Social Workers’ Safety Tips To Live By

This blog post is slightly different than my usual posts. I recently completed a required continuing education course called “Everyday Self DefenseSM For Social Workers”, taught by Janet Nelson, MSW. I learned some extremely valuable safety precautions, but I was also reminded of why we’re required to take a self-defense course to begin with, and it brings up the opportunity for me to revisit the disturbing case of Teri Zenner, a social worker who was killed by one of her clients while I was in grad school.

I’ll share the safety tips with you in a moment, but first let me tell you the backstory: what happened to Teri, and how this course became a requirement of the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board, for all new social workers. 

Teri’s Story

Social Worker Teri Zenner
Photo from http://www.socialworkersspeak.org

Like me, Teri Lea Zenner was a mental health social worker. She was 26 years old, a Kansas University graduate student who worked for the Johnson County Mental Health Center.

In August 2004, Teri went on a routine visit to the home of a 17-year-old, mentally unstable client named Andrew Ramey Ellmaker. Andrew was diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder; Teri was there to make sure that he was taking his medication.

Andrew Ramey Ellmaker
Picture from http://www.darkvomit.com

Zenner’s visit with Ellmaker began normally enough, but at some point things took a deadly turn. We will never know exactly how, or why she agreed, but Ellmaker was able to lure Zenner to his bedroom. Once inside, he refused let her leave. She begged to be released, but Ellmaker had a weapon – a knife.  His mother, Sue Ellmaker, returned from the store, heard Teri’s cries and threatened to call police if her son didn’t let Teri go by the count of three.

At the end of the count, Teri came rushing down the stairs. Blood was spurting from a wound in her neck. Ellmaker came right behind her, stabbing her all the way.

Sue Ellmaker threw herself between her son and Teri, yelling for him to stop. All three tumbled to the floor, and Sue rolled over Teri to protect her. Andrew stabbed Sue four times in the back, once in the chest, and once in the right arm; he also slashed her ear. If the knife hadn’t bent in her back, giving her the chance to flee to a neighbor’s house and call 911, Sue Ellmaker undoubtedly would have been killed.

It is not clear if Teri was alive at this point. All we know is, with his mother gone, Andrew went into his bedroom, turned on some loud music and grabbed his chainsaw from the closet. He began cutting into Teri Zenner, almost severing her left forearm and her neck. He also slashed her head, back, and right hip. At this point, the chain broke – which caused Andrew to feel “pissed off” because he had only recently bought the chainsaw.

Andrew Ramey Ellmaker in restraints
Picture from www2.ljworld.com

After mutilating Teri, Andrew tried to commit suicide by ingesting a variety of pills. He then left the house with two pellet guns and attempted to drive away in Teri’s vehicle. When he had trouble getting the car to start, he took a can of gasoline from the garage, poured it on the vehicle, and set it on fire. As the police arrived, Andrew ran into the street. The police ordered him to drop his weapons, which he did. As Ellmaker was being handcuffed, he spontaneously stated, “I just killed my therapist with a chainsaw.”

I met Teri Zenner’s widower, Matt, while in grad school. He came and spoke to us about Teri’s story and pleaded with us to contact our state representatives to pass help a Kansas law in her honor, requiring specific safety training for all new social workers. Among social workers who are killed on the job, most are killed within the first five years of employment.

As part of the Social Workers Code of Ethics, standards set forth by NASW- National Association of Social Workers, we are required to take Social and Political Action for our clients.

Article 6.04 (a) reads:

“(a) Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice.”

Everyone who heard him speak at Washburn University marched over to Topeka Capital building and spoke to their representatives, myself included. Only this time it wasn’t for our clients; it was for social workers everywhere. The bill was signed into Kansas law on April 8, 2010.

Matt and Teri Zenner
Photo from http://www2.ljworld.com

However, Matt’s activism didn’t end there. Matt was also lobbying for a national act called the Teri Zenner Social Worker Safety Act H.R. 1490 (111th Congress), which would have established a grant program to assist in the provision of safety measures to protect social workers and other professionals who work with at-risk populations. He wanted social workers to have the same publicly viewed protections as police officers do. Unfortunately, as of right now H.R. 1490 is dead and has been submitted to the House Education and Workforce Community for review.

Social work is a helping profession. Teri died because she was trying to make sure that her attacker had been taking care of himself. We see clients at their most vulnerable, often at the worst times of their lives – clients who are mentally unstable, accused of abusing their children, spouse or intimate partners, or clients just released from prison. Our cases are emotionally charged by nature, and can become dangerous in the blink of the eye.

