Tallahassee Democrat from Tallahassee, Florida on May 20, 1992 · Page 3
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Tallahassee Democrat from Tallahassee, Florida · Page 3

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Wednesday, May 20, 1992
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4 ATallahassee DemocratWed., May 20. 1992 Experts know nearly all about the killer, except who he is Likely a sociopath, he has killed at least six, and probably many more. By Bill Hirschman Wichita Eagle WICHITA, Kan. Like any predator, he selects his victims partly for their vulnerability. And though he intentionally gives the appearance of being motivated by cash, what he really enjoys is the thrill of the kill, along with the satisfaction of outwitting detectives. The man who has murdered six store clerks from Wichita to Indianapolis is a conscienceless, calculating sociopath who has likely killed other people and will likely kill again, according to three national experts on serial killers. "My guess is you're going to find a lot more linked up with this," said Jack Levin, a sociologist at Northeastern University in Boston. "I'll bet there's a lot more than five. There may be 50." The initial slayings did not exorcise the killer's demons, said Richard Walter, a forensic psychologist with the Michigan Department of Corrections. "So he's telling you, A, he's not getting a lot of satisfaction out of each one, and, B, it's starting to wear out because he is repeating it," Walter said. The experts, who were asked by the Wichita Eagle to examine the evidence made public, said the consistency of the killer's actions betrays him. . For instance, his use of a gun may indicate that he is not seeking sexual excitement in the same way as criminals who are stimulated by the physical contact of strangling victims. He seeks the quiet but powerful ego boost provided by the feelings of power and dominance when he takes a human life. Between slayings and in the months leading to this spree the killer obsessively fantasized about killing, the experts said. He savored the sense of being superior to his victims because of his ability to end their lives, they said. 'Catch me if you can' Fueling that sense has been his success in eluding the best efforts of a large number of law-enforcement authorities. "He's playing cat and mouse," Walter said. "'Catch me if you can.'" Experts think the robberies are a ruse to disguise his real reward or an unconscious excuse to justify what actually gives him pleasure. Some killers are expressing anger against people they can no longer hurt abusive mothers who have died, loved ones who rejected them long ago. They choose victims whose body type, appearance, clothing, attitude or manner remind them in some secret way of their nemesis. Such a killer begins to plan what he will do, how he will get away with it. And one day, the fantasies become reality. This particular killer is careful. He is selective. Just blocks from the high rollers, Vegas police fight to keep order L.A. has cooled, but in Las Vegas, fire trucks and police vehicles have been under fire since the Rodney King verdict. By James Coates Chicago Tribune LAS VEGAS The relative peace that has settled over Los Angeles in the wake of the riots over the Rodney King verdict continues to elude residents of America's adult playground. Violent confrontations between police and ghetto youths just blocks from the vacationland casinos where tourists frolic are now in their third week. And as darkness fell Tuesday, police patrolled two to a car under orders to break up any gathering of 10 or more people. At least half a dozen Las Vegas police squad cars and an equal number of fire trucks have been riddled by bullets since April 30, with the latest exchange of gunfire occurring early Sunday morning. More than 100 people have been arrested in clashes with police, and perhaps another 100 have been arrested on charges such as arson and attempting to fence looted merchandise. Over the weekend, two shoe stores and a 7-Eleven were looted by angry mobs. Property damage over the last three weeks is estimat Midwest killer 1 - April 8 2 -April 11 3 - April 27 4 - May 5 5-May7 Knight-Ridder Tribune News "He may not know who the victim is going to be, but he knows what kind of setting he feels comfortable with," Walter said. He chooses his killing ground carefully: a shoe store in Indianapolis, where a