Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Confessed child thrill-killer Alyssa Bustamante put Missouri's juvenile justice system to the test when she killed another child.

American Amanda Knox and boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are standing trial in Italy for killing Kercher, Knox's English flatmate. Is this an international web of sex, lies and murder or a miscarriage of justice?

A look at the case thus far in photos.

While awaiting trial in prison Amanda recorded her thoughts on the case. Some doubt the authenticity of this document.

The world watches as Amanda Knox testifies in her own defense. Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are on trial for sexually assaulting and killing Knox's English flatmate Meredith Kercher.

Growing up too fast, running with bad company, the so-called Long Island Lolita turns out to be a mixed-up teenager under the thumb of a very unsavory older man. Still, she shot her lover's wife and had to pay the price.

Annie Le had it all. She was smart, pretty, charming and about to marry the man she called her best friend. But on September 8, 2009, all that changed.

When Duane Hurley was murdered, police quickly settled on young Danny as a suspect. His confession would confirm their suspicions, but would shock all those who knew them both.

On Monday, December 10, 2001, 57-year-old Robert Schwartz, a nationally reknown scientist in biometics and DNA research, did not show up for work. His coworkers phoned a neighbor to check on him. He had lived alone since his wife had died and was usually quite punctual, so they were worried. They had good reason to be. His corpse was found face down in his log-and-slate farmhouse, some forty miles west of Washington, D.C. He had been stabbed repeatedly with a sharp knife-like implement two days earlier and left to die. Investigators who arrived at the scene could clearly see an 'X' carved into the skin on the back of Schwartz's neck, which seemed to indicate that the murder was ritualistic.

Police had seized several knives, swords, and documents about human sacrifice in the Wiccan tradition. The "X" was thus surmised to be an occult symbol. Also, they had seized a computer and two black cloaks from a home in Haymarket. Finally they pieced together a strange and deadly web of relationships. The actual killer had a fascination with medieval wizardry and weaponry and was deeply involved in roleplaying games that involved vampire imagery. His confession shocked the country.

Troubled 19-year-old arsonist sets fire to the home of the Hasties in Hull, England. Called a one-family crime wave, the Hastie family murders suggested revenge by some criminal associates. Attention focused on Lee who surprised police by confessing to 23 murders by arson, including the killing of a baby.

Allentown, PA Neo-Nazi teenagers murder their parents and young brother. Impressed by the massacre, another teen in the town kills his parents, hoping to achieve fame.

Clara Schwartz's role-playing games culminated in the bloody murder of her father by a sword-wielding assailant.

Savage killing of two beloved professors puts quiet New Hampshire community into a panic. As shocking as the murders were, the identity of the killers was even more so.

Two sweethearts, Diane Zamora & David Graham, swore their love to each other as they separated to go to different military academies. When Diane found out that David had affair with beautiful Adrianne Jones, she believed that her life was ruined. She screamed at him, "Kill her! Kill her!" In her mind, it was the only way to purify their love.

David agreed, saying, "When this precious relationship we had was damaged by my thoughtless actions, the only thing that could satisfy her womanly vengeance was the life of the one that had, for an instant, taken her place."

It was then that they made plans to kill 16-year-old Adrianne Jones.

Emo goth lovers Colver and Witt decided to get Witt's mother Joanne out of the way and then planned their suicide. Plans change.

Washington, D.C. university for deaf and hearing-impaired students is terrorized by a serial killer. Two students have been killed, but an incompetent police investigation points the finger at the wrong person. Had the investigation been done properly, Gallaudet student Joseph Mesa Jr. would have arrested and one of the students would not have been his victim.

Two 11-year-old boys steal baby from his mother at shopping mall.They then molest the little boy and murder him. Now much older, the boys release from prison stirs major controversy.

Captivated by the notoriety of the Freedman's Allentown Massacre, troubled teenager shoots his own mother and father.

Joe Hunt, young psychopathic genius, and his Beverly Hills prep school chums started the BBC, known as the Billionaire Boys Club in the NBC mini-series, an investment club that was to make a fortune for them and their investors.

Youngsters shooting up their classmates -- school violence is the epidemic of our time. What turns kids into killers? Experts take a look at Kip Kinkel, the killer at Thurston High, in a new chapter.

Child serial killers and thrill killers. Katherine Ramsland takes a look at the most famous cases and what forces can turn youthful aggression into murder.

It was called the "Crime of the Century." Two incredibly wealthy and brilliant young Chicago men with IQs almost off the chart decided to execute "the perfect crime." Their arrogance convinced them that they were so superior intellectually superior to the that they would never be discovered. Their kidnap victim would be random, the first boy they found walking home from the prep school they had gone to. As it happened, the first boy they saw was a cousin of Dickie Loeb's named Bobby Franks. Bobby willing jumped into the car with his cousin and his friend and took the last ride of his life.

