Serial Killers - A Homicide Detective's Take


Credentials and Interest

It was during my tenure of over 20 years as a homicide Detective and Detective Sergeant with the Miami Police Department that I investigated six serial murder cases. I like to think that the experience I gained in those investigations has given me a most rudimentary glimmer of understanding as to what motivates a serial killer in undertaking his atrocities.

These six serial murder cases, which accounted for the murders of nearly 50 people, all took place in the Miami area. All six offenders were men: two Hispanic/white males, two African-American males, and two white Anglo males. They all had different, although equally macabre, reasons for their acts. Three of the killers confessed their crimes while the others took their reasons to their graves, dying of AIDS while in prison or taking their own lives. The three men who confessed provided us with many, sometimes distressingly vivid, details of how, why, and when they committed their crimes.

Although part of my job as a homicide detective is to analyze the motives of killers, my interest goes beyond the requirements of my job. I have acquired and extensively studied a lengthy and well-written dissertation prepared by a convicted and, to me unknown, serial killer, and material from this document is incorporated into this article. Because I do not know his name I cannot give specific credit to its author.

I can, however, vouch for the validity of this document by providing some history about how I obtained it. While working the Rory Conde case, the investigative team was receiving copious leads, but none were panning out. One of the investigators assigned to the Task Force received by mail a letter from a local therapist. The author of this glimpse into a killer's mind prepared it as part of his psychological treatment at the request of his therapist, who chose to protect the identity of his source. The document that we received was a photocopy of what had apparently originally been handwritten on a lined legal pad in a consistent fine point that appeared to have been ink. The letter was perfectly legible and the printing was so nearly perfect that at first glance it appeared almost to have been typewritten. Close inspection revealed, however, the slight variations of human penmanship. The writing was meticulous, a nearly perfect hand that neatly compacted two rows of text between every two lines. Approximately five pages long, the document showed no mistakes and appeared completely free of erasures, strike-outs, even hesitation. If the writer employed such precision and planning in implementing the hideous deeds he described, it seemed nothing short of miraculous that he was ever caught. With hundreds of years of collective investigative experience behind the assembled investigative team, or Serial Killer Task Force as we were called, we harbored no doubt that whoever had written this document was a perverse, sadistic, frighteningly sick individual who was highly likely to have committed the unspeakable acts that he reduced to writing.

Revealed in this article are presumably candid thought processes provided by this protected source, as well as information provided by serial killers whom I have investigated. Although serial killers vary in the details of their mental constructs, certain procedural similarities are common among them, and enable us to construct a very general profile. In this article I attempt to track similarities among people who kill strangers.

Common Knowledge

During the six serial killer cases I investigated, I dealt extensively with Criminal Profilers from both the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Their training and work experience are extensive and years in the making, and I have found these specialists to be truly invaluable resources.

First, a few statistics. Keep in mind, of course, that these are generalities; always there will be those who fall outside the bell curve. The following is a consensus of the majority of criminal profilers, based on actual cases they have investigated. Serial killers tend to be mostly white males; between 20 and 40 years of age . Most, although not all, serial killers begin their lives as petty criminals; initially they may have been peeping-Toms, animal torturers, arsonists, or any other of a wide range of pre-killing crimes. I have yet to hear of a provably "upstanding" citizen who begins his life of crime by killing people for personal and/or sexual gratification. In addition, as you may have observed from the examples given above, the "petty crimes" engaged in by nascent serial killers tend away from harmless "pranks" such as vandalism and opportunistic burglary and in the direction of more highly "anti-social" behaviors.

Genesis of a Serial Killer

Serial killers frequently suffer from low self-esteem, often complicated by some sort of sexual dysfunction. Many were themselves the victims of sexual abuse and/or were raised in violent households. Never having received much training in social graces and lacking in confidence, they tend to be introverted and friendless. Some, like emotional adolescents that never reach adulthood, maintain unhealthy ties to a family member, often the mother. And although certain serial killers have counted their mothers among their victims, in my belief such instances are not sexual in nature, but more a revenge or to halt years of real or perceived domination. In nearly all cases, deviant and recurring sexual desires and fantasies are what drive these people to murder multiple victims.

Spending much time alone, those who will depart the social norms tend to inhabit an imaginary world. Their fantasies, which in my experience always involve sex, begin small. At first they are able to achieve gratification merely by imagining these scenarios, and in that way they may not differ from other people who for reasons of their own concoct socially unacceptable fantasies that never see the light of day.

