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Contents EDITOR'S NOTE' This special

issue of the FBI Law Enforcement
Bulletin reports the results of
research on sexual homicide crime
qqIJ~-' ~he Men Who Murdered scenes and patterns of criminal
behavior. It is the work of.

Albert Belanger, BA, Computer

Programmer, Boston University,
17 Boston, MA
Ralph B. D'Agostino, Ph.D.,
99/IJ The Split Reality of Murder PROJECT INVESTIGATORS
Department of Mathematics, Boston
Robert K. Ressler, M.S., University, Boston, MA
Supe:visory Special Agent, FBI HollyJean Chaplick, M.A.,
12 Academy, Behavioral Science Unit, Research Assistant, Health
Classifying Sexual Director of the Research and Services Research, Department of
Homicide Crime Scenes Development Program, Quantico, Health and Hospitals, Boston, MA
VA Marieanne L. Clark, M.S., Editor,
Ann W. Burgess, R.N., D.N.Sc., Health Services Research,
18 van Ameringen Professor Department of Health and
Crime Scene and Profile Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Hospitals, Boston, MA
Characteristics of University of Pennsylvania, Carol R. Hartman, R.N., D.N.Sc.,
99/17 Organized and Philadelphia, PA; and Associate Associate Professor and
Director of Nursing Research,
Disorganized Murderers Coordinator of the Graduate
Department of Health and Program in Psychiatric Mental
Hospitals, Boston, MA Health Nursing, Boston College,
Chestnut Hill, MA
Interviewing Techniques Caroline Montan, BA, Research
Roger L. Depue, Unit Chief, Assistant, Health Services
for Sexual Homicide
John E. Douglas, Robert R. Research, Department of Health
Investigation Hazelwood, and Kenneth V. and Hospitals, Boston, MA
Lanning, Supervisory Special Karen Woelfel, Research
Agents, and Cindy Lent, Research Assistant, Health Services
32 Assistant, Behavioral Science Unit, Research, Department of Health
Wanted by the FBI FBI Academy, Quantico, VA and Hospitals, Boston, MA

Federal Bureau of Investigation Published by the Office of

United States Department of Justice Congressional and Public Affairs.
Washington, DC 20535 William M. Baker, Assistant Dlfector

Editor~-Thomas J. Deakin
William H. Webster, Director
Assistant Editor-Kathryn E. Sulewski
The Attorney General has determined that the Art Director-KeVin ,I Mulholland
publication of this periodical is necessary In the Writer/Editor-Karen McCarron
transaction of the public bUSiness reqUired by law Production Manager--Jeffrey L Summers
of the Department of Justice Use of funds for
prtntlng this pertodlcal has been approved by the
Reprints-- Regena E. Archey
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
through June 6, 1988

ISSN 0014-5688 USPS 383-310


Chapter 1

The Men
\ Who

Statistics from the FBI's Uniform To address this problem, law en- spective. It includes an initial appraisal
Crime Reports document the alarming forcement is studying techniques to of a profiling process and interviews
number of victims of sexually violent aid in apprehending serial offenders. of incarcerated murderers conducted
crimes. -One of the disturbing patterns These techniques require an indepth by FBI Special Agents. The interviews
inherent in these statistics is that of knowledge of the criminal personality, contain specific questions answered
the serial or repetitive criminal. Law an area that, until recently, was re- from compiled sources plus lengthy,
enforcement officials have questioned searched primarily by forensic clini- open-ended interviews with the mur-
whether a small percentage of crimi- cians who interviewed criminals from derers themselves. A subsample of 36
nals may be responsible for a large a psychological framework or by crimi- sexual murderers was selected for
number of crimes, that is, a core nologists who studied crime trends analysis to develop further information
group of habitual serious and violent and statistics. Missing from the data for profiling these murders. Here, we
offenders. This has been documented base were critical aspects relevant to present what we learned about these
in one study on juvenile delinquents, 1 law enforcement investigation. Re- 36 men. It is important to recognize
and other studies have reported simi- searchers have now begun to study that we are making general state-
lar results,2 with average estimates of the criminal from law enforcement ments about these offenders. Not all
from 6 to 8 percent of delinquents perspectives, with a shift in focus to statements are true for all offenders,
comprising the core of the delinquen- the investigative process of crime although they may be true for most of
cy problem. scene inquiry and victimology. the 36 men or for most of the offend-
Our research is the first study of ers from whom we obtained data. Re-
sexual homicide and crime scene pat- sponses were not available from all
terns from a law enforcement per- offenders for all questions.

2 I FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin _ _ __

-~-------- ---_._---

The concept of a National Center for the The National Center for the Analysis of
Analysis of Violent Crime was developed a year Violent Crime will be an important tool in solving
ago; this special issue of the FBI Law these perplexing crimes that are committed by
Enforcement Bulletin presents the first reportage thuse mobile criminals in our society. We owe the
of results to the law enforcement community of Center's existence to the tremendous cooperation
the extensive research undertaken by thd Center. of officials like Pierce Brooks, former chief of police
One of the first tasks of the Center was to of three different cities, and longtime homicide
collect a data base on serial murders. We believe investigator, who supervised the establishment of
that this is one area where a nationwide approach the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program
would best serve the needs of local authorities (VI-CAP)-one element of the Center-and the
because many of these murderers are highly material support of other Department of Justice
mobile in their violent criminal activities. The agencies: The Office of Justice Programs, the
assistance rendered by the Behavioral Science National Institute of Justice. and the Office of
Unit of our Training Division in developing profiles Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
in unsolved homicide cases has been recognized In the latest development at the Center, we
by local authorities across the country. It is now are now training local officers selected for
an integral part of the Center. specialization in profiling and VI-CAP matters so
Your cooperation is sought in this that each can work on these difficult cases with a
undertaking by the Center, since without it we local FBI.Agent, also specially trained. As we
could not build the reliable data base needed to develop the data base on these crimes of
analyze the serial murders, rapes, arsons, and violence, teams working at the Center will report
other crimes we have targeted. This research their progress to the whole law enforcement
project has two spec'fic objectives: (1) To develop community in various ways, including in the pages
statistical models (and companion computer of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.
software) to discriminate between patterns of
homicide crime scenes, and (2) to identify
patterns of behavioral and personality traits that
correlate with the evidence found at the crime
scene. William H. Webster
August 1. 1985
"Law enforcement officials have questioned whether a
small percentage of criminals may be responsible for a
large number of crimes. . . ."

Background Characteristics the child perceives the family mem- Over 40 percent of the men lived out-
Although their birth years ranged bers and their interaction with him and side the family home before age 18 in
from 1904 to 1958, most of the 36 of- with each other. For children growing places such as foster homes, State
fenders (all male) grew up in the up, the quality of their attachments to homes, detention centers, Qr mental
1940's and 1950's. They were pre- parents and other members of the hospitals. Twenty-five of the men for
dominantly white and were usually family is important in how these chil- whom data were available had histo-
eldest sons (first or second born), dren become adults and relate to, and ries of early psychiatric difficulties,
which gave them a distinct advantage, value, other members of society. Es- thereby minimizing their opportunity to
given the dominant-male attitudes in sentially, these early life attachments establish positive relationships within
the country at that time. (sometimes called bonding) translate the family. In addition, the families
Most of these men, as adults, into a map of how the child will per- had minimal attachment to a commu-
had pleasant general appearances, ceive situations outside of the family. nity, reducing the child's opportunities
suggesting that as boys they were not Because of this, we were especially to develop positive, stable relation-
unattractive. Their heights and interested in specific factors within ships outside the family that might
weights were within the norms, and family relationships that best show the compensate for family instability.
few had distinguishing handicaps or offenders' levels of attachment to As stated earlier, both parents
physical defects to set them apart in a people. were present in over half (20) of the
group of boys or men. The majority of The family histories of these men cases, with the father being absent in
the men were of average or above-av- revealed that multiple problems exist- 10 cases, the mother being absent in
erage intelligence, with one-third ed in the family structure. Half of the 3 cases, and both parents being
having superior intelligence. offenders' families had members with absent in 2 cases. However, of impor-
The majority initially began life in criminal histories; over half of the fam- tance is that in 17 cases, the biologi-
two-parent homes, and half of the ilies had psychiatric problems. This cal fathar left home before the boy
mothers were homemakers. Although suggests insufficient contact between reached 12 years of age. This ab-
the majority of fathers worked at un- some family members and the offend- sence was due to a variety of rea-
skilled jobs, they were steadily em- er as a child, as well as the possibility sons, including separation and di-
ployed; only five men reported the of inadequate patternR of relating. vorce. It :s not surprising, then, that
family living at substandard economic Nearly 70 percent of the families had the dominant parent of the offender
levels. histories of alcohol abuse, one-third of during the rearing phase of his life
Thus, poverty was not a significant the families had histories of drug was the mother (for 21 cases). Only
factor in the socioeconomic status of abuse, and sexual problems among nine offenders said the father was the
families; mothers were in the home; family members were either present dominant parent, and two said both
fathers were earning stable incomes; or suspected in almost half of the re- parents shared the parenting roles.
the subjects were intelligent, white, ported cases. Thus, it is unlikely that Perhaps the most interesting fact
eldest sons. With such positive per- most of the offenders experienced a revealed was that most offenders said
sonal characteristics and social fac- good quality of life or positive inte:'ac- they did not have a satisfactory rela-
tors, the question is: What went tions with family members. tionship with their father, and their re-
wrong? Is there any evidence of what When examining the patterns de- lationship with their mother was highly
may have turned these men into sex- scribed by the murderers regarding ambivalent in emotional quality. Six-
ually oriented murderers? their own families, one is impressed teen of the men reported cold or un-
by the high degree of instability in caring relationships with their moth-
Family Background homelife and by the poor '1uality of at- ers, and 26 reported such relation-
It is often argued that the struc- tachment among family members. ships with their fathers.
ture and quality of family interaction is Only one-third of the men reported Twenty of the offenders had no
an important factor in the develop- growing up in one location. The ma- older brothers and 17 had no older
ment of a child, especially in the way jority (17) said they experienced occa- sisters. In terms of having a strong
sional instability, and six reported role model during formative years,
chronic instability or frequent moving.

