 John Hinkley, Jr., was found to be not guilty by reason of insanity after attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Hinkley had a long history of psychiatric care when he was younger, and his statements made it clear he did not have his psychological act completely together. Hinkley has been confined to a mental institution in the Washington, D.C., area for nearly 30 years.  While he’s gained some privileges, it is doubtful he’ll ever be completely free and on his own.  Hinkley will probably never become a person who can function in society on his own.

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So, you might ask, how are the two women noted above different from Jeffrey Dahmer?  It certainly seems they did similar things.  Dahmer killed seventeen people, strangling most, drilled holes in their heads to inject acid in the process of making sex zombies (by his own admission).  He dismembered and disemboweled his victims, ate body parts, saved others, collected skulls and dissolved their bodies in a huge vat of acid.  And he’s the one who is NOT psychotic!  Not crazy?  How on earth can that be true?

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Here’s the difference, why Dahmer was found to be sane despite the manifestly “crazy” things he did.  Dahmer showed planning and premeditation in every one of his killings, and the prosecutors skillfully pointed this out.  A psychotic person does not have the cognitive (or mental) organization to create the detailed plots and plans that Dahmer created.

DAHMER

He hunted for his victims in gay bars only and sought victims who were light-skinned black males, young and slender. Very specific criteria and not random victims. Thus he wasn’t a killer who would simply murder anyone who got in his way, although some serial killers do.  Ted Bundy was similar to Dahmer in his selectivity, as most of his female victims had long dark hair, parted in the middle, and, we later learned, looked a lot like a girlfriend who had dumped him several years before.  Bundy also brought with him items he’d need to gain control of the victims and would commonly use an arm sling or crutches to make his victims feel immediately safe.  All of these things require some thinking and planning which a psychotic person could not typically accomplish in his delusional state.

Addiction-Image

Dahmer constantly fantasized about and was obsessed with killing over and over. His obsession developed into a compulsion and then a need, and he eventually became addicted to killing.  Yet he could compartmentalize that secret part of his life and create the image that he was perfectly normal.  He fit well into society. He was attractive, dressed well (some suggested “dressed to kill”) and used this to his advantage in luring potential victims.  He hunted only on Friday nights because if he was successful, he would have the victim for a couple of days and then would have time to do what he wanted to do with the body.  He never used a car because he knew he could be identified by the type of car he drove.  He installed extra locks and a security camera on his apartment to thwart anyone from entering.  But he also presented a normal side when talking to his parents, the police on a couple of occasions, and people he worked with.  He was able to hide in plain sight, appear perfectly normal, and no one would have imagined it was him committing the horrible crimes he did.  An insane person couldn’t begin to accomplish all of those things.

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On the other side of the coin are several serial killers who were probably insane yet were adjudged to be sane in court.  Richard Trenton Chase, for example, killed several people in Sacramento, California, eviscerated at least one victim, and sat beside the victim, drinking her blood from a cup.  Chase had a long psychiatric history and told investigators he was drinking blood because space ships from other planets were sending radiation down to earth which was turning his blood into powder.

Like Dahmer, he had body parts in his refrigerator and had used a blender to chop up other human organs, mixing them with blood.  While all of that doesn’t sound like the acts of a sane person, one never knows what will happen when a case goes to court.  Chase was adjudged to be sane despite considerable evidence to the contrary.  I’ve researched this case and still am clueless how he was found sane.

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The idyllic beach town of Santa Cruz, California, in the early 1970s seemed to be one of the most unlikely places to become the murder capital of the U.S.A.  Edmund Kemper was a prime contributor to the high murder rate, picking up hitchhikers in the area, killing them and dismembering their bodies.  But Kemper’s issue was not insanity. It was anger, due in large part to his dominant and verbally abusive mother.  Since he couldn’t violently strike back at his mother, he could against other women, which is exactly what he did.  But investigators and prosecutors were able to show the planning and premeditation Kemper went through to both gain control of his victims and dispose of their bodies.

While Kemper was terrorizing Santa Cruz and keeping investigators busy, another killer, Herbert Mullin, was on an even worse killing spree.

Herbert Mullin

Mullin had a lengthy psychiatric history as far back as his early teen years.  His father sought counseling and had him committed, but after each period of evaluation he was then released on the belief that he was no longer a danger to himself or others.  Let’s say that diagnosis wasn’t entirely accurate.  As Mullin’s psychosis deepened, he developed an obsession with earthquakes, and of course California is prone to have them occasionally.

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Mullin then added a delusion to the obsession, namely that he could prevent earthquakes from occurring if he killed people.  He randomly selected victims who, in his delusional state, he believed were telepathically telling him to kill them and the problem of earthquakes would stop.  His victims were simply unfortunate people who appeared on his radar screen on any given day, male and female and even some children. There was no pattern or logic to what he did or the victims he chose.

This is the antithesis of Dahmer’s and Bundy’s process of victim selection by certain well-established and defined criteria.  Mullin was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was committed to the state mental hospital after his trial.  Kemper, on the other hand, offered an insanity defense but was adjudged sane and received a life sentence which he is currently serving.

Son of Sam David

Virtually all serial killers are found to have been sane at the time they committed their crimes.  David Berkowitz, the infamous “Son of Sam” killer who paralyzed New York City for over a year, tried an insanity defense, as many have.

Despite claiming a satanic demon inhabited the body of a dog next door and that the dog spoke to him with instructions on what to do and how to kill people, Berkowitz was found to be sane.