For those who develop into serial killers, at some point imaginary scenarios start to become insufficient. When thoughts and self-stimulation no longer suffice, some of these people may act their visions out in the limited but sometimes quite realistic realm of sado-masochistic sex. In time, even that is not enough. For reasons of their own, some people require more and greater stimuli to satisfy their turbulent desires, until finally they enact the killing of their first victim.

This is a big step, even for a highly aberrant mind. The perpetrator himself may be shocked and frightened, even disgusted, and it may take a while for the first-time murderer to reestablish his personal mandate. While doing so, he may relive his actions over and over in his mind, thus receiving again that gratification obtained during the actual murder and, perhaps, by doing so actually setting the stage for his progression. Some killers take something, a trophy if you will, from their victim. It may be an article of clothing or a photograph, a swatch of hair or piece of jewelry, something of use to embellish their mental re-living of their actions. This suffices for a while but, in time, their ability mentally to revisit their victim's demise will fade. By the time this happens, if he has reconstructed his entitlement and begins to hunt another victim, such a person has come to fit the classical mold of a serial killer.

Victim Selection

How does a serial killer select victims? The traditional school of thought holds that generally they select victims based on certain physical and/or personal characteristics. This assertion presupposes that, within the mind of each serial killer, there evolves synthesis of preferred characteristics and, ultimately, a clear, specific picture of his "ideal" victim, be it male or female, black or white, young or old, short or tall, large busted or small, shy or forward, and so on. Then, when that "typical" serial killer begins an active search for human prey, he will go to certain lengths to capture and victimize only those individuals who closely fit the mold.

Unexpectedly, I have observed that most serial killers never actually find and kill their "dream victim." People fitting such detailed and perfected images may not only be hard to come by, but may also not be easily available in the venues haunted by "hunting" serial killers. So when that ideal victim cannot be found, and when their internal impetus becomes powerful enough, they will settle for a substitute. Ignoring for a moment the disparity between deviant human and normal feline behavior, a serial killer can be compared to a hungry lion that lies in wait for his favorite meal. It may be the lion knows an impala has the most tender or tasty meat. He waits for an opportunity to kill and eat the impala and in doing so may allow easy but not-so-attractive prey to pass unmolested. In time, hunger pains growing and no impala in sight, the famished lion will settle for an unwary bird that happens by. After devouring the bird, which gives his hunger a brief respite, the lion again has time to savor the taste of an impala, and the cycle begins again.

Like the lion, a serial killer just will not defer acting out his urge to kill simply because his "ideal" victim refuses to materialize at his beck and call. But his reason for settling for something less divulges from that of the lion. There are two basic, interrelated reasons for this disparity. The first centers on the extra caution exercised by a serial killer in his search for a victim; the second, upon the nature of the compulsion that drives him to violence.

Addressing the former reason first, it can be said that a serial killer is among the most alert and cautious of all human beings. Such caution can be explained by his foremost concern, that being to carry out his activities without being caught, that he may continue to enjoy his pursuits. Incidentally, this awareness of right versus wrong, at least to the extent of shielding his own identity, distinguishes the mental processes of a serial killer, however deviant they may be, from the insanity manifested by true psychosis. However much he has inwardly justified his intentions, he nevertheless does have an unacknowledged sense or awareness of the heinous-not to mention illegal-nature of the acts he will commit. He is aware of the stakes involved-that there is absolutely no room for error-and therefore will mark no one for his prey unless he perceives the odds to be overwhelmingly in his favor. His motto may well be "whom I cannot seize safely, I will not seize at all."

In theory, a serial killer could reject all other easy prey until; at last, his "ideal" victim was to appear in circumstances perfectly suited to his caution. If that were often true, however, we may not have run across many instances of serial murders. But this intense and mounting hunger for real-life violence against a real-life captive can be contained only so long before it inevitably compels him to settle for second-best. The ideal victim of a human serial killer may be a voluptuous blonde movie star or a beautiful brunette model, but his search for this richly imagined victim may well meet with failure. Failure is something the serial killer cannot tolerate, so he settles for an easier target, usually a prostitute, or a homeless or drug-addicted woman. These types of victims, although not the killer's "ideal or dream" victim, make easy targets. They are usually willing to go with the killer to another location with the lure of money and/or drugs, thus giving the serial killer the opportunity to have the victim on his turf. Additionally, the killer may have prepared a killing scheme that can include restraints, knock-out drugs, or a variety of contingency plans that he has carefully prepared to snare his victim.

