Sig­na­ture Killers

Real Crime - - Home Invasion - Charles Gin­ger

In the cruel and chaotic world of catch­ing se­rial killers, it can be easy to mis­in­ter­pret signs and take a wrong turn. Such is the case when de­ci­pher­ing the dif­fer­ences be­tween a killer’s MO ( modus operandi) and their sig­na­ture. One man who has ded­i­cated his ca­reer to recog­nis­ing the un­mis­tak­able sig­na­tures left be­hind by psy­cho­pathic mur­der­ers is Dr. Robert D. Kep­pel, an FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tor who was the first to re­alise the im­por­tance of these de­praved call­ing cards.

Us­ing the ex­am­ples of killers such as Morris Framp­ton and Richard Cot­ting­ham, Kep­pel ex­plains that a sig­na­ture is some­thing that a killer ( not all killers) has to do in or­der for them to gain the sex­ual grat­i­fi­ca­tion they are seek­ing. This can man­i­fest it­self in a whole range of ways, but ex­am­ples in­clude pos­ing a vic­tim’s body in a cer­tain man­ner or in­flict­ing post- mortem in­juries.

While the MO is what the killer needs to do in or­der to com­mit mur­der, a sig­na­ture is not nec­es­sary for the pur­pose but is in­stead some­thing the of­fender is com­pelled to do. A con­se­quence of this is that while an MO may change due to cir­cum­stances or a killer ‘ refin­ing’ their meth­ods, their sig­na­ture will never al­ter. When po­lice fail to iden­tify a sig­na­ture and in­stead in­ter­pret a change of MO as proof of a sep­a­rate killer, the ram­i­fi­ca­tions can be dev­as­tat­ing.

The im­por­tance of this book to any­one with an in­ter­est in the twisted psy­chol­ogy of those who de­rive a thrill from mur­der can­not be over­es­ti­mated. With decades of first- hand ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise, Kep­pel is the per­fect per­son to help make sense of the grue­some marks killers leave be­hind.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.