August 1985 I 3
"It appears that the childhood physical and sexual abuse
experienced by these offenders was manifested in their
preference for fantasy life."

these men lacked an older sibling Individual Development child away from reality and into his
who might make up for parental defi- When looking at individual devel- own private world of violence where
ciencies. Instead, they had to com- opment of the offenders, two factors the child can exert control. The con-
pete with younger siblings in an emo- stand out-the dominance of a fanta- trol of the fantasy becomes crucial
tionally deficient environment. sy life and a history of personal first to the child and later to the man.
Compounding the offenders' limit- abuse. These are not fantasies of escape to
ed opportunities for positive attach- Many of the murderers were able something better, as one often sees
ments were their perceptions of pa- to describe the importance of a fanta- in children recovering from sexual as-
rental discipline. Frequently, the men sy life in their early development. saults and dbusive treatment. These
reported discipline as unfair, hostile, These fantasies were primarily violent men did not overcompensate for the
inconsistent, and abusive. These men and sadistic in nature. Twenty offend- stimUlation and aggression by idyllic
believed they were not dealt with fairly ers had rape fantasies before age 18, thinking or creative interests. Rather,
by adults throughout their formative and seven of these men acted out their energies were funneled into fan-
years. these fantasies within a year of be- tasies of aggression and mastery over
This quote from a serial murderer coming consciously aware of them. other people, suggesting a projected
illustrates these beliefs: There was evidence of abuse in repetition of their own abuse and
"See, if I had my way, you guys the childhood histories of these men. identification with the aggressor. As
would never have grown up or Physical abuse (13/31), psychological one murderer stated, "Nobody both-
become FBI agents. I wanted the abuse (23/31), and childhood sexual ered to find out what my problem was
whole world to kick off when I was abuse (12/31) were noted. and nobody knew about the fantasy
about 9 or 10. I didn't want my When the offenders were asked world."
family to break up; I loved them to rank their sexual interests, the high-
both. There was a lot of fighting est ranking activity was pornography Performance
and that had me crying watching it (81 percent), followed by compulsive Examination of performance be-
at night. They divorced. I've got two masturbation (79 percent), fetishism havior of these murderers revealed
sisters and my mother treated me (72 percent), and voyeurism (71 per- another paradox. Despite intelligence
like a third daughter telling me what cent). It is interesting to note the and potential in many areas, perform-
a rotten father I have. I'm supposed seemingly solitary pattern of these ance in academics, employment,
to be identifying with my dad and I sexual expressions. sexual relationships, and military serv-
never did. I got an older sister that It appears that the childhood ice was often poor. In all of these
beats up on me a lot-five years physical and sexual abuse experi- areas, performance did not match po-
older. I got a younger sister that lies enced by these offenders was mani- tential.
on both of us and gets us punished. fested in their preference for fantasy Although these men had the intel-
I had the instinct to feel like I'm life. In addition, when questioned ligence to perform well in school, aca-
getting a rotten deaL" about the murders themselves and demic failure was seen in their having
The data have suggested that their preparations for the murders, the to repeat elementary grades. The ma-
most of the 36 murderers, while grow- men identified the importance of fan- jority did not finish high school. In ad-
ing up, had weak attachments to tasy to the rapes and murders. After dition, school failure was frequently
family members. They felt uninvolved the first murder, the men found them- mentioned by the men, suggesting
with their fathers, ambivalent toward selves deeply preoccupied and some- that they related this early failure to
their mothers, and little attachment to times stimulated by their memories of their sense of inadequacy.
younger siblings. The parents were the act, all of which contributed to The men also had the intelligence
preoc0upied with their own problems fantasies for subsequent murders. needed to perform skilled jobs; how-
of SUbstance abuse, criminality, or ab- One begins to understand how an ever, most offenders had poor work
errant sexual behavior and were often early pattern used to cope with an un- histories in unskilled jobs, and only 20
arguing. It appears that while parents satisfactory family life might turn a percent had ever held steady jobs.
offered little guidance, they were role About half of the offenders en-
models for deviant patterns. tered the military. Only 4 of the 14

4 I FBI Law Enfof(.ement Bulletin~ ________ ~ ______________

who were in military service received function, the history of abuse, the Autoerotic Preference
honorable discharges, and 1 of the 4 dominance of fantasy, the preference The men reported few attach-
had a criminal history in the service. for solo sex, and the performance fail- ments to persons outside of the
Two mAn received general di~ ure of these men, the data suggest family. Rather, they admitted to an
charges, three were dishonorably dis- the emergence of certain attitudes. autoerotic preference (masturbation)
charged, three had undesirable dis-
Devaluation of People that combined with fantasies of ag-
charges, and two received medical
gression and the realities of the abuse
discharges. The men in the study experi- they were concurrently experiencing.
The sexual performance of the enced low social attachment, felt de- Their visual interests (pornography,
offenders was generally at an auto- tached from family members as well fetishism, and voyeurism) reinforced
erotic (solo sexual activity) level. Al- as from peers, and did not experience the sex and aggression.
though 20 men were able to state an the bonding through which people de-
age of first consenting sex to orgasm, velop sensitivity toward other people. Fantasy is Reality
they did not report an extensive, peer- The murderers frequently described The offenders' active participation
related sexual history. The ages of themselves as loners or as feeling dif- in the social world is limited, and their
first consenting sexual experience ferent from others their age. The re- efforts at performing and fitting in are
ranged from 11 to 25. Of the 16 who sultant attitudes include beliefs that frustrated. Their need for a sense of
did not report an age, it was clear to do not consider or are insensitive to adequacy and mastery of life is noted
the interviewers that many never ex- the needs of others. Essentially, the in their development of private worlds
perienced consenting "normal" sex. offenders do not value relationships- where fantasy and delusions predomi-
There was an obvious preference for they are self-centered. nate. This retreat triggers the thoughts
autoerotic activity.
World Viewed as Unjust that dictate criminal behavior.
The interviews with the offenders
revealed many expressions of low The men perceived discipline in Deviant Behaviors
self-esteem prior to the murders. the home, school failures, and other
Many offenders felt a sense of failure The data suggest that the deviant
inadequate performance as part of an
beginning at a young age. Again, we behaviors of rape, mutilation, torture,
unjust and unfair world. Their resultant
can speculate on the importance of and murder have some roots in both
belief is that other people are respon-
fantasy life. It appears that what com- the offenders' background characteris-
sible for their fates.
pensates for poor performance is the tics and their attitudes and beliefs.
fantasy, in which the variables can be Authority and Life Viewed as (See fig. 1.) The deviant behavior
controlled. Inconsistent identified at the crime scene provides
some clues for understanding the type
These men view authority and life of criminal personality responsible for
Resultant Attitudes and Beliefs as inconsistent, unpredictable, and the crime.
unstable. As a result, the offenders do
In reviewing background charac- not value or trust authority. Rape
teristics for the offenders as a group,
a pattern emerges as we look at Rape is sexually deviant behavior
Obsession with Dominance through
issues critical to sexual homicide. Al- that exhibits absolute disregard for the
though the personal strengths of the worth and value of an individual. Rape
The intense desire to be strong, fantasies range from having power
murderers (high intelligence, good ap-
powerful, and in control becomes an and control over a victim to more vio-
pearance, average socioeconomic
obsession to dominate through ag- lent sadistic fantasies. Those who
family status, oldest son or first!
gression. This desire results from the rape before killing are seeking to
second born) are usually positive at-
way the offenders responded to the
tributes for success, something
abuse in their families. It was subse-
occurs which causes a negative out-
quently manifGsted in their fantasies
come for these men. From the per-
and later in their acts.
ceived quality of family structure and

August 1985 / 5
Figure 1

General Characteristics, Resultant Attitudes and Beliefs, and Deviant

Behaviors of 36 Sexual Murderers
Family Background Individual Development Performance
Detachment Dominance of fantasy School failure
Criminality History of personal abuse Sporadic work record
dominate others, regardless of the
Substance abuse Unskilled employment
consequences; those who sexually
Psychiatric problems Poor military record
assault after death (necrophilia) need
Sexual problems Solo sex
the 1bsence of life to have total domi-
Inconsistent discipline
nation without fear of resistance and/
or rejection. In both cases, there is a
high amount of sexual dysfunction,
most frequently ejaculatory failure. I RESULTANT ATTITUDES AND DEVIANT BEHAVIORS
This inadequacy is projected onto the BELIEFS Rape
victim and may playa part in the es- Devaluation of victim and society Mutilation
calation to murder. World viewed as unjust Torture
Authority/life viewed as inconsistent Murder
Mutilation and Torture
Autoerotic preference
The act of mutilation may be
Obsession with dominance through
predicated on a primary fantasy
(sadism) or on a secondary fantasy
Fantasy as reality
(e.g., disposing of the body). A mutila-
tion fantasy includes symbolic pat-
terns to the cuttings and markings on lizing of the fantasy makes them real. of low social attachment, physical,
a body or the amputation of the Acting out the fantasy links the fanta- emotional, and/or sexual abuse, and
sexual parts of the body. This is in sy with reality, and the fantasy be- a dominance of a violent. sexualized
contrast to the practical aspect of dis- comes reality. The offender believes fantasy life sets into motion the atti-
secting a body for disposal or trans- he can now control reality. tudes and beliefs that trigger the devi-
portation purposes. ant behavior of rape, mutilation, tor-
Torturing a victim is part of a sa- Conclusion ture, and murder. One of the major re-
distic fantasy. Such fantasies include What, then, can we glean from an lationship deficiencies for these mur-
some type of stimulus enhancing an analysis of background information derers is in their interaction with men,
autoerotic condition and include slic- and interviews with 36 sexual murder- perhaps stemming from the absent,
ing, cutting, burning, pulling out hairs ers? Although any speculations are cold, and unavailable father.
or body parts, and biting. general in nature and will not apply to An understanding of some of the
every sexual killer, our sample indi- dynamics behind sexually deviant be-
Murder cates that child/adolescent energies havior provides law enforcement offi-
Murder is the ultimate expression were funneled into fantasies rather cials some inSight into the suspects
of dominance. The offender's aggres- than into goal-directed learning be- they are trying to identify and appre-
sion is self-generated from his own havior. Excessive involvement in solo hend. FBI
fantasies, not from any societal model sex, noted through the frequency of
of strength or power. His idea of mas- masturbation and the preference for
tering other people emerges through visual isolated sexual experiences, Footnotes
, ME WOlfgang, R.M. Flgllo, and T. Sellin.
his violence and aggression. For such as fetishes and voyeurism, may Delinquency In <1 Birth Cohort (Chicago: The UniverSity of
these murderers, sexual interest is have a link with the offender's domi- Chicago Press, 1972).
2 A.M, Figlio and P,E, Tracy. "Chronic Recidivism in
linked with violence and exploitation nant fantasy world. A high interest in the 1968 Birth Cohort," unpublished manuscripl,
Washington. DC, NIJJDP. 1983; D,M, Hamparian. R,
rather than gentleness or pleasure. pornography detracts from engaging Schuster, S, Dinitz. and J,P, Conrad. The Violent Few
Murder fantasies range from con- in reality and relationships and further (LeXington, MA: Cl.C, Health & Co. 1978); LW. Shannon,
"A Longitudinal Study 01 Delinquency and Crime," in
scious deliberate planning to a spon- reinforces the fantasy. Excitement lies QuantitatIVe Studies In Criminology, ed, C, Wellford
taneous outburst of rage. Although within the offender, not in his relation- (Beverly HillS', Sage Publicabons. 1978).

the offender's fantasy life develops ships with other people.

his predatory activities, the first actua- The roots of the murderer'S ac-
tions appear to stem from their back-
ground experiences. The combination

6 / FBI law Enforcement Bulletin _

-~----~~---.-.-~~----~------.-~.-----~~--------------- .. ----~~-~-----------------~~-~~-----