The first time he kills may not be perfectly choreographed. Sometimes it may actually take the perpetrator by surprise or be accidental in nature. But, inspired by the intense satisfaction the killing produces, he starts to plan in earnest. As he perfects his trade, future victims may increasingly undergo a more torturous, orchestrated, even ritualistic death.

Victim Objectification

As a serial killer steps away from his base, whatever it may be, to begin the hunt for human prey, it is almost always true that he knows absolutely nothing about the person who is fated to become his victim. This is true even in the case of such serial killers as William Cody in Colorado, who cultivated his victims over lengthy periods (acquiring their possessions as well as their trust) before finally and viciously ending their lives. But for him as well, each future victim began as a stranger about whom he knew nothing. In this way does a serial killer differ from a man who, in a burst of anger, kills his adulterous wife, as well as the cold-blooded planner who kills for revenge?

It may be that having no prior knowledge of a future victim further enables the process of that victim's objectification. For as far as he is concerned, his next victim is not even a human being, in the accepted sense. So, well before he ever crosses paths with his next victim, he has already stripped that person of all human meaning and worth; he has unilaterally decreed from afar that the person is deserving of no human consideration whatsoever. Thus, then, in a serial killer's perception of his victims; past and future: that each is nothing more than an object, depersonalized in advance, existing only for himself and his enjoyment, and solely to be seized and used as he sees fit. Moreover, he perceives his unseen prey not just as an object to be used, but as an object unworthy of any consideration, worthy only of extreme contempt, vicious abuse, and ultimate destruction.

Why does the serial killer hold such an extreme and irrational disregard for others? How can he so utterly despise and count worthless another human being whom he has even yet to meet? The answer to these questions is that, after years of privately nurturing and reinforcing his compulsion for violence, a serial killer has arrived at a place where he is compelled to act out his brutal fantasies. This mandates the killer to perceive living human beings-the only pool from which he can obtain real-life victims-as worthless objects deserving the violence he desires to mete out. Mentally he transforms them into hateful creatures, because, in the twisted morality of his own making, it is only against such richly deserving objects that he can justifiably and joyfully inflict his personal brand of justice. Perhaps, in the carefully constructed mentation of a serial killer, no one but himself really deserves to live.

To preserve this mentation, a serial killer must lie to himself. He lies as he denies his own "badness" and projects it upon his as-yet free, future victim. He lies as he stands in judgment and pronounces his victim "guilty" for the "crime" of imagining him- or herself a worthy human being. All such self-serving justifications, of course, are nothing more than self-delusion that has come to be, in the killer's mind, reality. To a serial killer, such a construction of reality is entirely necessary. For deep inside of himself, each serial killer contains an unacknowledged awareness of the fact that his future victims are innocent human beings, utterly undeserving of his wrath. Yet, to admit this fact, he would also have to recognize that he, and the violence he intends to inflict, is altogether unjust and wrong. And, for a man grown accustomed to the "goodness" and "rightness" of his proclivity for violence and the pleasure it provides, any such admission of actual wrong is impossible to countenance.

Denouement

Once a serial killer is in possession of a living victim, and has this victim where he feels safe enough to act out his fantasies, the acts he carries out are often performed as if on "auto-pilot." The killer's acts appear to be a close reenactment of what he previously did in his imagination. So, from among an array of violent fantasies, he picks and chooses the individual cruelties that he feels will assure the most in the way of "self-fulfillment." Yet, if a serial killer places this kind of special emphasis on the careful and systematic acting out of his favorite mind pictures, it is only because of the tremendous meaning and pleasure he derives from watching the degrading, dehumanizing effect they have upon his victim as he methodically carries them out. To him, nothing is more important than to see his victim reduced to the very lowest depths of misery and despair. For if there is any single reason that a serial killer does what he does, it is so that he may feel enlarged and magnified in his own eyes-through the willful and violent degradation of another human being. This need for self-magnification is always, I believe, a mandatory pre-requisite to any episodes of violence.