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Kenneth Bianchi, one of the “Hillside Stranglers” in Los Angeles, claimed to be a multiple personality and that the “Bad Ken” was the one who did the killings.  Confronted by a psychiatrist who told Bianchi that people with Multiple Personality Disorder usually had at least three distinct personalities, Bianchi promptly came up with a third one.  That didn’t work, and Bianchi is currently on a full-ride scholarship in a Washington state prison, having also been convicted of killing two women in Bellingham, Washington, after his nefarious murders in Los Angeles.

In conclusion, very few serial killers even come close to meeting the exceedingly strict criteria for insanity. The challenge to investigators is in discovering those things in their lives they did which displayed their true sanity.  They are not crazy as we’d like to think.  A very small percentage of those we’ve identified over the years qualified as being legally insane.  Every year we identify more of them, and the certainty they face is the death penalty or a life in prison.”

Wow! Thank you, Pete, for stopping by my blog this month. Pete has agreed to talk about what a FBI agent really does next month, and he’s going to give us the breakdown of the acronyms they use.

And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Pete’s new award winning book, FBI Diary: Profiles Of Evil.

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Remember, when writing a villain who is a serial killer, keep in mind what Pete has taught us. Most are nice looking, very personable and blend in to be the guy next door, someone you would never think could be killing people. These villains, to me, are far more scary because you don’t see them coming. Until next time.

Happy writing,

Diane Kratz

You can connect with Pete at:

Website:  www.criminalprofilingassociates.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pete.klismet

Book trailer for: FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcmgAPGHFbo

Blog edited by Sally Berneathy

Interview with former FBI profiler Pete Klismet

Today I’m honored and thrilled to have on my blog former FBI Special Agent Pete Klismet.  He was selected to be one of the original group of criminal profilers in the 1980s. He is the founder of Criminal Profiling Associates on the web at: www.criminalprofilingassociates.com. Pete is a retired FBI criminal profiler who teaches, writes, and provides consulting services on this subject. Pete is here to help us understand exactly what he was trained to do—profile criminals.

Pete Kismet

Pete Klismet

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ASSUMPTIONS OR COMMENTS YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT CRIMINAL PROFILING?

“How’d you know that?”

“Are you some sort of a psychic?”

“Do you have a crystal ball or something?”

Anyone who has been trained in criminal profiling and has worked with law enforcement agencies or has taught about the concept in college has heard all of these comments.  And many more.  The word “profiling” conjures up some sinister images in people’s minds and seems almost devilishly frightening to some but fascinating to others.

WHAT IS CRIMINAL PROFILING?

Criminal profiling is the art of developing a behavioral profile of an offender based on evidence from a crime scene and many other factors involved in an investigation of a violent crime.  Profiling is sometimes done by a forensic psychologist, someone who has studied the criminal mind. However, since the mid-1980s the FBI has assumed a prominent role in the use of this technique.  A profile may then be used by police departments to assist in apprehending the criminal.  But a criminal profile by itself rarely solves a crime.  In most cases that is accomplished by old-fashioned detective work.

A profile is intended to be a behavioral portrait of an offender. If done correctly, the profiler may be able to determine “why” a person committed the crime he did.  If “why” can be determined, then we may have motive, and that can help identify the person who committed the crime.  There is a lot that a crime scene can tell a profiler about the person who committed the crime. This is especially true in homicide investigations. Criminal profiling is often used to help investigators identify psychopaths and serial killers who might otherwise go free. It can also be used to help identify other types of offenders such as serial sex offenders.

In criminal profiling a crime scene often helps to label the offender as organized or disorganized. An organized offender will plan ahead, often choosing the victim ahead of time. Any tools needed are brought by the offender. He is meticulous with details, and it is clear that the crime was well thought out. This tells a profiler much about the offender.

 

FBI Badge & gun.

FBI Badge & gun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Organized offenders tend to be high in the birth order of their family. They are very intelligent but often were underachievers in both school and life. Most of them have a live-in partner, are socially adept, and will follow the coverage of their crimes in the media very carefully.  Contrary to popular belief, a killer of this nature, even a serial killer, is not “crazy.”  Quite the opposite is true.  They also “hide in plain sight,” and when identified are a complete surprise to people who know them and thought they were “perfectly normal.”

A more spontaneous or impulsive offense is often the work of a disorganized offender. He will act impulsively with little to no planning involved, and the crime scene will usually show this lack of planning. Seeing this, a trained profiler can draw some conclusions about this offender.  Disorganized offenders are often of average or slightly below-average intelligence. They were younger children, they usually live alone and are not as socially mature or competent as an organized offender. They often live or work near the scene of the crime and tend to have a poor work history. Typically they are younger than the organized offenders.

Criminal profiling is used not only to find potential offenders but also to narrow down a list of offenders that has already been compiled by the police. Although it doesn’t work in every case, criminal profiling has helped investigators to apprehend hundreds of criminals. By studying the patterns and motives of previous offenders, profiling may enable investigators to predict the characteristics of current and future offenders, allowing killers and other perpetrators to be caught before they can continue on to more crimes.

WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SERIAL KILLERS?

Serial killers are a fairly recent phenomenon on the American landscape, and many people are captivated by what they do and how they do it.  Some of them, such as Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker), and Jeffrey Dahmer have even had cult followings, as odd as that may seem.  In some ways it sounds ghoulish, but at the same time the allure of a person who commits multiple murders presents a fear of the unknown, of not being able to comprehend such irrational acts, and a desire to learn more about what makes these people tick.  To some it’s not all that interesting, but to many others it’s something they can’t learn or read enough about.

