Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Texas Eyeball Killer

The Profiler's Opinion

Given the bizarre nature of the crime, Westphalen contacted the FBI's VICAP unit, with their Violent Criminals Apprehension Program, a computerized database that provides details about prior crimes or criminals who may have some predictive association with the one under study. Matthews and Wicker describe their report in The Eyeball Killer. Given the apparent ritual involved in the incident, the criminal behavior specialists suggested that the killer had murdered for pleasure and had taken the eyes as souvenirs to help him relive the erotic sensations of his violence. In the way of all such killers, eventually the vividness of his memory would diminish, along with the sense of power he had gained, and he likely would seek to renew it. Hence, he would be prowling the streets, looking for an opportunity to kill again.

The police placed this information in a file. They were aware of the danger but had no real evidence from the scene to provide any leads. It was rumored that Mary Lou Pratt and another prostitute, Susan Peterson, had ripped off stolen goods from a warehouse belonging to one of their customers. It seemed logical to believe that the man had gotten his revenge. But investigators could not discover who he was. The mutilation was kept from the media and the back-page report of the crime was soon forgotten.

The case went cold. While two Hispanic brothers were questioned, based on a tip, there was no evidence against them. Two months passed before the police had reason to think of it again, and when they did, they recalled an incident that had happened around the same time.


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