Mind Hunter Essay

David McGuire Criminal Investigation 4/3/2013 THE MIND HUNTER BOOK REPORT In the book Mind Hunter, author, John Douglas introduces how the FBI provides learning, education and techniques throughout Local, State and Federal police. John Douglas was a former FBI agent from the FBI at Quantico, VA. Douglas tells about how he and a team of FBI officers formed the Investigative Support Unit. Douglas explains the steps and techniques used in profiling an offender, by putting himself inside the mind of a killer and victim.

Douglas has interviews with famous serial killers in prison. Douglas learned a lot about what was going on inside the killer’s mind, with clues he left at a crime scene. In the book Douglas describes serial killer’s main goals are hunting and killing. They want the feeling of being and wanting to have complete control over their victims. Douglas dissects each crime scene, reliving it in his mind, creating profiles and predicts their next moves. Douglas has met and interviewed dozens of serial killers to understand their motives. Manipulation, domination and control.

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John Douglas stated “criminal or offender profiling, is a law enforcement investigation technique that attempts to determine the type of person who may have committed the crime based upon an individual’s behavior at the crime scene or at multiple crime scenes. ” It is based on that humans are creatures of habit and will follow a certain behavior. Profilers rely on the fact that normal human behavior; characteristics and patterns remain the same, regardless of the act. A profile is a list of likely traits that the individual who committed the crime possesses.

The purpose of the profile, like all other investigative tools, is to narrow the search down for police to a certain set of people that they can match to evidence. When John Douglas interviewed Richard Speck he used a very good investigative technique. Douglas began to stoop down to the killer’s level. Speck was a mass murderer serving two life sentences. Douglas began to talk about Speck as he weren’t even in the interview room. Douglas began to act like Speck took away the women that he had raped talking about how he took away eight good “pussies”. Speck acted like Douglas was crazy saying something in that manner, about these woman.

Douglas asked him how he fucked eight women at the same time. Speck told him that he didn’t and that he only fucked one of them. When Douglas uses this technique he stoops down to the killer’s level and makes him feel like a piece of shit. The majority of the time the killer will then tell investigators what really happened. Douglas also used an investigative technique where he looked thoroughly at the suspect’s handwriting in letters or notes directed to the police. In the first letters his handwriting is neat and organized. Then the letters get harder to read and the killer began to misspell words.

When the investigators see this in the letters they understand that he is vulnerable and probably going to slip up soon and make a mistake. For example the Son of Sam parked in front of a fire hydrant, which lead to his final arrest. Another investigative technique that Douglas used regularly used was the homicidal triad. This is when the offender is cruel to animals, sets fires and wets the bed beyond the normal appropriate age. Cruelty to small animals was very significant in many cases with serial killers. This happens to kids that do receive attention and are isolated at a young age.

At a young age the Son of Sam killed and mutilated the two family cats. One of the most unique investigation techniques that Douglas rediscovered was how the killers would go and visit the grave sites of their victims. Sometimes they would visit the victims out of remorse just because they felt bad. Majority of the time killers would just do this because it was just in the behavior. One of the cases that I found interesting was the “Son of Sam” aka. David Berkowitz In this case the Son of Sam was responsible for setting over 2,000 fires in the Brooklyn, Queens’s area.

He would set abandoned buildings on fire along with random trash cans and different structures. He would master bate while watching the building begin to burn then again when the fire department arrived. Berkowitz documented these events in a diary. He resembled an assassin personality, a loner who indulges in excessive journal entries. He killed six people and injured seven others, which went on for over a year. He used a . 44 caliber revolver each time. When he killed his “lover lane” victims he would approach the female’s side of the car and shoot them first.

This told the investigators that his hatred and anger was directed towards woman. The multiple shots showed this anger. The Son of Sam would go back to his crime scenes and relive the kill sometimes rolling around in the dirt where he killed his victim. The Son of Sam sent letter’s to the police and news stations. One of those letters read “I am deeply hurt by you calling me a women hater, I am not but I am a monster”. Son of Sam had become a national celebrity. Berkowitz would visit the crime scenes of his victims. He would not do this out of remorse but to feel powerful and just mock his victims.

I choose this case because I found the “Son of Sam” to be the weirdest killer in the book. Another case that I found exceptionally interesting was that of Shari Faye Smith. This young girl was abducted while getting the mail and subsequently killed by an offender who could not let go, as evidenced by his continued phone calls to the victim’s family after he had murdered her. Several elements of the execution of this crime provided clues to the offender’s physical and psychological profile. The fact that the abduction was committed in broad daylight, first of all, suggested an older, sophisticated and confident offender.

The carefully scripted narrative of the phone calls shows that the killer was extremely rigid, meticulous and obsessively neat; however his slip-up in his report of the specific times that incidents occurred alerted those working on the case that Shari was dead and had been so for some amount of time. The stalling attempts made by the offender’s persistent phone calls in which he claimed that Shari was still alive in order to further the decomposition of evidence he hadn’t already removed exposed him as a highly organized and intelligent killer and provided further support to the belief that he was an older individual.

The cruelty of the prolonged distress he was putting Shari’s family through with the continual calls as well as his sending a letter from Shari to them with promises that the photos would follow indicated that he’d had a previous and unsuccessful marriage, and now resided either alone or with his parents, and that he was manipulative and power hungry. This last trait ensures that he would follow the coverage of his crime in the media, enjoying his fame.

It was also suspected, due to his level of organization, that he had committed prior crimes and possibly had a record, and if he had already committed any murders they would consist of very young female victims. He was determined to not be the type to kill prostitutes like many other serial killers because they would intimidate him, hence the age of his chosen prey portrayed that deep down this offender was very insecure and regularly struggled with feelings of inadequacy.

The seclusion of the dump site and specific instructions leading to it indicated that the killer was a local resident who knew he could visit the body numerous times without being seen before it was ever discovered without his aid. Furthermore, the determination that the offender used a voice distortion device demonstrated that he worked with or had some background in electronics. Despite the detailed profile agents were able to put together describing the offender responsible for this crime, the identity of the killer was not ascertained for some time.

During this period he committed another murder of a young girl, and with no further evidence coming to light, John suggested turning to proactive methods in attempt to draw him out. John had a newspaper cover a memorial service for Shari, after which he left a possession of hers, a stuffed koala bear, at the gravesite as bait for the killer, but the close proximity of the gravesite to the street prevented the anticipated visit. The offender did start making phone calls to the Smith’s again though, which resulted in his surrender of the location of the other victim’s body.

But new evidence was uncovered by the laboratory studying Shari’s letter, an impression on the paper of a phone number. Through scrutinizing analysis of this latest find, it was determined that the number was called from a house belonging to a couple who differed greatly from the profile; but once they we re asked to consider if they could think of anyone who did fit its description, both people immediately arrived at the same answer: Larry Bell. The man they depicted matched the profile perfectly.

He had been house-sitting for them and they had written the number in question, which was that of their son, on a pad in case of an emergency. Bell was arrested The purpose of John Douglas writing this book is to educate the reader on his unique observations for crime details. John Douglas worked with law enforcement around the world to hunt and catch serial killers his whole life. I believe that this book is a very strong tool throughout criminal investigation. This is a very informative and constructive book I enjoyed it a lot!