Serial Killer in Indiana Proudly Shares His Evil Deeds through a Tattoo

Photo Courtesy: Daily Mail

Photo Courtesy: Daily Mail

The sentencing hearing for an admitted serial killer is underway in Indiana. William Clyde Gibson pleaded guilty to strangling Stephanie Kirk two and half years ago, before violating and then burying her body in a shallow grave in his yard. He already has been sentenced to death for the murder of another woman, also in 2012, and is serving sixty-five years for a third murder that took place more than a decade ago.

A psychiatrist who testified earlier this week spent time with Gibson in 2012 and diagnosed him with bipolar disorder, personality disorder, an abnormal sense of reality, and multiple substance abuse issues. The Floyd County prosecutor, Keith Henderson, notes that despite these clear psychological issues, there is no evidence of a problem with mental competence. Therefore, and because of the aggravating factors involved in this gruesome homicide, the death penalty needs to remain an option.

Telling of his mental state and proudly displaying his guilty, Gibson displayed a tattoo on his head that he somehow managed to get while in prison. Scrawled in large letters are the words “Death Row x 3.” This week’s hearing is the first time that the ink has been visible to the public, as he was ordered not to cut his hair out of concern for prejudice when it was thought a jury may be deciding his guilt or innocence.

To me, this tattoo is a perfect example of the bravado and ego that we often see in serial killers. Their sense of self is perversely inflated and they seem to take pleasure in advertising the horror they inflicted on others.

Judge Susan Orth is expected to make her decision regarding Gibson’s sentencing fate in mid-August.

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Proceed Carefully When Diagnosing Violent Criminals

skull-brainWhen we read about a horrific crime that has been committed or we watch a news clip of an alleged murder smiling as he walks in handcuffs into a courtroom, we often ask the question, “How could someone be so evil?” or “What was going on in that person’s mind to cause such behavior?” Maybe we think if we get some answers, we can take some solace in concluding we are nothing like that person. But as one clinical psychologist warns us in a recent article, we need to be careful about the diagnoses that are attributed to the individuals who commit some very ugly crimes.

Dr. Stanton Samenow published an article entitled “Autism Spectrum Disorder or Antisocial Personality?” and used the recent mass killing by Elliot Rodger near the University of California at Santa Barbara campus as an example to demonstrate a broader concern. Rodger was noted in the media as having Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the autism scale, due to his lack of connection to others and perhaps allowed their viewers then to determine that a person with a form of autism is more inclined to commit violence. Instead, Dr. Samenow asserts that killers like Rodgers actually have an antisocial personality and that this diagnosis shares some traits with Asberger’s.

While both disorders usually mean affected individuals have a lack of empathy and issues with communication and emotional reciprocity, an important distinction is that those with antisocial personality are very independent and shun the company of others because they consider themselves superior. Other people are just pawns to fulfill the desires of an antisocial individual. Those with autism do not have this grossly exaggerated sense of superiority and actually have a strong and concrete sense of right and wrong.

The short piece is thought-provoking, so check it out. And then if you continue your search for the psychological reasons behind Rogers’ actions, the theories multiply. We are reminded that while wanting to know the “why” is understandable, to unfairly categorize a group of people due to our own lack of understanding is unfair and dangerous.

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PREVIEW Chapter One of DARK PURSUIT #EmilyStone #Thriller

darkwoodsDARK PURSUIT

An Emily Stone Novel

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CHAPTER ONE

Tuesday 2100 Hours

Car tires squealed as both sport utility vehicles skidded sideways across the narrow street. The ear-piercing screeches and waves of gravel spray continued as the vehicles held the uneven surface and pivoted onto a bumpy dirt road. The pitch-blackness of the night illuminated with the blinding headlights of the two cars – one pursuing the other. Motors revved and engines tacked well into the red zones. The high beams bobbed and weaved through the trees, and disappeared into the dense landscape of the forest.

