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Academy Group: Victimology


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Academy Group: Victimology

Robert Hazelwood:

We believe that a member of the Academy Group should have common sense, should have life experience, that means they must have experienced the rougher parts of life. The need to have a sense of intuition, and by the way I don't believe in intuition. I have to use that term because there's no other term that captures what it means. But I believe that what we call intuition is simply forgotten education, experiences and training. Because you see the mind has the largest hard drive known to man. There is no delete button on the mind. So when you walk into a crime scene and you say, "A teenager did this." Where did that come from? Well, we call it intuition. But I believe that the mind has captured so many factors so quickly, and assimilated those and correlated those and came out with what you and I call intuition. I think it's forgotten experience, education and training.

Michael Napier:

There are a number of things that account for someone who can be successful in analyzing and profiling and that sort of thing. A good part of it is just being well grounded in investigations, because you're going to be looking at a wide variety of investigative types, done by agencies from all over the world that have different styles of investigation, that sort of thing. And then an understanding of people. What we find is that you understand about people can be translated into the deviant person, because they are, many times, the same way in their crimes as they are in daily life. That is, their personality leaks through. Their behavior is… it's been in their mind a long time, and it's been developed to the extent of their intelligence, their ability to imagine. Some people can't imagine things very far down the road, and so they create a crime that's sloppy and messy and not very elaborate. And other people – clean as a hound's tooth, there's just nothing there, because they've thought of all the contingencies and what they needed to do. Dealing with theory has its place, and it's the place that you start. But you have to translate what you know in your mind, based on your other experience and the thousands of cases you've already looked at, and then translate it into very basic, very conversational terms. An example that you may have already received: Roy Hazelwood developing the concept of "organized" and "disorganized" for homicide offenders. If I say, "That person's really organized," you have a mental impression. We could have come up with some very fancy language, but street language, if I tell you my desk is disorganized, you know what it looks like. And if that's the way my desk is, that's the way my life is.

Playing Games

Robert R. Hazelwood:

An interesting case: an individual killed a woman out of two motives. Motive number one was anger and revenge. And motive number two was game-playing with the police. And this individual abducted this woman, we believe, murdered her and abducted her at her place of employment. And took her to a location five or six miles away, where he undressed her, and placed her on her back with her legs together, with her arms outstretched, palms down, and with her hair fanned over her head like a halo, if you will. And she had been struck three to four times in the face, she had been strangled manually and with a ligature. And it was an unsolved homicide. There was absolutely no evidence at the abduction-murder site. No evidence. It was like somebody had gone in with a vacuum cleaner and sanitized the scene, which we later found out that's what happened. Then he injects himself into the investigation two days after the murder. And if you had a checklist of what a killer is supposed to do, what you believe a killer might do following the commission of a murder, a psychopathic killer, it was like he'd gone down our checklist and checked everything off. He injected himself into the investigation. He collected all the media accounts of the crimes. He had made contact with her family. He emailed all of her friends the media coverage, the newspaper articles of the murder itself. He did everything. And confessed, third party: "If I wee the killer, here's what I would have done." Which, of course, matched the crime. Then he withdrew that and he confessed first party. And then said, "That will never be allowed in court." And one of the question he asked the investigator is, "Have you had the FBI profile this case yet?" The investigator told him, "no." And he said, "You should. They're pretty good at what they do." And he had an extremely high I.Q. And this is tried, convicted of murder. The appeals court throws the conviction out, because they said the confession should not have been allowed in the court. So he played games with the system. And initially it looked like the system beat him, but the question is, who won? Because he's free.

Dead Center

Michael Napier:

A case that stands out in my mind because… well, a number of features to it. But here was that person with a dead center. He just didn't have any real life to him. His name was Richard Grissom Junior. He killed first when he was fifteen years of age. Took a railroad spike and horribly beat a woman to death, an elderly woman. And they locked him up and he escaped, and they locked him up and he escaped. And finally he gets out in society and has these bizarre fantasies about young women. And he gets access to keys to their apartments. He's a painting contractor, and he has to go into the apartments. And he copies their keys and he goes in when they're not there. A real challenge in understanding him, because unfortunately he's never given us the bodies back on three of those women. He's never told us where they are. But there was a crime that we believed linked to him where the left the woman in her residence. And being able to extrapolate his behavior in that crime scene and transfer it to the other three where we had a minimal amount of behavior displayed, because what he did, he did away from their residences. And then to have the extraordinary opportunity to be sent to Dallas, Texas, to set up an interview room, because he was being lured there, because he thought he was going to meet another woman who would've become his next victim; she was cooperating with law enforcement. And to have him come up and stand beside me when he was at the wrong place, and then to arrest him, and then sit down and talk to him about why he did things, how he controlled himself, to the point that he couldn't drink, he didn't take drugs, because he was always on the verge of being angry and violent and that's how he controlled it. And how he used exercise – championship racquetball – as an outlet, a release. But how he would lose his temper when driving a car or whatever. And to get him to give me bits and pieces of his connection to these three women. It's an experience that you can only comprehend if you've lived through it.

