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Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Bluebeard of Quiet Dell, The Queen Poisoner and The Brownout Strangler: America's most infamous and forgotten serial killers

The term serial killer was not coined until 1961 - but that's not to say sick and twisted mass murderers did not exist before that.
For before the most well-known, most-celebrated and most truly-evil serial killers in the world became household names and even - in a twisted, macabre way - celebrities, there were psychopaths just like them who were just as, if not more, sick, sinister and deadly.
Harold Schechter is a professor of American Literature and culture at Queens College, the City University of New York.

Author: Harold Schechter brought some of America's most deadly murderers together in his book Psycho USA: Famous American Killers You Never Hear About
Author Harold Schechter has brought together some of the most deadly and notorious killers spanning several centuries and put them together in one chilling book called Psycho USA: Famous American Killers You Never Hear About.
Spurred by profit, passion, paranoia, or simply perverse pleasure, these men and women filled pages of newspapers and true crime pamphlets and terrorized and haunted neighborhoods.
Speaking about his book to the Huffington Post, Mr Schechter said: 'As for the kinds of criminals we now refer to by that name, the sobering act is that they have always existed. They were just called different things in the old days - "murder demons", "bloodthirsty fiends", "devils in human shape".
'Many of these monsters attracted an enormous amount of public attention, becoming the subjects of frenzied newspaper stories, best-selling true crime pamphlets, and popular ballads.
'Exactly why these once-notorious figures have faded from collective memory is an interesting and complex issue, one I explore in my new book.'

Harry Powers

Dubbed The Bluebeard of Quiet Dell, paunchy, middle-aged vacuum cleaner salesman Harry Powers used a fake name to make contact with a string of widows, divorcees, and spinsters through a midwestern 'lonely hearts' club. 
In the summer of 1931, he lured two of these women, Dorothy Lemke and Asta Eichler - along with her three young children - to a remote cabin in the rural hamlet of Quiet Dell, Virginia, where he starved, tortured and murdered all five victims before disposing of their bodies in a drainage ditch.
Bluebeard: Mass murderer Harry F. Powers, the Butcher of Clarksburg, tells a detective about the details of his grisly murders in Clarksburg, West Virginia
Bluebeard: Mass murderer Harry F. Powers, the Butcher of Clarksburg, tells a detective about the details of his grisly murders in Clarksburg, West Virginia

Lydia Sherman

Crowned America's 'Queen Poisoner' by the press, Lydia Sherman began her homicidal reign in the mid-1860s when deciding it was cheaper than divorce, she disposed of her unemployed husband and five dependent children with arsenic.
Her second marriage was to a wealthy and much older farmer, who she poisoned a year into their marriage with a bowl of her special clam chowder.
She married yet again and killed her third husband and his two stepchildren with hot chocolate laced with arsenic.
The Queen Poisoner managed to escape the gallows as women could not be executed then, but was sentenced to life in prison in 1871.
Crowned America's
Crowned America's
Crowned America's Queen Poisoner: Lydia Sherman began her homicidal reign in the mid-1860s when deciding it was cheaper than divorce, she poisoned her unemployed husband and five dependent children 

Anton Probst

Called The Greatest Criminal of the 19th Century, this unskilled and broke German laborer was hired by a kind-hearted Philadelphia farmer called Christopher Deering. How did he repay this favor? By slaughtering him, his wife, his mother and father and four children, including an infant in its cradle before stealing a small sum of money from their home. He also killed two other people who were at the scene.
After he was executed, his right arm was amputated and sold to a Bowery dime museum, where it attracted hordes of morbid curiosity seekers eager to see a part of one of the most monstrous mass murders in American history.

Beast: This unskilled German laborer was hired as a field hand by a kindhearted Philadelphia farmer named Christopher Deering, but then repaid his employer's generosity by slaughtering his entire family
Beast: This unskilled German laborer was hired as a field hand by a kindhearted Philadelphia farmer named Christopher Deering, but then repaid his employer's generosity by slaughtering his entire family

Joseph LaPage

The trial of Joseph LaPage the French monster, for the murder of the beautiful school girl Miss Josie Langmaid
The trial of Joseph LaPage the French monster, for the murder of the beautiful school girl Miss Josie Langmaid
On the morning of October 8, 1876, a 17-year-old girl named Josie Langmaid set out on her daily two-mile walk to school in the town of Pembroke, New Hampshire. She never made it.
That night, searchers discovered her butchered and decapitated corpse in the woods, with her head a quarter-mile away. 
Serial sex killer Joseph LaPage, who fled Quebec in 1871 after raping his 13-year-old sister, was convicted and hanged for the murders.

Franklin Evans

The 'Northwood Monster' as he was known, lured his young grandniece into the woods near her home, strangled her, raped her and then sexually mutilated her corpse.
When the 64-year-old was arrested, he confessed to a string of unsolved murders, including the random mutilation-murder of a physically deformed five-year-old girl he snatched from her New Hampshire home, the rape-murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Maine, and the butchering of a 15-year-year-old Massachusetts girl, along with her 12-year-old brother who had witnessed the crime. 