When it comes to the violence on the job, social workers are the second highest at-risk profession. The first are police officers. The glaring difference between these two occupations is that police officers carry weapons and receive intensive training to protect themselves.

Something needs to change.

Now on to Janet’s safety tips…

Above all, STAY CALM!

BREATHE and CENTER yourself to stay in CONTROL and to regain balance in emotionally charged situations.

Client known factors contributing to assault behavior:

  • Violence in client’s history or a criminal record
  • A diagnosis of dementia or low mental functioning
  • Intoxication from alcohol, drugs or medications
  • Low impulse control and high frustration level
  • Mania, paranoia and antisocial personality disorder
  • Law enforcement or military training/combat experience
  • Knowledge of weapons
  • Authoritative or confrontational counseling approaches
  • Client’s feeling powerless
  • The treatment environment itself

   In Your Client’s Home and Neighborhood

old houses photo: Old houses P3100008.jpg

Picture from Photobucket.com

  • Make sure you understand that you are on their turf. This is a natural safety dilemma.
  • When you schedule a visit, let them know when to expect you. Let them advise you about any safety concerns in their area.
  • Drive by first to check out the dwelling, the atmosphere and the surrounding area. Notice what’s happening on the streets and who is present.
  • Ask your client to watch for you as you leave your car upon arrival. Have them watch you go to your car as you leave.
  • Observe the home—both inside and outside. Notice its hiding places, vulnerable points, blocked exits, and escape routes.
  • If anything looks out of the ordinary in or around the dwelling, or you feel uneasy about the situation you are in, leave and call for back up.
  • Listen while outside the door for any disturbances. After knocking, stand off to the side.
  • As you enter the home, notice the general interior layout, exits, and phones.
  • Position yourself for an easy exit, if necessary.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement. Do NOT wear anything that can be used as a weapon against you. This includes jewelry, scarfs, belts, etc.…
  • Carry a cell phone with you. Keep it on and preprogrammed to Call 911 for assistance in any emergency.
  • Keep purses locked in the trunk. Keep keys, a little money, and a cell phone in pockets or a waist pack (on your person).
  • Look around and think of what objects could be used as weapons, if needed.
  • Most importantly, know your client. Be aware of what they may be capable of based on size, gender, mental health status, medications, legal status, and history.
  • Whenever possible, travel with a co-worker or law enforcement if uncertain about safety.
  • Stay out of the kitchen! The kitchen is the most dangerous place in the home.

In the Car

Cars 005

  • Make certain your car has gas, water, and a spare with jack, a working horn, spare change, a flashlight, jumper cables, and a first aid kit.
  • Travel with a cell phone. Keep it on and preprogrammed to Call 911 for assistance in any emergency or threatening situation.
  • Have understandable directions and maps available.
  • If you have a flat tire at night, try to keep going along the shoulder to a gas station.
  • Use extra caution in parking garages. Scan the garage as you enter it.
  • Have your car keys in your hand as you approach your car assuredly.
  • Scan the area as you approach the car and check the floor/back seat and under the car.
  • If stranded and you accept assistance, pretend that someone else will soon be arriving. Stay on guard so that you do not become a victim of a “Good Samaritan” ploy, in which your helper becomes an attacker.
  • Ask to see the identification of anyone stopping to assist you (police too!).
  • If someone approaches your car to force entry, lay on the horn and drive off.
  • If someone is in your car forcing you to drive, turn on the flashers, press the horn, stop suddenly, get out and run or cause an accident with other cars (with your seat belt on).
  • If you have your windows open be aware of what’s going on around you.
  • Keep car doors locked while in or away from your vehicle.
  • If you are being forced into your car, throw away the keys (distracting the attacker) and run.
  • During home visits park your car in position for a quick and easy departure.
  • Be careful about what you leave on your seats or dashboard — valuables and items with your name, address, phone number, or e-mail address on them (e.g., mail, cell phone).

Thank you, Janet Nelson, for your input on this post – and for giving social workers everywhere the tools they need to protect themselves. To find out more on Janet’s self-defense courses, visit her website at: http://www.everydayselfdefense.com .

Happy Writing,

Diane Kratz

Resources:

“Everyday Self Defense­ SM For Social Workers” by Janet Nelson, MSW, website: www.everydayselfdefense.com.

