Types of Serial Killers

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The Anatomy of Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals
by John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker -- What makes people kill? What are the motivations behind serial, mass, and spree killings? Drawing from cases such as the mass murder in Dunblane, Scotland, a lone gunman mowed down 16 children and their teacher, the unsolved Tylenol poisonings, and the Unabomber.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson -- The events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and Daniel Hudson Burnham, (1846-1912), an architect and city planner responsible for the fair's construction, and H. H. Holmes, (really Herman Webster Mudgett), (1861-1896), a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor, believed to be responsible for scores of murders. He created the World's Fair Hotel to lure victims.

Serial Killer Info
Serial Killer List

Unsolved Serial Killings
Personality Profiling

Three Types of Serial Killers

Thrill Seekers: Outsmarting law enforcement is a game, enjoys media attention, police pursuit, and evading the authorities. They send messages and keep records.

Mission Oriented: Doing society a favor by eliminating certain people such as prostitutes.

Power and Control: Enjoy the victim's terror, suffering and screaming.

Souvenirs and Serial Killers: Mementos of the victims. Robert Keppel categorizes these as : souvenirs and trophies.

Souvenirs: Personal items to enjoy memories of the crime.

Trophy: A shrine

Jeffrey Dahmer kept photos in his apartment. He had skulls of his victims in a closet, refrigerator, and freezer. Genitalia was preserved in formaldehyde.

In 1957, when police searched the Wisconsin farmhouse of Eddie Gein they found a bowl made from a human skull, a chair and suit made of human skin.


Some serial killers leave signatures include posing, concealing victims or inserting objects in the bodies after death for the killers gratification. As the need to punish and degrade victims intensifies they may develop unique preferences which becomes their signature.

Robert Keppel, consultant to the Green River Task Force said, "They like to (leave signatures). They enjoy it. It's one of their favorable pastimes. It's my belief that all serial killers leave a sign. It's also my belief that we don't find it all the time because of decomposition or because he doesn't want you to find it ... It's what their sexual enhancement is."

James Fox, a Northeastern University criminal justice professor, says signatures aren't as common as people believe. They may use the same weapon or sexually mutilate in the same way but use different methods to kill and prey victims. Ted Bundy enjoyed sadism, rape and murder but no signatures weren't found. Posing is occurs in less than 1% of murder cases. Inserting objects in a body after death is even rarer. Staging, moving a body to cover the crime and mislead pursuers, is not the same as posing.

The modus operandi (mode of operation or MO) ,the way they find, overpower, and kill a victim without getting caught. is not a signature from The MO changes as the killer refines their methods.

February 1990, Oregon State Police arrested John Sosnovke and Laverne Pavlinac for the rape and murder of Taunja Bennet, 23, a mildly retarded, woman who frequented bars. Pavlinac confessed and produced physical evidence implicating her boyfriend. The actual killer, Keith Hunter Jesperson, a long haul truck driver and murderer of eight women wouldn't allow anybody else take credit. After Sosnovke and Pavlinac received life sentences he confessed:

"I killed Tanya Bennett . . . I beat her to death, raped her and loved it. Yes I'm sick, but I enjoy myself too. People took the blame and I'm free . . ..Look over your shoulder. I may be closer than you think."

Roy Hazelwood, of the FBI's old Behavioral Sciences Unit, claims serial sex offenders are generally Caucasian males of European descent. "Every single sexual deviation is overwhelmingly dominated by white males. And most sexually related ritualistic crimes are committed by white males."

Hazelwood identifies predators who rape and murder children and women they know as disorganized. They don't plan attacks but are opportunistic, using weapons available at or around the crime scene and they do not conceal their crimes. Organized predators plan out the crime, and bring tools as they troll for strangers far away from home. They destroy the evidence.

Anger-Excitation Rapists plan methodically. They are cruel in relationships but they kill strangers.

Serial sex offenders rely on sadistic cruelty to act out fantasies. They use restraints, ritualism, fantasies, hatred, manipulation, and mind control.

For the Worst of Us, the Diagnosis May Be 'Evil' -- People who commit violent crimes are much more likely than others to kill or harm again., This potential is measured with the psychopathy checklist. devised by Dr. Robert Hare,. Neuroscientists have found evidence that psychopathy scores reflect physical differences in brain function.

Differences Between Mass Murderers and Serial Killers -- In mass and serial murder the offender gains control victims as the dies.

