Serial Killer Profile Like Dahmer

. Saturday, November 7


If you’ve watched enough TV, you have a basic understanding of how various agencies ‘profile’ criminals. Shows like the various flavors of CSI, Criminal Minds and even Medium all enhance story lines with a bit of psychology now and then.

That’s the sort of thing you need to come to terms with such heinous, horrendous crimes that Anthony Sowell is accused of.

He lived in a relatively busy neighborhood in the best home on the block. An empty, rundown house on one side and a meat processing plant on the other, Sowell was able to rest assured that any wayward stench in the area was immediately assumed to be coming from the meat processing plant.

That’s what has stumped Robert Keppel, a national serial-killer expert who investigated Ted Bundy in Washington state and who is now looking into Sowell’s case. He believes that psychopaths usually maintain such tight control over their lives and environment that it is rare for killers like Dahmer – and now Sowell – to “hunt” out of their homes. To do so is brazen, risky and not within the same category of a psychopath.

Still holes remain in the story and the investigation itself. Police have now identified the fourth victim, found a total of ten bodies, but have only charged Sowell with five counts of murder.

One victim that escaped when Sowell left to go to the corner store said that everything was fine until Sowell suddenly jumped up and attempted to strangle her. That sudden uncontrolled burst is more suggestive of schizophrenia than psychopath, which is characterized by a total lack of conscience, a possible high level of awareness to detail and above average intelligence. What is pertinent is that any abnormal diagnosis can only come with an extensive amount of time with the subject; time that is spent looking for patterns in thought and behavior.

The photo of Sowell shows that keen awareness and attention. In a courtroom situation, that is no indication of anything more than his focus. His body language is that of attentive listening. I would have to say that Sowell himself is more likely to pick up on the patterns of a psychopath than, say, his lawyer.