Low fog plunged the chill of the evening colder than the current temperature of forty-three degrees. Pockets of moisture were heavier in some areas allowing for little visibility. With a murky blur, the cars continued the dangerous pursuit. The rural road quickly turned into a narrow trail causing both cars to slow drastically in speed.

Emily Stone fought the dangerous off-road conditions with every ounce of strength that she could muster. She clutched the steering wheel harder with every sharp turn to remain alert and to keep the car piloting straight on the compact path.

The seatbelt dug into her chest with every bump and chuckhole in the road. Exhaustion had set in hours ago, but she could not stop now. Increasing fatigue continued to edge its way through her arms and legs. The escalating body aches and weaknesses vied for her immediate attention as her forehead pounded with a piercing pain.

Pushing through her discomfort, she focused on the treacherous road and the blue car in front of her.

Another victim was at stake.

It was obvious that the driver too was also having difficulties with the road as the vehicle bounced precariously close to the edge of the cliff. The lead SUV skirted and swerved, but still miraculously maintained the right direction and gained speed.

Pieces of mud showered Emily’s windshield, peppering the entire front end and undercarriage. Low tree branches and bushes clawed at the doors and slammed across the roof. At one point, she thought a branch might break through the sunroof and land on the front seat.

The road hazards did not deter her.

Emily pressed the accelerator even harder. Her Ford’s R.P.M. throttled to a dangerous level causing the engine and oil lights to flicker. The dashboard lit up with several warnings that looked more like a carnival ride than the standard passenger car.

“Emily! Em!” a voice yelled. “What’s your location? Dammit Em answer me!”

She ignored the plea from her partner Rick Lopez over the cell phone and turned it away from her. They were more than partners. It was an unshakable love that drove them together toward the common goal. She did not want to look at the screen and see his face drawn and deeply concerned for her safety. His usual dark handsome features would show the extreme stress with a furrowed frown and she could not bear to look at him.

There had been many other pursuits, some more dangerous, others just a routine investigation, but all were potentially risky and could result in death. She had made peace with that reality. She had the extensive experience of handing just about anything that came her way – and wore the physical and mental battle scars to prove it.

Her and Rick had spent the last few years hunting serial killers and child abductors, all under the radar of law enforcement. They did not have to operate by the same rules of engagement or bureaucracy that tied the hands of cops. Instead, the couple did all the investigative and forensic work for them and forwarded all of the information anonymously.

It had served them well.

This time it was an emergency of life and death – an all-out code red involving a ten-year-old girl by the name of Jeannie Sanders abducted while walking home from a friend’s house. The photograph of the little girl’s huge green eyes and sweet cherub face burned into Emily’s memory and it propelled her into situations that most people would take great lengths to avoid.

The eminent situation drove Emily to an almost desperate impulse – worse than any obsessive-compulsive disorder could ever accomplish. She never knew how far an investigation would take her both physically and emotionally, but giving up was not an option when a child’s life was a stake.

A couple of years ago, Emily had come to terms with the fact that any of her pursuits could end with the inevitable. She lived by her own set of rules and motto. Life was not worth living if you could not make a difference – right a wrong, catch a serial killer, or save an innocent life.

It was as simple as that.

“Em!” the voice insisted.

She balanced her cell phone on the dash praying that the signal would not disappear or smash from impact. Flipping the smart phone over and slipping it into a console cranny, she glanced at the screen. It was just as she had expected. The deep look of concern was plastered all over Rick’s face. Even on the small electronic device, his eyes could bore straight into her soul. It was an expression that made her weak and sometimes to doubt her own abilities.

The lead SUV pulled ahead just out of view and disappeared in the fog.

A large patch of low-lying haze obscured the improvised roadway.

Emily reluctantly slowed her speed even more.