" .. . many offenders reported a history of sadistic behavior

toward animals, such as killing, maiming, and threatening
small animals. . . . "

seemed to introduce him in a more The man would state he remembered the fantasy. What these 36 men re-
conscious way to a fantasy life which having vague thoughts Ot was able to vealed in terms of their first murder
occupied rluch of his life: remember some parts of his thinking was that something happened exter-
"I was eight years old, having but did not have this awareness clear- nally to them that moved them to act
nightmares, that's when I went off ly structured in his mind. This re- out this fantasy.
into the morbid fantasy and that's sponse in subjects led to our belief The key person in the fantasy-
when the death trip started. The that much of the motive and intent in the one doing the killing, maiming, or
devil was sharing my bedroom with the form of fantasies are vague and torturing-is the perpetrator himself.
me, he was living in the furnace. loosely formulated until the murderers Sometimes, perpetrators fantasize
The furnace was there battling actually kill. With the reality of the self-victimization, such as ordering
away in the corner with an eerie murder. the fantasy feeds off itself their own evisceration, but most vic-
glow in the middle of the night." and becomes more structured. As timize others in their fantasies. Their
more murders are committed, the actions are mentally rehearsed and
This man later in the interview de-
phases of the murders become more are accompanied by emotion. Ttle
scribed a conscious awareness of his
organized. fantasy life is varied and has many dy-
motive to kill:
Although we discuss the "first" namics that are idiosyncratic to the
"I knew long before I started killing
murder, many offenders reported a murderer.
that I was going to be killing, that it
history of sadistic behavior toward ani- A vrriety of factors can trigger
was going to end up like that. The
mals, such as killing, maiming, and the offender to act on his fantasy, in-
fantasies were too strong. They
threatening small animals (cats, birds, cluding certain interactions between
were going on for too long and
fish). In one case, the murderer, as a the murderer and the victim. The fol-
were too elaborate."
young boy, had acquired the nick- lowing case illustrates the murderer's
Following the first murder, the fantasy name "Doc," apparently from his recall of the triggering event of the
becomes reality that requires a fondness for slitting open the stom- victim trying to escape, but not of the
change in the structure of the fantasy achs of cats and observing how far murder:
in order to repeat the crime. The they could run before they died. Subject "We were upstairs and I
same murderer tells of this fantasy One murderer connected his mur- was taking my clothes off. That's
development: derous acts to dismembering his sis- when she started back downstairs.
"It was almost like a black comedy ter's doll heads. "I used to do my sis- As a matter of fact, that's the only
of errors, the first killings, two ter's dolls that way when I was a kid time I hit her. I caught her at the
people, it was terrible because I . . . just yanked the head off her stairs."
made three fatal errors in the first Barbie dolls." Although this offender Agent: "What happened?"
24 hours. I should have been was able to note the connection to his Subject: She wanted to know why I
busted. . . I saw how loose I was early violent fantasies, many offend- hit her. I just told her to be quiet.
and I tightened it up and when it ers were not able to make this link. She was complaining about what'
happened again and again I got We are not discussing in this arti- time she would get home and she
tighter and tighter and there weren't cle any motives based on childhood said her parents would worry. She
ar.y more slips." experiences. Instead, we are referring consented to sex. . . then I
Motivation operates on many to' a level of motivation that later in remembered nothing else except
levels. We are referring here to the the life of the offender serves as a waking up and her dead in the
conscious or preconscious awareness basis for or triggers the murder. bed."
of the murderers, the structure of their It is at this later level of motiva- Some murderers were aware of
fantasies, and the resultant act of tion that the offender's fantasy life re- their fantasy to rape and their motive
murder. We use the term "precon- flects itself in his social behavior-the to kill. The fantasy of one juvenile
scious" since many of the interviews line between fantasy and reality blurs. who was caught after his first rape de-
with the murderers reveal this level. The offender may become isolated or picted total control over women. He
socially aloof rather than acting on the
fantasy. This social isolation perh8ps
helps in inhibiting his desire to act on

8 I FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin_


was infuriated at the female judge when chastized Jy a teacher or boss, Fantasies provide a sense of
who sentenced him to a residential fa- these offenders talk to themselves control to the offender. For the serial
cility, and he continued to rape when about it-"If I ever got that son of a murderer, they become obsessions.
on leave from the facility. The rape bitch I'd rip him apart; I'd smash him Efforts are made to improve the fanta-
fantasy escalated to include murder up." One offender, after performing sy's weak areas, and once this is ac-
when there was a threat to this power poorly in the service and being intimi- complished, the offendm moves to
and control, i.e., his detection. One dated by his sergeant, went a.w.o.1. gain access to a victim. The symbolic
rape victim was killed because she on a drinking binge. While out on the figure in the fantasy is replaced with a
showed some assertiveness by run- street, he beat a drunk to death after real person in reality.
ning away, even though she had said the man grabbed at him. The offender
she wouldn't tell. The murderer re- felt justified in his actions and was un- Phases of a Murder
vealed his fantasy for total control aware of the intensity of his rage or The fantasy underlying a sexually
when he said, "When I think she is the impact of his blows. He then beat oriented murder drives the offender's
going to tell, I know I have to kill her." to death a second man. Finally, he actions through variolls phases of that
He raped and murdered four more vic- abducted a female acquaintance. murder. The act of murder has at
tims. When he awoke the next morning, her least four major phases, including: 1)
Some of the murderers in our dead body was beside him with a Antecedent behavior, which include!;
study did not report fantasias in a broomstick impaled in her vagina with the motives and planning or thinking
conscious way. Instead, they often such force that it had penetrated her about the murder; 2) the murder itself,
described states of dysphoria, such as lungs. Although he believes he killed including gaining access to the victim
they were not feeling well, they were her, he has no recollection of the inci- and carrying out the crime; 3) disposal
depressed, or they had been drinking. dent. He even helped the police look of the body; and 4) postcrime behav-
These descriptions often revealed an for her. ior, including raction to the discovery
underlying stress that may have been Most people are aware of their of the body.
based in their fantasy. The following is fantasy life in terms of making pic-
an example: tures and carrying on dialog. When Phase 1: Antecedent Behavior
Subjact: "It was the same as with people report hearing voices, it is Murder is a behavioral act. Moti-
the other one. I had been drinking most often an hallucination. It is often vations for this behavior include either
at the bar. I don't even remember described as either a voice from the a conscious fantasy, plan, directive, or
leaving. I don't know what made me outside or as someone transmitting reason to kill or a triggering environ-
kill her. I don't even know why I thoughts into their mind. Something is mental cue that activates an uncon-
raped her. I had a good looking wife in their heads of which they are con- scious fantasy for murder. Murderers
at home. I saw her get into her car sciously aware but they believe it is in who operate primarily on a conscious
and I walked up and got in the car the control of someone else and that motivational level usually remember
with her, yelled at her, took her they are the passive victim. their thoughts prior to the murder.
down there where I raped her. I The fantasy of the serial murderer One of the murderers in our study de-
kept telling her I didn't want to hurt is a separate, distinct reality. It is vi- scribed his entangled fantasy and per-
her but I just started choking her." brant and vital, distinguishable from versions and said, "I had a compul-
We suspect that these offenders the "other" reality of the social 'Norld. sion during the day and hoped it
were preoccupied with a kind of inter- The offender believes he can move would settle down-hoped I could
nal dialog that sustained anger, dis- from one reality to the other, that wipe it out drinking." It did not settle
content, irritability, or depression. ideas generated in fantasy are viable. down, and he acted out the fantasy
Drinking or drugs are attempts at No fantasy thought is ever seen as and murdered after leaving the bar.
moderating the internal stress, yet the abnormal. For example, one murder- Murderers who are triggered into
fantasy continues. These offenders er's fantasy involved an exceptionally action by an environmental cue often
are unaware of how much internal good sexual experience, and when state that they cannot remember their
dialog they experience. For example, the woman's behavior did not match
the fantasy, he became enraged and
killed her.

__________________ _____________ August 1985 I 9

--~-------------- ----------------
"Sexual horriicide is an act of control, dominance, and
performance that is representative of an underlying fantasy
embedded with violence, sexuality, and death."

precrime behavior, although they can offender feels unfairly treated, and The power of the fantasy during
recall how they murdered. They state this sets into motion the justification the murder is illustrated by one fetish
they found themselves in a compro- to l<ill. As one murderer said, "I burglar. He killed his victims only
mising situation, and they reacted with couldn't perform sometimes. Some- when he was interrupted, but not be-
explosive rage. ("She was screaming body made fun of me and I blew my cause he was afraid of being identi-
and I strangled her.") These killers stack." fied. He was acting out an intense
usually described a spontaneous Killing the victim moves the of- fantasy, and the unexpected interrup-
murder. The vagueness of the crime fender to another level of the fantasy. tion made him furious. He acted on
continued with subsequent murders; At this point, the reality of murder this rage and felt justified in the
however, the men are aware that mey comes into play. The victim may not murder.
will kill again. die the way the offender planned. The
offender might have to use more vio- Phase :3: Disposing of the Body
Phase 2: Committing the Murder lence, he may feel more frigr.tened After committing the murder, the
Selecting a victim begins the than anticipated, or he might be star- offender must decide what to do with
acting-out level for the murderer with tled by the fact he feels excited. the body. If this confrontation with re-
a conscious fantasy. The offender Some murderers are exhilarated- ality has not been anticipated, the
may have a list of criteria for choosing they broke the rules, they killed. Some murderer may give himself up to the
a victim, and many murderers are will kill again, while others will, in authorities. As one murderer said, "It
known to seek out the right victim. A horror over what they did, turn them- blew my mind killing those people. I
delay before killing the victim often selves in to the police. wasn't ready for that. The fantasies
implies conscious planning and re- During this phase, murderers are were there but I couldn't handle the
hearsing of the fantasy. In these also ccnfronted with the reality of a death trip and dead bodies. I freaked
cases, the murderer often held an dead body. There is no such thing as out and gave myself up."
elaborate fantasy, laced with violence, killing with impunity-there is always It is unclear why some murderers
aggression, torture, and sexuality, some response. Some murderers re- just leave the body, while others uSe
which also included the fate of the spond by covering the body, washing elaborate methods of disposing of the
victim. the wounds, or otherwise caring for body. One offender who described his
The history and circumstances of the body, a response that exhibits re- internal dialog as he confronted the
the victim are often important to the morse or concern for the victim. body of his first murder victim said, "I
offender's fantasy. The victim may be Some murderers hide or bury the got a dead body on my hands. People
symbolic of someone in the offender's body, raising some questions about see me come in here. How am I going
history, as in one case wt;ere all the their motives. One reason for hiding to pack this out? Am I gonna put it in
young women killed were symbolic of or burying the body is to keep the a double bag or sheet and carry it out
the offender's sister for whom he har- secret and maintain control. Other mur- of here? I figured the smaller the
bored great jealousy. Certain actions rlerers openly display the corpse in a better. I chopped it up . . . stuffed
of the victim may also trigger the fan- public area, hoping the display will some in the refrigerator . . . dumped
tasy. One murderer, who selected his shock and offend society. guts in vacant lots .., throwing
victims through hitchhiking, said, "She Some murderers need to believe pieces here and there what ever
was playing up the role, the big beau- that they will not show any concern came out of the bag first . . . I was
tiful smile and getting in the car which for the victim. The actual murder goes scared."
was kind of tragic but she had adver- beyond their fantasies of that killing. In a second case, the murderer
tised to get blown away." One murderer described his height- described a planned dismembering of
For the murderer without a con- ened excitement when driving his car the body after killing the victim in a
scious fantasy, a certain person or sit- with the dead bodies in the trunk. car. He then carried the body in a
uation may, for example, cue in a There is confirmation and reinforce-
strong belief of an unjust world. The ment of the fantasy and pleasure or
triumph in the power of the kill. These
killers may torture and then kill, or kill
and then mutilate the body.