 

English: Ted Bundy in custody, Florida, July 1...

I became friends with the husband of one of my former students, an Air Force major, some years ago.  We both enjoyed golf and would get together once or twice every couple of weeks and play 18 holes.  After one round, we sat down and were enjoying a couple of cool, refreshing beers.  Without any prompting and literally out of the clear blue sky, Paul said, “By the way, I want to thank you for ruining my love life.”

“Me?  What did I do?”

“Brandy lies in bed every night with a book about one serial killer or another.  I have a hard time getting between her and her books.”

“Sorry….my bad.”

While we both got a good laugh out of that, I know I’ve had more than a few of my college students who were similarly absorbed with learning more and more about the dark and gruesome, illogical actions of people who kill others for “fun.”  It’s one of the most irrational things man can do, yet trying to learn what drives them to kill with such blood-lust can almost consume one’s life.  Unfortunately, we are using rational minds and thinking to try to understand their behavior.  Thus the only explanation we can come up with is “they’re crazy.”  Which is only rarely true.

English: The Seal of the United States Federal...

English: The Seal of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. For more information, see here. Español: El escudo del Buró Federal de Investigaciones (FBI). Para obtener más información, véase aquí (Inglés). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I went through what we called “Profiling Boot Camp” at the FBI Academy in the mid-1980s, I was the same way.  Since then I’ve spent nearly thirty years reading virtually every book on particular serial killers that I could get my hands on.  To the present date, that probably numbers well over one hundred books.  With every book I read I learn something new, and I’ve continued to do the same thing for many years.  I’ve also spent hundreds of hours studying these offenders and taught a class in college on “Criminal Profiling.”

Tell us about your new book.

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FBI DIARIES: PROFILES OF EVIL

When I combine my years of training and experience with what I have learned from research and extensive reading, it almost seems unfair not to share that knowledge with other people who may have a similar interest or may be taking a course on criminal profiling in college.  There are other books out there which some consider textbooks.  Some of these contain information which is not consistent with what I learned and practiced.  A few of these books offer the author’s own personal “spin” on profiling and, more often than not, this is someone who declared themselves a “profiler” because they read some books and perhaps have taken some psychology classes in college, including “Abnormal Psychology.”

I suppose anyone can make the same claim, but relatively few of us can make the claim with the training, education and experience to back it up.  And I think that’s what’s driven me for so many years.  No one “knows it all” about criminal profiling, and I certainly don’t claim to.  In fact, one thing I’ve learned over the years is the more I learn, the less I seem to know, but I continue to want to learn as much as I can.  And that’s what I hope to offer anyone who reads this book, whether you’re similarly fascinated and want to know more or whether the topic simply intrigues you.  And that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.  Anytime I tell people what I have done for most of my life, I get a similar “Gee whiz” reaction, and they want to know more.

This is not an academic treatise in which you will have to review statistical tables with boring columns of numbers and percentages.  Unlike a college textbook, I’ve tried to write this in a conversational manner.  I try to take you through some of the training we received and provide several cases which may give you an understanding into how a profiler’s mind works and why they think the way they do.  Hopefully I’ve written it in a way that will be understandable, and the cases I’ve reviewed should add some credibility to the concepts in an early part of the text.

I promise you that I’ve put as much of my learning and experience into this book as I possibly can, and if you study some of the concepts and cases I’ve studied or profiled, you may gain a similar thirst to know even more.  If I make you think in a different way, I’ve done my job.  And an author or a teacher can’t hope to accomplish more than that.

THANK YOU, Pete, for taking the time to visit my blog! I wish you many sales for your book! I’m waiting for mine to arrive in the mail as I type! Your book will help me better define my character, Johnny Gaston, who so far sounds like your fictional clone!

Here is the blurb for Pete’s book: FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil at Amazon

Step into the shoes of an FBI agent working cases in the field.

Walk along the path as he is selected to be one of the original FBI “Profilers.”

Take an inside view of the extraordinary and groundbreaking training received by this “new breed” of FBI agents made famous by the renowned Behavioral Science Unit.

Work along with him and see what he’s thinking as he analyzes facts and develops profiles in several murder cases he investigates.

Reviews:

“Pete has a fascinating story to tell, and the reader is fortunate to have been invited to listen. Read and enjoy.”
-Legendary FBI Profiler Roy Hazelwood - best selling author of Dark Dreams and The Evil That Men Do.

“The stories he shares of his days in the FBI and the years he spent as one of the agency’s first profilers are incredibly engaging. After reading this book, all I can say is, ‘I’m sure glad Pete was on our side!’”
David Gibb, best selling author of Camouflaged Killer. 

You can find his book trailer for FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil on YouTube at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcmgAPGHFbo

You can connect with Pete at:

Website:  www.criminalprofilingassociates.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pete.klismet

I hope you all have enjoyed this as much I as have.

Until next time,

Happy Writing!

Diane Kratz

Blog edited by Sally Berneathy

When Children Kill By: Diane Kratz

There have been far too many headlines in the news lately on teen murderers and school shootings.

We are shocked when we hear a child has committed the abominable act of murder. It defies our minds when we learn sweet little Janie down the street whacked her parents to death as they slept.

We grieve for families who have lost a parent, child, friend, spouse, sibling, or neighbor.