Albert Hicks

On March 21, 1860, an unmanned ship called the E. A. Johnson sailed into New York Harbor. On board were what was called 'shocking signs of carnage' that left no doubt the crew had fallen victim to a 'dreadful and bloody tragedy'. 
There were pools of blood everywhere, and four fingers and a thumb were found on the deck.
After an investigation, police tracked down Hicks, who confessed to decapitating one of the crew members, driving his axe deep into the side of the captain's head, chopping the fingers off another crew member and throwing all bodies over board. He stole the money and absconded in a lifeboat.

    Hicks was hung for his crime on Beldoe's Island - the future home of the Statue of Liberty - in a gala event that was witnessed by an estimated 10,000 New Yorkers.
    Louis Wagner was convicted of murdering two women on Smuttynose Island in 1873
    Louis Wagner was convicted of murdering two women on Smuttynose Island in 1873

    Louis Wagner

    The 'Smutty Nose Horror of 1873' refers to Louis Wagner, one of New England's most notorious axe murderers. 
    Situated about ten miles off the coast of New Hampshire, the town of Smutty Nose was once home to a six-member family of Norwegian fisherfolk, the Hontvets. 
    On the night of March 5, Wagner, a friend of the family crept into the cottage and butchered two of the women with an axe. 
    The third woman, 26-year-old Maren Hontvet, escaped by crawling through a window and concealing herself on the rocky shoreline. 
    Wagner, who had fled to Boston, was swiftly tracked down and transported back to Portsmouth, where a lynch-mob of 10,000 people had to be held back at bayonet point by a company of marines. He was legally hanged two years later.

    Andrew Kehoe

    Kehoe was a respected farmer and treasurer of the school board who spiraled into paranoid madness to commit one of the most heinous acts of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.
    During the 'Bath School Disaster' of 1927, Kehoe smuggled several hundred pounds of explosives into the basement of the community's two-story school building and detonated it on the morning of May 18. It killed two teachers and 36 children.
    While rescuers were digging through the rubble for survivors, Kehoe - who had just murdered his wife - drove a Ford pickup truck loaded with dynamite and detonated it, killing himself and eight other people.
    Senseless attack: On May 21, 1927, Andrew Kehoe destroying the Bath Consolidated School and killed dozens of people, most of them children
    Senseless attack: On May 21, 1927, Andrew Kehoe destroying the Bath Consolidated School and killed dozens of people, most of them children
    Suicide: Andrew Kehoe then detonated his own dynamite and shrapnel filled car in front of the school, killing himself and several others. In all, 45 people died
    Suicide: Andrew Kehoe then detonated his own dynamite and shrapnel filled car in front of the school, killing himself and several others. In all, 45 people died

    Eddie Leoniski

    Edward Joseph Leonski was known as The Brownout Strangler
    Edward Joseph Leonski was known as The Brownout Strangler
    American Eddie Leoniski performed his murderous spree in Australia at the outbreak of World War II, where he prowled the streets of Melbourne during the nightly 'brownouts', when street lights were dimmed and window shades drawn to protect against possible Japanese aerial bombardment.
    In two weeks of May in 1942, he raped and murdered three women and attacked several others, setting off a city-wide panic. 
    After drunkenly confessing to a friend, he was hanged on November 9, earning a special distinction in the annals of infamy as the second American soldier to be executed in World War II.

    William Edward Hickman

    On December 15, 1927, Hickman, a sociopathic ex-divinity student, abducted 12-year-old Marian Parker, daughter of a Los Angeles bank officer. 
    Agreeing to the $1500 ransom demand, Marian's father drove to the designated drop-off spot where he was given a glimpse of his child seated on the front seat of her kidnapper's car, her cheeks flushed, eyes opened wide, a blanket thrown over her shoulders. 
    As Hickman drove off with the money, he flung open the passenger door and tossed his victim onto the pavement. Parker ran to retrieve his daughter, only to find that she had been reduced to a limbless, disemboweled corpse with rouged cheeks and eyes sewn open with wire thread. 
    After the biggest manhunt in California history, Hickman was captured a week later. He was hanged at San Quentin on October 19, 1928

    work of ted bundy- bowman sorority house

    forensics issues in serial murders

    The forensic sciences have played a key role in criminal investigations for many years. Recently, there has been increased attention on the forensic sciences by law enforcement, prosecutors, and the general public. Particularly in high profile cases, intense media coverage concerning evidence issues and the work of crime laboratories has served to heighten this interest.
    In the past two decades, there have been tremendous technological advances in the laboratory testing of forensic samples. There have also been a number of improvements in the identification and collection of evidence at the crime scene, through innovative processing and evidence collection methods. Together, these advances allow for a greater probability of successful recovery and analysis of evidence than was previously possible. There is also growing recognition by criminal justice professionals of the wider scope of forensic techniques and available tests.
    The field of forensic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis and the legislation that allows DNA testing on a broader number of offenders has made some of the more remarkable advances. DNA testing now allows much smaller samples of biological material to be analyzed and the results to be more discriminating. DNA testing of forensic crime scene samples can now be compared against a database of known offenders and other unsolved crimes.
    Forensic laboratories have developed advanced analytical techniques through the use of computer technology. Systems such as the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), various Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS), and the National Integrated Ballistics Identification Network (NIBIN), were identified by the symposium as beneficial to serial murder investigations, by providing links between previously unrelated cases.
    CODIS is a national automated DNA information processing and telecommunications system that was developed to link biological evidence (DNA) in criminal cases, between various jurisdictions around the United States. Samples in CODIS include DNA profiles obtained from persons convicted of designated crimes, DNA profiles obtained from crime scenes, DNA profiles from unidentified human remains, and DNA from voluntary samples taken from families of missing persons.
    The CODIS data bank of these samples is comprised of three different indices or levels: the National DNA Index System (NDIS), the State DNA Index System (SDIS), and the Local DNA Index System (LDIS).