Dennis Rader -- BTK Serial Killer

Angel of Darkness by Dennis McDougal, Rick Morgan (Editor) -- In May 1983, Randy Kraft, a computer consultant and 1967 economics graduate of Claremont Men's College, was pulled over by California Highway Patrol officers because of suspected drunk driving. Approaching Kraft's Toyota, the officers faced a dead, partially clothed US marine, drugged and strangled in the passenger seat. Kraft killed young male hitchhikers and patrons of gay bars. His victims were sexually tortured, impaled and mutilated. He kept a sketchbook from one victim, a camera from another and electric razor from another. He took photographs of his victims posed in sexually provocative positions. His companion never suspected anything. Still suspected in 60 murders, Kraft lives on death row, maximum security, California's San Quentin death row for 16 murders in the 1970s and 1980s; he has a reputation as one of the most notorious serial killers in US history.

Born Evil or Born Genius: The Leading Cause of Crime and Turmoil in Today's World by Barry Sudiker -- A fascinating study of behavior and its consequences, and how to prevent it. Sudiker proves, through research and statistics, that genius and criminality are inherited with case studies that support his theories. In the nature vs. nurture debate, Sudiker insists that environment accounts for only three percent of one's behavior. Genetics and predispositions account for the rest. Genetics can be used to reduce crime in the world and help advance and improve humankind".

Predestined Serial Killers -- A startling amount of criminals on death row have been clinically diagnosed with brain disorders. A study demonstrated 20 out of 31 confessed killers are mentally ill. Out of that 20, 64% have frontal lobe abnormalities .A thorough study of the profiles of many serial killers shows that many suffered severe head injuries (to the frontal lobe) as children.

For nearly 30 years, Helen Morrison has probed the brains of serial killers though, until Gacy, she'd never held one in her hands.

Slaughter Night in Moscow by John Philpin -- Between dusk on July 21, and dawn, July 22, 4 women were murdered in Moscow.

Serial Killer in Moscow? Although the information has not been released to the Russian media, Moscow investigators have found three surviving victims who have provided similar detailed descriptions of their assailant.

Science, Intuition, and Hope: The Art of Personality Profiling by John Philpin

The Baton Rouge Serial Murders Series -- by John Philpin Intriguing 5 part series takes you behind the scenes of the search for the Baton Rouge Serial Killer through the eyes of a criminal profiler who worked the case.

Sue's Journey: The Writing of Lethal Intent -- Would the eyes of Aileen ‘Lee’ Carol Wuornos Pralle, accused serial killer, be a window to her soul?

Lethal Intent by Sue Russell -- That rarest of serial killers - a woman - Aileen 'Lee' Wuornos confessed to killing seven men. Lethal Intent contests the judgment of Wuornos as a "man-hating lesbian" via insights from men she shared relationships with. It contains insights and intimate memories from her family, friends and childhood peers who lost their virginity's to Aileen.

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Baton Rouge
Paul Bernardo
David Berkowitz
Kenneth Bianchi
Boston Strangler
Angelo Buono

Ted Bundy
Andrew Cunanan
Jeffrey Dahmer
Albert Fish
Caril Fugate
Eddie Gein
Green River Killer
Karla Homolka
Jack the Ripper
Edmund Kemper III
Charles Manson
Tommy Lynn Sells
Piggy Palace
Wesley Shermantine
Charlie Starkweather
Cary Stayner
Michael Swango
Fred & Rose West
Aileen Wuornos
Robert Yates
The Zodiac Killer

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. For 2000 years cadavers have been involved in science. They've tested France's guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery, cadavers have been there. Roach visits cadavers from anatomy labs and human-sourced pharmacies of medieval and 19th-century Europe to a human decay research facility in Tennessee, to a Scandinavian funeral directors' conference on human composting. There are chapters on cannibalism, dumplings filled with human remains from a Chinese crematorium, 13 b/w illustrations.

Lethal Shadow: The Chilling True-Crime Story of a Sadistic Sex Slayer by Stephen G. Michaud -- Profiles James Mitchell De Bardeleban, from his initial arrest as a counterfeiter to the discovery that he was also a sadistic kidnapper, torturer, and sex murderer responsible for a 20 year reign of terror.

The Vengeful Heart and Other Stories A true crime case-book Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth -- Distills a dozen true murder tales to provides an inside look at the motives, passions and terror of brutal killers.

Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives by Robert K. Ressler, John E. Douglas, Ann Wolbert Burgess, Horace J. Heafner. --Who are the men committing serial homicides in the US -- and why do they kill? The data, findings, and implications of a long-term FBI -sponsored study of serial sex killers. quantitative and qualitative detail. Data was obtained from psychiatric and criminal records, court transcripts, prison reports and interviews with offenders.

Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas, Stephen Singular, Mark Olshaker.-- Mindhunter enters the minds notorious serial killers to tell the story of the Investigative Support Unit (ISU) The unit specializes in the chemistry and mechanical workings of the brain's of serial criminals and interviewing murderers such as Charles Mann and David Berkowitz.

VHS: The Unexplained: Cannibals Killers in remote tribes (1999)




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