Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bones to Talk With

Prime Suspect

Massey was arrested and charged with capital murder.  When the handcuffs went over his wrists, he offered a broad smile, as he also did for his mugshot.  Cox writes that the police involved thought that no one could remember when a suspect had ever looked happier.  To them it seemed strange.

They got a search warrant to go into Massey's residence, where they found newspaper clippings about the murders, a stash of pornography, a knife box and handcuffs that appeared to have traces of blood on them.  Books that indicated an interest in Satanic cults and in police procedure were also found, as were a few articles of female clothing.  Searching Massey's suspiciously clean Subaru, they found tiny bloodstains in the car and on a knife and hammer, all of which they collected for analysis.  They also found duct tape, electrical tape and more blond hairs, and a leaf that appeared to have blood on it.  Confiscating the car, they removed it to the lab for the specialists to go over for blood tests, trace evidence, and fiber analysis.

Jason Massey, arrested, mugshot
Jason Massey, arrested, mugshot

Then they went to talk with Massey, who was sitting in jail. They showed him photos of the crime scene, asking him to look at Christina and pressuring him to put himself back into that night.  His response, reenacted on "Forensics Files," was to gag in such a way that implied guilt to them, and knowledge of the crime.  They asked him about his earlier arrest and the rumors of his cruelty to animals.  He denied the allegations and said he did not know either of the victims, but then provided a hypothetical location for the body parts they were trying to find.

He even took them out to show them what he meant, but after hours of searching in the woods, they came back with nothing.  After that, Massey asked for an attorney and that was the end of his questioning.

Then came an anonymous call to the Ellis County sheriff's office.  The caller said that they should be looking for a boy named Jason Massey.  He called again, with an attorney, and said that he had known Jason in Dallas and had a lot to tell.  He was questioned for later use in court.

Searching for more witnesses to piece together a timeline for Jason Massey leading up to the estimated time of the murders, they found a girl, Christina Erwin, who resembled Christina Benjamin and who had seen Massey most of the evening on the night of July 26.  He had left her, she said, some time after 11:00.  She thought he'd been acting strangely.  Her sister told police she had seen Jason with a pistol and a box from Wal-Mart containing handcuffs.

A Wal-Mart clerk who remembered items like this picked Jason Massey out of a line-up as the person to whom he had sold .22-caliber bullets, two knives and a pair of handcuffs on July 22.  It also turned out that Massey's cousin owned a .22-caliber pistol, which he had left at his grandmother's house, accessible to Massey, and which was now missing.

Massey's picture was printed in the newspaper and the owner of a car wash came forward to say that late in July he had seen the boy throwing something into his trash bin around 11:30 one night.  The boy had then backed up his tan Subaru to leave, but he realized he was being watched and so had pulled up to a car vacuum to clean out his car. 

Police went to where the bin had been dumped and went through the contents from the car wash vacuum.  Altogether, they recovered a payroll receipt with Massey's name on it and a red bandanna with blond hairs stuck in it.

Finally, the lab results were in.  The rug fiber found on Brian's shoe proved to be significantly similar under a microscope to the fibers from Massey's tan car, as did the blond hairs from the bandana and the one picked off of Jason's clothing.  DNA testing using the PCR method matched the blood from Massey's car seat and other areas, along with the knife, handcuffs, leaf, and hammer taken from the car to Christina Benjamin.   The odds that only she was the source of origin were good enough for court.  They believed that she might have been transported in the car while bleeding. 

There was also a blood clot on a clump of hair that had been found on the ground where her head could have been before it was removed.  That, too, proved to be highly likely to be related to the blood in the car.  The hair from that clump was also microscopically linked to the hair strands caught on the barbed wire fence, hair from Christina's brush, and a strand of hair found in Massey's car.

The FBI then confirmed the fiber analysis.

Dr. Neal Haskell
Dr. Neal Haskell

Entomologist Neal Haskell checked in with his results: the insect evidence taken from the bodies indicated that the deaths had occurred anytime from midnight on July 26 until the next morning—a 10-hour time span.

Charles Manson
Charles Manson

Things were adding up, both physically and circumstantially, and no one was giving Massey an alibi.  Most people to whom he had revealed his dark side seemed to think he was strange or even frightening. 

A ninth-grade teacher, Edith Robinson, had told police that Massey had been obsessed with swastikas and morbid images, and often talked about killing.  His idol was Charles Manson, the man who had urged his gang out to commit two episodes of mass murder.  He carried around an article about Manson and always placed it on his desk to look at, as if for inspiration.  According to Cox, Jason had told her that Manson might have had a good reason to kill people, which would make his crimes acceptable.  When she had a meeting with him and his mother, she noticed that the mother was rather abusive.  Jason also had indicated to her that 1993 would turn out to be as important as 1969, the year of the Manson murders.

Between this, the reports of repeated animal abuse, and the people who said that Jason was always talking about killing girls, the police believed they had a real monster on their hands.

Yet they still did not have a clear motive for the double homicide, so they consulted with the FBI's Behavioral Science Investigative Support Unit, providing them with a full description and photos of the crime and crime scene.

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