SERIAL KILLER MYTHS EXPOSED
Myth Number Five
Serial Killers are caught though DNA banks, profiles, and brilliant police deduction
While there are many wonderful police investigators out there doing some very fine work, the majority of the time it is not brains that catches serial killers. Usually it is just dumb luck. Ted was speeding. One
DNA banks only work if you have DNA. Then you have to match that DNA to someone. Either that someone must also be in a bank, like a felon DNA bank, or that person must already be a suspect and agree to the testing. If everyone in the
Profiles are the stuff television shows are made of. Profilers have become half psychic/half deductive beings that come up with the most amazing things to narrow down the leads. I wish I had the ability to tell that the killer has a stutter from just looking at the crime scene. Most real world profiles as they have been done in the past merely use inductive reasoning to give probabilities based on prior research in the field. Not only is this rather useless for a particular crime, but the conclusions are based on killers who were caught and clearly dont take into account the type that doesnt make those same mistakes. In other words, to base a profile on guesswork instead of crime scene analysis is of questionable benefit.
Brilliant police deduction rarely comes into play in the actual capture of serial killers. This is not to say it does not occur but it isnt like the movies in that the puzzle is not solved by the likes of Sherlock Holmes. However, there are police detectives and profilers that make good use of crime scene analysis, crime scene reconstruction, and behavioral analysis to determine what happened at the crime scene, what the motive might be, and what particulars one should look for when investigating and interviewing. Perhaps if these techniques were used more often, we might see a higher rate of capture. Unfortunately, for police departments to do this level of work, there is a need for special training, proper funding, and enough manpower to spare the time. In a department that is understaffed, struggling financially, and seeing a homicide a day dumped into their workload, the ability to put such an effort forth may be near impossible.
Bobby Joe Leonard got caught by dumb luck and a dumb answer. After he strangled Janie, he left the premises and went merrily on his way. But he didnt strangle her well enough because she didnt die. She regained consciousness and staggered to a nearby office where she called the police. She described to them what had happened and the police detective had her write it down on paper. When the detective brought Bobby in for questioning, he showed him the paper. When he told him Janie had written down what had happened, Bobby exclaimed, Thats impossible! Shes dead!
Realizing that this brilliant statement got him arrested and tried for kidnapping, rape, and attempted murder, Bobby Joe Leonard went on to represent himself at trial and managed to get himself a verdict of guilty on all charges and a life sentence plus 30 years. Way to go, Bobby!