    What is important for law enforcement to understand is that the information contained at the LDIS and SDIS levels may not automatically be sent to, or searched against, the NDIS level. There are different legislation requirements for inclusion into NDIS, than to LDIS or SDIS, and not all LDIS and SDIS profiles are sent to NDIS. Even when NDIS is queried, individual SDIS data banks may not be queried. Therefore, when dealing with a serial murder case, investigators need to contact their LDIS or SDIS level representatives to ensure that in addition to the NDIS databank, samples are compared in the individual SDIS data banks of each state that is of investigative interest. In cases where there is only a partial DNA profile, a national “keyboard” search can be requested through the NDIS custodian, CODIS Unit, FBI Laboratory.
    AFIS is an electronic databank that compares unidentified latent and patent fingerprints to the known fingerprint file. There have been a variety of local AFIS systems in use since the 1980s. In 1999, the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or IAFIS, became operational. IAFIS is designated as the national repository of criminal histories, fingerprints, and photographs of criminal subjects in the United States. It also contains fingerprints and information on military and civilian federal employees. IAFIS provides positive identification through comparisons of individuals based on the submission of fingerprint data, through both ten-print fingerprint cards and latent fingerprints.
    Some of the earlier AFIS systems were not compatible with the IAFIS system, and as a result, those earlier latent fingerprints may not be included in IAFIS. This becomes an issue in serial murder cases, when the offender committed offenses prior to the inception of IAFIS, as latent fingerprints from those earlier crimes will not be searchable. If there is a possibility the offender committed early crimes, the early AFIS systems need to be queried independently. Consultation with laboratory fingerprint experts may be necessary in order to establish what AFIS systems exist, which are interoperable, and the protocols required to query each system.
    NIBIN is a national databank of both projectile and cartridge information. NIBIN is the integration of two previous systems: the FBI’s Drugfire cartridge case imaging system and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS). NIBIN is an imaging system that allows both bullets and cartridges recovered from a crime scene to be compared electronically against other bullets and cartridges recovered from previous crime scenes, in an effort to link previously unrelated cases. The system can search by geographic area or nationwide, depending upon the course of the investigation. ATF is maintaining the new system in over 75 locations, across the United States.
    When conducting serial murder investigations, it is important for investigators to promptly seek guidance from appropriate forensic database experts. Such experts can provide information regarding what limitations exist and what additional queries can be made of the systems, to obtain additional investigative information.
    Another area in which forensic science can play an important role is in the recovery and examination of trace evidence. Trace evidence is described as small, often microscopic material. It commonly includes hair and fiber evidence but may encompass almost any substance or material. Trace evidence may provide important lead information pertaining to offender characteristics, vehicle and tire descriptors, and environmental clues that relate to killing scenes and modes of transportation used to move bodies.
    A skilled trace evidence examiner can compare the trace evidence from all of the victims in a serial murder case, in an effort to identify evidence common to all of the victims. This trace evidence will reflect a “common environment” with which all of the victims were in contact. This common environment will repeat in objects in the serial offender’s world, such as his vehicles and/or residence. This can demonstrate that all of the victims had contact with the offender at the same location(s).
    Attendees at the Serial Murder Symposium universally acknowledged that serial murder cases present unique circumstances and concerns, particularly when multiple investigative jurisdictions are involved. In serial murder cases, crime scenes may occur in different law enforcement jurisdictions, each of whom may possess varying resources and abilities to process crime scenes. In some cases, agencies submit evidence to different laboratories, even though those agencies are located adjacent to one another. These issues degrade the ability of law enforcement to consistently collect evidence from a murder series. This may prevent identifying a serial killer or forensically linking previously unrelated cases to a common offender.
