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Example of a serial killer

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  • Example of a serial killer


    After debating here ad nauseum about which kills within the list of Unsolved Murders file belong together under one killer, I have an example of a serial killer that has been killing in Toronto for over 10 years. This monster recently pled guilty to 8 murders, with more likely.

    The relevance to our discussions are;

    1. His MO remained consistent
    2. His Victimology was consistent
    3. His manner of acquisition remained consistent
    4. His manner of disposal remained consistent
    5. His hunting ground remained consistent
    6. His lack of remorse or guilt is consistent
    7. Almost all the victims were of a different race/ethnicity
    8. There is no evidence that race or ethnicity was a motivating factor in his choices

    There are a number of additional facts in these cases that would be very instructive to those who believe serial killers change who they kill, why they kill, and what they kill with. The Ripper murders, for me, are the murders that have Unfortunates or Prostitutes who were actively soliciting strangers outdoors at the time, who were killed by double throat cuts, and who had post mortem mutilations, involving the abdominal area. They were left where he killed them.

    That's a very short list within that Unsolved File, and perhaps a more logical list to be using.
    Michael Richards

  • #2
    The Ripper's victims might have been left where he killed them, but that doesn't mean that he killed them where he picked them up.
    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

    "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)


    • #3
      Agreed Sam, that was my thinking as well. I posted this thread because I think its the most pragmatic method of determining which victims could be grouped under the same killer. A position you know Ive inserted into many discussions. But in the most fundamental way, the most dominant features in the murder of Polly Nichols continue in the murder of Annie Chapman. That's an easy match in my estimation. And the fact that they are less than 2 weeks apart I believe is also significant.

      From that point on in these cases, aside from the Eddowes case perhaps, there are no easy matches.
      Michael Richards


      • #4
        I also wonder if McArthur's age brings a new light to the JTR suspect argument. He was 66 when apprehended, and no evidence exists to suggest he began killing before 57 - or that he was even violent before his late 40s. That's not to say it's impossible he assaulted or murdered while much younger, but TPS seem satisfied he was a late-bloomer, which knocks a lot of serial killing profile on its noggin.


        • #5
          Hello Michael,

          The only thing that you have demonstrated is that one particular serial killer in Toronto was consistent in the way that he killed. In no way have you demonstrated that therefore ALL serial killers must act in a similar manner.

          You did get the "ad nauseum" part right though.



          • #6
            The observation is hardly original with me, but in the end, behavioural constants which apply to serial killers who have been caught may not necessarily apply to those who weren't caught.
            - Ginger


            • #7
              I met a friend of a friend at a party, who was a psychologist/ criminologist by profession, whose work dealt with British offenders (including meeting them) and he was doing work in particular in identifying individuals and trying to identify signals that they may be entering a time of their life where they may be at a heightened risk of offending.

              When getting into discussion around why offenders, particularly sociopaths in the cases we were talking about, I asked a question why some particular dangerous offenders exhibit very different behaviours from other similar offenders. His illuminating response was that in discussing these we're are talking about a subset of a subset (sociopaths who have committed serious offences) and that there are actually so few that conclusive data isn't available even now after some years of study in the area, there is still not enough data to reach statistical significance on serious offender behaviour.

              There are good reasons to be very cautious in making conclusions about an offenders behaviour based on observations on the behaviour of another offender. There is strong risk of Survivorship Bias ( in drawing conclusions on all serial killer behaviour based what we know about serial killers who have been caught.
              Last edited by seanr; 02-02-2019, 09:43 AM.


              • #8
                I dunno Michael, "soliciting outdoors" brings to mind Mary Kelly's indoor murder however... even tho Annie Chapman's murder is technically outdoors, it was not outdoors in the sense of being "out in public" [Eddowes, Mitre Sq]; iow the backlot of 29 Hanbury was never-ever going to be under a constable's patrol. A person had to pass thru a house to arrive there, and the most-only risk of detection was from a resident or neighbor [Kelly, #13 Miller's Court], so the murderer was afforded limited privacy.

                For me, the Jack the Ripper murders are Chapman, Eddowes and Kelly - for the overkill, consistencies, organ-removal, &c. Of course, Jack the Ripper would be my prime suspect for the murders of Nicholls and Stride -and- a person of interest in the torso killings as well as Tabram, Mackenzie, &c. Much like this Toronto serial killer who has 8 known victims but may be under suspicion for other similar cases.

                For me, largest travesty in this case is printing the inquests in the newspapers. It's alright to report on the murders, but those inquests revealed too much about the scenes of the crime. Take Jack the Ripper's staging or posing of the victim's legs - only an investigator who had seen the scenes of the Chapman and Eddowes crimes could look on the Kelly crime-scene and notice a familiarity that was peculiar to the Whitechapel murderer. Instead, the inquests were allowed to be published so the authorities, in effect, were giving away all their "poker-tells".