clerk was killed April 8; a ceramics store in Terre Haute, Ind., where a clerk was killed on April 27; a western footwear shop in St Charles, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, where a clerk was killed May 5; a curio shop in Raytown, Mo., where a clerk was killed May 7; and a bridal shop in Wichita, where the store owner and a clerk were killed on April 11. Such businesses have small amounts of cash on hand but no security no firearms behind the counter, clerks with no expectations of being robbed. "They may have small rewards, but they also have small risks, and he weighs one against the other," Levin said. The hunt Then he becomes a predator stalking his prey, said Thomas Streed, a consultant, criminal psychologist and former San Diego homicide detective. He watches his prey through the store's window, waiting for customers to leave, waiting for the clerk to be alone. He fantasizes as he waits. In the Terre Haute case, he apparently was unable to see that the clerk inside was not a woman but a man with a ponytail and an earring. In the Wichita case, he apparently didn't see a second clerk on duty or didn't care. When he strikes, he acts quickly. He herds the victims to a back room and shoots them in the back of the head, probably at relatively close range. Levin said the use of a gun is simple expedience. "He wants to silence the witnesses. He doesn't want to spend the rest of his life in prison. He doesn't want the death penalty used against him." y ui Kair 5 4 fa 2 Mo.J We're going out on those streets in force, and we n mean business. 3r ed at $6 million. The clashes have taken place mainly in the squalid Westside neighborhood, just across Interstate Highway 15 from the well-protected "Glitter Gulch" of downtown high-rise casinos. Police say the rioters are led by members of the Los Angeles-based Crips and Bloods street gangs, many of whom have moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles. The riot corridor in Las Vegas is only a fraction of the size of the area left in shambles in Los Angeles, but the anguish is the same. "I put my baby in the bathtub at night so no bullets can hurt her," said Vonda Miller, a customer waiting for a carry-out order Tuesday afternoon at the Hickory Pit barbeque. The Hickory Pit is just a few feet from the burned-out shell of a bar, one of about two dozen businesses destroyed in the looting that has flared sporadically since four white Los Angeles police officers were acquitted in the beating of black motorist Rodney King on April 29. "I wish the police would go home," Miller said. "I think the shooting is worse because they are here." But Las Vegas Police Lt Charles Similar methods Last week, detectives in all of the cities noticed the many similarities in the cases: All the victims were clerks or managers shot in the back of the head with a .22-caliber weapon, apparently during robberies of stores that do little cash business. All the shootings occurred on or near interstate highways. All the victims were women, except for Michael McCown, 40, killed in a ceramics store in Terre Haute. One of the frustrating aspects of the case for detectives has been the irregularity of the Wichita murders. Wichita is about 100 miles south of I-70, and the murders there occurred April 11, between slayings in Indianapolis and Terre Haute. Without the Wichita deaths, the killer's trail follows steadily westward along I-70. The experts offered several possible answers-Breaking the pattern Perhaps there is no intentional pattern, only the public's desire for some rational order to random, irrational acts. Perhaps the Wichita slaying was chosen to upset any pattern and to taunt investigators seeking a pattern. Perhaps, Streed suggests, this is "a situation where this individual has struck 15 other times but has only killed a certain profile (type) of victim." If a clerk doesn't resemble the absent target of his anger, the robber might not kill her, and the incident is just listed as an armed robbery. "He may get away with this for a long period of time," Levin said. "It seems to me he chooses his targets in order to assure that he won't be apprehended." What trips many killers is their need to brag, to relive the experience and glory in the victory over victims and police, Walter said. But this man is more likely to drop hints and clues in conversations. "It becomes a game of manipulation that they play with other