    Attendees identified a number of forensic issues facing the law enforcement community in serial murder investigations and made the following suggestions:
    • Once a series is identified, the same crime scene personnel should be utilized at related scenes to promote consistency in evidence identification and collection. Search personnel should follow established sterilization procedures to ensure there is no cross-contamination between the various crime scenes.
    • Cross-contamination should be proactively prevented by using different personnel to process crime scenes than those used to collect known sample evidence from potential suspects.
    • Documentation among the law enforcement agencies should be standardized to ensure continuity between separate cases.
    • Aerial photographs of every murder crime scene, as well as the accompanying ancillary scenes, should be taken. Aerial photographs clearly depict the geography of the area and demonstrate the physical relationships and the distances between the crime scenes. They also identify potential routes of ingress and egress to the area.
    • The number of laboratories and experts involved in serial murder investigations should be limited to properly certified facilities and personnel. Ideally, all evidence should be examined by a single crime laboratory, and that lab should utilize only one expert per discipline. If this is not possible, establish lines of communication between laboratories to ensure the sharing of pertinent information related to the investigation.
    • Priority status for laboratory examinations should be obtained to ensure a quick turn around on test results.
    • When consulting with forensic scientists, investigators should prioritize forensic examinations based upon their potential investigative value. In addition, forensic scientists should be consulted frequently to identify alternative sampling and/or testing that may lead to successful case resolution.
    • Forensic testimony should be limited to what is needed for successful prosecution. Utilization of charts, graphs, or other appropriate audiovisual aides showing forensic linkages will clearly and succinctly convey the facts of the cases.
    • When necessary, investigators should seek independent, secondary reviews of laboratory results. This may be somewhat problematic, since there are crime laboratories that will not duplicate forensic examinations. However, exceptions are sometimes made to this policy on a case-by-case basis.
    Forensic evidence case vignette:
    The case of serial child murderer Richard Mark Evonitz highlights the variety of forensic testing that may be utilized to solve difficult cases. In 1996 and 1997, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, three young girls were abducted from their residences, sexually assaulted, and killed. The first case occurred on September 9, 1996, when Sophia Silva disappeared from the front porch of her house. She was found in October of 1996, in a swamp, 16 miles from her residence. A suspect was arrested and charged for her murder, based on a faulty trace evidence examination conducted by a state laboratory.
    On May 1, 1997, two sisters, Kristin and Kati Lisk, disappeared from their residence after returning home from school. Their bodies were discovered five days later in a river, 40 miles from their residence. After an examination by an FBI Laboratory Examiner yielded trace evidence that positively linked the Silva and Lisk homicides to a common environment, the suspect arrested in the Silva case was subsequently released.
    The investigation continued for an additional five years, until a girl was abducted in South Carolina. The victim was able to escape, and she identified Richard Mark Evonitz as her attacker. Evonitz fled South Carolina and was sighted in Florida. After a high-speed chase with police, Evonitz committed suicide. The investigation revealed that Evonitz had lived in Spotsylvania, in 1996 and 1997.
    Forensic searches were conducted on Evonitz’s residence in South Carolina, his former residence in Spotsylvania, Virginia, and his car. A detailed trace examination of the evidence from these searches and the evidence obtained from the three victims revealed a number of hair and fiber matches, providing sufficient evidence to tie Evonitz to the three murders.
    The following trace examinations linked Evonitz to all three homicide victims:
    • Fibers from a bath mat.
    • Fibers from an afghan.
    • Fibers from two separate carpets in Evonitz’s former home in Virginia.
    • Carpet fibers from the trunk of Evonitz’s car.
    • Head hair consistent with Evonitz.
    A trace examination also linked fibers from a pair of fur-lined handcuffs to the three homicide victims and the surviving victim.
    The unique combination of different hair and fiber evidence yielded the “common environment” to which all of the victims and the offender were exposed.
    Latent fingerprints belonging to Kristin Lisk were located on the inside of the trunk lid of Evonitz’s car, five years after the fact.