10 I FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin __________

PI .... ...........
bag, up two flights of stairs to the The importance of postcrime to the worst of the fantasies that I
apartment he shared with his mother, events to the overall fantasy is illus- have."
passing two persons coming down the trated by one case in which the of- Interviews with sexual murderers
stairs. He said, "It took meticulous fender worked as a hospital ambu- provided information about their fanta-
work . . . about four hours . . . dis- lance driver. He kidnaped his victims sies which, in turi i, provide us with a
membering it, getting rid of the blood, from the parking lot of a restaurant partial answer to murders that appear
the gore, completely cleaning the and took them to another location, to be motiveless. 1 hese crimes are
bathroom." where he raped and murdered them. committed, in part, as a result of the
Some murderers became in- He then anonymously telephoned the acting out of a psychological fantasy.
volved with the body through sexually police to report seeing a body, re- These fantasies are extremely violent
sadistic acts. This may be part of the turned to the hospital to receive the and range from rape to mutilation or
old fantasy or development of a new ambulance call, and then drove the torture and murder. Fantasies are an
one. While the offender who "freaked ambulance with the body back to the important part of the offender's basic
out" and gave himself up was' in hospital. In essence, he orchestrated personality and move beyond normal
prison, he spent an enormous amount a scene that he had rehearsed nu- sexual, consenting, pleasure-based
of psychic energy rehearsing and merou~) times in his mind. daydreams to aggressive, sadistic,
rT'astering the body disposal phase. and destructive thoughts. These fan-
After his release, he murdered eight ConcllJsion tasies become so vivid that they pro-
more women. He stated, "I got rid of S'ilxual homicide is an act of vide the imptltus for the offender to
that icky feeling of messing with the control, dominance, and performance act them out with victims of opportunity.
dead. Only one guy that gets more that is representative of an undF.lrlying It is important for law enforce-
casual around a body than me . . . a fantasy embedded with violence, sex- ment officers to be aware of the exist-
mortician or a pathologist. But some uality, and death. Yet, for some killers, ence of these fantasies and of the
of my fantasies were so bizarre that it one act of murder fulfills their fantasy, types of individuals who have them.
would turn the stomach of a patholo- while others feel compelled to contin- While the crime, and therefore the
gist." ue killing. fantasy, may appear to be bizarre to
Some murderers, while in prison, law enforcement, it is essential to re-
Phase 4: Pas/crime Behavior attempt to determine how they failed alize that these fantasies play an im-
During this phase, the murderer's in the murder in order to be success- portant part in the offender's basic
fantasy becomes reality, providing a ful the next time. Their need to repeat personality. Therefore, as law en-
sense of purpose for the offender. the act of murder is connected with forcement officers become sensitive
The authorities are looking for him so their sense of control. to this phenomenon and seek out
he now focuses his energies on not Other murderers live in fear of re- clues which imply the presence of
getting caught and perhaps even into peating the crime; their compulsion to fantasy, they will aid in profiling and
improving his methods for the next kill is bewildering to them. They don't apprehending the offender.
murder. want to get caught, yet at the same FBI
An important aspect of the post- time they are hoping they will be
crime behavior is the discovery of the caught. Several murderers wrote
body. This discovery is sometimes in- "stop me" statements in notes to Serial murderer convicted of killing 10 people.
cluded in the fantasy, and the murder- police or on the wall at the murder
er may try to maintain his level of ex- scene, while others turned themselves
citement. He may telephone or write in to police. Yet, the fantasies contin-
to the police, or he may be in a crowd ued. One killer stated, "It is a
at the scene when the body is discov- development . . . getting tired of a
ered. The murderer may even confess certain level of fantasy and then going
to the crime in order to accompany even farther and even more bizarre.
police to the location of the body. Year after year [the development con-
tinued] and finally it got off in such
deep ends that I'm still not exposed

__ .. _____ August 1985 I 11


12 I FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

--------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------~

Chapter 3

CllIgg~ing Sexual Homicide

Crime Scene9
Interrater Reliability
The unsolved homicide presents style characteristics, arrest history, lo- of correctly classifying the crime
a major challenge to law enforcement cation of residence in relation to the and the crime scene, we needed to
officers. These unsolved cases, which scene, and certain character traits. establish the reproducibility of these
often include a sex-related compo- The Agents responsible for pre- classifications. This article reports our
nent, usually have no apparent paring the offender profiles have investigation of the Agents' ability to
motive. The victim has been sexually found it useful to classify the type of reproduce independently each other's
abused, and the nature of the killing crime and the organizational structure classifications. This ability to replicate
indicates behavior patterns that reflect of the crime scene. The crime is clas- decisions is called interrater reliability.
sexual deviation, specific character sified as sex-related, nonsexual, or
traits, and perhaps even psychopa- unknown. Evidence of a sexual com- Study Design
thology. Also referred to as lust mur- ponent anywhere within the crime Six BSU Special Agents with
ders, 1 these murders often include scene justifies the sex-related classifi- varying levels of experience in profil-
severe beating and multiple stabbing ';ation. The organizational structure of ing participated in the reliability inves-
of the victim, body mutilation (such as the crime scene is determined by evi- tigation. Data from 64 murder scenes,
removal of sexual organs), and sexua- dence of the amount of planning and covering a variety of circumstances
lized positioning of the body after premeditation by the offender, as well both sexual and nonsexual, were se-
death. as of the offender's control over the lect3d for the study. For each crime
The FBI's Behavioral Science victim. For example, a weapon taken scene selected, one of the participat-
Unit (BSU) has been involved since to a crime scene and carried away ing Agents was thoroughly familiar
1972 in assisting city, county, and suggests planning, as contrasted with with the case. This Agent presented a
State law enforcement agencies in a weapon used and left at the crime short description of the crime scene
their investigations of unsolved mur- scene, suggesting opportunity and and showed crime scene photos.
ders by preparing profiles of the un- spontaneity. The presentation was restricted
identified offenders, after extensive In sex-related crimes, the struc- solely to information immediately
examination of the crime scene data, ture of the crime scene provides in- available at the crime scene; no infor-
victim characteristics, and autopsy re- sight into the offender's patterns of mation from laboratory tests or later
ports. This profile may inGlude the behavior. For example, a well-orga- investigation was divulged. This re-
perpetrator's age, race, sex, socioeco- nized crime scene indicates an of- striction allowed the other Agents to
nomic and marital status, intellectual fender with a conscious plan of action focus on immediate data. Other de-
and educational level, occupation, life- after the murder to avoid detection tails of the investigation, if discussed
and apprehension. by the presenter, might have influ-
Currently, the BSU is systematical- enced the Agents in forming their
ly studying their profiling procedures
through scientific and statistical analy-
ses. Because of the importance

_________________ August 1985/ 13

-- - -------------------- ------------ ---~- --- -------

Hln sexmrelated crimes, the struct,ure of the crime sct;,ne"

provides insight into the offender s patterns of behavior.

opinions. Therefore, we decided to

:~:i;~~~lassific~;iO~~~-- -I
escape attempts. Apparently, the
have the Agents mal<e judgments victims were totally surprised.
based on minimal unbiased data. We Because of these facts, it was
theorized that if there was good difficult to establish a motive. Presenters
agreement am0r.g the presenter and Question: Were t'1ere any

the other Agents, then the agreement Num- Per-

I T~P~__ ~_____ ~~~_~_~~~~t _
fingerprints or footprints found?
would become even better if more de- Answer.' There were fingerprints
tailed information was available. Thus, and footprints found at the scene,
the most stringent test of interrater re- but they were not necessarily I Sexual............. 46 71.9
liability would be based on the mini- foreign to the people who had I Nonsexual...... 8 12.5
mal data presentation. normal access to the house. There Unknown ........ _1Q~ ____1-'~_
After the presentation, the Agents
I__ ~_~~t~~....~.~~~____6~_~0~~~__
were no suspicious fingerprints,
were allowed to asl< questions about footprints, etc.
the crime scene data in order to Question: Did the weapon belong at
remove any misunderstandings gener- the scene? Case B: A female was found behind
ated from the presentation. The com- Answer.' The weapon was not found a group of trees about 100 yards
bined presentation and question and at the scene. from a main road of a major city.
answer period tool< about 10 minutes. At this point, the Agents were asked Her clothes had been carefully
The following is an example: to make a determination of both the type removed, a stick has been inserted
Case A: This case involves an of crime and the structure of the crime into her vagina, her breasts had
elderly couple found shot to death scene. been amputated, and her head had
in their rural farmhouse. The woman been beaten so severely that her
was shot with a .41 a-gauge shotgun DATA ANALVSIS face was obliterated. A bloody rock
in the bacl< of the head, apparently Type of Crime was lying to the right of the head.
as she was typing a letter. She died Evidence of sperm was found on
After a presentation similar to the
immediately. When the elderly the victim's dress and body. Her
above, each Agent was asked to clas-
gentleman came home, he also was pantyhose had been removed
sify independently the crime. Although
shot with a .41 a-gauge shotgun by carefully, and her clothing was not
the presenter had additional informa-
a person who lay in wait. Neither torn.
tion available to him, he also classi-
body was moved or molested.
fied the crime solely on the basis of Nonsexual Homicide
There was no indication of any
what he believed the crime scene in-
manipulation of the bodies after the Cases judged nonsexual in nature
formation indicated. The breakdown
initial gunshot, and nothing was have no evidence supporting a sexual
of the 64 murders by type, as given
taken from the home. There was no component. Case C illustrates this
by the presenters, is listed in figure 1.
sign of forced entry and no type of murder.
evidence of defense wounds or Sexual Homicide Case C: A priest was found dead in
a confessional booth. The
There are various observations
and evidence that point to a crime investigation indicated that he was
probably talking to someone on the
being classified as sex-related, includ-
other side of the booth who came
ing the body's attire or lack of cloth-
ing; exposure of the victim's sexual around, opened the door, and
stabbed him. There were multiple
parts (such as breasts or genitals);
stab wounds in the victim's chest
sexual positionin~ of the body; sexual
injury; evidence of sexual activity on, area, and the murder weapon was
not left at the scene.
in, or near the body; and evidence of
SUbstitute sexual activity or sadistic
fantasy. Case B is an example of a
sexual homicide.

14 I FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin-___ ~ ___ _

- ----'---_ .. ---- --------- - --- ---- ----
"This study demonstrated that there is reliability in the
classification of crime types and scenes by BSU Agents."