The Fisherman's Wife

Robert Hazelwood:

I had an unusually equivocal death case – homicide, suicide or accident – in which a woman who as about 24 years of age, married, had two small children, a four-year-old and a child under the age of a year. And her husband was a fisherman, and he was out to sea, fishing. And the next door neighbor is waiting up for his wife, who he believes is out cheating. It's, like four o'clock in the morning. And the victim in this case come staggering into the yard. From blood loss, we determine later, collapses. He goes out to check, thinking it's his wife, and finds out it's his next door neighbor. And her left arm is almost totally amputated. Almost totally amputated. Her hair is shaved back to her midline. Her right eyebrow is shaved off. The police are called, of course. She dies, she dies from bleeding, external exsanguinations, bleeding. And the police go into the town home where she lives. Her husband's at sea, as I said. And the two children are asleep. But in the living room there's a large number of garbage bags, with milk and a sandwich. So the garbage bags have been placed on the floor, and there's milk and a sandwich, or a piece of cake, in each one of the garbage bags. And on the table are residue from making these meals. And they go upstairs. That's where the children are sleeping. And in the bathroom they find, lying across the threshold of the bathroom, her hair, that she shaved to the midline. And they go into the bathroom, and there's a large amount of blood. And there is, hanging on the light fixture over the sink, a crucifix. The Bible is open to the 23rd psalm. "Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death." In the bathtub there's water, and there are some blood splatters on the bathtub itself. And there are three plates on either side of the sink, with three forks, a spatula and a razor. And so investigation reveals that she was psychotic. She was a paranoid schizophrenic.

And she had gone … her husband had left her … and she had gone, two days before her death, to her minister, saying she's sinned and she needs to be baptized. And her minister says, "That's something the church has to take to the elders, but we'd be glad to do that." She said, "I don't have time. Can I have a bible?" So he gave her a bible, and that's the bible that's propped up. She goes home, waits a couple of days, makes the meals for the children – this is my opinion – puts them in the garbage bags so they won't make a mess. She then … if you recall, the bible says, in the Old Testament: "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out." So she shaves her right eyebrow. "If your right hand offend thee, cut it off." She's right-handed so she takes her own butcher knife and begins cutting through her arm. The doctor estimated it'd take her about two hours and ten minutes. And all the blood's in a circle, so she didn't struggle. The baptismal she made out of her bathtub. And then, we believe, we worked together on this, we believe that she changed her mind, and she begins walking out, and she goes and staggers next door where she collapses and dies. So that came to us as an equivocal death. Is it a homicide, suicide or accident? Technically it's a suicide because she inflicted it on herself. But, realistically, we don't think she meant to die. She was simply punishing herself for what she perceived, in her psychotic thinking, as being sinful behavior. Unusual case.

Blood Doesn't Lie

Roger Depue:

Our goal is to solve the case. Or to contribute to the solution of the case. The detectives solve the case. We contribute to it, they do the work. If they don't interview the guy, you can send them a profile and it goes nowhere. They have to be willing to do that. In the first case, Buxconi, they were very cooperative, the police were, and they shared their pictures with us. And that's so important to us, because that tells the story. We want to see where the victim was, and we want to see the cigarettes and the keys on the floor, and the purse. We want to see where everything is. We want to be able to reconstruct this thing. The victimology is critical in these cases, because you can look at the lifestyle of the victim and you can assess a risk level to that lifestyle. Obviously a prostitute, like in the Green River murders, has a very high risk level. Whereas a nun, you know, in a convent, would have a very low risk level. And sometimes a person's employment puts them in a higher-risk category.