Emily reported, “I’m in pursuit. We’re just three miles off the main Interstate on Deer Run Road,” she replied winded as if she had been running a marathon. “I’m not backing off. This is the first big break we’ve had…”

She slammed on the brakes due to the hairpin turn and sheer cliff on her right. The Ford slid in that direction and she countered the slide with quick steering and some luck. The back tires spun several revolutions before traction took hold again. She did not see the car or any lights ahead of her anymore and took her foot from the accelerator.

She stopped the SUV and cut the headlights.

It was dark in every direction.

She pressed the power button and lowered the window.

The distinct odor of a hot car engine and an overflowing radiator filled her nose. It had a familiar sweet and earthy smell. It made her think of the time when she had unknowingly run out the water in the radiator.

It was strangely quiet as well as dark.

Emily could make out a few outlines of large trees but nothing more.  There was an opening in the fog. The sky remained overcast in a blanket of clouds that obscured any view of the stars or moon.

More deep aromas of the forest drifted into the car.

It was odd. If she closed her eyes and opened them, there was little difference in the view.

Deep shadows.

Isolation.

Taking a deep slow breath, Emily tried not to fixate on the strangeness of her position, and the feeling of floating, which made her nauseous. She had struggled with anxiety in the past, the feelings of panic and the fight or flight responses. As with most things in her life, Emily worked through them with tenacity and could overcome just about anything. That was what made her get out of bed every morning to tackle every new challenge.

Realizing that she was talking to Rick, she clumsily felt for the phone. It was in sleep mode and the screen was blank. She pressed the button and her screen brightened, but there was no signal. Rick had lost connection with her. She was not sure if he had heard her location or if he could figure out how to locate her.

What initially began as a routine surveillance changed and flip-flopped in an instant. She contemplated what to do next. The soft ticking of her engine cooling kept a hypnotizing rhythm. She knew she had to move forward in order to save the little girl, but it seemed that the element of surprise would be the best approach. There had to be a location where the abductor was headed – a cabin or an abandoned shed where the girl was stashed.

Emily turned the key and her Ford roared to life, now with uneven timing. The headlights illuminated the forest. She turned the lights back to regular beams, which made the area seem less ominous. There was no sign of the other vehicle, no evidence of lights shone anywhere in the vicinity.

As she contemplated what to do, there were two logical choices, go forward, or turn back to get a cell phone signal and wait for Rick.  She weighed each option. The killer was close; she sensed it. It was as if she could feel his breath on her neck. There was still time to rescue the little girl. All the other victims had been murdered and then their bodies dumped exactly four days after their abduction. It had already been three and half days… and counting.

There was still time.

There had to be enough time.

A loud gunning sound of a high-powered engine came from behind. High beams flashed in her rearview mirror and blinded her. It took barely three seconds before the blue SUV rammed into Emily’s Ford. Her body flung forward snapping her neck and seizing her breath.

The larger vehicle pushed her headfirst at a steady pace. The roar of the V8 engine roared like a wild animal attacking its prey.

While still holding firm to the steering wheel with her left hand, Emily grabbed for her Glock 9mm from her side holster.

It was not there.

She remembered that she had not secured her gun before the pursuit. Her Beretta was in her ankle holster. Carefully maneuvering her body and wrestling to maintain control of the brake as well as the steering wheel, she retrieved the small pistol in her right hand.

Emily did not waste any time, turned her torso to the blinding light, and fired three bullets through the back window of the SUV.

Glass shattered.

The impact from the sound echoed in her ears. Cool air rushed inside the vehicle. The blast of bullets stunned the attacking vehicle. The large blue SUV slowed its pace and opened a gap between both cars.

Emily caught her breath trying to inhale and exhale evenly. Her anger escalated as she unhooked her seatbelt. Rescuing the missing little girl was the only factor pushing her forward. She knew that the girl was not in the vehicle, but hidden somewhere close.

The Berretta shook slightly in her right hand from the surging adrenalin pulsing throughout her body as she readied herself again for another assault.