                My gut is telling me that this Toronto killer was a community serial killer; community in the sense of focusing on people you work with, attend class with, know through church, &c. Compared to Jack the Ripper who is believed to be a society serial killer; society in the definition of strangers, random prostitutes, "one-night stands", online advertising, &c.
                Not to jest or make light of the Toronto tragedies but... 8-to-10 murders over 8 or 10 years is a lethargic kill-rate compared to the 3-to-7 murders that Jack the Ripper committed over 3 months. It would seem that the former may have afforded himself more time for consistencies. Maybe. Possibly?
                there,s nothing new, only the unexplored


                • #9
                  The point of this thread is to illustrate that when certain patterns and characteristics seem to be repetitive and as such are likely to be fixed characteristics, you probably have the same individual. When you consider the obvious disregard for historical preferences just within the Canonical Group it seems practical to separate the known wheat from the guesstimated chaff. In your post Robert you speculate that the "Jack the Ripper" character probably committed more than those Five, indicating that you believe the evidence in each is similar to the predecessor.

                  I suggest that Polly and Annie are so similar they must be grouped together, and the traits and characteristics in those 2 murders were consistent. From target, to subduing, to killing then mutilating, they are only separated by the more aggressive wounds on Annie and the actual removal of internal abdominal organs. There is a learning evident there, and a time frame between them that suggests someone unable to hold back his dark desires for long.

                  Those kills suggest someone who killed working street women who were alone, and in these cases, both were compromised by sickness, one by booze, making them easier acquisitions. He had a strong urge to cut flesh, and a fascination or interest with internal organs. He has learned to kill quickly and quietly, perhaps by years of animal dissections, and he would have probably been obviously mentally ill in some fashion. We have suspects that match those traits.

                  What makes the actual Ripper kills unique for me are those features, if they are absent, it doesnt mean that the killer changed. It very often means that the person making the argument needs him to have changed to validate their position. They need for someone who only stabs outdoors to evolve within 2 months to virtually disassembling bodies indoors....because some contemporary opinion suggested it was likely.

                  That specific period in time is fascinating, not for one unique series of murders, but for the treachery, treason and terrorism rife throughout London. Its a mistake to just assume a premise here, keep an open mind...there were many bad guys, and ladies about....why the women were killed is far more relevant than how they were killed when looking for a killer, but Ive suggested why the first 2 Canonical were killed....madness met opportunity. Look with a un-jaundiced eye and see if any other murders within the unsolved files have all those qualities. I surely have, and see one or 2 in addition to Polly within that group of 13. Kate, and Alice.
                  Last edited by Michael W Richards; 02-03-2019, 09:16 PM.
                  Michael Richards


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Michael W Richards View Post
                    They need for someone who only stabs outdoors to evolve within 2 months to virtually disassembling bodies indoors....
                    Stabs? There were no stabs of any consequence in the canonical Ripper murders, which were characterised by long, deep cuts to the throats and abdomens of the victims.
                    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                    "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                      Stabs? There were no stabs of any consequence in the canonical Ripper murders, which were characterised by long, deep cuts to the throats and abdomens of the victims.
                      Im referring to those who also suspect Martha Tabram was killed by the same man,..Hi Sam, which is quite a few people it seems. In addition to your observation I think the Victimology is equally as important. I don't think Polly or Annies killer wanted to struggle much, and I don't see any evidence that suggests he had prior knowledge of them, or them of him. An opportunity arose when he was out probably barely containing his impulses. I believe the fact he chose these two women,.. who are very close fits in looks and age, and who were both under the weather in some form, also what we should see in any later murders.
                      Michael Richards


                      • #12
                        After watching Piers Morgan- Confessions of a serial killer, I was trying to make a comparison of Bernard Giles and JTR. But all I could come up with was the fact that they killed five women. Giles was asked a number of questions about the killings. He said that the women were complete strangers and he wouldn't murder someone he knew, He said he was to be able to go from killer to loving husband without his wife suspecting, he killed after he finished a college course in the afternoons, his motive was sexual and he had these thoughts from about six years old, two of his victims were murdered within yards of his trailer home he shared with his wife and baby daughter, the other victims were murdered in bush areas, bodies hidden from view (unlike JTR bodies on show). All apart from one were hitch-hikers and very young 14-22yrs. Giles said that if the women had engaged in more conversation with him, he may have let them go, they didn't so he killed them. The Police also said that the Killer was someone local as the five victims had been killed in a short space of time. Quite an interesting documentary.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Busy Beaver View Post
                          Piers Morgan- Confessions of a serial killer
                          I've always thought he was a bit dodgy.
                          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                          "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)


                          • #14
                            I don't think they are suspecting any further murders to be attributed to McArthur. They found on his computer file folders, containing photos, of the 8 murders to which he confessed, and an empty folder with the fellow's name who he had tied up at the time of his arrest. It appears, therefore, that McArthur kept photo trophies of his murders, so it seems likely that those are all of them. Not impossible that he failed to document some, but by the sounds of it, unless something else strongly ties him to another murder, it looks like he's responsible for 8, and no more.