    Son of Sam' serial killer speaks out and decries gun violence 35 years after arrest for terrorizing NYC Read more:

    David Berkowitz, one of America’s most notorious serial killers, has said from prison that 'society has to take the glory out of guns.'
    The Son of Sam killer spoke to the New York Daily News from the maximum security Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, N.Y, where he's serving 25 years to life for killing six people during a terrifying 13-month shooting spree in the 1970s.
    Speaking out exactly 35 years after his reign of terror ended, Berkowitz lamented the recent fatal shootings in Colorado, the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and gun crime on New York City streets, including the shooting of a 4-year-old boy in the Bronx.

    Serial killer: David Berkowitz, the 'Son of Sam' killer, has spoken out from prison lamenting the gun violence America has witnessed this summer including the Colorado and Wisconsin mass shootings
    Berkowitz, who was arrested outside his Yonkers home on August 10 1977, said 'young people are losing direction and don't value life.'

      Also known as the ‘.44 Caliber Killer’ after his weapon of choice, Berkowitz said gun control was for legislators to work out. His hope is for young people to realize 'just how terrible this violence is.'
      Said 59-year-old Berkowitz: 'When they use a gun ... they ruin their lives too.'
      ‘I would love to speak bluntly to those gangbanging teens and wanna-bes and tell them prison is nothing like what you think,’ said Berkowitz, who confesses to having enemies behind bars. 
      During the interview, the Son of Sam killer referenced the killing of 4-year-old Lloyd Morgan, who was hit by a stray bullet in the Bronx last month. 
      He said that as time goes by you realise ‘that one moment of uncontrolled impulse leads to loss of life.’ 
      Caught: Detective Ed Zigo, right, leads a smiling Berkowitz from a squad car to a court appearance. Berkowitz was first arrested outside his home 35 years ago today
      Berkowitz, a then 24-year-old postal worker from the Bronx, began his killing spree in July 1976, with the shooting of 18-year-old Donna Lauria and Jody Valenti, 19.
      As the teenagers left their car in Pelham Bay, New York, Berkowitz suddenly appeared, shooting Miss Lauria dead and wounding her friend Miss Valenti.
      He struck again in October 1976, wounding a driver and her passenger as he shot up their car as they drove through Queens.
      His next victims, two friends aged 16 and 18, were shot by Berkowitz as they chatted under a street lamp in Queens.
      He approached the girls, pretending to ask for directions before shooting them at point blank range.
      While both survived, one of the girls - Joanne Lomino - was rendered a paraplegic.
      It was not until his next murder in January 1977 that police acknowledged the killings might be linked.
      In March police set up a 300 strong Operation Omega, headed by Deputy Inspector Timothy J. Dowd, to hunt for the killer.
      Details were hard to come by, but what police knew was that all the victims had been shot with a .44 calibre pistol.
      In April Berkowitz left the first of his notorious hand written letters beside the bodies of two more of his victims.
      Son of Sam: Berkowitz shot 13 people in cold blood - killing six. Seen right is one of several bizarre notes he sent taunting police 
      Calling himself the 'Son of Sam', Berkowitz's letter was a bizarre rant about how his 'father' mistreated him, locking him in an attic all day.
      He signed off with the taunting: 'Police — Let me haunt you with these words; I'll be back! I'll be back! To be interrpreted [sic] as — bang, bang, bang, bank, bang — ugh!! Yours in murder Mr. Monster.'
      In May, New York Post columnist Jimmy Breslin received another letter from 'Son of Sam', and when the menacing contents were made public, panic set in across New York city.
      With the killer only striking those with long black hair, women in the city rushed to cut or dye their hair, causing a shortage of peroxide.
      Such was the sensational media coverage, people stayed indoors and the streets were deserted after dark.
      Berkowitz was eventually caught after one final murder and was sentenced to six life sentences in 1978.
      Vital: A parking ticket on Berkowitz's yellow Ford Galaxie (pictured) led detectives to his Yonkers home. Police said they found a .44 calibre Bulldog revolver under the seat of the car
      While in prison, Berkowitz claimed he was the member of a satanic cult who had directed him to carry out the killings.
      Ten years into his prison sentence, Berkowitz became a born again Christian and now spreads his message with the help of a group of friends who print religious pamphlets telling his life story, including his conversion to Christianity and his warnings to youth. 
      Talking about his killing spree he told the Daily News that he felt as if he was under ‘demonic control’ and says he doesn’t even recognise the ‘Son of Sam’ persona. 
      He also told the paper how he clings to his childhood memories of growing up in the Bronx and fantasizes about what his life would have been like had he not committed crime. 
      Berkowitz is no longer seeking appeals to reduce his sentence saying it is not fair to put his victims through any more pain. 
      'I have regrets about all the people I hurt, about what my life would have been like. I’ve missed out on a lot. But God has given me peace about my situation,’ he said. 

      john doughlas - former fbi expert on serial killers

      most evil serial killers

      Friday, August 10, 2012

      why they don't want kasab hanged

      Convicted of turning her daughter’s feet into ”horses hoves so that she could ride them” Janet Horne of Dornoch in Rossshire, UK, in 1727 was burnt alive at the stake, labelled as a witch by a British Court under the Witchcraft Act, designed to give deterrent punishment to witches in the 16th & 17th Century. Over 200,000 women were given agonizing deaths under the Act by courts, with almost universal public support. We now know that Janet’s daughter had congenital abnormalities of limbs! Science changes, interpretation of human behaviour changes and laws change. What does not change or cannot be undone is death. Did repealing the Witchcraft Act, as unscientific and inhuman in 1736, bring back the legally murdered women? Was the mass support to burning of witches in the 16th Century Europe a certificate of it being correct? 

      “Hang him to an electric pole and shoot him now. Justice for the victims will only be done when he is executed for his cold blooded heinous crimes. We must teach anti national terrorists a lesson” are some common, loudly mouthed reactions to the trial of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the Mumbai Massacre. While it is true that an overwhelming majority of people who speak on the issue, want Kasab immediately executed, but does that make it correct? Let’s pause and take a hard look before turning the “hang Kasab now” debate into a way of proving patriotism. 

      Is Kasab really a “cold blooded serial killer” he is portrayed as? He is a serial killer no doubt and needs to be punished. But calling him “cold blooded” would be inappropriate! As we all know, he was indoctrinated for atleast 2 years, fed with the constant message of avenging wrongs done on Muslims by Hindus in India. He did what he believed was the right thing, which you and I may not agree to, but it was conviction for him for which he was willing to lay down his life. The environment which turns a 19 year old son of a dahi puri seller, who ran away from his home because his father could not buy him new clothes for Eid, into a brainwashed pawn in a deadly game of terrorism, needs to be examined. The real culprit behind the gun which mowed down innocent people in Mumbai is not Kasab, but people who indoctrinated, trained and armed him. Would you empathize with a physically abused servant who after bearing years of torture one day kills his employers or a sexually exploited woman who kills her exploiters? So, while murder is murder, when deciding the punishment, one does take into account the environment in which it was committed. 

      And what will we achieve by hanging Kasab? Will it change the way hatred towards India is taught in Madrassas in Pakistan or will it deter future attacks? Studies after studies across the world have repeatedly shown that capital punishment has absolutely no deterrence value. Just as burning Janet Horne in 1727 did not prevent future birth of children with congenital anomalies, hanging Kasab will not prevent future attacks. Hanging of Maqbool Bhatt in Kashmir in Feb 1984 only led to a surge in militancy there. 