Unknown Homicide Case D: This case involved a series tion. There may be two or more of-
When it is not obvious whether a of homicides in which the victims, fenders involved in the ilomicide, or
crime is sex-related, the homicide is who were found in rivers, had the offender may begin the crime in
classified as unknown. For example, a automotive parts tied to their ::>n organized manner before his plan-
skeleton buried or abandoned may bodies. The female victims were all ning deteriorates as unanticipated
not provide useful evidence, and a grossly mutilated (removal of events occur. Inconsistencies are
partially decomposed body may give breasts and feet, pelvic damage). noted in the behavior of the offender.
confused indications, expecially if the The victims had been reported as Although the organized or disorga-
body has been mauled by an animal. missing during the course of a day; nized classifications fit many cases,
one never returned after shopping. not all crime scenes fit into one of
Structure of the Crime Scene There were indications that they these categories. In addition, crime
After the classification of crime had been kept for several days scenes may display varying degrees
type, each Agent was asked to classi- before being thrown into the river. of organization and disorganization. It
fy independently the structure of the The murderer would have needed a is in these instances that the mixed
crime scene as organized, disorga- car to transport them from where category is useful.
nized, mixed, or unknown. The pre- they were last seen alive to where Case F: A 21-year-old woman's
senter also classified the crime their bodies were discovered. body, partially hidden from view,
scenes based on what he believed was found at a garbage dump. The
Disorganized Crime Scene
the scene alone indicated. The distri- body had stab wounds in the vagina
bution of the 64 murder scenes, as The disorganized crime scene in- and groin, and the victim's throat
given by the presenters, is shown in dicates spontaneity and a more fren- had been slashed. In addition, her
figure 2. zied assault. The scene itself is most nipples had been amputated and
likely the location of encounter. her face severely beaten. Her hair

Case E: A 16-year-old girl was last had bE-en cut and was found
seen leaving to ride her horse in a hanging from a nearby tree branch.
favorite riding area. Police were Test results indicated the victim had
notified when she was several been sexually assaulted and
II Crime Num- Per- hours late in returning home. A murdered shortly after leaving her
Scene Type ber cent search team found the girl's body job. Investigation revealed two
one-half mile from the farm where brothers were involved in the
she lived. Her body was face up, murder, one of whom the victim
Organized ....... 31 48.4
Disorganized .. spread-eagled, jeans and was living with at the time of her
21 32.8
Mixed .............. underpants pulled down to the death.
9 14.1
ankles, a hooded sweatshirt draped
Unknown ........ 3 4.7
across the left breast, her bra was Unknown Crime Scenes
Total ............ 64 100.0 pulled below both breasts, and The unkr,own scene pertains to
another item of clothing was draped those cases that cannot be classified
across her neck. A 10-inch vertical based on immediate crime scene
Organized Crime Scene cut was present at the base of her data. For example, a decomposed,
The organized crime scene indi- neck; another cut was just below buried body probably would not pro-
cates planning and premeditation on her right jaw. Blunt-force wounds vide enough information upon which a
the part of the offender. For example, were pre lent on her head. It was classification could be based.
the crime may be committed in a se- determined at the crime scene that
cluded or isolated area selected by she had been raped, but probably
the murderer, or the victim may be after death.
killed in one location and transported
to another. Mixed Crime Scene
The mixed crime scene has, signs
of both organization and disorganiza-

16 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Agreement of Agents' Homicide

Type Classifications With
Presenter's Classification
--~---- .. -~---

Agent Cases Classified Case Agreed Percent


1 62 48 77.4 The interrater reliability study

2 40 35 87.5 evaluated the agreement of Agents in
3 55 45 81.8 classifying homicide by the type of
4 30 23 76.7 crime and by the structure of the
5 27 25 92.6 crime scene. In particular, the classifi-
cation of crime scenes as organized
RESULTS ganized, disorganized, mixed, un- has proven to be useful in profiling of-
known) that could be used for com- fenders in unsolved and motiveless
Type of Crime
parison with the presenter's classifica- murders.
Not all participating Agents were This study demonstrated that
available to classify each of the 64 tion. Of these, 163 (74.1 percent)
agreed with the presenter. (See fig. 4.) there is reliability in the classification
homicide types (sexual, nonsexual, or of crime types and scenes by BSU
unknown). In total, the 6 Agents made The agreement rate between any
two Agents ranged from 45 percent to Agents. Given only minimal informa-
285 classifications, 64 of which were tion about the crime, agreements of
made by the Agent presenting the 89 percent. The agreement rates of
Agents with the presenter and with Agents with respect to crime types
case. Thus, there were 221 classifica- was high (at least 77 percent). Agree-
tions that could be used for compari- each other varied substantially. This
appears due mainly to variation in ex- ment of Agents with respect to classi-
son with the presenter's classifica- fying the crime scene, while not as
tions. Of these, 180 classifications perience and involvement with the
process of classifying crime scenes. high as the crime-type agreement, ap-
(81.4 percent) agreed with the pre- peared to be related to Agent experi-
senter's classification. The agreement rates among the three
Agents routinely involved with this ence and involvement in the classifi-
Of the 6 Agents, 1 Agent made cation process. For experienced and
57 (89 percent) of the presentations. process ranged from 62 percent to 80
percent. Given the minimal data sup- active Agents, who were given only
Because the percentage of his pres- minimal information about the crime
entations was so large, comparing his plied by the presenter, these agree-
ment rates must be considered good. scene, agreement rates ranged from
classifications with the presenter's 62 percent to 80 percent. More infor-
would not be informative. The agree- However, classification in any field is
a skill learned and reinforced by con- mation would certainly have improved
ment rate for the other five Agents the agreement rates.
and the number of cases they classi- tinuous involvement. In the medical FBI
fied are shown in figure 3. Glven the field, for example, the diagnosis of a
minimal amount of information sup- patient's medical condition is similarly Footnote
learned and reinforced through contin- Robert R. Hazelwood and John Douglas, "The Lust
plied by the presenter, these agree- Murderer," FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, April 19BO,
ment rates are high. uous involvement. p.6_

When the classifications of each

Agent were compared with those of r------------ --------- ---
any other Agent, the agreement rate I Figure 4
ranged from 77 percent to 100 per- Agreement of Agents' Crime Scene
cent. Again, these are high agreement Classifications with Presenter's
rates. Classification
Structure of Crime Scene
Agent Cases Classified
There were 220 classifications of
the structure of the crime scene (or-
1 62
2 40
3 55
4 29
5 27

------------ - -----______ August 1985/ 17

Chapter 4

Crime Scene and Profile

Characterisfic9 of Organized and
Disorganized Murderel'$
". Dthere were significant differences

8n the crime scenes of organized and

disorganized offenders. . . ."
When requested by a law en-
forcement agency to assist in a vio-
lent crime investigation, the Agents at
the Behavioral Science Ullit (BSU) of
the FBI Academy provide a behavior-
ally based suspect profile. Using infor-
mation received from law enforcement
about the crime and crime scene, the
Agents have developed a technique
for classifying murderers into one of
two categories-organized or disorga-
nized, a classification method evolving
from years of experience and knowl-
edge. In the service of advancing the
art of profiling, the Agents were anx-
ious to know if this classification
system could be scientifically tested.
This article describes the research
study and statistical tests performed
by a health services research staff on
data collected.

Objectives of the Study 1/..':

Thirty-six convicted sexual mur- '---_'1_'-"-~_'"'='---',__._-"-__,_______ ~ ~:,j ~ll~~L _,"',_..L,._--'--'--__._._~, ___..J
derers were interviewed by FBI
Agems for a study on sexual homicide The major objectives of this study Crime scene of an organized offender investigated
by Pierce Brook.~ in 1958 while a homicide detec-
crime scenes and patterns of crimina: were to test, using statistical inferen-
tive sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Depart-
behavior. These study subjects repre- tial procedures, whether there are sig- ment.
sented 25 serial murderers (the nificant behavioral differences at the
murder of separate victims, with time crime scenes between crirnec.; commit-
breaks between victims ranging from ted by organized and c:lorganized
2 days to weeks or months) and 11 murderers and to identify variables
sexual murderers who had committed that may be useful in profiling orga-
either a single homicide, double homi-
cide, or spree murder.

18 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin _

HVictims of seria~ murderers have been noted to share
ommon characteristics."

nized and disorganized murderers. In

order for the study to achieve its ob-
jectives, the Agents first had to classi- Profile Characteristics of Organized and Disorganized Murders
fy the 36 murderers into the organized
or disorganized group, the breakdown ORGANIZED DISORGANIZED
being 24 organized murderers anJ 12
Average to above-average intelligence Below-average intelligence
disorganized murderers.
Socially competent Socially inadequate
Results of Analyses Skilled work preferred Unskilled work
Sexually competent Sexually incompetent
The study determined that there
High birth order status Low birth order status
were significant differences in the
Father's work stable Father's work unstable
crime scenes of organized and disor-
Inconsistent childhood discipline Harsh discipline as child
ganized offenders, and that certain
Controlled mood during crime Anxious mood during crime
background differences were also
Use of alcohol with crime Minimal use of alcohol
found between them. There were four
Precipitating situational stress f,4inimal S';ituational stress
aspects of the crime where dif-
Living with partner Living alone
ferences between organized and dis-
Mobility with car in good condition Lives/works near crime scene
organized murderers were analyzed:
Follows crime in news media Minimal interest in news media
(1) The murderer's action during the
May change jobs or leave town Significant behavior change (drug/
offense, (2) victim characteristics,
(3) use of vehicles in the crime, and alcohol abuse, religiosity, etc.)
(4) types of evidence left at the crime
scene. Table 1 provides the profile Organized Offender: Profile age 10, he often works at occupations
characteristics that achieved levels of Characteristics below his abilities, yet prefers a skilled
significance between the organized Organized offenders have a high occupation. His work history is also
and disorganized murderers, while birth order, often being the first born sporadic.
table 2 shows the crime scene char- son in a family. The father's work his- Precipitating situational stress,
acteristics for the two groups. tory is generally stable, and parental such as problems with finances, mar-
discipline is perceived as inconsistent. riages, employment, and relationships
Although the organized offender with females, is often present prior to
has an average or better than aver- the murder. The organized offender is
socially adept and is usually living with
Table 2 a partner.
The organized offender may
Crime Scene Differences Between Organized report an angry frame of mind at the
and Disorganized Mc.lrderers time of the murder or state he was
ORGANIZED DISORGANIZED depressed. However, while committing
Planned offense the crime, he admits being calm and
Spontaneous offense
Victim a targeted stranger relaxed. Alcohol may have been con-
Victim/location known
Personalizes victim sumed prior to the crime.
Depersonalizes victim
Controlled conversation The organized offender is likely to
Minimal conversation
Crime scene reflects overall control have a car that is in good condition.
Crime scene random and sloppy
Demands submissive victim Evidence of continued fantasy is
Sudden violence to victim
Restraints used present in terms of taking remem-
Minimal use of restraints
Aggressive acts prior to death brances of the victim or crime scene.
Sexual acts after death
Body hidden Newspaper clippings of the crimes are
Body left in view
Weapon/evidence absent Evidence/weapon often pre:sent
Transports victim or body Body left at death scene