As for the actual commission of the murder itself, I believe this is usually nothing more than a postscript to a serial killer's overall scheme of violence. His real gratification comes from the subjugation, terrorization, and brutalization of his victim, and almost not at all from the actual murder itself. Thus, from a serial killer's viewpoint, his victim might be likened to a disposable paper cup, from which he takes a long and satisfying drink of water. Once the water is gone, his thirst quenched, the cup has served its purpose; it is useless, and therefore can be crushed without thought and thrown away without concern. Since he has met his need to terrorize and abuse, his victim is perceived as an object of inconvenience, a worn-out and no-longer-needed piece of baggage. So, his only concern now is for quick extermination and safe disposal of the victim he no longer needs or wants.

Once he murders his victim, a serial killer's tactics for disposal of the body remain entirely self-centered. If, for example, he takes the time and effort to bury his victim's remains, he almost certainly does this not out of any last-minute concession toward decency, but, instead, simply to hide the evidence. Should conditions be favorable, he will simply dump the body unceremoniously someplace where prompt discovery is unlikely, unwilling either to make the effort to dig, or risk being seen digging, anything so eye-catching as a body-sized hole in the ground.

Eager though he may be to be rid of the victim's body, a typical serial killer, if he has a choice, is not apt to dispose of the body in open view, where it can be quickly and easily found. Although certain serial killers have done exactly this, taking additional and special delight in flaunting their atrocities, I believe most have no desire to advertise what they have done. They have already had their excitement and experienced their relief. Anything else is anticlimactic. They may go to great lengths to cover up their tracks, only so that a body cannot be traced back to them. One Florida serial killer, Danny Rolling, took a great deal of pleasure in strategically and carefully positioning his dead victims in the most shocking pose he could concoct. When police entered the victims' rooms, they were greeted by the deceased bodies positioned in a variety of graphic and ghastly poses.

A serial killer generally does have an idea for where he wants to dispose of the victim's remains, or at least, he has a general idea of the type of locale that would best suit his needs. Usually, this is a remote or secluded locale, a place where he can discard the victim's body quickly and without the likelihood of being seen, yet which affords some ready concealment over his victim's remains. If the whole violent episode occurred at such a locale in the first place, he will simply kill and leave his victim right there. If not, he will generally always put forth some effort to reach a secluded and preferred dumping ground. But, as always, his every action will be governed solely by self concern.

It is fortunate for us, investigators trying to solve these brutal crimes, that serial killers are not perfect. Because of their human nature, they, in most cases, unknowingly leave clues behind. It is a known fact in criminal investigations that, as well as leaving something behind, a perpetrator will always, even if unconsciously, take something from the scene of the crime. This is true not just of serial killers, but of nearly all crime scenes. These clues are often very subtle and nearly impossible to identify and collect. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to secure a crime scene and search for these faint clues the killer has inadvertently left behind. If we are to have any hope of solving these cases, it is imperative that we not overlook or miss those subtle clues the killer provides.

Case Histories

Some of the serial murder cases I investigated conformed to these generalities while others did not; variations in such exceptionally deviant behavior are only to be expected. In the case of Charles Williams, one suspect who died of AIDS in a Florida penitentiary, many of what we came to believe were his victim's deaths were not initially classified as murders. The original detectives and medical examiners investigating these cases in a predominantly low-income area of Miami found large quantities of drugs in the bodies of women, most of whom were, based on previous arrest histories and family interviews, known prostitutes and/or drug addicts, and consequently most of these deaths were initially classified as drug overdoses. But as the body count among such women in a relatively circumscribed area continued to rise, we homicide investigators became increasingly concerned that a pattern was emerging. Consequently many of the cases were reopened, bodies disinterred, and autopsy findings reviewed.

Williams was born and raised in Miami and lived in the same neighborhood that the murders took place. He would lure his victims, provide them with drugs, have sexual intercourse with them, and manually strangle them during the sex act. I speculate that he derived his pleasure from not only the sexual act, but also by being in such total control that their lives were given to satisfy his unnatural needs. In one instance, a Miami police officer ran right by Williams as he was having sex with his victim in a field. The officer, involved in a foot chase of another criminal, glimpsed but paid no further attention to the couple. It was not until the next day when the victim was found lying in the precise spot where the officer had seen the couple that realization dawned. Unfortunately but understandably, given the circumstances of the sighting, the officer did not recognize Williams as the person who was having sex with the prostitute.