      Will hanging Kasab provide succour to relatives of the victims? Quite frankly, I don’t think so. Families of the victims have moved on in life and if TV interviews are true, at least, some of them couldn’t care less if Kasab was hung or jailed, as long as he was punished. The widow of Graham Staines; Sonia & Priyanka Gandhi too do not want the killers of their near ones executed. Pardoning is a much more difficult than retaliating, but when the immediate anger subsides, when the mob mentality cools down, it gives the forgiver much more emotional and spiritual relief. Will bursting crackers if and when Kasab is executed, really heal the departed souls? 

      This brings us to the point of punishment. While Kasab must be punished for his crimes, is taking his life correct? Should punishment not be reformative? Must we behave like the person we are trying to punish? He killed, so we will kill him. Did we give him life? If we cannot give anyone life, do we have the right to take it? Do two wrongs make a right? Could we be behaving like the witch hunting courts of yesteryears? Punish him by all means; make him regret what he did, every single day of his life. Let him sweat, let him toil, let him do community service, but let us not be Gods. Only God has the right to take anyone’s life. Executing a person ends his agony in a moment, but the guilt of killing someone under our power, will linger in us all our lives. An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. 

      the verdict on shobraj

      shobhraj -modus operandi

      glorifying a killer ???

      Crime Does Pay- charles sobhraj

      Imagine that you could earn nearly a million dollars for every year you spent in prison with the understanding that you would likely get out in the prime of your life. Would you take that deal?
      More specifically, suppose you could live like royalty behind bars, in almost total control, with guests free to come and go as they pleased, cellphones, TV, gourmet food and fine wine to eat and drink. Would that make the deal worth 20 years of your life?
      Charles Sobhraj in France
      Charles Sobhraj in France
      For serial murderer Charles Sobhraj, the idea of retiring to Paris and making $15 million for a movie deal based on his life made spending more than two decades in a notoriously corrupt Indian prison worthwhile. Sobhraj, a Vietnamese-Indian by birth and French national by adoption, turned a sentence for homicide in India into almost a life of leisure while at the same time evading prosecution for a dozen murders in jurisdictions that should have brought a death sentence.�
      He was a con man, jewel thief, drug dealer and murderer, but one who lived a life of adventure and intrigue that made him a media celebrity. He amassed enough money to bribe his captors who provided him with amenities to make life in an Indian prison more bearable. For most of his incarceration he had access to typewriters, a television, refrigerator and a large library. That's in addition to the drugs and food that he used to entertain and control his fellow inmates in the prison that was supposed to be the harshest in India.
      Even more vexing �was the idea that, at 52 years old, Sobhraj could walk out of Delhi's Tihar prison, sign a $15 million deal for his life story and then charge the media upwards of $5,000 an interview once he returned to Paris.
      Not bad for a man who was convicted of one homicide and accused of committing at least 10 more. Some authorities believe Sobhraj killed more than 20 unsuspecting European and American tourists and pilgrims who journeyed to the Far East and the subcontinent. Some came east in search of drugs and others came in search of spiritual growth. Instead, they found Charles Sobhraj and his gang of killers.
      Sobhraj wanted to create a family-like cult of sorts with himself as the father figure, says Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg, who spent years trying to bring Sobhraj to justice. Knippenberg said Sobhraj wanted to create "his own family of Charles Manson-like characters, with himself as the father. The ones he killed were the people who saw through his mask and who tried to get away."
      Today, you may be able to find Charles Sobhraj idling away his days in a Paris bistro and for a fee he may even sit down and talk about his life.
      He has slipped easily into the life of a celebrity, with mainstream publications willing to pay for posed pictures of the murderer enjoying the good life. In the words of his agent: "No money, no meeting."
      The friends and relatives of his victims only hope that karma -- the concept that says the collective force of a man's actions dictates his destiny -- isn't done yet with Charles Sobhraj

      video documentary on Charles shobraj

      Charles Sobhraj's jailbreak saga now on celluloid

      Producer Kumar Mangat is set to bring bikini killer Charles Sobhraj's escapades on the big screen as Jailbreak. Directed by Prawaal Raman, it is said to be based on the dreaded murderer's prison break from Delhi's Tihar jail.

      It was earlier to be a biopic to be produced bySanjay Dutt, who was to play the lead role, but this was shelved due to legal issues. Mangat's son Abhishek Pathak has now confirmed that the film is to be made in a new avtar. It is said to be made at a budget of Rs.40 crore.

      "We saw the vast research that Prawaal has done on Sobhraj and we did our own research too. We've now pooled our information and Prawaal, whom we find to be a very gifted storyteller, will be directing the biopic," said Pathak.

      Raman's previous project with Sanjay was thrown into jeopardy after Sobhraj sued him for making a film on his life.

      "We'll probably get rid of the original title Charles and I and call the film Jailbreak, because that is the aspect of the story that interests me at this point of time. Sobhraj's 1986 jailbreak from Tihar would be the core of the film.

      "The film is based on Sobhraj's jailbreak. It will definitely be inspired by the incident. But I'm not interested anymore in making a biopic on Sobhraj," said the director.