The next day, a ransom note was sent to his terrified parents telling them that to ensure Bobby's safe return, $10,000 a very large sum in 1924 must be produced by noon. "George Johnson" called to give the Franks family instructions on where to leave the ransom money, but in the meantime, Bobby's body had been found in a culvert.

As the investigation of Bobby's brutal murder went into high gear, suspicion increasingly focused on the two young college men. Amazingly, despite their intelligence a few stupid mistakes handed prosecutors a powerful case. Public sentiment in Chicago, exacerbated by anti-Semitism in the heartland, was to hang them.

But then the legendary Clarence Darrow took on their defense, but even so there were very serious doubts that even the great lawyer could save them from the hangman's noose.

Who could look at the face of this sweet 10-year-old girl and ever imagine her to be one of the youngest serial killers ever discovered. Was this youngster who killed her playmates without any feelings of guilt the result of a monstrous family or a bad seed or something else?

Lyle and Erik Menendez were the two spoiled children of a very successful Cuban-American businessman. The boys were annoyed that their father was domineering and had threatened to disinherit them, so they decided to murder him so that they could spend the money he had earned right away. Since their mother was so emotionally tied to their father, they rationalized that she had to be murdered too because she couldnt survive without Jose and, of course, she would be the one to inherit his money if he died.

So one night in family room of their 23-room mansion where Kitty and Jose had dozed off entwined together on the couch in front of the TV, the two boys executed them with a 12-gauge shotgun and tried to make it look like a robbery. After using their murdered parents' money to live in luxury, they were finally arrested. It took two trials to get them the justice they deserved.

While it appears to be true that some people who immerse in horror imagery feel provoked to commit the same aggressive crimes they just viewed, it's also true that there is no evidence of a causal factor, and millions of people watch such films without feeling instigated to act. Some people process external images into aggressive behavior, others might gain catharsis, and still others remain altogether unaffected. A few become horror film makers or novelists. It's not easy to know just what effect a specific film might have. Whatever results, research shows that it has more to do with the viewer than the material viewed.

It stands to reason that violent imagery will affect certain people in a way that inspires them to act out. From the story that affects them, they acquire a frame and guidelines, and sometimes even interpret the film as a license to kill. Not everyone will be thus affected, but among those who are, it's safe to say there is such a thing as a "Copycat Effect" when the portrayal of violence grips a person so firmly that he or she decides follow the details of that specific template. Has the movie made him kill? No, but has it given him ideas and methods even victims? We can see that such things have occurred and are likely to continue to occur.

Anita Cobby, former beauty queen and nurse, was killed by a gang of spineless cowards who preyed on women and other people's property between prison terms. Between the five of the them they had over 50 convictions for offenses including larceny, illegal drug use, car theft, breaking and entering, armed robbery, escaping lawful custody, receiving stolen goods, assault and rape. Her murder united the public in outrage, with many Australians calling for a reinstatement of the death penalty.

Lisa Michelle Lambert murdered Laurie Show with the help of her friends and tied the Pennsylvania justice system in knots for years.

Investigation into discovery of 12-year-old's charred and tortured body leads to four teenage girls and a bizarre tale of lesbianism and domination.

Sixteen-year-old Sylvia Likens was found murdered with "I'm a prostitute and proud of it" burned onto her stomach. The perpetrators of her slow, tortured death turned out to be the family that was caring for her and several neighborhood children.

A new attempt to bring the story of this 1965 murder to the screen is underway for 2007, but does it give us any insight into how mother and group of children could commit such a horrible crime?

Holly Harvey, 15, had lived with her grandparents Carl, 74, and Sarah, 73, Collier at their Fayette County home in Georgia for just four months when she decided that she had had enough. Holly had no intention of going to church as her grandparents had hoped or conforming to the rules imposed on her. Nor did she want to give up her one true love: Sandra (Sandy) Ketchum, 16, whom she was forbidden to see.

She was going to live her life the way she deemed fit. So in the summer of 2004, she recruited her lover Sandy to assist her in a gruesome plan, which they believed would allow them to gain freedom and be able to stay together forever. Their devious plot would eventually lead to the brutal murders of both Colliers.

On September 17, 2003, firefighters and police rushed to a burning house on Detroit's east side. Inside one of the bedrooms, sitting in her recliner, was Bertha Atkins, 64. Her remains had been battered and burned. Atkins had been hit with a claw hammer, which pierced through her upper lip and tongue. She had then been doused with gasoline and set on fire.

Larketa Collier, 16, the granddaughter of the victim, and her lover, Sharon Patterson, 17, had just returned from seeing a horror movie. A witness had seen the two girls calming leaving the burning house, so they immediately became primary suspects in the case.

Did Satanists murder 3 boys or were 3 local teenagers set up for a crime they did not commit because their tastes and interests clashed with the local norms? Dr. Katherine Ramsland analyzes Devil's Knot, the new book on this intriguing case.

Psychopath boy caused law that teens could be tried as adult murderers

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