And in the middle of the shocking awfulness of these seemingly senseless tragedies we ask, “How can this happen?” “What went wrong?” and “What in the world is the matter with a child or teenager who would ruthlessly murder?”

From all the research I’ve done on the subject of why kids kill, their motives are not that much different from those of adult killers.

They carry out murder for money, love, revenge, and for the thrill of committing it.

There is no profile for teen murderers. One of the things we do know about teen murders is that most are NOT well planned. Some have been caught because they left evidence like a driver’s license or prescription with their name on it.

They are divided into six types:

Jasmine Richardson

1. The Family Killer—A juvenile who kills a family member. These types usually kill for money or revenge. They feel pressured by demands, abuse, and hatred.

Jasmine Richardson was twelve when she brutally murdered her parents and younger brother in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Motive, to be with her boyfriend whom her parents didn’t approve of.

2. The School Killer—A juvenile who kills a student, teacher or administrator at school. I’ll write more on this type later because there is more information coming out from different studies. The motives of these killers differ from the usual.

School shooters are mostly male. They have typically planned the shootings for months and usually told someone else of their plans. According to the FBI publication on school shooters this is called “leakage.”

Leakage occurs when a student intentionally or unintentionally reveals clues to feelings, thoughts, fantasies, attitudes, or intentions that may signal an impending violent act. These clues can take the form of subtle threats, boasts, innuendos, predictions, or ultimatums. They may be spoken or conveyed in stories, diary entries, essays, poems, letters, songs, drawings, doodles, tattoos, or videos.

Another form of leakage involves efforts to get unwitting friends or classmates to help with preparations for a violent act. Sometimes this is accomplished through deception. For example, the student asks a friend to get ammunition for him because he is going hunting.

Leakage can be a cry for help, a sign of inner conflict, or it can be boasts that may look empty but actually express a serious threat. Leakage is considered one of the most important clues that may precede an adolescent’s violent act.

Enoch Brown Monument - East Side Inscription
Ken Shockey, Antrim-Allison Museum

Though school shootings have been highly publicized in recent years, they are not new. They have been around since 1764. The earliest known United States shooting to happen on school property was the Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre on July 26, 1764. Four Lenape American Indians entered the schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and killed nine or ten children (reports vary). Only three children survived.

3. The Gang/Cult Killer—A juvenile killer motived by a street gang, hate group or cult. These crimes often begin with Satanists because it gives them the feeling of power over others.

Ricky Kasso

At age 17, while wearing an AC/DC T-shirt, he murdered fellow teen Gary Lauwers in the Aztakea Woods of Northport, Long Island. Along with two other friends—who, like Kasso and Lauwers, were high on mescaline—Kasso was in the woods to dabble in occult practices, as part of their self-dubbed “Knights of the Black Circle” cult.

Tensions had long before mounted between Kasso and Lauwers, after the latter allegedly stole 10 bags of PCP from Kasso. On June 16, 1984, in the Aztakea Woods, unsuccessful attempts to build a fire prompted Lauwers to make up for the damp driftwood by using his socks and denim jacket’s sleeves. Kasso said that they should use Lauwers’ hair instead, which led to Kasso biting him on the neck. Then, over a reported three-to-four-hour period, Kasso and his two other friends stabbed Lauwers upwards of 36 times, burned his body, gouged his eyeballs out, and stuffed rocks down his throat.

As he was killing Lauwers, Kasso ordered him to “say you love Satan,” but Lauwers said, “I love my mother.” Kasso covered the thought-to-be-dead body with branches and leaves, but, as reports tell, Lauwers rose back up, said “I love my mother” again, and prompted the assailants to continue their assault until he was confirmed dead.

On July 5, Kasso was arrested. Two days later, he hung himself in his jail cell.

Source: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2012/11/25-craziest-real-life-american-horror-stories/ricky-kasso

Update: I originally had “The West Memphis Three” as my feature here, but I was told by a reader they were exonerated and released from prison in August 2011. After spending almost 20 years in prison, they gave a Alford plea and were released. My apologizes to Damien, Jason, Jesse and my readers for not following up on this case before posting it. Thank you Nico for bringing this to my attention!

4. The Crime Killer—A juvenile who kills while committing another crime, like burglary.


Bryton Gibbs

Bryton Gibbs was 16 when he stabbed Christopher Taylor to death with an 8-inch kitchen knife.  Gibbs called Pizza Hut and placed an order to be delivered to a vacant apartment. When Taylor, 33, arrived, Gibbs and three other male teens robbed him of $50 and killed him.

5. The Baby Killer—A juvenile who kills his or her infant or young child.

Cassidy Goodson, a teen who admitted killing her newborn baby and hiding him in a shoebox this past fall, used a Santa Claus doll to show investigators exactly how she strangled him in her bathroom shortly after giving birth.

6. The Thrill Killer—A juvenile who kills to feel what it feels like. These types are usually psychopathic. They have no empathy for their victims. The only time you will see them cry is when they are caught, and the tears are for themselves.

Child Killer Speaks Out

Eric Smith at age 13

Eric Smith murdered a four-year-old boy named Derrick Robie in 1980. He dropped large rocks on the boy’s head, strangled him, and then sodomized him with a small stick. Smith has never explained why he murdered the four-year-old. He has been denied parole five times. “I don’t doubt for a second, never have doubted, that had he not been caught, Eric Smith would have killed again,” the prosecutor in the case has said.

Eric Smith denied parole

Eric Smith at age 29

According to Phil Chalmers, who has interviewed 200 adolescent killers and is a teen violence and youth culture expert, there are 10 reasons why teens kill. They are listed from most likely to least.