Although I actively participated in this investigation, the credit for actually solving the case and gathering the evidence to convict Williams goes to then-Homicide Detective Tony Rodriguez, now a Captain with the Miami Police Department. The investigation spanned a period of many years and was ultimately focused on Williams through DNA testing, bite-mark comparisons, and Williams's denial-which flew in the face of his known proclivities of ever having been with the victim. DNA testing was in the infancy stage at the time Williams was killing his victims, but DNA nevertheless linked him to the decisive case he was charged and convicted with. This lead to at least seven deaths being reclassified and attributed to Williams, who was ultimately tried, convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Although Williams was suspected of having killed over 30 women in the greater Miami area, comprising several different police jurisdictions, in the end he was charged and convicted on just one Miami Police Department case.

In the case of Rory Conde, nicknamed "The Tamiami Strangler," six prostitutes were found manually strangled and their bodies discarded at various locations near US-41, which in Miami is called Tamiami Trail. Conde's wife of many years lived in constant fear of beatings and abuse at Conde's hands. Once when his wife was absent Conde brought a prostitute home and dressed her in his wife's pajamas, videotaping their sex acts. When his wife eventually discovered the videotape, she moved out. The couple had several children and Conde had trouble visiting them as he tried to reconcile with his estranged wife. In his confession he blamed the prostitutes for his failed marriage and for losing his children.

Of the six people Conde killed, five were women and one was a transvestite. They were all prostitutes, picked up from within a few-blocks-square area known as a hangout for quick sex. Conde had sex with all of his victims and would strangle them during the sex act. The women were not beaten or brutalized; they all were strangled manually, with little other trauma. After killing his victims, he would often talk to the corpses, giving them advice-as though by such taking of extreme control he had made them "his." He would always re-dress the women after killing them and discard their bodies in locations such as residential neighborhoods, where they were easily discovered. Initially, when we discovered the second victim, we suspected a serial killer, but were not one hundred percent sure. This fact somehow made its way into the media and with his third victim, Conde wrote a message on her back with a permanent magic marker, leaving us not doubt this was his third victim. Apparently Conde wanted the police to know and inform the media that he was responsible for all three killings. In this message he indicated he would call one of the local television anchors, but he never did. And his killings continued.

The woman who was to become Conde's seventh victim was able to escape and notify the police, and this ultimately led to his apprehension. Conde had captured this woman and left her locked in his apartment while he attended a court appearance on a shoplifting charge. The terrorized woman escaped from the apartment and led us back to his apartment, where he was captured on his return. Once Conde's potential victim explained some of the details of her terrifying experience, investigators were practically certain he was the "Tamiami Strangler." Some tire tracks left on the scenes had been positively linked to an older model Toyota Celica. A quick computer check verified that he owned the exact type of car we were looking for. He was convicted of one of the murders and sentenced to death. He subsequently pled guilty to the others and was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences without parole. Conde was not a "typical" serial killer in that he did not apparently achieve any sexual gratification in torturing or beating his victims. Yet, he did achieve a peculiar satisfaction in his perception that-following his own pleasure-he was ridding the world of the type of woman who had caused his family life to disintegrate.

The forth serial killer investigation in which I participated does not fit the mold of "serial killer," so far as one exists. Robert Rozier was a former pro football player drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals who later played with the Oakland Raiders. He joined a radical black-supremacist Hebrew sect called the "Temple of Love." The cult, led by self proclaimed "Son of God" Hulon Mitchell Jr., who called himself Yahweh Ben Yahweh, was suspected of having killed 14 people in various states. Although neither Rozier nor Mitchell killed for sexual gratification or stimulation, their murders were carried out as a power struggle to keep cult defectors from ruining Mitchell's eight-million-dollar Miami empire. As proof of the killings, Mitchell required that Rozier sever the ears of his victims and bring them to him. Although the purpose of most killings was simply to keep cult members "in line," several white male victims were randomly murdered as part of the initiation to the secret "brotherhood." Severing the ears of victims threw investigators off track for a while: they hypothesized that the killer could have been a crazed war veteran, since some had been known to cut off the ear of a dead enemy soldier for some macabre reason.

Rozier was convicted of committing four murders under orders from the cult. He later admitted to seven killings and was sentenced to 22 years in prison, agreeing to cooperate with the authorities. He was released after serving just 10 years and became a federally protected witness. After relocating to his California home he violated his program and, under California's "three strikes law," was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The fifth serial-killer case I helped investigate was more notorious. In the mid 1980s, Christopher Wilder, the jet-setting racecar driver and photographer, scoured the country for beautiful women, luring them with the pretext of being a fashion-model photographer. Wilder was a more sadistic killer, systematically torturing his victims with electricity, even gluing their eyes closed with superglue. During the Miami Grand Prix, an aspiring model named Rosario Gonzalez, hired to work at the Grand Prix, met Wilder. Although we may never know the exact details of what transpired, we suspect he enticed her with the prospect of her photographs appearing in a prominent magazine.