~~-- ---- ~- --____ August 1985 I 19

"Fantasy and If'otuai dominate with the organized offender... "

often found during searches of the victim as a prelude to the attacl<. Of- avoids leaving evidence behind and
subject's residence, indicating the of- fenders may use impersonation as a often moves the body from the death
fender followed the criminal investiga- method to gain access to a victim. scene.
tion in the newspaper. The offender's demeanor is not usual- While sexual acts are part of the
ly suspicious. He may be average or fantasy planning of the crime, murder
Crime Scene above average in appearance, height, may not be a conscious motive until
The initial observation at the and 'Neight; he may be dressed in a there is a triggering cue. This is illus-
crime scene of an organized offender business suit, uniform, or neat, casual trated by one murderer's following
is that some semblance of order exist- attire. In the organized style of attack, statement:
ed prior, during, and after the offense. aimed at gaining the confidence of "I had thought about killing her ...
This scene of methodical organization the victim, there is first the effort to saying what am I going to do wilen
suggests a carefully planned crime use verbal means to capture the this is over. Am I going to let her go
that is aimed at deterring detection. victim rather than physical force. The so she can call the cops and get
Although the crime may be organized offender frequently uses his me busted again? So when she
planned, the victim is frequently a or the victim's vehicle in the offense. took off running-that decided it in
stranger and is targeted because he Rape, as well as murder, may be my mind that killing her was what I
or she is in a particular location the planned crime. Murder is always a was going to do."
stal<ed out by the offender. In this possibility following rape; the assailant
sense, the victim becomes a victim of threatens the victim's life and bran- Case Example of an Organized
opportunity. Victims of serial murder- dishes a weapon. Sexual control is Offender
ers have been noted to share continued past conversation to de- The following case involves the
common characteristics. The offender mands for specific types of reactions rapes and murders of five women by one
often has a preference for a particular (fear, passivity) during the sexual as- juvenile offender:
type of victim, and thus, may spend sault. When the victim's behavior Victim 1: A woman in her late
considerable time searching for the stops being passive and compliant, 20's was found about 150 yards into a
"right" victim. As one offender said: aggression may be increased by the wooded culvert area outside her
"I'm a night person. Plenty of times offender. apartment. Her car was found in the
that I went out looking, but never Control over the victim is also parking lot.
came across nothing and just went noted in the use of restraints, such as Recreating the scene, police
back home. I'd sit waiting, and as I a rope, chain, tape, belt, clothing, speculated that the victim was ap-
was waiting, I was reliving all the chemical, handcuffs, gag, and blind- proached after she parked her car. It
others." fold. The way weapons are used may was known she arrived home late at
Common characteristics of vic- suggest a sadistic element in the of- night from work. She was found in a
tims selected by an individual murder- fender's plan. The killing is eroticized, stream after being assaulted,
er may include age, appearance, oc- as in torture where death comes in a drowned, and strangled. Her head
cupation, hairstyle, or lifestyle. Target- slow, deliberate manner. The power had been held under water while she
ed victims in this sample included ad- over another person's life is seen in was being strangled. There was no
olescent male youths, hitchhiking col- one example in which a murderer de- evidence of severe beating to the
lege coeds, nurses, women frequent- scribed tightening and loosening the body; although some defense wounds
ing bars, women sitting in automobiles rope around the victim's neck as he were present, mutilation did not occur.
with male companions, and solitary watched the victim slip in and out of a The only item taken from the
women driving two-door cars. conscious state. victim was a ring of little value. The
The organized offender is socially Fantasy and ritual dominate with victim was found partially clothed. Her
adept and may engage in conversa- the organized offender; obsessive, shoes, found further down the trail,
tion or a pseudo-relationship with the compulsive traits surface in the be- suggested the location of the sexual
havior and/or crime scene patterns.
The offender often brings a weapon
with him to the crime, taking it with
him upon departure. He carefully

20 I FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin_


assault. Footprints were present at Victim 5: The fifth victim, a Medical examination and crime
this site; tire tracks were not. The woman in her mid-20's, was last seen scene assessment show rape prior to
victim lived in a highrise building with at a party at 1:30 0r 2:30 a.m. She left death, and death is sudden with mini-
many apartments, parking lots, and the party with several people and was mal mutilation, again indicating the
cars. later found dead in the same wooded well-planned crime by the organized
Victim 2: A woman in her mid- culvert area as previous victims. She antisocial criminal. The victims are
20's was found fully dressed in a was found stabbed several times in "sized up" prior to the approach, and
wooded area less than a quarter mile the chest and had been partially the killer knows they will not resist if
from the location of the first victim. buried in the culvert. There was evi- he promises release after rape. He
She was not near water. She had dence of sexual assault. has raped before the killing started,
been stabbed to death repeatedly in Considering the dynamics and but some life trauma has triggered the
the chest. Although there was evi- pattern of the aforementioned case, taking of the life of victim #1. The of-
dence of sexual assault, there was no the following crime scene assessment fender has had past problems with
overkill to t,le body, no mutilation. and subsequent criminal personality law enforcement, and once he lias
Again, the victim was coming home profiling would be possIble. killed, he feels he must continue to kill
late at night. Apparently she parked The offender selects victims who to avoid victims testifying against him.
her car and was abducted prior to are returning home during the late He does not value the life of a victim
reaching her apartment. evening or early morning hours. The over the chance that she may identify
Victim 3: This victim was similar assaults generally take place near the him to the police.
in physical appearance, age, and victims' homes, as they are walking In summary, the assailant in the
manner killed to the second victim. from their parl<ed cars. The offender five homicides is an organized, anti-
There was evidence of sexual assault; is watching the parking areas for social personality. He is a youthful
underclothing in disarray suggested single women returning during these white male, has good intelligence, is
she was re-dressed after death. A times. He takes the victims from the articulate and munipulative. He fits
stocking was missing, although her apartment complex to wooded into the community and has lived
shoes were on. areas close by for the assaults. He there for many years. He lives in
Victim 4: Several months later, a chooses the time and place of as- close proximity to all victims. He
similar crime occurred in the same sault. Since no scream or resistance precipitates his crimes with alcohol
general vicinity. A black woman, in her is evident, one must assume the as- and/ or drugs, possibly is first born in
early 30's, was found dead. She usu- sailant carries a weapon and instructs his family, and is sexually competent.
ally worked late and arrived home be- the victims to accompany him to the He ).Ir'obably has a girlfriend; yet had a
tween 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. Her car was secluded area. This indicates a persua- recent problem with her prior to the
also parked where she would have sive, articulate person who convinces . first killing. Considering his age, he
entered the apartment building. Al- them no harm will come to them if they . would live with a single parent and
though discovered further away than "do as he instructs." He would be would have no car since he selects
the other victims, she was still not manipUlative and have a history of anti- victims on foot, sometimes using their
more than a half mile from where she social traits and bahavior. He is youthful cars in the assault. He probably would
lived. There was evidence of sexual and aggressive, probably macho. follow the media reports of the crime
assault, and she too had been stran- Since he uses the same MO in and may be in a crowd of onlookers
gled and drowned. The method and each assault, one must assume he when the police locate the bodies.
location were similar to the first crime knows the territory well, both the trav- The police investigation in this
scene and was consistent with the eled built-up areas and the surround- case of multiple rape-murder led to a
work schedule of the victim. ing woods. He probably lives in the 17-year-old white male living very
area, is youthful, and has grown up close to all victims who lived within a
and played in the woods as a child.
He is a long-term resident.

______________ _____ August 1985 / 21

1-mile radius in a large city suburb. He gence or of low birth status in the ful of people and may have developed
was bright, yet a marginal achiever in family. Also, harsh parental discipline a well-defined delusional system. He
school, lived with his mother, and did is sometimes reported as a child. The acts impulsively under stress, finding
not own a car. He was known as a rather's work history is unstable, and a victim usually within his own geo-
macho ladies' man and a "con artist" the disorganized offender seems to graphic area.
among his peers. He used beer and mirror this pattern with his own incon- The disorganized offender is also
marijuana to precipitate his offense sistent and poor work history. Typical- sexually incompetent, often never
and selected victims in an area he ly, this offender is preoccupied with having achieved any level of sexual
grew up in. He had a girlfriend he recurring obsessional and/C'r primitive intimacy with a peer. Although the of-
called "his fiancee" who jilted him thoughts and is in a confused and dis- fenders in this sample claimed to be
shortly before murdbr #1, when she tressed frame of mind at the time of heterosexual, there is a clear sugges-
went away to college. He followed the the crime. tion that the disorganized offend(,r is
crime in the paper, and on one occa- The disorganized offender is so- ignorant of sex and often may have
sion, watched the police investigator cially inadequate. Often, he has never sexual aversions.
from his window. He had a lengthy ju- married, lives alone or with a parental
venile record, including sexual assault figure, and lives in close proximity to
and rape. the crime scene. This offender is fear- Crime Scene
The overall imprint of the disorga-
Disorganized Offender: Profile nized crime scene is that the crime is
Characteristics committed suddenly and with no set
The disorganized offender is plan of action for deterring detection.
likely to be of below-average intelli-

22 I FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin _____ ~ _________________________________________________________________________________________ ~________ _

Pictured below is a crime scene of a disorganized
offender who, as a result of his paranoid psychotic
delusions, killed an entire family and left their
bodies floating in the pool. His residence, pictured
left reflects his paranoid state of mind in that the
plank bridge leading to the shack was drawn each
night to protect him from his "enemies. "

The crime scene shows great disar- The offender uses a blitz style of
ray. There is a spontaneous, symbol- attack for confronting the victim, who
ic, unplanned quality to the crime is caught completely off guard. He
scene. The victim may bt: kncliln to either approaches the victim from
the offender, but age and sex of the behind, unexpectedly overpowering
victim do not necessarily matter. her, or he kills suddenly, as with a
If the offender is selecting a gun. The attack is a violent surprise,
victim by randomly knc':~king on doors occurring spontaneously and in a lo-
in a neighborhood, the "'irst person to cation where the victim is going about
open a door becomes th victim. The his or her usual activities.
offender kills instantly to have control; The offender depersonalizes the
he cannot risl< that the victim will get victim, targeting specific areas of the
the upper hand. body for extreme brutality. Overl<i11 or

_ _ _ _ _ ~_ /\ugust 1965 I 23

" . . variables do exist that may be useful in a criminal
profile and that do differentiate between organized and
disorganized sexual murderers."

