CNN Interviews

Dr. Maurice Godwin

On DC Snipers

Presented Here By

Bonnie M. Wells


Reporter - Hemmer & Dr. Godwin

HEMMER: No shootings in the past day and a half. It has been well noted that the serial sniper took last weekend off, essentially no shootings to report of on last Saturday and Sunday. Will that be a repeat pattern? It's entirely too early to know that right now. We're not even at the halfway point for this weekend now.

Let's talk more about serial killers though. Our next guest has studied well over 100 American serial killers, 107 cases to be exact. Dr. Maurice Godwin is our guest from Raleigh, North Carolina, a criminal psychologist, and doctor thanks for your time tonight, really appreciate it.

DR. MAURICE GODWIN, CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROF: Thank you for having me.

HEMMER: I don't know what you can say right now about the cases that we've been talking about ten, eight dead, two others wounded and the other research you have done. But in a general sense, do you find similarities in the other cases that directly relate to this one?

GODWIN: Yes, I do. I was on CNN Monday and I've kept repeating over and over that there's two things I've always said that there was two individuals I believe that's involved in these killings. Also that there's a directional biased in the crimes from Montgomery County, Maryland down toward Fredericksburg in the shape of a wedge, and I said -- I've been saying all along that I feel that there's a northern Virginia link to these crimes.

And then suddenly, we saw Friday morning, you know another murder at the gas station in the northern Virginia area, and really the pattern here that's developing is really special, the special behavior of the sniper killer, and I'll refer to him as the I-95 killer because he is definitely using the artery of 95 to get in and out and to commit his crimes.

HEMMER: OK, let me stop you. You brought up a number of good points here. First of all, do you believe this is a serial killer, or do you buy into the theory that it could be terrorism or terrorist in the classic sense?

GODWIN: No. I don't think it has any terrorist ties like international. In regards to serial, the word serial killer, it's really the killing of three or more individuals with a cooling off period that's longer than this individual has demonstrated. So actually, this killer is referred to in the definitional sense as a spree killer.

HEMMER: OK, that's the first point. The northern Virginia link, what is your point with that, doctor?

GODWIN: Well, my research on 54 American serial killers who killed 540 victims, I looked at their special behavior and 80 percent of the offenders the crimes formed a distinct wedge shape with the average angle being about 45 to 50 degree angle. Of the 80 percent, 51 percent -- well, first of all 80 percent of the offenders lived, their home bases fell within the wedge.

Of the 80 percent, 51 percent fell at in and around the sharp point, sort of like a piece of pie or an ice cream cone, and that point in this case is in Fredericksburg, so that's the reason why. Now he did throw me off a little bit when he went down or they went down I-66 and committed the murder.

HEMMER: Hang on, doctor.

GODWIN: OK.

HEMMER: I want to follow you here. Define this wedge theory of yours.

GODWIN: OK.

HEMMER: I understand what you're setting up geographically, but where does it fall in line in terms of making logic and sense out of this?

GODWIN: Well, what it does is he's following his normal day -- he's learned this special bias based on his travel patterns when he's not offending, and that's essentially what he's doing. He's using 95 or he used 95 to go up to the Beltway, cut to the right, go around and all his crimes are to the right of the Beltway and it sort of a looks like a balloon with a string hanging down and so...

HEMMER: What does that indicate to you then, doctor? What does that tell you?

GODWIN: That tells me that most likely his home base is within the lower part of the wedge which is demonstrated on my Web site around Dale City down in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area.

HEMMER: OK when you say home base, do you mean that's where he lives, where he works, or what?

GODWIN: I'd suggest that either he lives there or he's got a strong connection there. I think what he's done, when he did the first five murders in the cluster, I think he did that -- he knows the area, or they know the area well up there.

HEMMER: Right.

GODWIN: But I think they did that and as they're growing more confident, they're moving closer in to their home base or his home base as did my serial killer research. As they grow more confident that they're not going to be caught, they think they're getting more clever, they move in closer to the point and I think that's where you start seeing the crimes getting committed closer to Fredericksburg like Friday. Now there's one area that he has not committed a crime yet and that's...

HEMMER: Where's that?

GODWIN: That's east. That's east of Fredericksburg where Highway 17 intersects U.S. 301.

HEMMER: All interesting stuff, interesting theories. I know you've done your research but how it all fits into this right now is still a wide open question right now.

GODWIN: Well you can go to...

HEMMER: Go ahead, doctor, further comment.

GODWIN: If you log onto my Web site, which we demonstrated last night on CNN at www.dr.mauricegodwin.com, there's a link there and you can see exactly what I'm talking about.

HEMMER: Thank you, doctor, Dr. Maurice Godwin, Raleigh, North Carolina.

GODWIN: Thank you very much.

HEMMER: Appreciate your time tonight.

GODWIN: Thank you very much.

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Bonnie M. Wells

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