                            Also, I can think of some serial killers who didn't do things the same way every time. Zodiac, for example, killed with a gun, knife, and killed couples in remote areas and a cab driver in the city. Also, David Berkowitz (Son of Sam), reports his first attack was with a knife before he switched to a handgun. Ted Bundy reported attacking someone in the street with a piece of wood, then seems to have entered a residence to attack a woman in her bed (and carried her off), before he developed his method of abducting the victim in plain sight, and then overpowering them in his car - he later (in Florida) returned to breaking and entering residences and attacking the victims there. Dennis Rader (BTK), attacked families, sometimes killing the children sometimes not, and his victims ranged quite a large range in ages.

                            There are consistencies to be found in all of the above series, but those consistencies are not always in the same thing - Ted Bundy targeted a particular look, particularly early on, BTK didn't, for example. What is, and what is not, consistent in a series is particular to the offender and it can lead to working out how they are thinking, which can be useful in then deciding what other cases might be linked to that particular series. But what links one series could be very different from what links another. Zodiac's letter writing, for example, and his use of code, and his ever increasing claims of more victims, and the descriptions of his attacks (sometimes sudden and blitz, sometimes taking the time to tie up victims and talk to them, etc) indicate that control and fulfilling his sense of being powerful is driving him. He's not so concerned about how he commits the crime in terms of the method per se, but he is determined to act out some fantasy where he is better than everyone else. Interestingly, BTK's letter writing and trying to keep his crimes in the news were probably more to fuel his sexual fatacies - the news reports provided him with his own custom porn. He also was control oriented, but his crimes were much more immediately sexual (he masturbated at the scenes) than Zodiac's appear to be (although he may have masturbated later - we don't know, but nothing in Zodiac's confirmed letters has the sexual overtones of BTK's writings).

                            I'm also pretty sure, but I can't recall the details, that there are cases of serial killers who killed victims by shooting, strangulation, knife, and blunt force trauma, basically, the method of killing can be highly variable. The more variable the crimes, the harder it is to spot a pattern that suggests considering the crimes as a series. Which, as Ginger points out, could mean that unsolved series are unlike the ones that get solved (recognizing that a series of offenses are linked can greatly aid investigators from moving someone from the "person of interest" list to "cleared" or "primary suspects" lists and being able to sort through the large number of POIs that arise in a case, and clear them, saves a lot of time and resources - both of which are precious and limited quantities.

                            With regards to JtR, the focus on a quick and silent overpowering of the victim, followed by a swift killing, followed by mutilations focused primarily on the abdomen and later facial mutilations as well, with the taking of body parts as trophies, are the consistencies in pattern that indicate that the mutilation of the victim is the motive, and the lack of torture of the victim, with no apparent need to have the victim in a prolonged state of fear (otherwise, he would have found a way to get the victim somewhere "private" where he could indulge in those types of behaviors), link Nichols, Chapman, Eddowes, and Kelly pretty strongly. Stride is connected due to the temporal and spatial proximity to Eddowes combined with the thought that her killer may very well have been "interrupted" (I'll leave everyone to their own thoughts on that as this isn't the right thread for it). Earlier murders, such as Tabram, fit the pattern of high risk location, quick and silent overpowering of the victim, and a destructive attack on the breasts and abdomen well beyond what was needed to kill her. She's worth considering because, while the specific details of the injuries are markedly different, they are consistent with a mind-set that could produce the C5 crimes (particularly as Tabram's murder was earlier, and offender's learn from each crime what "works for them", and what "they could improve upon next time"). It's also what makes one question the later murder of Alice McKenzie, while there was some postmortem abdominal injuries, they were far less severe than the earlier murders; more "tentative" if you will, which greatly raises the possibility of someone performing those actions not because they are driven to by a desire to mutilate, but rather against their inclination to but attempting to divert attention (i.e. a copy-cat trying to "cover their tracks").

                            Just my thoughts, which one may agree or disagree with as freely as you wish.

                            - Jeff


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post
                              I'm also pretty sure, but I can't recall the details, that there are cases of serial killers who killed victims by shooting, strangulation, knife, and blunt force trauma, basically, the method of killing can be highly variable.f
                              HH Holmes comes right to mind. The man was in many ways like a real life Dr. Phibes.

                              "I was not satisfied in taking [life] in the ordinary way. I sought devices strange, fantastical and even grotesque." - HH Holmes

                              - Ginger