1. Unstable Home and Bullying at School

2. Obsession with Violent Entertainment and Porn

3. Suicidal Ideation and Depression

4. Alcohol and Drug Use

5. Cults, Gangs, and Hate Groups

6. Obsession with Guns, Bombs, and Knives

7. Peer Pressure

8. Fascination with the Criminal Lifestyle, and Poverty

9. Lack of Spiritual Guidance and Proper Discipline

10. Mental Illness

He also suggests most teen killers have at least 3 of the list of causes, and many have 6 to 8 of the 10 causes.

In conclusion, children can be capable of committing hideous acts on their fellow human beings. There have been many books and movies about bad kids. The one that comes to mind is the 1956 movie, The Bad Seed, which depicts a housewife who suspects that her seemingly perfect 8-year-old daughter is a heartless killer. It was actually a book first written by William March in 1954 and was awarded The National Book Award for Fiction in 1955.

The Bad Seed

Sound familiar?

The child, Rhoda, is portrayed as a sociopath although the term was not widely used at the time. She has no conscience and will kill if necessary to get whatever she wants. By the time Christine, her mother, puts the truth together, Rhoda has already killed two people (a neighbor in Baltimore and her classmate Claude Daigle). In time, she also kills Leroy, the apartment building’s gardener and the only adult who sees through her. An adept manipulator, she can easily charm adults while eliciting fear and revulsion from other children who can sense something wrong with her.

Happy Writing,

Diane Kratz

Edit by Sally Berneathy

Web Resources

International Business Times: http://www.ibtimes.com/alyssa-bustamante-gets-life-prison-8-more-teen-thrill-killers-photos-554064

ABC NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/11/new-evidence-against-fl-teen-who-admitted-killing-baby-hiding-him-in-shoebox/

Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG)
National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) FBI Academy
Quantico, Virginia 22135 http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/school-shooter

When Children Kill

Women Who Kill

 

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Characters Robert Goren and Female Serial Killer, Nicole Wallace from the television show Law and Order Criminal Intent

In my Victims of Love series, my villain Jillian Black is a prolific serial killer who has killed since her early teens. She is a true psychopath who uses her charms to convince people she is a victim. Killing her own family is no more difficult than killing a stranger or deciding what dress to wear a cocktail party. She has no attachment to anyone. The only thing she feels is the excitement of the fantasy of having complete control over her victims.

In the 1960s Dr. Robert Hare was at the psychology department of the University of British Columbia. There his interest in psychopathy merged with his experience as he worked with over 100 male psychopaths in prison to form what was to become his life’s work. He began to see a pattern emerge among these types of criminals and came up with a checklist which is now accepted by the World Health Organization, the international organization responsible for classification of diseases.

Psychopaths, according to the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R), have been identified as sharing the following common twenty characteristic personality traits:

  • Glib and superficial charm
  • Grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
  • Need for stimulation
  • Pathological lying
  • Cunning and manipulative
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
  • Callousness and lack of empathy
  • Parasitic lifestyle
  • Poor behavioral controls
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Early behavior problems
  • Lack of realistic long-term goals
  • Impulsivity
  • Irresponsibility
  • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • Many short-term marital relationships
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Revocation of conditional release
  • Criminal versatility

A female serial killer is rare, but don’t kid yourself, they do exist.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics for the years 1976-2005 compiled data and determined the overall rating of female serial (multiple) homicide at just 6.5%. This compares to their male counterparts who rated at 93.5%.  http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/gender.cfm.

In fact, little study has gone into the rare butterflies called female serial killers. Even Roy Hazelwood of the FBI who started the Behavioral Science Unit was quoted at a conference in 1998 as saying, “There are no female serial killers.” Not true. There are a few out there.

 Real Female Serial Killers

From L to R; starting on top row: Sara Aldrete, Juana Barraza, Erzsébet Bathory, Marie Alexandra Becker, Marie Besnard, Elfriede Blauensteiner, Mary Ann Cotton, Nanny Doss, Amelia Dyer, Kristin Gilbert, Delfina and Maria de Jesus Gonzalez, Dana Sue Gray, Belle Gunness, Anna Hahn, Myra Hindley, Karla Homolka, Hélène Jégado, Delphine LaLaurie, Enriqueta Martí, Dagmar Overbye, Dorothea Puente, Raya and Sakina, Darya Saltykova, Jane Toppan, Rosemary West, and Aileen Wuornos.
Picture courtesy of Photobucket, by By Dorotea. http://photobucket.com/images/female%20serial%20killers/

According to Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, Ph.D., a criminal profiler who claims to be an expert on female serial killers and who is the only person to interview a large group (25) of female serial killers, “Female killers can actually be more lethal than their male counterparts because they use covert murder methods. That is, often, there is little to no evidence that a homicide has been committed.”

One of the main studies on them has produced what was named the Kelleher Typology which divides these killers into five groups: Black Widows, Angels of Death, Sexual Predators, Revenge Killers, and Profit Killers.

The Black Widows and Angels of Death are the most common type of female serial killer. Revenge Killers that are repeat offenders are rare because most are one-time crimes of true passion. Profit Killers are also rare, but they are considered the most intelligent and resourceful.

Many serial killers, both male and female, work as part of a team. One third of all female serial killers are members of a team.

White women are much more likely to be a serial killer than African-American, Asian, or Hispanic women.

