Like most things in life we all have our routines and individual things that make us stand out or blend in. Killers are the same; they leave something behind or take trophies of their victims. It is something they do intentionally for emotional satisfaction. It also stems from who they are as a person and profilers can form a profile of the killer from their signature.
If there was only one crime, it can be difficult to determine what type of signature the killer used. Killers are intelligent, and with every crime they commit they perfect their signature. I sometimes wonder why someone would put so much effort into a signature, I realized that they want to build their legacy.
In a manual by John Douglas, he mentions examples of killers signatures. In Michigan, there was a bank robber that required the bank tellers to undress while he robs the bank so that he could photograph them. A woman was raped, and the rapist called the husband to come home and watch how he’s wife gets raped to humiliate him. This signature goes beyond modus operandi because they fulfill a psychological need, rather than the need of the execution of the crime.
Waltraud was a nurse at Lainz General Hospital in Vienna, Austria. Who liked to play God! She recruited three other people to help her administer lethal injections to patients. She murdered 42 people. Waltraud and her three helpers were so good in making the deaths look like natural causes that it is said the body count may well be as many as 300. At her trial, she said she eased the pain of her victims, as though she cares but after a murder she and her accomplices would go for a drink at a bar and boast about their kills. Waltraud enjoyed the power role, she used her patients to trust and then took their lives.
Randy kept a scorecard of his murder victims. He killed men between the ages of 13 – 35.His killings were in The West Coast and Michigan in the Unites States. Randy is a lust killer, he kills his victims to achieve sexual satisfaction. In his murders he incapacitated his victims before he bound, tortured and sexually abused, and ultimately killing them. Randy was convicted of 16 killings but might be more than 67. He kept a logbook with cryptic references to his murders. Up until today 22 of his victims has never been discovered. During his trial, the prosecution said that there is nothing wrong with Randy. He had an average childhood and excelled at school. He did struggle with his sexuality and had an identity shift in college years.
Amelia murdered illegitimate children via baby farming in England. Interestingly her body count was placed between 200 and 400 infants, but she was only convicted of 6 murders.
Amelia saw herself as a business woman; unwed mothers paid a fee to Amelia and abandoned their babies so that someone can adopt them. Amelia, in turn, pocketed the fee and murdered the children by strangulation, opium overdose, and neglect. She then dumped their bodies in the Thames.
When Amelia was young she lost a lot of people through death, two of her younger sisters died, and her mother had a mental illness and died from typhus in 1848.
She was motivated by financial gain, but she was mentally unstable as well. Amelia’s daughter said that her mother was “sending little children to Jesus because he wanted them far more than their mothers did.”
He killed three prostitutes in Texas between 1990 and 1991. He skilfully removed their eyes from their eye sockets. Charles was a taxidermist and had a history of fraud and deception. It appears that throughout Charles’s life he had a fixation with eyes. In prison after his conviction, he drew pictures of female eyes. I would stick by just saying someone’s eye is beautiful.
Lucien was a government translator and an artist in Poland. He disemboweled young blonds mostly during public holidays. Lucien was called Red Spider, he would write cryptic letters to the police in red spidery ink, challenging them to catch him. He would reveal where the police could find the bodies. The police did find him thanks to the analysis of the ink that he used to write the letters with.
Alfred admitted to brutally murdering 8 women in Springfield, America. He was no stranger to the police; he has been tried and acquitted of a rape charge in 1997. Alfred was a handyman, doing mostly odd jobs. According to the court files, he lived for one crack fix to the next. He used sexual brutality as his signature. He tightly bound them; put socks in their throats and then raped them the violence involved went beyond sexual gratification. Three of the women’s bodies were found by their children.
One of his victims was 20 years old Amy Smith and her 22-month-old baby Destiny. They were trapped for days without food or water in a sweltering apartment with other strangled women. Alfred blames the murders on cocaine, the only thing that he cared for. He had no respect for women and children and should have been given the death penalty, but Massachusetts does not have the death penalty.
Alfred’s first victim was in April 1995; her name was Vera Hallums she was 45 years old.Alfred took a pot from the kitchen to beat her and bound her with electric cords, he was planning to rape her, but she strangled on the electrical cords. It was a small mercy for her that she did not have to endure the pain of the abuse.
Alfred is currently serving 8 life sentences in a maximum-security prison, where he holds a menial job. At one stage he tried to sell his artwork online, it stirred some controversy.
Monsters live in many of us; they can disguise themselves as the perfect husband, neighbor, and friend. There are no words to describe the pain that the victim’s family goes through to know that the person they love were subjected to so much pain and trauma. As long as serial killers have signatures, more of them can be caught by the work done by profilers, and the police.