Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Texas Eyeball Killer

Playing a Hunch

The body, too, is a crime scene, and the criminalists at the lab would go over it with precision instruments to try to collect even some small bit of evidence. They would also look at each piece of potential evidence that police officers picked up from the scene. Criminalist Charlie Linch took over this aspect of the investigation. He had looked at Williams' body prior to the autopsy and, with tape, had removed hairs from the back of her neck. He then placed them under a microscope to examine their pattern, shape, and consistency. Different races yield different types of hair, as do different parts of a body. Linch identified the hair found on Williams as a pubic hair from a Caucasian. That meant it was not from the victim. It wasn't much, and it didn't help the police to track someone down, but it would come in handy once a suspect was identified.

Helpfully, the gun that had killed Mary Lou Pratt was identified by the ballistics labs as the same one that had killed Shirley Williams. That was good, because the Williams mutilation could have easily been problematic in court for a linkage analysis. And while a different gun had been used on the second victim, her mutilation was so similar to Pratt's that there would be no trouble claiming that those crimes were linked to a single offender. Anyone could have more than one gun. There was nothing unusual about that in Texas.

Given three murders in their territory, Matthews and Smith thought about what they'd heard on the streets over the past month and turned their attention to the story that Veronica had told about seeing Mary Lou Pratt murdered. They recalled the man they had stopped, SpeeDee, and decided to run a check on his address. Yet when they researched it, they found that the property was listed in the name of Fred Albright, who owned some properties near where the first body had been found. But Albright was deceased. That was curious, as was the next thing they learned.