Ms. Gonzalez apparently went with Wilder and met her demise. To this day her body has never been found. Just recently, I spoke to Lieutenant Jorge Morin who, when Rosario Gonzalez disappeared, was the lead homicide detective assigned to her case. Nearly 20 years after Rosario vanished, Morin is still baffled at the fact her body was never found. Although there was never any solid evidence that she was in fact dead, the investigation led us to that assumption, and Lieutenant Morin hopes someday to bring closure to this as-yet-unsolved investigation. Wilder was suspected of using this same MO to torture and kill at least eight women, and was the subject of a nationwide manhunt that culminated in a police chase. On the verge of capture, he shot and killed himself.

I also helped investigate another very notorious serial killer who escaped apprehension through suicide. This case too spanned several states and concluded on a houseboat in Miami Beach. Although none of his murders actually took place within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Miami, the close proximity of Miami Beach enabled my detectives and me to assist the Miami Beach Police Department. Andrew Cunanan had been tracked across the United States after a multi-state killing spree, his guns linking one case to another. After killing Gianni Versace as the man was entering his home, Cunanan found temporary refuge in an empty houseboat. He lived there for many days after the murder and was discovered by the houseboat's caretaker, who ran out and notified the police. With the houseboat surrounded and bullhorns beckoning Cunanan to come, he shot himself in the head. Once again a serial killer took his demented reasons for his actions to his grave.

The final serial killer case in which I was involved was that of Fransisco Del Junco, a Cuban Mariel refugee who severely beat and set fire to four African-American prostitutes, killing all of them. By the time the second victim was found, in almost the same location as the first, we knew we were dealing with a serial killer. Linked by more than proximity, the first two victims' injuries were nearly identical. All four women were found in areas of Miami frequented by homeless people and low-priced prostitutes. Hundreds of federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel began interviewing, photographing, and obtaining DNA samples from hundreds of Miami's homeless community. One woman who claimed she was attacked, months before, by a Hispanic man from whom she was able to escape became one more potential witness among hundreds of other leads we were following. Months later, this same woman notified a uniformed police officer that the man who had attacked her was riding a bicycle in the area. All Miami police officers were aware of the high-profile serial-killer case. Anticipating that the serial killer was overdue for killing again the Task Force was out in full force, and soon after the uniformed officer's radio transmission the cyclist was located. Within minutes I arrived at the scene.

Weeks earlier, the body of Del Junco's forth victim had been discovered in an abandoned gas station. Inside, acoustic ceiling tiles had fallen under the weight of water from a leaky roof and were strewn about the floor. After having stepped in some greasy oil from the work area of this garage, Del Junco then left shoe prints on several of the white ceiling tiles. This left near-perfect impressions of a very distinctive shoe pattern. For months I visited dozens of shoe stores looking in vain for this pattern, which had become deeply ingrained in my memory.

My first request of the detained cyclist was to see the bottom of his shoe. When he lifted his foot, at last I saw the pattern I had so desperately been trying to identify. This, coupled with the fact a small pill container containing gasoline was strapped to the underside of his bicycle seat, left no doubt in my mind he was our killer. It took nearly four days of interviewing before Del Junco admitted his atrocities-four days during which, because he had not been charged, he was allowed to return home and go to work under constant police surveillance. When he finally confessed, Del Junco blamed voices in his mind that ordered him to do these things. He is charged in all four murders and is currently awaiting trial in Miami.

The profile I submit in this article is only that, a profile. People who kill strangers all have their own macabre reasons for their acts. Nevertheless, we can learn from those who are willing to divulge their reasons, and sometimes from the acts of those who don't. Since retiring from the Miami Police Department in May of 2002, I have continued my quest to learn all that I can about serial killers and the gruesome reasons they contrive for their ghastly deeds. I plan to interview imprisoned serial killers to further educate myself on their behaviors, extracting information that may be of predictive or clinical use, and present my findings in book form.

Copyright © 2005 Nelson Andreu, All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article, except as otherwise authorized in writing by the author of the article you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.

This article was last reviewed or amended on Nov 8, 2014.