Serial Killer

Odds and Ends / Bit's and Pieces

Compiled From Various Sources & Presented By

Bonnie M. Wells

"Serial killers are different. They are rarely in a hurry. They are methodical in their carnage. Serial killers are the comets. They blaze through the night and disappear into the blackness only to return again and again to kill. Organized serial killers, according to models developed by the FBI and other experts, target strangers and tend to travel some distance from home to kill. And prostitutes tend to be among the most likely victims in terms of serial killers, said Deborah Laufersweiler-Dwyer, associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Arkansas. “Nobody's going to necessarily note someone picking up a prostitute and they tend to go with anyone easily,” she said. Research shows, she said, that organized serial killers are typically sociopaths who have a problem with authority. “They don't like rules, they think they can make up the rules as they go along,” she said."


New Report Highlights Views of Experts


On television and the silver screen, serial killers are usually white males and dysfunctional loners who really want to get caught. Or, they’re super-intelligent monsters who frustrate law enforcement at every turn.

According to a new publication from our National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime—entitled Serial Murder: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators—serial killers are much different in real life.

The report contains the collective insights of a group of experts from the law enforcement, academic, and mental health professions who took part in a symposium on serial murder. The symposium’s focus was actually two-fold: to bridge the gap between fact and fiction and to build up our collective body of knowledge to generate a more effective investigative response.

Here’s why that is so important: Serial killings are rare, probably less than one percent of all murders. They do, however, receive a lot of attention in the news and on screen—and much of the information out there is wrong. Yet, the public, the media, and even sometimes law enforcement professionals who have limited experience with serial murder, often believe what they read and hear. And this misinformation can hinder investigations.

According to the experts, there is no common thread tying serial killers together—no single cause, no single motive, no single profile. But there are some common "best practices" that they recommend for investigations:

For example:

Strong leadership throughout the chain of command that can withstand the external pressure sometimes brought to bear on serial murder cases by politicians, the victims' families, and the media;

Task forces that bring together agencies from the different jurisdictions to effectively combine expertise, resources, and information;

An automated case management system like the FBI’s Rapid Start that organizes and collates lead information so investigators don't get overwhelmed;

A team of crime analysts who can help investigators develop timelines of murders and backgrounds on suspects, highlight similar case elements, etc. (note: if your agency doesn't have such a team, ask for help from a neighboring jurisdiction or from our National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime);

Consistent forensic services, which in the best case scenario means that the same crime scene team goes to each scene and the same crime lab processes all the evidence (but if that's not possible, then enhanced communication between the teams and the labs is a must to ensure consistency); and

A strong media plan that successfully straddles the line between giving out relevant information to the media and not compromising the investigation—while helping to raise public awareness about the killings.

As for serial killer myths, our group of experts had this to say about a few of them:

1) Serial killers are not all dysfunctional loners: some have had wives and kids and full-time jobs and have been very active in their community or church or both.

2) Serial killers are not all white males: the racial diversification of serial killers generally mirrors the overall U.S. population.

3) Serial killers do not want to get caught: over time, as they kill without being discovered, they get careless during their crimes.

So much for the stereotypes!

Serial Killer In California

From Stan Wilson / CNN / August 2008

Serial killer on the loose in California, police say

Los Angeles police say same person responsible for 11 slayings in California

Most victims were drug users or prostitutes, police say

Investigators connected slayings through DNA evidence

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Los Angeles, California, police detectives are looking for a serial killer who they believe killed at least 11 people, many of them prostitutes, over a 23-year period.

Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Charlie Beck said DNA evidence and ballistics tests have convinced detectives that the same killer is connected to the slayings in Los Angeles and Inglewood.

The victims were prostitutes or drug users who were sexually assaulted and then shot and dumped in alleyways or in Dumpsters, police said.

"We have a lot of evidence, and the connection between so many cases of DNA will allow us to eventually solve this," Beck said.

The most recent killing, in January 2007, was tied exclusively to DNA analysis to another case after 13 years. However, detectives have not been able to identify the killer through state or federal DNA databases of convicted felons.

According to Beck, authorities are still examining more than 50,000 inmates in state prison for similar crimes, but not all of them have DNA profiles.