      The makers are planning to cast either Saif Ali Khan or Emraan Hashmi to play the lead role.

      "We're looking at Emraan Hashmi or Saif Ali Khan," said Pathak.

      Raman says he is keen to talk to the policemen who had caught Sobhraj.

      "I find the cops involved in the arrest namely Mr. Amod Kanth and Mr.Madhurkar Zende far more inspiring than Sobhraj. So there will be three main male characters in Jailbreak. A man who spent 40 years of his life in prison doesn't really interest me to base an entire film on him."

      charles sobhraj

      Charles Sobhraj was a serial killer known for a string of killings in Vietnam in the 1970's. Born to an Indian father and Vietnamese mother, he spent most of his childhood on the rough streets of Saigon. In 1962, he served time for stealing a car in France, after which he married and had a daughter, but later abandoned his family. During the 1970's he befriended mostly western tourists in Asia, later drugging and killing them. Between 1972 and 1976,
      it is speculated he killed anywhere from 12 to 24 people. After several escapes from prison, he became known as "The Serpent." He was caught for the last time and imprisoned in 2004.


      Serial killer, thief. Born on April 6, 1944, in Saigon, Vietnam. Charles Sobhraj was first called the ??Bikini Killer?? after the swimsuit one of his victims was wearing when she was discovered. He then earned the nickname ??the Serpent?? for his numerous escapes from jail. The son of an Indian father and a Vietnamese mother, Sobhraj spent part of his childhood on the rough streets of Saigon and was shuttled back and forth between his parents. His mother later had another child and married a soldier in the French Army who initially rejected Sobhraj.
      In 1962, Sobhraj served time for stealing a car in France. After his release, he married and had a daughter, but later abandoned his family. Sobhraj eventually linked up with Marie-AndrĂ©e Leclerc who became his mistress and accomplice. During the 1970s, he befriended mostly western tourists in Asia, drugging and killing them. According to The New York Times, it is believed that he killed between 12 to 24 people from 1972 to 1976.
      For years, Sobhraj traveled around Europe and Asia. According to an article in the Boston Globe, he escaped custody in at least four countries. Whenever he went, he prayed on the unsuspecting. Fluent in several languages, he was a skilled con artist who often targeted young backpackers were exploring what was known as the ??Hippie Trail,?? which runs through Afghanistan and Nepal into Southeast Asia.
      It was a botched attack that led to his undoing. He attempted to poison a group of French tourists in India in 1976. Several of his intended victims were able to fight the drug??s effects long enough to get help. While Thailand wanted him extradited to face murder charges there, the Indian government decided to try Sobhraj and Leclerc for the murder of an Israeli tourist. Convicted on a lesser charge, Sobhraj was sentenced to seven years. The Thai government was told that it would have to wait until after he finished his sentence before he would be able to be tried there.
      In 1986, Sobhraj escaped along with several other inmates from Tibar Prison in New Delhi after drugging guards during a party. He was captured less than a month later. This escape proved to be yet another calculated move by the Serpent. With his additional sentence for the escape, Sobhraj remained in prison in India until after the statute of limitations on his crimes in Thailand ran out, according to Newsweekmagazine.
      After finishing sentence in 1997, Sobhraj was released from jail. He eventually returned to France, but his newfound freedom would only last so long. He was arrested in Nepal in 2003 and was later tried and convicted of the murder of two backpackers there in 1975 despite having very little evidence. He tried to escape from prison in 2004, but failed. The Serpent has been caught??at least for the time being.

      Thug behram

      Thug Behram
      Thug Behram, (ca 1765 – 1840) of the Thuggee cult in India, was one of the world's most prolific killers. He may have murdered up to 931 victims by strangulation between 1790–1840 with the ceremonial cloth (or rumal, which in Hindi means handkerchief), used by his cult. Behram was executed in 1840 by hanging.
      While Behram is sometimes credited with 931 murders, James Paton, an East India Company officer working for the Thuggee and Dacoity Office in the 1830s who wrote a manuscript on Thuggee, quotes Behram as saying he had "been present" at 931 cases of murder, and "I may have strangled with my own hands about 125 men, and I may have seen strangled 150 more.
      The case has led to legendary accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins in order to retain her youth and subsequently also to comparisons with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and to modern nicknames of the Blood Countess and Countess Dracu

      In to the mind of a serial killer - what ticks and whats amiss

      Prince wins Kurukshetra battle after 50-hour ordeal butdid not search kidnapped children. Serial killersGang was arrested in Gurgaon. A serial killer is different to a mass murderer and spree killer

      Auto Shankar Behram Raman Raghav Bikini killer Stoneman Osama elephant John Smith Baldev Singh Maheshwar Padhi  Bhashkar, Gurgaon gutters and children skeletons in Noida are few deshi serial killers.

      Grenade-throwing at Srinagar for Rs.1, 000, threat to kidnap the kids of PMsand encouragement to terrorists and naxalites for gaining votes indicates the future flooding of serial killers in India . They come under the other two types different to the Noida’s and Gurgaon gutters’ serial killers. We may call them under the category of mass murderer and spree killer

      Every serial killer commits a first murder.  This chapter explores the various factors that might compel the frequently youthful offender to cross the line for the first time from homicidal fantasy to action.
      A murderer becomes a serial killer only after their second and third murders: An exploration of the cyclical psychopathology behind how and why serial killers kill again and again.