The thunder of the pursuing SUV sprang into life and the larger vehicle slammed into Emily’s car once again. This time it seemed to have more power behind the strike. The killer was not going to go down without a fight – too much was at stake.

It took all of Emily’s strength and concentrated attention to maintain control of her own vehicle. No matter how hard she held the brake down with both feet; her car inched forward and gathered speed. The tires slipped and gripped unevenly, and then the traction slipped again building momentum down the narrow trail. Thick brush and branches scraped along the doors before Emily could see through the tight clearing ahead. The hiking trail ended with a sheer cliff less than a hundred yards ahead.

Copyright 2014, Jennifer Chase
All rights reserved.
Unedited Version

DarkPursuitCOMING SOON!

 

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Serial Sex Offender Caught Following Car Accident

Arrested_SCThere is a certain psychology enmeshed in those who engage in serial violence, particularly those who terrorize with crimes as sexual predators. While their mindset may be fascinating to study, this is best done from the confines of a prison cell. Fortunately, it appears that one more serial sex offender has been taken off the streets, and the way his capture took place was rather unusual and a testament to attentive police work.

There had been multiple sexual assaults taking place in the Tulsa area over the past month. The intruder would come at night and break into the house, and then attack the woman who lived there. For the most part, these women were somewhere between their mid-50s and mid-70s. It was as the attacker was leaving one of his alleged victims that events unfolded which would end with his arrest.

Photo courtesy: KOCO.com

Photo courtesy: KOCO.com

Desmond Campbell is said to have been speeding away from one of his crimes when he ran into a light pole and ended up unresponsive in a Tulsa emergency room. Meanwhile, local police officers had used evidence at the scenes of his various attacks to associate his name with the crimes, based on his past criminal record and the prison time he served up until April of this year. A Google search of Desmond Campbell brought up an article concerning the car crash, and police moved forward from there.

Formal charges are still being prepared against Mr. Campbell, but they are expected to be lengthy and severe. That being said, Mr. Campbell has yet to regain consciousness following his accident. So, we first need to learn whether or not he will survive before it can be determined if he will face justice for his alleged crimes.

It is sad that a man with a history of violence proceeded to return to criminal activity almost immediately upon his release from jail. But I am thankful that it was his track record that gave authorities the trail that they needed to get him back in custody.

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DeadBurn_Gold_Action_covRecent Reviews of DEAD BURN:

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“Author Jennifer Chase knocks the ball right out of the park with this story. Reminiscent of Daniel Silva reads the author creates a powerful story that twists and turns – keeping me white knuckled more than once.”

“I really enjoyed this book. It has all the ingredients of a good suspense, mystery story, and it’s well written. “

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Serial Sex Offender Charged in Decade-Old Cold Case

blogpost1It is always good news when a serial sex offender is brought to justice and made to face the punishment for his horrific crimes. When the offender is accused of harming children, the call for swift and the harshest possible punishment is particularly loud . . . which is understandable.

Alabama’s Cold Case Unit showed impressive and dedicated work in putting forth evidence this week against Billy Wayne Cooper for alleged crimes committed between 1999 and 2004. He now faces multiple charges including both first- and second-degree rape as well as charges involving sodomy and other sexual abuse stemming from crimes he is said to have committed against three girls under the age of sixteen. If convicted, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Turns out, Cooper wasn’t too hard to track down once the evidence was in place to pin him to the crimes. He already is behind bars at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas for multiple sex crimes committed at U.S. military posts both here and abroad. So, even if he makes the $300,000 bond that Alabama has placed on him, he is not going to spend time as free man.

Congratulations to all of the hard-working investigators with the Cold Case Unit in their determination to get answers when the series of crimes ended a decade ago. This is yet another testament to the amazing work that law enforcement does every day.

