Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
Ted Bundy

The most frightening of serial killers: a handsome, educated psychopathic law student who stalked and murdered dozens of young college women who looked very much like a young woman who broke off her relationship with him.

Bundy was a very adept and glib con artist who faked a broken arm in a sling to convince young women to help him carry his textbooks to his car. Once there, he battered them with a baseball bat and carried them off for ghoulish rituals.

The notorious and very bizarre serial killer who called himself The Zodiac remains one of the world's great unsolved cases. In Oct., 1966, a girl was viciously murdered in Riverside, California when she permitted a man to help start the car that he had intentionally disabled when she was in her school library.

This homicide began a ghoulish series of murders that panicked the people of the San Francisco area. For years the Zodiac taunted the police with weird ciphers, phone calls, insulting and cryptic messages.

Even though police investigated over 2,500 potential suspects, the case was never solved. There were a few suspects that stood out, but the forensic technology of the times was not advanced enough to nail any one of them conclusively.

Scores of women murdered in the Seattle area results in the longest running homicide investigation in U.S. history. Finally DNA evidence points the finger at Gary Leon Ridgway as the killer. His unsuspecting wife tells of their remarkable relationship.

One of the most notorious serial killers, "respectable" Chicago-area businessman hires young men to work in his contracting company, then rapes and murders scores of them, burying their bodies on his properties. In prison, he became the focus of researching the psychopathic mind.

After they linked three murders, Major Fetisov organized a task force of 10 men to start an aggressive full-time investigation. He intended to get to the heart of this and stop this maniac from preying on any more female citizens. Among those he recruited was Viktor Burakov, 37. He was the best man they had for the analysis of physical evidence like fingerprints, footprints, and other manifestations at a crime scene, and he was an expert in both police science and the martial arts. Known for his diligence, he was invited aboard the Division of Especially Serious crimes in January 1983. Little did anyone realize then just how diligent he would prove to be and would have to be.


Burakov then embarked on a cat-and-mouse game with Russia's worst serial killer. Once he suspected Andrei Chikatilo, a former teacher, he placed him in a cell with a gifted informant, hoping that Chikatilo would slip up. By law, he could only hold him for 10 days. On the 9th day, he tried something daring: he brought in a brilliant psychiatrist.

Considered to be a mild-mannered bachelor whose emotional development had been stunted by his domineering mother, he shocked the world when police found his vest of human skin and a cache of body parts. Gein is the model for The Silence of the Lambs' Buffalo Bill and Psycho's Norman Bates.

Kingsbury Run cuts across the east side of Cleveland like a jagged wound, ripped into the rugged terrain as if God himself had tried to disembowel the city. At some points it is nearly sixty feet deep, a barren wasteland covered with patches of wild grass, yellowed newspapers, weeds, empty tin cans and the occasional battered hull of an old car left to rust beneath the sun. Perched upon the brink of the ravine, narrow frame houses huddle close together and keep a silent watch on the area.

Into this bleak industrial graveyard, walked the well-dressed, handsome and highly educated Eliot Ness, fresh from victories over Al Capone, playing a cat-and-mouse game with a most brilliant and diabolical serial killer.

The Frankford area of Philadelphia was once a town older than the City of Brotherly Love itself. At one time, it was a prosperous area, but by 1980 it had become a crime-ridden slum populated by prostitutes, junkies, and small businesses struggling to survive. This was the area that Sylvester Stallone selected as the setting for his film Rocky.

It was here in 1985 where the first victim was found in a railroad yard.

Helen Patent was nude from the waist down and she had been posed in a sexually provocative position, with her legs open and her blouse pulled up to expose her breasts. She was 52 when she died, and while it was clear to the police that she had been stabbed many times, it took an autopsy to determine the official cause and manner of death. She had been sexually assaulted and had died from 47 stab wounds to her head and chest. She had also been stabbed in the right arm, and one vicious and deep slash across her abdomen had exposed the internal organs.

Between seven and eight women from 28-68 became the victims of this violent rapist and serial killer in an old section of Philadelphia. Leonard Christopher, a quiet black man who worked in the area, was arrested and convicted for the murder of one victim in the series. But the quality of the evidence used to convict Christopher is controversial, especially since another likely killing in the series occurred while he was in jail.

David's insatiable sexual appetite caused him to enlist wife Catherine into abducting, raping, and eventually, brutally murdering four women in the their Perth, Australia, love nest and torture chamber at 3 Moorhouse Street. David's cruelty finally got to Catherine who couldn't stand to participate in another murder. The victim escaped and resulted in the capture of the two serial killers.

It was a daring thing to do, but writer and director Joel Bender made a true-crime drama based on the infamous story of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Karla was quite controversial when released in Canada in 2006, and some groups even tried to block it. They were unsuccessful. Now it's available on DVD.

The film adopts Karla's point of view throughout, and if you believe the performance you'll regard Karla as the prototypical battered wife and compliant accomplice. This can get annoying for anyone familiar with the facts, but in the end it's made clear that her story is pretty much a self-serving "reorganization" of what happened: she never apologized to victims' families, never expressed public remorse, and seemed as narcissistic upon her release as she'd ever been.

This gentle-looking, benevolent grandfather cleverly lured children to their death, then devised recipes to eat them. This cannibal model for Hannibal Lecter is a study in criminal psychology and a true enigma. His wife thought him to be a wonderful husband and his children believed him to be a model father. What inner torments caused him to drive many spikes into his pelvis and tell people that he looked forward to his execution?

John Borowski's film about the demented child killer is an engaging piece of visual art that has raised the bar on this type of subject.

Jack the Ripper was the most famous serial killer of all time. Brutally murdering prostitutes in London's notorious Whitechapel district, he caused a panic in 1888.

Why does this long-ago killer who murdered a few prostitutes merit the attention he gets? Because Jack the Ripper represents the classic whodunit. Not only is the case an enduring unsolved mystery that professional and amateur sleuths have tried to solve for over a hundred years, but the story has a terrifying, almost supernatural quality to it. He comes from out of the fog, kills violently and quickly and disappears without a trace. Then for no apparent reason, he satisfies his blood lust with ever-increasing ferocity, culminating in the near destruction of his final victim, and then vanishes from the scene forever. The perfect ingredients for the perennial thriller.

A criminal profile by former FBI profiler Gregg McCrary and a penetrating analysis of the many suspects shed light on this legendary killer.

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