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Ted Bundy was a handsome, intelligent, and well liked law student who seemed to be the perfect citizen. Bundy fell in love with a girl from a prominent family and became engaged to her. Later, she broke off the engagement, and Bundy was devastated. This is what prompted him to begin killing. Bundy would prey on young women, and would catch them off guard with his charm, abducting them, then beating, raping and murdering them. Bundy posed with a fake sling to gain sympathy of his victims, then would ask for their help. He killed over two dozen women in Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado, and Florida. During his killing spree, Bundy was caught, but escaped from prison twice. On January 15, 1978, Bundy entered the Chi Omega sorority house of a Florida university, and went on a rampage, bludgeoning two coeds to death, and critically wounding several others. Bundy continued to kill, until his capture in Florida in 1979. With his law school education and brilliant mind, Bundy acted as his own attorney and defended himself. He proclaimed his innocence, and refused an insanity defense. Bite marks however, were matched with Bundy’s teeth. In July of 1979, Bundy was convicted on two counts of murder, and was convicted to death by electric chair. After ten years of appeals, Bundy was executed by the state of Florida in 1989.
Charles Manson was born an unwanted son to a prostitute mother. From the age of three, Manson was put in and taken out of foster homes, juvenile prisons, and reform centers. At the age of 18, Manson was arrested for car theft, forgery, and fraud. Following his parole, Manson relocated to San Francisco during the ‘Summer of Love’. Manson used his charisma to attract a large following of outcasts and young women. At it’s peak, the Manson Family had up to 50 members. The Family settled on a desert ranch in Simi Valley, California where they engaged in sex, heavy drug use, and other illegal practices. Manson soon became obsessed with the Beatles’ song ‘Helter Skelter,’ interpreting it as predicting a race war which would soon topple the United States. Manson began targeting enemies of the Family and members began murdering in 1968. On August 9th 1969, several members of the Family raided the home of movie director Roman Polanski, brutally murdering five people, including film actress, Sharon Tate. Tate, who was several months pregnant, pleaded for her life, and the life of her baby. Her killer responded “Look bitch, I have no mercy for you”. The following night, another couple was brutally murdered in the same fashion. Graffiti was scrawled on the walls at each crime scene with phrases including “Pigs” and “Helter Skelter”. That same year several members of the Family were arrested for an unrelated crime. One of the family members, Susan Atkins confessed to the murders, implicating 10 other members of the Manson Family, including Manson himself. During the trial, members of the Family continued to support Manson, gathering outside the courthouse from dusk till dawn. During the trial, attorney Ronald Hughes was murdered. Manson and eight other members were convicted of the murder in 1971. Manson was sentenced to death, but the death sentence was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972. In 1975, a member of the Manson Family, Lynette Fromme tried to assassinate President Ford. Manson continues to hold influence over members of the Family who follow him to this day. He in now eligible for parole and has had sever unsuccessful parole hearings.
As a kid, Jeffrey Dahmer liked to torture and kill little animals. As an adult, he did the same, but with humans. The Milwaukee chocolate factory worker lured gay, black men to his apartment with the promise of sex and drugs, and instead killed them and had them for dinner. Once his victims were dead, Dahmer came to life. He would have sex with the corpses and was conscientious to always wear a condom. Sex with live beings was not as good because they could get up and leave at any moment. He also enjoyed mutilation, and experimented with different ways of disposing of the bodies. He once tried to turn one of his victims into a zombie by performing a homemade lobotomy on the man by drilling into his brain, and then pouring acid into the holes. When captured, police found three dissolving bodies in 55-gallon acid vats in his bedroom. They also found four severed heads, seven skulls, skeletons in his closet and a penis in a lobster pot. Ironically, Dahmer had no food in the fridge, only condiments. In the freezer he had a heart stashed “to eat later.” Dahmer was killed when he was viciously attacked by Christopher Scarver, a convicted killer on antipsychotic medication, while mopping the bathroom floor in a maximum security prison. Dahmer’s brain (at his mother’s request) was preserved in formaldehyde for future study.
The general characteristics include: more than three victims, some say four or more. The serial killer will not stop killing until he, or in very rare cases, she, is prevented from doing so. Most of the time, the victim is either unknown or of very little acquaintance to the offender. Furthermore, the motives are not clear-cut or obvious to anyone other than the offender. The motives are internal, based on fantasies which drive the offender to kill. Serial murders do not include murders that stemmed from a fight with another, revenge toward another, or being jealous of another. There is no monetary gain with serial murder (in other words, the offender was not paid to kill the victim). A serial killer does not kill as a survival method– at least not in the sense that most of us would think of. A serial killer may perceive that he has to kill to survive or self-preserve himself, but he does not kill to take the victim’s truck to escape detection, for example. Would a serial killer take a victim’s truck, though? Sure, but the reason for killing the victim was not to obtain the truck. In addition, the serial killer goes through phases and periods of “cooling down” or “cooling off.”
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