Govtrack.us:  http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/hr1490/text

NASW- National Association of Social Workers

http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp

WIB.COM http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/78536207.html, Sentence Holds For Man Convicted Of Murdering Social Worker, Posted: Fri 1:07 PM, Dec 04, 2009.

Edited by Sally Berneathy and Nicolase Mallat (Crime Consultant)

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 fall in love with a psychopath…should they have known?

English: FBI Mugshot of serial killer Cary Sta...

English: FBI Mugshot of serial killer Cary Stayner taken by the FBI following his arrest by Agent Jeff Rinek at a nudist resort in Wilton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)  Good looking on the outside but lurking inside is a monster. 

I write about serial killers but the truth is that many psychopaths living in our world have never murdered any one physically. They get off on murdering people emotionally, a sucker of souls. They are users of people. And they are excellent profilers. They look for easy prey they can pounce on and take advantage of.

In fact, my daughter just severed a three-year relationship with a psychopath.

He abused her physically and emotionally. Her physical bruises have healed, but emotionally, she is scarred. I doubt she will ever see another man without worrying about who he really is inside. This man met all the criteria on Dr. Hare’s list. Grandiose (exaggeration of self), he once told me after they broke up that he was “the best thing that ever happened to your daughter.” Mind you, this man weighed close to 300 pounds and was a high school dropout whom my daughter supported (parasitic lifestyle). He is a pathological liar who accused her of cheating, when in fact he fathered another child with another woman, a child five days younger than their son.

These people have a way of twisting the truth to suit their needs or to hide their bad behaviors.

Serial killers are what most people think of when they hear the word psychopath. The only difference between the two is that serial killers need more simulation than the other and want the ultimate high by killing another human being. They can’t stop killing because it makes them feel as good as drugs do to an addict.  They must feed the constant need for stimulation.

I’ve often heard the comment about women who married or lived with a serial killer, “How could she not have known?” Well, you have to recall, serial killers are psychopaths and are skilled at concealing their “dark side.”

English: Ted Bundy in custody, Florida, 1978 o...

English: Ted Bundy in custody, Florida, 1978 or 1979. Florida Memory Project, Florida Photographic Collection, #DND0671 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember Dr. Hare’s checklist? The first symptom is glib and superficial charm. Even Ann Rule, who writes true crime stories, couldn’t see the psychopathic behavior in her friend, Ted Bundy. These people enter every relationship hidden in a mask of normalcy. They are experts at concealing their true nature. All psychopaths have this in common.

Judith Mawson/Ridgway was married for 16 years to Gary Ridgeway (The Green River Serial Killer) who was responsible for murdering 48 women. Judith said in an interview on Investigative Discovery channel, “Gary was the perfect husband.”  When Judith met Gary Ridgway at a bar in Seattle in 1985, she recalled he seemed like the perfect suitor. He was handsome, polite, had a good job, and treated her like a lady.

She thought she’d found a man she adored and wanted to spend the rest of her life with. Two years later they moved in together. A year after that they were married.

Judith said of him, “He made me smile every day. I had the perfect husband, perfect life. I absolutely adored him.” But Ridgway was also a prolific serial killer.  He was convicted for killing 48 women in the Seattle area over a period of 20 years, but officials believe he is responsible for over 70 murders.

She trusted him when he said he was late because of a union meeting. She had no reason to disbelieve him when he told her his ex-girlfriend came and took her bed back or that he replaced the carpet because the kids had ruined it.

Linda Yates slept for two years in her bedroom of her new home and had no idea that her husband had a body buried outside the window. Linda had a 26-year union with her husband, Robert Yates (aka The Spokane Serial Killer), who killed 13 women. This man appeared to be as normal as anyone. He obtained a job as a guard at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, enlisted in the Army where he served his country for 19 years as a helicopter pilot, served in Germany, participated in Desert Storm, served in relief efforts for Hurricane Andrew, and flew on a UN peacekeeping mission to Somalia. Mr. Normal to everyone who knew him. Everyone except the 13 prostitutes he murdered.

When he came home early one morning with blood in their van and told Linda he’d hit a dog and loaded the poor thing in his van to take to the vet, why wouldn’t she believe him?

Psychopaths look like everyone else. Only they are not like everyone else. Their brains are not wired the same as yours and mine. Serial killers are normal looking and act like Joe Blow, but underneath that mask lies a monster, and that’s why I think people (including myself) are fascinated with them.

