Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John Norman Collins: The Co-Ed Killer

Borderline Psychopathic Ideologies

When he went out, he was often sexually aggressive, and he made a few remarks that provided potential motives for some of the killings. One former girlfriend remembered a time when Collins had walked her across campus and then began to fondle her. Suddenly, he held her away and angrily asked if she was having her period. She admitted she was and he yelled at her, "That is really disgusting!" Then he stalked off.

Another coed recalled riding with him near some wooded area and when they stopped to rest under a tree, he asked her if she would be scared if he was the coed killer. She could be the next victim, he said, being there alone with him. She thought he was kidding, but the serious expression on his face made her uneasy.

A girl who said she had met a man who looked like Collins when he accosted her from his car remembered him saying that he couldn't stand girls with pierced ears, "because they left holes that defile their bodies." He also told a tale of having strangled a cat with a length of clothesline, and to make his point, he put his hands on the girl's throat, scaring her.

Collins also had expressed some ideologies that bordered on psychopathy. He had told a girl that if a man had to kill, he killed. If he decided it was right for him to do it, then he had to do it. The perfect crime, he told her, was when there was no guilt. Without guilt, a person could not get caught. He had said something similar in an English paper:

"If a person wants something, he alone is the deciding factor of whether or not to take it — regardless of what society thinks may be right or wrong… If a person holds a gun on somebody — it's up to him to decide whether to take the other's life or not. The point is: it's not society's judgment that's important, but the individual's own choice of will and intellect."

Collins apparently believed he could get away with murder, just in virtue of the fact that he had decided it was the right thing for him to do. If in fact he killed all of the victims or only one, each exhibited a degree of overkill that indicated how angry he was with women — possibly with his mother, toward whom he displayed a fair amount of coldness. Whether his rage was spurred by pierced ears, thwarted advances, evidence of a menstrual period, or any other quirk, he was clearly an organized killer with a sexual rage that was beyond his control.


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