Jack in the Box
The trial began in June 1994 in
Detective Jim Harper came from
Unterwegers attorneys had never before dealt with the FBI or criminal investigative analysis, and they asked questions that only strengthened the prosecutions case. They attempted to show the irrationality of Unterwegers behaviorhe was successful as a journalist and successful with women, so why would he undermine himself so badly, and why would he even need a prostitute? These questions were easily addressed by someone familiar with the compulsions and fetishes involved in serial murder. Rationality is not usually the issue. Neither was available sex. Killing was a dark addiction.
"I'm counting on your acquittal," he said, "because I am not the culprit. Your decision will affect not only me but the real killer, who is laughing up his sleeve."
The trial lasted two and a half months, and the press began to shift in their collective opinion. Things looked bad for Unterweger. So far hed been unable to counter the evidence, as promised. Perhaps the reformed criminal had not been reformed after all. Even Bianca Mrak had decided shed had enough.
Jack Unterweger was found guilty of nine counts of murderthe
This was quite a blow to a man who had assured everyone he would never spend another day in prison. Serial killers often have issues with control, and Unterweger was no exception. Arrogant and defiant to the end, he fulfilled his promise in the only manner left to him: when the guards were not looking, he used the string from his prison jumpsuit to hang himself. It was the same knot he had used on his victims. And he was right. He never spent another day in prison.
Astrid Wagner, a colleague of Unterwegers, wrote several books on the case. Her assessment was that both the media and the police had been under pressure to make this story happen. The media were always on the lookout for stories about sex and crime, while the police had to close a number of cases. Unterweger had a fascinating personality, which made him an easy target. He was a scapegoat. Wagner also blamed the poor state of the Austrian legal system for Unterwegers conviction, claiming it was unjust and that the evidence offered was too flimsy to serve as proof.
On a positive note, Unterwegers legacy was that
As for Jack Unterweger, he was a rare and clever offender, but his case may demonstrate what McCrary likes to say: When you educate a psychopath, all you get is an educated psychopath.