You don’t have to be a serial killer to be a psychopath. There are many, many functional (I’m using the term “functional” loosely) psychopaths living among us. They leave behind internal scars that wreak havoc on the people they meet. They can devastate person financially, emotionally, sexually, and physically. Many people in therapy are there because they crossed paths with a functioning psychopath.

We are all vulnerable to becoming one of their victims. There are a few resources out there to help victims.

1. A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION PROVIDING INFORMATION AND SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OF PSYCHOPATHY Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy Foundation or

http://www.aftermath-surviving-psychopathy.org/

2. Victims of Psychopaths Sociopaths—An on-line support group

http://www.dailystrength.org/groups/victims-of-psychopaths-sociopaths

3. Your local mental health office

The intent of this blog was to tell my readers you don’t have to be a serial killer to be a psychopath. They live among us in all societies and nationalities. They can be your boss, friend, neighbor, minister, teacher, or your love interest. They don’t look like monsters, they look like you and I.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Diane Kratz

Writers Note

Writers find characters in all sorts of places. The most vivid comes from a personal experience. Having a character that seems normal throughout the book and suddenly takes off his mask and is revealed as a villain makes for a thrilling ride.  I hope this blog article inspires you to be both watchful and creative.

Resources used in this blog article were:

Hare’s Psychopathy Check List

http://www.minddisorders.com/Flu-Inv/Hare-Psychopathy-Checklist.html#b#ixzz2CWQwh6KT

Mail Online News by Rachel Quigley

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2056798/Judith-Mawson-finding-husband-Green-River-Serial-Killer-Gary-Ridgway.html

TRUTV Crime Library Criminal Minds and Methods by Gary C. King

http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/predators/yates/guy_8.html

Books

The Stranger Beside Me – Ted Bundy: The Classic Story of Seduction & Murder by Ann Rule http://www.mysterycrimescene.com

Blog edited by Sally Berneathy

 

 

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

Everyone goes through phases, even profilers.

Phases In Profiling

Special Agent John Douglas
Photo credit: criminalminds.wikia.com

John E. Douglas and Robert Ressler, both FBI Agents who worked in the Behavioral Science Unit, developed the idea of the “organized/disorganized opposition.”

Special Agent Robert Ressler
Photo credit: criminalminds.wikia.com

They believed they could tell what type of murderer they were dealing with by looking at a crime scene and examining the behavior of the person who created that crime scene.

English: Detail of the crime scene composite o...

English: Detail of the crime scene composite of the produced by the Science Division of the Italian national police, Scientifica which was submitted as evidence in the subsequent trials. Can you guess which type we have here?
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Organized crimes are premeditated and carefully planned, so little evidence is found at the scene. Organized criminals are antisocial but know right from wrong, are not insane and show no remorse.

Organized murderers are thought to have advanced social skills, display control over the victim using those social skills, leave little forensic evidence or clues, and often engage in sexual acts with the victim before the murder.

English: Detail of the crime scene composite o...

English: Detail of the crime scene composite of the produced by the Science Division of the Italian national police, Scientifica which was submitted as evidence in the subsequent trials. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In contrast, the disorganized offender is described as impulsive, with few social skills. His/her murders are opportunistic, and crime scenes suggest frenzied, haphazard behavior including a lack of planning or attempts to avoid detection. They may engage in sexual acts after the murder because they lack knowledge of normal sexual behavior. Disorganized crimes are not planned, and criminals leave such evidence as fingerprints and blood. Disorganized criminals may be young, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or mentally ill.

According to Douglas and Ressler’s theory, profiling has five distinct phases:

Profiling phases

  1. The first phase is the assimilation process. All information available in regard to the crime scene, victim, and witnesses is examined in detail. This may include photographs of the crime scene, autopsy reports, victim profiles, police reports, and witness statements.
  2.  The next phase, the “classification stage,” involves integrating the information collected into a framework. This is the phase that classifies the murderer as “organized” or “disorganized.”
  3. Following the classification stage profilers attempt to reconstruct the behavioral sequence of the crime. Specifically they attempt to reconstruct the offender’s modus operandi or method of committing the crime.
  4.  Profilers also examine closely the offender’s “signature” which is identifiable from the crime scene and is more idiosyncratic than the modus operandi. The signature is what the offender does to satisfy his psychological needs in committing the crime.
  5. After further consideration of the modus operandi, the offender’s signature at the crime scene, and an inspection for the presence of any staging of the crime, the profiler moves on to generate a profile. This profile may contain detailed information regarding the offender’s demographic characteristics, family characteristics, military background, education, and personality characteristics. It may also suggest appropriate interview techniques.
FBI Badge & gun.