This case that I mentioned to you in Buxconi, the young woman was an assistant manager in a restaurant and she stayed there after hours by herself, against company policy, while she did the books. But a woman alone at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., in a fast-food restaurant, she's placed herself in a very high-risk category. All the rest of her life, low risk. But this opportunity was there. And then you look at the risk value for the perpetrator. How much risk did he have to take? Was this premeditated? Did he think it through so that the risk was minimized? Or was this a guy who's reckless and impulsive, and he sees the victim, and it's a blitz-kind of an attack? Well, not in this case, this young woman. The perpetrator got in. There were four modes of death. I think it's the only case I've ever seen with four modes of death. He beat her head on the floor, and ruptured the subarachnoid membrane. He strangled her, and fractured the hyoid bone in the throat. He stabbed her with such intensity that the blade lodged between the vertebrae and you couldn't even pull it out. And then she was still breathing her last breaths, and so then he took plastic bag and wrapped her face to asphyxiate her. This is a man who wants her dead. He absolutely wants her dead. There were a number of robberies of fast-food restaurants, the whole theory was that it was a robbery gone bad. Perhaps the guy wanted sex or something from her, she was an attractive young woman. We went in, looked at the case. We said, "This person knew her." And something triggered it. Then you begin to look at: He didn't bring a weapon with him, a killing weapon. It's a restaurant so he used a butcher knife in the restaurant, left the knife at the scene.

Fifteen years later – her fiancé. He dropped in to see her while she was working later that night. It had been just overlooked or passed by. But Ken Baker, who's a retired Secret Service agent, and myself worked the case. We went out and talked to him because he looked good to us. He lied to us. People who are habitual liars lie even when they don't have to. They don't have to lie, but they'll lie anyway. What a good investigator does is ask open-ended questions and allows you to lie, hopes you lie, and encourages you to lie. And you lie, and lie, and lie, and then you have the second part of the interview, which is the confrontational part. That's where you make the difference. Well, in this case, he lied to us a lot. We weren't in a position to confront him because we were no longer law enforcement officers, we were working for the Academy Group. But we went back to the law firm that had hired us, because the family of the deceased was suing the restaurant chain. And we said to them, "This is a solvable case. Our product belongs to the law firm." They hired us. "But share it with the police, if you will." So they shared it with the police and the police did nothing for six years. Finally they got a young, energetic police officer and they started a cold case squad. They looked at this case and he read the profile and he said, "Wow!" So he called us, we met with him a couple of times, we laid out the whole interview scenario. And he did some excellent work, this young detective. His name was Nelson Whitney, from Falls Township. He and Laurie Marko, who was assistant district attorney, they started working on this case and brought it back and resurrected this thing. And guess what – they found DNA. DNA didn't exist fifteen years before, at least it wasn't commonly used. They went to the evidence closet, they got the knife, they broke the wooden handles off and they found his blood. When you stab somebody with a butcher knife, you don't have a hand guard. And so your hand, if it's wet, if it's not tight, or if it has a sudden abrupt stop, will slide down onto the blade, so you may have a little blood, you may cut your hand. When you look at hundreds of cases, those are the kinds of things you think. "Look, he couldn't even pull the knife out. Some of that blood may not be hers." And they found a hair follicle that had DNA as well, so they really sewed him up.

The case was solved fifteen years from the day of the homicide. And it was solved on that particular day because that was the anniversary of the homicide of this young woman. And we told the police to interview this suspect on the day, because anniversaries are very important to people. There are certain days in our lives that are very important to us. The death of a loved one, or other significant dates. And when those dates come around, your behavior actually changes a little bit. You might get a little quieter, a little moody, or you might drink a little more than you normally do. And the same thing is true of criminals. For instance, we have caused killers to go to the grave of the deceased by putting a particular story in the newspaper about unsolved crime, around the anniversary. And certain anniversaries are very important. And the killing fantasy comes bubbling up during that time, and you can tap into that sometimes. It's an opportune time to move the person.

Common Sense

Robert Hazelwood:

I like to approach problems with common sense. And common sense is defined as practical intelligence. And I like to believe that I have common sense. So I'm not necessarily a book person, or I don't necessarily follow a set of rules, I try to follow my common sense. I love quotations – quotes I should say – and one of my favorites is "Follow your knowledge, not your ego." And I think that's stood me in good stead as well.

Libby

"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape." Terry Pratchett

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