These who were the victims of Mr. Cooper’s alleged crimes are all grown women now. I hope that they have managed to work through the wounds, both physical and psychological, that he certainly created and have come out even stronger on the other side. And I hope they find closure in knowing that the man who violated their innocence many years ago is now facing the consequences of his evil acts.

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DeadBurn_Gold_Action_covRecent Reviews of DEAD BURN:

“Fast paced, leave no stone unturned and the story is equivalent to the caliber of Vince Flynn reads. “

“Author Jennifer Chase knocks the ball right out of the park with this story. Reminiscent of Daniel Silva reads the author creates a powerful story that twists and turns – keeping me white knuckled more than once.”

“I really enjoyed this book. It has all the ingredients of a good suspense, mystery story, and it’s well written. “

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Are Female Serial Killers More Shocking Than Men Who Commit the Same Acts?

blogpost1

Serial killer Aileen Wuornos

Let’s say that for some reason you are sitting in a criminal psychology class and the teacher scrawls one statement across the chalkboard that is to serve as the one essay topic for your final exam:

Describe a serial killer.

If you have been paying attention in class all semester, or even just watched some good thriller movies at the local theater, you probably would share a serial killer is usually a male and often white. He tends to be a narcissist. There may be drug abuse involved, but there’s a good chance he is perfectly clean. There is likely some dissociative disorder, an inability to feel for others or to develop normal emotional connections. There may be evidence of abuse in his childhood.

But as you are writing, are “he” and “his” and “him” the words to which you default? After all, the first defining characteristic I included in the paragraph above is that serial killers are men. And, this is true in an overwhelming number of cases. There is an interesting new posting on CNN’s website, however, that takes readers on a tour of some notorious female serial killers who have committed heinous crimes over the past century.

If you take a few minutes to look at the photographs and read the descriptions of the crimes, you will find female criminals who murdered their own husbands and mothers and children. There are other examples of women who killed the elderly and sick who were relying on them for medical care and still others who decided to murder for sport or money. Their faces are chilling.

I have long been fascinated by the minds of serial killers and I have used my novels to delve deeper into the psychology behind their acts. Due to the societal expectations of gentleness and protection of family with which women are associated, I wonder if we find female killers even more shocking than their male counterparts.

What do you think? Are we more jarred when the photo of the accused murderer shown on our local news is that of a woman?

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Turning to Crime for Attention in the Digital Age

blogpost

In a story that has been gaining national media attention and public outrage over the past few days, a mother in New York has been arrested on murder charges for allegedly poisoning her five-year-old son with salt. Evidence shows that she may have been doing this periodically over much of the young child’s life, growing to feed off the attention and sympathy she was receiving from social media and those she knew. And who would not want to extend compassion to a single mother whose son was struggling with scary, life-threatening medical issues?

The term for the condition in which an individual fakes an illness or intentionally makes himself sick, or a parent or caregiver leads others to believe the person who has been entrusted to her is ill, is Munchausen Syndrome. This psychiatric issue occurs because a person craves the attention that being sick can bring.

I will not feed into the twisted desire for fame by posting the alleged murderer’s name here, but her arrest had me thinking about the greater connection between criminal behavior and social media. Young people are using Facebook and Twitter to form mobs that ransack convenience stores and shopping malls. People take to their computers or smart phones to brag about crimes they are currently committing. Marginalized individuals can now find refuge on the internet and find a community of like-minded people urging them to exact revenge those who have supposedly wronged them. The line between fantasy and reality is so easily blurred.

In the case I used to start this piece, the fantasy that this disturbed woman was creating of her life meant a very real life of unnecessary pain for her young boy. With charges of second-degree depraved murder and first-degree manslaughter, if found guilty her fatal efforts will land her in a very anonymous prison not in line with the celebrity she craved.

What are your thoughts? Do you think our age of social media, in which everyone can be a star through YouTube and “selfies” but yet people are claiming to be lonelier than ever, helps to perpetuate a person’s tendency toward criminal psychiatric issues?

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