excessive assault to the face often is No attempt is made to conceal used in the first murder. The dog was
an attempt to dehumanize the victim. the body. Fingerprints and footprints disemboweled.
Such facial destruction may indicate may be found, and the police have a Murder 2: Four days after the first
knowledge of the victim or that the great deal of evidence to use in their SO' 'ing, a woman, waiting for a male
victim resembles or repre::;ents a investigation. Usually, the murder friend to pick her up for a day's outing
person who lias caused the offender weapon is one obtained at the scene with her neighbor, noticed the man's
psychological distress. The offender and is left there, providing investiga- car had pulled into her neighbor's
may wear a mask 01' gloves, use a tors with evidence. driveway. She telephoned to say she
blindfold on the victim, or cover the would be right over; however, receiv-
victim's face as he attacks. There is Case Example of a !Disorganized ing no answer, she looked out her
minimal verbal interaction except for Offender winclow again to note the man's car
orders and threats. Restraints are not Murder 1: A husband returning was now gone. Becoming suspicious,
necessary, as the victim is killed from work at 6:00 p.m. discovered his she went over to the house and dis-
quickly. wife's body in the bedroom of their covered the bodies of her male friend,
Any sexua11y sadistic acts, often in home. An autopsy revealed she had her female neighbor, and the neigh-
the form of mutilation, are usually per- been murdered sometime in ~~,a morn- bor's child. A 22-month infant was
formed after death. Offenders have at- ing after being confronted by the as- missing from the home; however, a
tempted a variety of sexual acts, sailant as she went to empty the gar- oullet hole was found in the pillow of
incluciing ejaculating into an open stab bage outside. The victim was shot in the child's crib, along with what ap-
wound in th" victim's abdomen. Evi- the head four times, and thereafter, peared to be brain and skull matter.
dence of urinat,on, defecation, and mas- disemboweled with a knife obtained in This was also found in the half-filled
turbation has been found on the victim's her home. Other than slash wounds bathtub, indicating the child had been
clothing and in the home. Mutilation to to breasts and mutilation to internal killed and the body washed and re-
the face, genitals, and breast, dis- reproductive organs, no evidence of moved from the scene. The female
embowelment, amputation, and vampir- sexual assault or molestation was victim had been severely slashed and
ism may also be noted on the body. found. The victim was first slashed in mutilated. She had been murdered in
Disorganized offenders might the abdomen, and the assailant pulled the bedroom where she had been dis-
keep the dead body. One murderer her intestines out of the body cavity. emboweled from breast bone to pelvic
killed two women and kept their body The victim had what was later deter- area. Internal organs, including
parts in his home for 8 year!:.. He mined to be animal feces in her spleen. kidneys, and reproductive
made masks from their heads and mouth. Garbage was strewn about the organs, had been removed and muti-
drums and seat covers from their house. A yo~uri cup was found, and lated. No attack was noted to external
skins. Earlier, he had exhumed the indications were that the murderer genitals. The murderer had attempted
bodies of eight elderly women from used the cup to collect blood from the to ' dmove an eye and also had insert-
their graves and performed similar victim, which he then drank. ed a knife into the anal canal, cutting
mutilative acts. Crime 2: On the same date, a the victim severely in this area. Defi-
The death scene and crime house burglary occurred within one- nite fingerprints with blood were found
scene are usually the same in mur- quarter mile of the victim's residence. on the abdomen, shoulders, and legs
ders committed by the disorganized of- Garbage was strewn throughout the of this victim. Additionally, a ring of
fender, with the victim being left in the home. Evidence indicated the burglar blood was found on the floor, indicat-
position in which she or he was killed. urinated on female clothing and also ing a bucket-type container was used
If the offender has mutilated the body, defecated in the house. No one was to collect blood.
it may be positioned in a special way home at the time. The following information was ex-
that has significance to the offender. Crime 3: Two days later, the car- tracted from a profile developed by
cass of a dog was found in the same the BSU:
neighborhood. The dog had been shot Suspect description: White male
in the head, and the bullet was deter- aged 25-27; thin, undernourished
mined to have come from the gun

24 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin .__ .. _ _ ._.____ ~ __.____________________ ~_~____ ~__ ... _______ _
appearance; single, living alone in a Conclusion mal training, and have English-lan-
location within 1 mile of the In summary, this research study guage interface with the users. Expert
abandoned station wagon owned by of differences between organized and systems, currently used in many
one of the victims. Residence will disorganized sexual murderers with fields, are continually being adapted
be extremely slovenly and unkempt, regard to profile characteristics and as more knowledge is gained through
and evidence of the crimes will be crime scene indicators provides an their use and application. As in these
found at the residence. Suspect will important foundation for the investiga- other applications, expert systems will
have a history of mental illness and tive technique of criminal profiling. By never replace skilled law enforcement
use of drugs. Suspect will be an achieving the two study objectives, we representatives, but are a tool that is
unemployed loner who does not have established that variables do continually being updated by the
associate with either males or exist that may be useful in a criminal Imowledge gained through use. FBI
females and will probably spend a profile and th'3.t do differentiate be-
great deal of time in his own tween organized and disorganized
residence. If he resides with sexual murderers. It is important to be
anyone, it will be with his parents. aware of the limitations of this study.
However, this is unlikely. Subject We do not mean to imply that all un-
will have no prior military history; solved cases can be profiled success-
will be a high school or college fully. We wish to emphasize that this
dropout; probably suffers from one study was exploratory and indicates
or more forms of paranoid that we have identified significant vari-
psychosis. ables in crime scene analysis.
The police narrowed their search A second important step can now
to a 1-mile radius of the stolen vehi- be taken-that is, performing test pro-
cle, seekir.::l a man of the suspect's files using previously identified varia-
description. A 27-year-old white male, bles and comparing results with cases
5'11" and weighing 149 pounds, was which have already been profiled by
located in an apartment complex BSU Agents. These test profiles
within the same block as the aban- would be the second phase for ad-
doned car. The man was in posses- vancing the scientific study of the pro-
sion of a gun that matched the filing process.
murder weapon in the slayings. Also Further refinement of profile char-
found in the apartment were numer- acteristics and deductive reasoning
ous body parts thought to be animal used by "experts" will provide an ad-
and possibly human. The man had vancement in the state of the art in
previously been diagnosed as a para- building an "expert knowledge-based
noid schizophrenic and had been system" for law enforcement. Expert
committed to a mental facility after he knowledge-based systems are a
was found sucking blood from a dead subset of the field of artificial intelli-
bird. After he had been released, he gence and are de';ved by using
was found in the desert bloodstained knowledge and reaso, ,lng patterns of
and wearing a loincloth. He told police experts to create computer programs
he was sacrificing to flying saucers. which emulate these experts. These
He was released by police; however, systems are easy to use, require mini-
later a child's body was found in the
same vicinity. Evidence was found in
his apartment indicating his obsession
with blood, mutilation, and possible
cannibalism of humans and animals.

- _ _ ._____ .~~._~ _____________ ~ ___ ~ ________ -~ _________ ._. ___________________.__ ~ _______ August 1985 I 25

Chapter 8

Interviewing Techniqueg
Homicide Inve9figsfiong

This article discusses techniques that One goal of the study of sexual This article presents our experi-
have l-een used in the interviews of homicide crime scenes and criminal ences in interviewing convicted serial
persons who have already been behavior patterns was to explore how sexual murderers with the hope of
convicted Law enforcement officers murderers commit their crimes. An in- adding to law enforcement's knowl-
should seek appropriate legal advice depth analysis of interviews with con- edge of interviewing techniques. Al-
before using these techniques in victed murderers allowed us to re- though our interviews were conducted
attempts to obtain judiciafly admissible trieve first-I','ld information about with murderers already convicted and
confessions. their patterns of values and beliefs, incarcerated, we believe our observa-
patterns of information storage, levels tions provide insight for interviewing
of recall on the crimes, and admission suspects in order to identify a killer.
of responsibility for the murders.

26 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin ~~_~~ _______.__ ~~ _ _ ._~ _____ ~_~ ____ ._____________ ~ ___.____________ ~ __.__
u. the interviewer needs to be thoroughly familiar with any
pertinent existing information, including crime scene
photographs, records, and files."

Terms of the Interview to re-establish communication when it The Murder Event-Memory

Before beginning any interview, broke down. Rapport was frequently recall of details specific to the mur-
the interviewer needs to be thoroughly gained when the investigator mirrored, ders varied among the offenders inter-
familiar with any pertinent existing in- below the level of conscious aware- viewed. Those murderers who deliber-
formation, including crime scene pho- ness, the subject's spoken and un- ately planned the murder through a
tographs, records, and files. This in- spoken behavior. This included fantasy generally continued to remem-
formation can be used not only to matching the words of the subject, ber details about certain aspects of
draw conclusions but to establish a adopting aspects of his posture, and the murder. During one interview, the
focused interest in the offender. By speaking in a similar tone and rate of Agents remarked that the subject
showing interest, respect is conveyed speech. seemed to have almost total recall.
to the suspect, an initial objective in The subject corrected the Agents:
establishing rapport. Although it is Eliciting Information "Actually, that's overblown because
often difficult in cases of violent and Once communication had been I really don't (remember everything).
brutal crimes, this show of respect initiated and rapport established, the I have shabby memory on things I
often allows the interviewer to get to questioning began. In our study, the don't want to remember, and things
the point of the interview more quickly what/where/when sequencing and that are shocking or very vivid, I
since less time will be spent by the descriptions of places where the don't forget. I trip on those for
subject in evaluating the interviewer. crime events occurred were sought years."
To be successful, the interviewer first. Next, the interviewing Agents What the subject avoids or re-
needs to convince the subject that the asked questions about how the victim fuses to talk about provides informa-
interview can be beneficial for him or was chosen. Finally, questions about tion on areas where strong emotions
her. In our study, some offenders ad- thoughts, feelings, and images were may exist. (In one case, the murderer
mitted their crimes. In these situations posed. began the interview by stating he
they founrl value in the interview, be- Questions were generally orga- would not discuss his family.) The
lieving they were contributing to in- nized around four phases of the interviewer should concentrate on im-
creased understanding or to clarify murder. These phases are: (1) The portant aspects of the event, such as
other people's conclusions about precrime phase, (2) the murder event, how the suspect gained access to the
them. Offenders who would not admit (3) the disposal of the body, and (4) victim, conversation and behavior in-
to thi:!ir crimes cooperated in order to the postcrime phase. volving the victim, transporting the
point out why it was impossible for Precrime Phase-Conscious motive victim from one location to another,
them to have committed the crimes. for the murder was often elicited by what the murderer did sexually before,
Other offenders consented to the asking what triggered the murder. during, and after the victim's death,
interviews in order to "teach" police Those murderers with conscious intent methods of torture, behaviors aftar
how the crimes were committed and were able to describe this in detail. the victim's death (such as mutilation
motivated. Those who refused inter- Those without conscious motive would or amputation), and thoughts and feel-
views had reasons ranging from usually say they could not remember ing during these acts.
advice of an attorney to their own why they killed, but they were able to Disposal of the Body-Our inter-
psychotic states. describe their feelings prior to the mur- views with the murderers made clear
der. Reconstructing the scene prior to the importance of a fantasy in dispos-
The Communication Link the murder helped interviewing Agents ing the victim's body. Once the act
Rapport was the key communica- determine the cues that moved the was committed, the murderer had to
tion link in our interviews. Once estab- offender's murder fantasy into action.
lished and recognized, it allowed the For example, offenders were asked to
interviewer to lead the interview and describe their day prior to the murder
and their thoughts and feelings before
encountering the victim.

