Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Texas Eyeball Killer

A Deceptive Front

Occasionally, someone had a story about Albright's temper. He'd once quite a job over a minor incident. Another time, he'd commented that he hated prostitutes and wanted to kill them. And it was noted that Albright lived a somewhat parasitic life, as Dixie paid all the bills. He'd inherited a substantial amount of money after his father died, but he'd squandered that. He'd also clearly had a secretive life, going to prostitutes for years without his wife ever knowing. He'd lied several times during his interrogation, had a record of shoplifting, and was clearly a womanizer. Some people saw him as a smooth operator, stretching the truth and using people for his own gain, but keeping a likable persona as way to exploit them. So he wasn't squeaky clean, but he also was not what any of the cops would have expected a serial killer to be.

Dr. Robert Hare
Dr. Robert Hare

That posed a problem for the investigation. If they arrested and charged the wrong man, the media, which had already played up this story, would skewer them. Not to mention, such a mistake could give the real killer the opportunity to kill again or leave the area.

Yet Albright's background, even filled as it was with accomplishment, supports the possibility of a diagnosis of psychopathy: the manipulative, intelligent charmer who lies easily, exploits others, and honors only himself, without remorse for harm he may do to others. Such people are slick and secretive, and even people close to them may be fooled by their facades.

Robert Hare has done the most extensive work on the notion of the psychopath, devising the Psychopathy Checklist, and revising it in 1985. The PCL-R diagnosis is formed from a semi-structured interview with the people assessed, along with information from their files. Hare and his associates clarified a set of diagnostic criteria, characterizing it by such traits as a lack of remorse or empathy, shallow emotions, charm, deception, egocentricity, glibness, and the persistent violation of social norms. They often present themselves as something other than they really are as a way to manipulate others for their own gain. They're often parasitic.

There was little doubt among the police, after they learned more about him, that Albright had nearly perfected this persona.