individuals where they get off on revivifying (the murder), listening to people talk about the crime, really fantasizing on how powerful and clever they've been," Streed said. Who is lie? Is he a hitchhiker, trucker, traveling salesman, playboy, transient? "He is probably a sociopath," Levin said. "That is, he doesn't empathize with his victims; he doesn't feel any remorse; he can kill with moral impunity; he doesn't feel guilty. He can do it because there's nothing inside him to stop him as there would be for most people." Walter added that the killer has "to be reasonably adept and reasonably socially facile to even get into those kinds of places He has to be able to deceive and manipulate and control. "You're gonna go maybe 25, 30 miles ... or 200 miles or whatever it takes so nobody will recognize you," Walter said. Police Lt. Charles Davidaitis Davidaitis says an uneasy peace has existed between police and gang members since a massive confrontation early Sunday morning, after Karel Kuthan, 48, a white motorist, was pulled from his car and severely beaten. That skirmish followed a picnic attended by members of the Crips and Bloods, who recently have joined forces in Las Vegas under the new name of the "Black Brotherhood," Davidaitis said. In th battle that ensued after Kuthan was attacked, police officers protected by three armored personnel carriers confronted a mob of roughly 1,000 protesters. An estimated 50 rounds of ammunition hit the three police vehicles. Forty people were arrested. Davidaitis said police were concerned because several of the leaders at Crips-Bloods unification gatherings have called for joining forces to attack police officers. They have called the King verdict "a wake-up call." "Some of the more radical of these gang members are openly calling for the assassination of police officers," Davidaitis said. "So, we're going out on those streets in force, and we mean business." WcSellSpaS MWCH-A-MMNY" POOVMTfO-tFA Single Pieces Rolls Collections fiutustlM Oetcdets (904)878-3030 MEMBER CHAMBCT OF COMMERCE SANDALS WITH BIO-DYNAMIC COMFORT - Anatomically-designed natural cork footbed covered in genuine leather Soft latex foam midsole Canity Shoes Exclusive Ladies Footwear Service Style Selection Size Since 1949 Governor's Square Lower Level Sears Concourse 656-1010 G AY Tp TT TP? . JL JL 1 J JL VkJ Reg. 49.99 . ' f. ' SELECTED MISSES SPRING ) DRESSES Solid linen and floral styles. X r- Sizes 8-18. X, , DRESSES, SECOND FLOOR f ' ' w 29.90 ! PECIAL PURCHASE! I I jfexf - I I MY MICHELEpANK , Pcg DRESSES I MISSES LriE IS FASHIONS Choose from solids, doll or prints. Ljnen and coTtoe . sizes J-. 1 1 i O 1 TT trt ' f V- Sr, ... : "-! LADY OAFpPRESSES Assorted colors add! sj$es. Sizes 8-18. TALLAHASSEE U jBemoerat (USPS 533-120) (ISSN 0738-5153) POSTMASTER: Send address changes to PO Box 990. (277 N. Magnolia Drive) Tallahassee. FL 32302. Published every morning. Second class Postage paid at Tallahassee. DAILY AND SUNDAY SUBSCRIPTION RATES HOME DELIVERY BY CARRIER PREPAID TO OFFICE 13 weeks 26 weeks 52 weeks Oaily and Sunday $33 54 J67.08 $134.16' CARRIER COLLECT ONLY: 1 Month $11.18- MAIL SUBSCRIPTION RATES BY REOUEST. (904) 599-2191 SINGLE COPY PRICE: HONOR RACKS - Dally $ .50" Sunday $1 .00" Your newspaper carrier is an independent contractor and subscriber payments to earners are NOT subiect to control by the Tallahassee Democrat. It is recornrnended that prepayments to your Democrat earner be limited to one month. However, you may Kepay a 13. 26. or 52 week subscription directly to b Democrat and your earner wsl receive credit MISSED DELIVERY: H you live m Leon County and missed delivery of your newspaper occurs, please caJ our Circulation Service Center at 599-2191 between .6:30 and 10:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, please call between 7:00 a m and 12 noon. Outside of Leon County, please call your carrier and a paper will be delivered to you as soon as possible. Call the Tallahassee Democrat Direct (area code 904) 8 a.m. to 5 pm.-Monday through Friday (closed holidays) Switchboard- Missed DeliveryCirculation Customer TDD Deaf Communication Device. 942-41 22 Subscription Billing Customer Service Advertising Billing Customer Service Credit Department Classified Advertising.. TDD Deaf Communications Device...., Retail Advertising.. Newsroom (9 a.m. to 12 midnight) V ;'.' 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