-~~----------~-.- - - _ _.___ ~_____________________________.. ______.. ___ ._________ ._ August 1985 I 27


"Because of the importance of fantasy to sexual homicide,

information about a subject's fantasy can be valuable."

asked each offender what he did right

after the murder (did he wash or
change clothes, go out with friends,
go to sleep, or eat); how he thought
and felt about it; whether he dreamt
about it; whether he returned to the
crime scene, attended the funeral,
read about the murder in the newspa-
per; or talked to police. We were
careful to include questions about the
recovery of the body (did the offender
assist police in the recovery, was he
present when the body was recov-
ered, and was his confession neces-
sary for police to find the body).

Specific Techniques
Because of the importance of
fantasy to sexual homicide, informa-
tion about a subject's fantasy can be
valuable. However, people with a
longstanding fantasy life may not talk
about it easily. Often a low-key ap-
proach is successful in encouraging
the discussion of the fantasy. A fanta-
sy is an elaborate thought with great
preoccupation and emotion. The
person keeps going back to the
thoughts. The subject may only be
aware of images, feelings, and inter-
nal dialog at certain Leightened times.
One of the indications of the
presence of a fantasy is the great
amount of detail provided by a sub-
ject, details that provide the best in-
This sketch. and those that follow, were drawn by decide what to do with the body. At formation on how the subject oper-
a convicted rapist who was interviewed as part of this phase, the murderer may first ates. For many of the murderers we
the FBI's research program. He was asked to
consciously realize the reality of his interviewed, their detailed planning
Himself at a younger age . .. act. Our questions concentrated on was their statement of superiority,
what was done with the body, how control, and cleverness. The fantasy
the offender left the scene, what (if usually provided a sense of power
anything) was taken from the body or and control, as well as emotional
the crime scene, and what thoughts stimulation. In some instances, the
and feelings did the murderer experi- fantasy appeared to protect them
ence during these various acts. from becoming totally disorganized 01
Postcrime Phase-A series of be- psychotic. We discovered this,
haviors occur after a murder. We through interviews, in their reports of
becoming enraged when victims inter-

28 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin _______________ ~ ____. _____________________..____~ ____.______ ~_.. __ __

rupted their plans. These murderers
were very sensitive to being called
crazy or maniacal, as they associated
those characteristics with carrying out
acts in ways that are stupid, foolish,
and not in control.
The inlportance of terminology
used in the interview was illustrated in
one case:
Agent: Do you think your fantasy
life was out of -:ontrol?
Subject: I'm going to have to
change your terminology, not
because I'm banting words, but my
fantasy world, no I don't think it was
out of control, I think my world of
realism was out of control. My
perception of the real world was
This exchange illustrated how the
murderer felt in control of his fantasy
and out of control in the real world.
In contrast to murderers who
consciously plan a crime through fan-
tasy, our interviews revealed that
some murderers acted more in re-
sponse to external cues. Such people
may not be able to relate why a par-
ticular act happened. These murder-
ers were concerned with particular
acts at certain times; suddenly, they
lost control. It is possible to tall< about
the existence of the fantasies without
eliciting details of them and to obtain
information about the serial murderer's
blockage of certain memories:
Agent: Did you have any unusual
fantasies preoccupying you to any
period of time or that you felt you
were over-involved in?

... Himself now . . ,

_ August 1985 I 29

----- .

. .. His family doing something together (In this

case, the familv IS in a restaurant.) ...

Subject: Well, I can't say if I have or when confronted with evidence. As ing in detail. Investigators detecting
I don't. There are a lot of aspects one murderer told the interviewing this type of defense and bringing it to
of this crime I can't give an answer, agents, "The police unwrapped the the offender's attention may be suc-
cause I put up a mental block. I broomhandle and that did it." Several cessful. In one case, the murderer
don't want to think of it. It makes of the murderers interviewed were claimed to have committed the mur-
me do bad time. I'm doing a long unable to remember actually commit- ders because of instructions from a
time and I just block it clear out. ting the murder, but agreed the evi- centuries-old dog. The Agents refused
The murderer confirms the likelihooc dence incriminated them. to accept this ploy. They pointed out
that the fantasies are there; however, One group of murderers inter- good naturedly that the murders had
additional techniques, such as hypno- viewed did not admit to their crimes . been carefully planned and executed,
sis or therapy, would be needed to even after their convictions for the which was a lot to expect from a dog.
access the information. murders. When confronted with such The murderer finally accepted the
individuals, the interviewer should at- "credit" for the crimes and discussed
Continuum of Admission tempt to determine if the individual is them in detail with the interviewers.
The offender generally took one lying (which implies conscious intent) Even when suspecting that a subject is
of three positions regarding guilt-ad- or if the individual is denying (which lying or denying, the interviewer should
mitting the crime, admitting lack of implies subconscious intent). try to maintain an atmosphere of mutual
total recall, and not admitting the To the offender, lying to an inves- respect.
crime. In our study, the majority of tigator pr0vides a form of control. It There are reasons why a suspect
murderers admitted their crimes. may detour the investigator and waste might deny a crime. The denial might
Some of the murderers turned them- valuable time, as in situations in which serve to protect the subject from legal
selves in to the police; others admit- incorrect names and addresses are action as well as from the psychologi-
ted to the crime when they were ap- given. cal impact of admitting such a crime.
prehended. Still others admitted guilt One way investigators identify lies One murderer interviewed denied any
is on the basis of the amount of detail actual knowledge of committing the
a subject provides. Fantasy worlds or crime. He stated that he was coerced,
delusions are usually very detailed. forced to confess to the crimes, and
However, when a subject tries to possibly drugged before entering a
feign psychosis or delusion, his story plea of guilty. In the interview with the
usually appears inconsistent and lack-

30 I FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin _ ..

"One reason a murderer may not be able to admit the crime
is that admisE~~n would destroy his premise of justification."

Agents, he had an elaborate answer We found that when someone Subject: Well, it could have been
for each piece of evidence presented. outright denied they had murdered or that his [sexual] performance was
He said friends had giv611 him the 100 had anything to do with the crime, the inadequate. She might have thought
pairs of high-heeled shoes in his use of an imaginary third person was it was. Or he might have thought it
closet. He argued that photographs helpful. The Agents would go through was and she said something about
found in his possession were not his, the details of the crime and asl< the it.
because he would not be such a subject why he thought this third
sloppy photographer. He presented This conversation illustrates that the
person would commit such an act.
murderer was able to provide a
extreme detail for each piece of evi- This technique projected responsibility
dence brought against him to "pro"e" reason (sexual inadequacy) for the
or guilt away from the subject and
why he could not have been the mur- crime being committed and suggests
onto someone else. Note this strategy
derer. that the intent to kill was triggered into
in the following interview by the
There also may be cases where action through an internal dialog proc-
Agents with a murderer:
ess within the offender.
the murderer justifies in his own mind Agent: Suppose we do it this way.
the issue of admitting or denying guilt. Let's just divorce you from that Often someone who denies justi-
The following statement from a serial situation. I'm sure you've thought fies his or her actions by blaming
murderer illustrates this position: about it alot. Suppose it wasn't you someone else. In our study, for exam-
Agent: Could the police have done involved and it was someone else. ple, a murderer justified his killing by
anything for you in order to get a What, in your mind, would be the describing the victim as a "tramp."
confession? reasons for someone doing One reason a murderer may not be
Subject: Well, at first I didn't admit something like that? able to admit the crime is that admis-
my guilt. I wouldn't admit to Subject: I'd say she either said or sion would destroy his premise of jus-
anybody. But I didn't really deny did something extremely wrong. tification.
either. Agent: Like what, for instance? Obtaining information from sus-
pects is a critical technique for law
enforcement. Well-developed skills in
interviewing can provide important in-
formation, which can be linked with
crime scene data. Through the use of
various interviewing techniques, the
investigation can receive maximum
benefit from the interview process.
Interview techniques discussed in this
article have given members of the
FBI's Behavioral Science Unit new in-
sight for tapping into the fantasy sys-
tems of these criminals and for effec-
tively dealing with their defenses.

, - . . and a picture that includes a house and a tree.

._~~~~_~ __________ August 1985 I 31


a Ph('l(ograph taken 1980

Lawrence William Fishman Description Caution

Lawrence William Fishman. also Age ........................... 34, born August Fishman is being sought in
known as Larry Fishman. Lawrence 29.1951, connection with the murder and
Fishman. and Lawrence W. Fishman Washington. DC. wounding of two members of his
Heigh!... .................... 5'11" to 6'. family where the victims were
Wanted for: Weight.. .................... 160 to 180 allegedly shot with a 9 mm automatic
Interstate Flight-Murder pounds. pistol. Fishman should be considered
Build ......................... Medium. armed and dangerous.
The Crime: Hair ........................... Short curly brown.
Fishman is wanted by the FBI in Eyes ......................... Brown. Notify the FBI
connection with the November 28. Complexion ............. Medium. Any person having information
1980. murder of his father and Race ......................... White. which might assist in locating this
wounding of his mother in Silver Nationality ................ American. fugitive is requested to notify
Spring. MD. using a 9 mm automatic Occupations ............ Cab driver, public immediately the Director of the
pistol. speaker, public Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S.
A Federal warrant was issued on health lobbyist, Department of Justice. Washington.
January 5, 1981, at Baltimore. MD. editor, research DC 20535. or the Special Agent in
charging Fishman with unlawful student, law clerk, Charge of the nearest FBI field office.
interstate flight to avoid prosecution lawyer. the telephone number of which
for the crime of murder. Social Security appears on the first page of most
Number Used .......... 214-52-6075. local directories.
Remarks ................. He wears
glasses; has been Classification Data:
Because of the time factor in treated for various NCIC Classification:
printing the FBI Law Enforcement mental disorders; AAAAAAAA12PMAAAAAA10
Bulletin. there is the possibility that hr.::; been known Fingerprint Classification:
this fugitive has already been to frequent 5 aA2a 12
apprehended. The nearest office of university facilities
the FBI will have current information and obtain
lodging in YMCA 1.0.4967
on this fugitive's status.
residences or
housing near
FBI No .................... 686 036 S5.

Left mIddle fmgerprint

32 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Change of
Address , BULLETIN
Not an order form

Complete this form and

return to: NamE'

Federal Bureau of
Investigation Address
Washington, D.C. 20535

The interesting pattern presented
serves to illustrate the minimum
requirements for a whorl, namely, two
dAltas witt", a recurve In front of each.
In the FBI's Identification Division, this
impression is classified as a plain
whorl with a reference to a central-
pocket, looptype whorl. The tracing is
-- - -----

--- ~

U.S. Department of Justice

Second Class Mall
Federal Bureau of Investigation Postage and Fees Paid
Federal Bureau of Investigation
ISSN 0014-5688

IVashington, DC 20535

Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300
Address Correction Requested

ROCKVIllE MD 20850

The Bulletin Notes

Sgt. Gene Plambeck, of the

Cody, WY, Police Department, after
successfully handling a 3 a.m. SWAT
call on Thanksgiving, 1984, on his
way home at daylight responded to a
call about a heart attack victim.
Sergeant Plambeck, an emergency
medical technician, revived the victim
with another officer's help. The
Bulletin joins the Cody Chief of Police
in recognizing Sergeant Plambeck's
service to his community.

Sergeant Plambeck