Alice from BBC Luther, the award-winning BBC One crime series. http://www.bbc.co.uk/luther.

Hickey (2002) studied 399 serial killers and compiled a rank order of the most often used methods and motives. Women serial killers account for only 8% of all American serial killers, but American females account for 76% of all female serial killers worldwide.  Hickey’s (2002) subsample of 62 women out of 399 serial killers used the following methods and motives:

Females

Methods

  • 1. Poison (80%)
  • 2. Shooting (20%)
  • 3. Bludgeoning (16%)
  • 4. Suffocation (16%)
  • 5. Stabbing (11%)
  • 6. Drowning (5%)

Motives

  • 1. Money (74%)
  • 2. Control (13%)
  • 3. Enjoyment (11%)
  • 4. Sex (10%)

Women also tend to get away with the murders for an average of 10 years before they are detected. Why? According to Dr. Deborah , “Female serial killers commit murder because they have intense feelings of helplessness and lack of control. Through killing, female serial killers create power and importance in their lives. They tend to come from terrible backgrounds filled with high levels of abuse and emotional cruelty, isolation, lack of stability, and abandonment.

Being unable to defend themselves, the females turn this anger inward and begin fantasizing about killing. The fantasy serves as an escape from the powerlessness. As time passes, the serial killer creates more vivid and more grotesque fantasies. The tolerance increases thereby allowing the offender to create ever-more heinous acts within her mind.

“This is very important as female serial killers fantasize in detail about how to kill while avoiding detection (Schurman-Kauflin, 2000). They decide that by creating an equivocal death scenario, they are less likely to be caught (Kirby, 1999). If a death is equivocal at best, many times, especially in smaller jurisdictions, there is no investigation.”

So why did I pick a woman to be my villain? Because I believe a woman can be just as lethal as a man. Society’s gender role expectation of women being passive, gentle and the meeker sex only makes them scarier because we don’t suspect woman of being so deviant, ruthless and as capable as a man when it comes to killing.

I don’t know why society deems woman meeker when according to a 1998 report from the Department of Health and Human Services on Child Maltreatment in the United States, 53.6% of women abuse their children.

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I don’t believe woman as serial killers is that far of a stretch. I’m tired of reading about alpha male heroes saving a poor, defenseless woman from the big bad wolf. Why not make a woman a villain? That’s the fun of writing fiction. And my villain, Jillian Black, is an alpha villain!  I hope this blog article has convinced you to think about women in a more realistic view.

Happy Writing,

Diane Kratz

Web Resources:

Bureau of Justice Statistics, Homicide Tends In The U.S.

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/gender.cfm

Female Serial Killers

Web Page Project by: Jeanne Nikki Gilbert, Heather Thone, Gregory Mouton, and Martin Millien. 11/28/2003.

http://www.lsu.edu/faculty/jpullia/femaleserialkillers.htm

Lethal Ladies: Revisiting What We Know About Female Serial Murderers Amanda L. Farrell, Robert D. Keppel, and Victoria B. Titterington. Homicide Studies, August 2011; vol. 15, 3: pp. 228-252.

Amicus Curiae, The blog for Professor Corcos’ classes at LSU Law Center A Murderous Phenomenon: Female Serial Killers, by March 15, 2011

http://sites.law.lsu.edu/amicus-curiae/tag/serial-killers/

Violent Crimes Institute, LLC, Your Guide Into The Deviant Mind. Article, Why Females Get Away with Murder, by Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, Ph.D., Behavioral Profiler, July 6, 2011.

http://www.drdsk.com/articles.html#StepsForFSKCase

The New Predator–Women Who Kill:‪Profiles of Female Serial Killers by, Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, Algora Publishing, Jan 1, 2000.

Murder Most Rare, Michael D. Kelleher and C. L. Kelleher, Dell Publishing, January 12, 1999.

The Feminization of Serial Killing: A Gender Identity Study of Male and Female Serialists Using Covert Methods of Murder, dissertation by Patricia Lee Kirby. Published by, UMI Dissertation Services, 1998.

The US Department of health and Human Services, Statistics and Research, Child Maltreatment 2010.

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm10/cm10.pdf#page=31.

Pictures:

http://www.thesniper.us/?tag=nicole-wallace

https://www.facebook.com/LutherBBC

http://media.photobucket.com

How many serial killers are homegrown in your state?

The Darkside of Kansas

~Dedicated to my long time friend, Chris McKenzie for his help in remembering my taxi driver’s name~

 I have always been asked where do I get my horrific ideas. Well, they come from many places. Books I’ve read, TV shows and movies, but mostly from the news. However, I have also had a couple of life experiences that have stuck in my head over the years.


PERVERT!

http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o
172/AceBlake/pervert.jpg

I remember walking home in the 1960s with my friend Christine Warren from school. We were going to her house to play with her rabbits. I was in fifth or sixth grade. We were walking downtown in Shawnee, Kansas, and passed a parked car on the side of the road. Christine, who was nearest to the car, turned and whispered in my ear, “That guy isn’t wearing pants.”

I looked at her and said, “Huh? No way!”

Well, of course I had to step beside her and take a peek. I saw this nicely groomed, middle-aged man wearing sunglasses, a red pinstriped dress shirt, and a tie. As I looked down to his lap, I realized Christine was right. He wasn’t wearing any pants. He was naked from the waist down.

The man followed us in his car as we ran to Christine’s house. Her mother was in the front doing yard work, and the pantless man drove off. Christine’s mom called the police. They found him four blocks away. The police had received several reports of this man over the last two weeks.