FBI Badge & gun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although the FBI approach has gained public attention, some psychologists have questioned its scientific solidity. Ressler, Douglas, and the other FBI agents were not psychologists, and some psychologists who looked at their work found methodological flaws.

Former FBI agent Gregg O McCrary agrees that some of the FBI’s early research was rough. “Early on it was just a bunch of us [FBI agents] basing our work on our investigative experience,” he says, “and hopefully being right more than we were wrong.”

McCrary says he believes that they were right more than wrong even in the early days, and emphasizes that FBI methods have improved since then leading to an even higher degree of accuracy.

According to McCrary, the basic premise is that behavior reflects personality. In a homicide case, for example, FBI profilers try to collect the personality of the offender through questions about his or her behavior at four stages:

1. Antecedent: What fantasy,  plan or both did the murderer have in place before the act? What triggered the murderer to act on a particular day as opposed to other days?

2. Method and manner: What type of victim or victims did the murderer select? What was the method and manner of murder—shooting, stabbing, strangulation, or something else?

3. Body disposal: Did the murder and body disposal take place all at one scene or at multiple scenes?

4. Post-offense behavior: Is the murderer trying to inject himself into the investigation by reacting to media reports or contacting investigators?

Psychology’s contributions and the law enforcement relationship

Sigmund Freud

Professor David Canter, PhD, is the pioneer of scientific offender profiling. He developed the discipline of Investigative Psychology as a response to his dissatisfaction with the scientific bases for this activity. He founded the field of investigative psychology in the early 1990s and now runs the Centre for Investigative Psychology at the University of Liverpool. The IAIP of which Canter is President seeks to set professional guidelines for practice and research in this area.

Canter includes many areas, including profiling, where psychology can contribute to investigations. The goal of investigative psychology’s form of profiling, like all profiling, is to infer characteristics of a criminal based on his or her behavior during the crime. But, Canter says, the key is that all of those inferences should come from empirical, peer-reviewed research and not necessarily from investigative experience.

For example, Canter and his colleagues recently analyzed crime scene data from 100 serial homicides to test the FBI’s organized/disorganized model. Their results indicate that, in contrast to some earlier findings, almost all serial murderers show some level of organization.

Among those in the profiling field, the tension between law enforcement and psychology still exists to some degree. “The difference is really a matter of the FBI being more oriented towards investigative experience than [academic psychologists] are,” says retired FBI agent McCrary.

“But,” he adds, “It’s important to remember that we’re all working toward the same thing.” I’ve also just learned that John Douglas has his own website (list below)  and he has added the “Mixed” to his “organized and disorganized” theory.  He states, “Mixed. When I say mixed classification, I mean a case such as that of O.J. Simpson, where the crime scene appears to be very premeditated. The subject brings to the scene the weapon, gloves and a hat — premeditated. Yet the crime scene appears disorganized. The subject had a well-planned idea but did not expect to be confronted, as the subject was, in this case, by Ron Goldman. So he — O.J. — basically lost control over the situation so the crime’s ultimate appearance shifted from organized to disorganized.”

Interesting stuff! Who would have guessed Ressler and Douglas were not psychologists! I hope this gives my followers a more accurate/realistic account of the criminal profiler and of the villain characters in their books.

Happy writing,

Diane Kratz

Resources:

Criminal Profiling An Introduction To Behavioral Evidence Analysis, Brent E. Turvey.

Criminal profiling the reality behind the myth, Lea Winerman. American Psychological Association. July 2004, Vol 35, No. 7. 

 http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/index.html

http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/criminal.aspx 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki 

http://www.johndouglasmindhunter.com/home.php  

John Douglas books include:

Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker

The Cases That Haunt Us by John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker and John Douglas

Journey Into Darkness by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker

Obsession: The FBI’s Legendary Profiler Probes the Psyches of Killers, Rapists, and Stalkers and Their Victims and Tells How to Fight Back by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker

The Anatomy of Motive : The FBI’s Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker

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

Inside the Mind of BTK: The True Story Behind the Thirty-Year Hunt for the Notorious Wichita Serial Killer by John Douglas and Johnny Dodd

He also had his own website/blog called, John Douglas Mind Hunter at: http://www.johndouglasmindhunter.com/home.php He actually IS involved with his site.