One theory investigators are exploring about the gaps between the killings is the possibility that the killer served time in prison. Authorities are scouring files of inmates who were in prison serving time during periods of the killer's apparent inactivity.

All of the victims are young African-American females except for one black man.

The first known slaying occurred in 1985, when 29-year-old Debra Jackson was shot multiple times in the chest, police said.

Three years passed before detectives realized that the same weapon used to kill Jackson was used in seven other killings.

In 1988, a woman was sexually assaulted and shot. She survived and gave police a vague description of the suspect. However, Beck said the description was not enough for authorities to draw a composite sketch.

Those cases went cold until detectives connected three additional murders since 2002 based primarily on recently developed DNA technology.

Beck said authorities preserved fluid samples of DNA the killer left behind in earlier killings and found conclusive similarities on the body of three victims, including the most recent slaying from 2007.

Dozens of suspects that detectives previously considered were also ruled out based on DNA evidence, according to Beck.

Another theory investigators are examining is the possibility the killer may have left the state of California and committed crimes in other parts of the country.

"This is the mind of a maniac, but we have a tight victim profile and powerful evidence that has taken us across the country," Beck said. "The victims are the most vulnerable in society, and we know the suspect is involved in prostitution. Eventually, we will find him."

Ohio Executes Serial Killer Truck Driver

Man Killed 5 People Across Four States in Early 1990s

(AP) A former truck driver from Oregon who went on a multistate killing spree was executed Tuesday for murdering an Ohio man who gave him a ride in February 1991.

John Fautenberry, 45, was pronounced dead at 10:37 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, about two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to delay his execution on a claim that he had brain damage.

He was sentenced to death for killing Joseph Daron Jr., 46, who picked up the hitchhiking Fautenberry east of Cincinnati. Court records show Daron pleaded for his life before Fautenberry shot him and threw his body into a wooded area near the Ohio River.

Fautenberry gave up his right to a trial by jury in Cincinnati and pleaded no contest in July 1992 to two counts each of aggravated murder and grand theft and one count of aggravated robbery in Daron's death.

Fautenberry also confessed to killing four people in Alaska, Oregon and New Jersey over five months in late 1990 and early 1991.

In New Jersey, Fautenberry was convicted of manslaughter for killing fellow trucker Gary Farmer and received a life sentence.

In Alaska, Fautenberry pleaded guilty in the March 1991 fatal stabbing of Jefferson Diffee of Juneau and received a 99-year sentence.

Fautenberry confessed to shooting two people in the head in Oregon. Donald Nutley, whom Fautenberry met at a truck stop, was shot dead after the two went target shooting in November 1990. Christine Guthrie, a Portland bank teller, was killed in February 1991 after Fautenberry returned to the state from Ohio.

His Ohio defense attorney, Dennis Sipe, had argued that the state should pay a neuropsychologist to examine Fautenberry, whose last mental exam was 13 years ago. Sipe contended that Fautenberry should not be executed because he has brain damage from a childhood accident and from an injury while serving in the U.S. Navy.

Ohio has put 30 men to death since it reinstated the death penalty in 1999. Wilson is the first inmate executed in Ohio since June 3.

BMW NOTE / July 14, 2009:

Dennis Sipe was Jackie McCrady's attorney {in 1997}: McCrady is housed in Ross County Correctional Institute for the rest of his life for the murder of his wife - although there is ample evidence that Jackie McCrady was NOT the killer of his wife. Sipe and McCrady's other attorney, Bill Kiger chose to ignore that evidence, and even failed to bring forth witnesses that could have helped prove the man's innocence:

See McCrady case on my September Story page: September

Dennis Sipe was also former police officer Dave Garvey's attorney {in 2008} and successfully got a dismissial of all charges against him - even though the state of Ohio had produced enough evidence to prove 3 of the 4 charges against him: Judge Ed Lane rendered a direct verdict in the case and dropped all charges before the jury was ever allowed to go into deliberations:

See Garvey case on my August Story page: August and on my Law & Order In The News page: Law & Order

Peter Vronsky's book / SERIAL KILLERS; The Method & Madness Of Monsters

More to be added as time permits:

Serial Killers, {part 1 of 2}

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