Another time, I was with a group of older girls when a man pulled over and asked if any of us were available to babysit. He had his hand over his groin area the whole time he talked. When he saw he had our attention, he showed us what was underneath his hand. Being young and dumb we laughed and took off running. Knowing what I know now, we could have been in a lot of trouble both times.

How many of us have gotten that phone call from the pervert asking all kinds of personal questions? I know I have had at least three, maybe more.

But there is one encounter that has stuck with me over the years. It changed the way I view people. I worked at a plastic plant on the second shift, three thirty till midnight. I didn’t drive so my husband took me to work every day, then I called a cab to give me a ride home after my shift.

The taxi driver who picked me up was named DeLaTorre Collins. He had a five month baby girl named Satrina. He was nice and very personable. We struck up a causal conversation over the next few months. He talked about his girlfriend and his daughter. I talked about my husband and my son.

One night another driver picked me up. The next day I was shocked to read in the paper that Mr. Collins’ daughter had died. The newspaper reported they found bite marks all over the little girl. Their dog had viciously attacked her.

The police put the dog down and conducted an autopsy on the animal. The dog’s stomach contained no human remains. When the police confronted him, Mr. Collins confessed he threw his daughter against the wall for crying, and she stopped breathing. He got scared and decided he’d blame the dog. He took bites out of his own daughter to make the police believe his story.

I would have never guessed in a million years this guy was capable of doing such a horrible thing. The shock of that knowledge stays with me to this day. We never know what goes on inside another person’s mind. Serial killers and psychopaths fascinate us because they look like you and me. Yet they are not normal. And here in the United States we have many of them roaming around. This got me to wondering about my home state.

It might interest you to know that New York leads in the US with the most serial homicide cases  at (137). California (128), Florida (112), Texas (97), and, following shortly behind, is Washington (95) (http://www.redding.com/databases/serial-killings-by-state/).

US holds the record for the most serial killers at 76%. Europe is second and has 17%. England has produced 28% of the European total, Germany produces 27%, and France produces 13%. As I dove into my research of Kansas Darkside, I discovered Kansas only rated a mere (24) in the break down of serial killers by state. But don’t let those statistics fool you. We had some notorious serial killers homegrown in the state of Kansas.


Let’s start with the Bloody Benders –a family who owned a small general store and inn in Osage township, Labette County, Kansas, from 1872 to 1873. They were not only Kansas’ first known serial killers but also the first known FAMILY of serial killers.

Bender Cabin near Cherryvale, Kansas Benders cabin

The family consisted of John Bender, his wife Kate (Ma), son John Jr. and daughter Kate. Their inn was a dingy place called the Wayside Inn. Kate Bender, 23, was cultivated and attractive. A self-proclaimed healer and psychic, she distributed flyers advertising her supernatural powers and her ability to cure illnesses. She also conducted séances and gave lectures on spiritualism.

Kate’s popularity became a large attraction for the Benders’ inn. Once inside Ma would fix them a hot meal while daughter Kate enticed them, and brother or father stood behind them with a hammer. Their house was rigged with a trap door under the kitchen chair where the men sat to eat. Once they were murdered and all their belongings stripped away from them, they would be stored in the cellar to await disposal.

Authorities found eleven bodies including one child buried on the property. The family fled town and was never found or convicted. To this day in Cherryvale Museum you can see the hammers they used as weapons.

Smith’s (above) and Hickock’s (below) mugshots taken by the KBI.

In 1959 Richard Hickock and Perry Smith murdered Herb and Bonnie Clutter and two of their children Nancy, 16, and Kenyon, 15, in their rural Holcomb home. They were killed for forty dollars and a transistor radio. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith were hanged at Lansing in 1966 for the murder of the Clutter family.

Truman Capote wrote a book called “In Cold Blood” about this case. He chose not only to write about the murders but about the Kansas community and the family members left to pick up the pieces of their life. Even though these two killers are considered “Spree Killers” and not serial killers, they are still killers from my home state. My husband drives to Holcomb, Kansas, every week, and in some small way, I feel connected to this family. I live in a small town in Kansas, on a small farm.

In Cold Blood.jpg

In 1974-Dennis Radar murdered Joseph and Julie Otero by strangling them and two of their children, Josephine, 11, and Joseph II, 9, in their home at 803 N. Edgemoor, Wichita, Kansas.  The murders unleashed the beginnings of BTK, a serial killer in Wichita who, through the next 25 years, would often grip the city in fear. He sent the police and media letters demanding attention for his crimes. All told, police would eventually link him to ten murders in the Wichita, Kansas, area. He calls himself BTK for Bind, Torture, and Kill.

 Dennis Radar, dressed in his dog catcher uniform.

I think this would make a great story to tell from Dennis Radar’s daughter’s POV. Not many people know this, but his daughter helped the police capture him by giving her permission for them to use her DNA for comparison. Talk about conflict and having to pick up the pieces of your life after your father was convicted of such horrible crimes. What a great story that would make.

Rev. Bird

In 1983-Rev. Bird and Lorna Anderson- The car of Sandra Bird, wife of the Rev. Thomas Bird, ran off the road near a Lyon County bridge just outside Emporia. Sandra drowned in the Cottonwood River. Martin Anderson was shot and killed. The pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Emporia, Rev. Bird, was discovered to be having an affair with his church secretary, Lorna Anderson. They met in church and planned to kill Anderson’s husband, Martin Anderson, and Bird’s wife so they could be together. The two were convicted of their spouses’ deaths. Again, they were not serial killers, but premeditated murders from my home state.