Robert Ressler books include:

Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler and Thomas Schachtman

Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives- Paperback by John E. Douglas, Ann W. Burgess and Robert K. Ressler

I Have Lived in the Monster: Inside the Minds of the World’s Most Notorious Serial Killers (St. Martin’s True Crime Library) by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman

Criminal Profiling from Crime Scene Analysis by John Douglas, Ann Burgess, Robert Ressler and Carol Hartman

David Canter books

Criminal Shadows, Inner Narratives of Evil by David Canter, Robert D. Keppel

Principles of Geographical Offender Profiling (Psychology, Crime and Law) by David Canter and Donna Youngs, David Canter and Donna Youngs

The Social Psychology of Crime: Groups, Teams, and Networks (Offender Profiling Series, Vol. 111) by David Canter and Laurence J. Alison

Investigative Psychology: Offender Profiling and the Analysis of Criminal Action by David Canter and Donna Youngs

The Faces of Terrorism: Multidisciplinary Perspectives by David Canter

Mapping Murder by David V. Canter

Blog edited by: Sally C Berneathy

Profiles of Murder receives the Peer Blogger Award from Chick Swagger

Thank you to Misty and Josie from Chick Swagger for nominating my site for the Sunshine Award! I am truly humbled to be picked for this award. Surprised me, too, considering my topics are kind of dark. But after reading why I was picked, it made this award even more special to me because it’s exactly what I wanted to achieve when I created this site.

Here is what they wrote:

Profiles of Murder –by romantic suspense writer Diane Kratz. Profiles of Murder is a tremendously educational site about criminal profiling, serial killers, FBI terminology, and crime fiction writing. Even though there’s often scary stuff on this site, it’s deserving of the sunshine award because it often makes crime writers’ research easier. And it’s interesting even if you’re not a crime writer!”

Isn’t that sweet? Totally made my week!

Here’s what I’m supposed to do now:

*Include the award’s logo in a post on your blog.

(Below)

* Answer 10 questions about yourself.

* Nominate other bloggers (we were supposed to do 10, but the Chicks didn’t so neither did I.)

* Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.

* Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

Misty and Josie: https://chickswagger.com go for a visit. Their site holds nothing back on sexuality and what it means to be a woman. No holds bar there!

Here are my 10 questions Q&A:

  • My favorite color: Royal blue
  • My favorite animal: Cats, I have two–Figaro and Patches
  • My favorite number: 13 (It has shown up everywhere I go since 1996)
  • My favorite drink: Coffee
  • Facebook or Twitter:
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/DianeKratz1 
  • Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDianeKratz
  • My passion: Family, writing and gardening.
  • Prefer giving or getting presents: Giving is so much better.
  • My favorite pattern: Greek Motifs
  • My favorite day of the week: Monday (I know I’m weird)
  • My favorite flower: Calla Lilies

And the other bloggers who deserve this award are:

forensics4fiction blog: Forensics Demystified for the Fiction Writer  by crime fiction writer Tom Adair.  What can I say about this blog other than it gave me my inspiration on what I wanted to do with my own blog. Tom is an expert in forensics and my go-to place when I can’t figure things out. He brings sunshine and ignites the imagination for any writer who needs to know if the forensics in their story is plausible. Tom had to be my number one choice. His site is well put together, and a goldmine of knowledge can be found there.

Jo-Ann Carson blog: Writing Dangerous Love Stories Filled with Mystery and Suspense. Jo-Ann’s home is in Canada. I love going to her blog and reading Jo-Ann’s posts. Her words take me away to a dreamland. She is an excellent writer whose descriptions are so vivid they pull you right in. I venture into her world and escape from my dark one.

SHERRY ISAAC blog: Psychological Sizzle -What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Writers. Sherry writes about the unknown from ghosts to biblical wonders. Her blog posts always leave me thinking about other possibilities out there. It can be scary as hell if you think about some of these things!

Arlee Bird blog: Tossing It Out (http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/) is another great blog I’d recommend. He calls himself “juggler of words and phrases.” This blog give authors, both published and unpublished, a chance to hijack his blog! Isn’t that awesome? This isn’t the only blog Arlee has. Nope, he has five blogs in total- Blogging from A to Z, April ChallengeWrote By Rote, A Few Words, and finally A Faraway View about dreams. Arlee loves blogging! And for this he deserves the sunshine award for all his blogging efforts.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all my followers out there for their comments on my blog and for making my first blogging experience phenomenal! You ROCK!

Also big (((hugs))) for Misty and Josie at Chick Swagger for giving my site the Sunshine Award!

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.

Image

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