I attended Emporia State University and earned my undergraduate degree there. Sandra Bird worked at the University years before I went, and I have been to the bridge mentioned above. Again, there is that connection.

Robert Andrew “Bob” Berdella- The Kansas City Butcher

In 1988, Chris Bryson was found running down a Kansas City street naked, beaten, and bloody wearing nothing but a dog collar and a leash. He told police about Bob Berdella, a local business person who owned Bob’s Bizarre Bazaar, a novelty shop that catered to occult type tastes. He told police how Berdella had captured him, held him hostage, raped him, tortured him, and photographed him over a period of several days.

Police later arrested Berdella and searched his home where they found several hundred Polaroid photographs, a detailed torture log, envelopes of human teeth, and a human skull. It was soon discovered that Berdella had murdered 6 young men in his home after drugging them and performing his sick acts of sexual torture. Some lived the horrors for only a few days, one for 6 weeks. After they were dead Berdella would cut up the bodies with an electric chain saw and a bone knife and place the body parts in empty dog food bags for trash collection on Monday. Neighbors petitioned (and were granted) to have the city tear down his house.

In 1989 Richard Grissom Jr. murdered Joan A. Butler, 24, Overland Park; Theresa Brown, 22, and Christine Rusch, 22, roommates living in a Lenexa apartment. A career criminal on parole for burglary and theft, at age 16 he had killed a Lansing, Kansas, woman.

Grissom

Richard Grissom

He had connections to a Wichita woman found dead in her apartment about two weeks before Butler disappeared. Someone had viciously mutilated the body of 25-year-old Terri Maness. Dozens of officers on both sides of the state joined the investigation. A day after the roommates vanished, authorities found Grissom’s car abandoned at a Grandview apartment complex. Identification cards belonging to Rusch and Brown were inside along with keys to the women’s apartments. He was caught and convicted, but to this day, the bodies of these women have never been found. His neighbors and the city voted to burn his house down after his conviction. This would make a great police story on how they connected him to the murders.

John Robinson, husband, father, grandfather and serial killer

In 1990 John Robinson Sr. sought out and targeted lonely, troubled women. He also met some of his female victims through Internet sex and bondage networks. The Johnson County man left bodies in Missouri storage sheds and in barrels on property he owned in Linn County. Again, this story could take on a new life with a modern twist-Internet Murders.

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Mass murderers Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh- Army buddies. Terry Nichols of Herington and Timothy McVeigh, formerly of Fort Riley, conspired to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building, in 1995, killing 168 people and injuring 500 others.  This is not just an Oklahoma tragedy, but a nation’s tragedy. The stories that come to my mind about what could be written are about the firefighters and police who risked their lives to save people. Also the FBI’s impressive tracking techniques and so many others.

English: Booking Photo for Terry A. Blair


2004–Terry Blair-aka The Prospect Killer in KC, Mo., was an African-American man who had just gotten out of prison for killing his wife and mother of his children because she was a prostitute. He was eventually convicted of killing seven prostitutes. I discovered no books were written about this case. I’ve asked myself why not? Is it a racial thing? A social economic component? These prostitutes had names. They were daughters, mothers, sisters, and friends. They counted in this world, and as a writer we have the ability to bring their story to life.

Books related to post:

The Bloody Bender -Books:

The Saga of the Bloody Benders, by: Rick Geary

Celebrated Criminal Cases of America, by:  Thomas Samuel Duke

History of Labette County, Kansas, by: Nelson Case

The Benders in Kansas, by:  John T. James

The Clutter Murders-Books

In Cold Blood, by: Truman Capote

Sentenced to Death: The American Novel and Capital Punishment, by: David Guest

Dennis Radar- Books

Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door, by: Roy Wenzl

Inside the Mind of BTK: The True Story Behind the Thirty-Year Hunt for the Notorious Wichita Serial Killer, by:  John E. Douglas

CASE CLOSED: Serial Killers Captured – Bundy, Dahmer, BTK & More (Serial Killers Series) by: RJ Parker

The BTK Murders: Inside the “Bind Torture Kill” Case that Terrified America’s Heartland by: Carlton Smith

Unholy Messenger: The Life and Crimes of the BTK Serial Killer by: Stephen Singular

Rev. Tom Bird and Lorna Anderson Book

Caged Bird by: Dave Racer

Movie-Murder Ordained

Richard Grissom Books

Suddenly Gone: The Terrifying True Story of a Serial Killer’s Grisly Kidnapping-Murders of Three Young Women by: Dan Mitrione

Bitter Harvest by: Ann Rule

John Edward Robinson Books

Tracker: Hunting Down Serial Killers by Grover Maurice Godwin

Online Killers: Portraits of Murderers, Cannibals and Sex Predators Who Stalked the Web for Their Victims by: Christopher Berry-Dee and Steven Morris

Digital Evidence and Computer Crime, Third Edition: Forensic Science, Computers, and the Internet by: Eoghan Casey

Anyone You Want Me to Be: A True Story of Sex and Death on the Internet by: John E. Douglas

Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh Books

Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy by: Peter Israel and Stephen Jones

By Blood Betrayed: My Life With Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh by: Lana Padilla

Secrets, Plots & Hidden Agendas: What You Don’t Know about Conspiracy Theories by: Paul T. Coughlin

Terry Blair Books-NONE

Story edited by: Sally Berneathy