      'Accountability' of serial killer Satish of Noida may be determined by brain-scans
      Satish alias Surinder, who was working as a domestic help in the house of a businessman here, had "acted alone" in the killings and skeletons and clothes were found from gunny bags in Nithari area in Sector 31 of Noida, adjoining Delhi , they said. He "confessed" to having killed five children and a grown-up girl after "sexually abusing" them and some skeletons and clothes belonging to the victims have been recovered, police said.
      It was suggested that perhaps the 'accountability' of serial killers may be able to be determined by brain-scans once the differences were catalogued. If these differences are detectable, than perhaps we can know who is a serial killer and who is not. However, would this indicate whether the serial killer was born this way rather than having willfully trained himself to enjoy the 'feelings' that his crimes elicit?

      Serial Killers generally say it's not my fault
      "One must feel sorry for those who have strange tastes, but never insult them. Their wrong is Nature's too; they are no more responsible for having come into the world with tendencies unlike ours than are we for being born bandy-legged or well-proportioned". Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), "Dialogue the Fifth" (1795).

      Serial killer Carl Panzram himself wrote: "All of my family are as the average human beings are. They are honest and hard working people. All, except myself. I have been a human-animile ever since I was born. When I was very young at 5 or 6 years of age I was a thief and a lier and a mean despisable one at that. The older I got the meaner I got."

      Most serial killers have dysfunctional backgrounds. Frequently they were physically, sexually, or psychologically abused as children and there is often a correlation between their childhood abuse and their crimes.

      Some serial killers display one or more of what are known as the 'Mac Donald triad' of warning signs in childhood. These are: ‘Fire starting’, invariably just for the thrill of destroying things. ‘Cruelty to animals’ (relate to 'zoosadism'). Many children may be cruel to animals, such as pulling the legs off spiders, but future serial killers often kill larger animals, like  and cats, and frequently for their solitary enjoyment rather than to impress peers. ‘Bed-wetting’ beyond the age when children normally grow out of such behavior

      serial killer is different to a mass murderer and spree killer.
      A serial killer is someone who commits three or more murders over an extended period of time with cooling-off periods in between. In between their crimes, they appear to be quite normal, a state which Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare call the "mask of sanity." There is often — but not always — a sexual element to the murders. All the murders must be completed/attempted in a similar fashion or the victims must have something in common, ex. occupation, race, sex, etc.

      Serial killers frequently have extreme sadistic urges. Those who lack the ability to empathize with the suffering of others are frequently called psychopathic or sociopathic, terms which have been renamed among professional psychiatrists as antisocial personality disorder. Some serial killers engage in lust and torture murder, loosely defined terms involving, respectively, mutilation for sexual pleasure and killing victims slowly over a prolonged period of time.

      Death penalty to biologically malformed
      When serial killers caught and tried in a court of law in the United States, some serial killers will plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

      Biology implies that these individuals suffer from something as simple as a birth defect, or something strange that has happened to or been transcribed in their brains. The 'insanity defense' clearly states that we can not punish a person who does not understand what they have done as being wrong. However, changes or abnormalities in the brain, as exposed above, indicate that serial killers do not understand the world as you or I. As science begins to unravel personality, accountability unravels with it. "The person becomes his parts - some working, some defective through no fault of his own."

      Could serial killers simply begin as individuals looking for activities that will allow them to enjoy and take pleasure in life like you or I? Perhaps they've learned that for their 'pursuit of happiness' they must trade in what society imposes upon them as 'morality'. A concept they may not even be capable of understanding.

      Auto Shankar
      In late 1988, over a period of approximately six months, nine teenage girls from the Thiruvanmiyur section of Chennai disappeared without a trace. In the beginning, investigators believed that the girls had been sold into prostitution by families unable to afford wedding dowries, but the consistent denial of kin forced them to seek another explanation.

      During his trial Auto Shankar blamed cinema for "making a devil of him", but a month before his execution, he revealed to reporters a more sinister force. According to his account, he had kidnapped the girls for powerful state politicians, subsequently disposing of them after his patrons had raped them. Auto Shankar was convicted and hanged until death in Salem Central Prison on April 27, 1995

      Thug Behram, of the Indian Thuggee cult, has frequently been said to be the world's most prolific serial killer. According to numerous sources, he was believed to have murdered 931 victims by strangulation by means of a ceremonial handkerchief,  used by his cult between 1790-1830. it would be unwise to attribute any specific total of killings to this one murderer.

      Raman Raghav (1929 - 1995) was a psychopathic serial killer who operated in the city of Mumbai (then Bombay), India in the mid-1960s. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia after his arrest. Very little is known about Raghav's early life or circumstances that led him to commit the crimes.

      Charles Sobhraj (born April 6, 1944 in Saigon, then adopted as French) is a serial killer who preyed on Western tourists throughout Southeast Asia during the 1970s. Nicknamed "the Serpent" and "the Bikini killer" for his skills at deception and evasion, he allegedly committed at least 12 murders and was jailed in India from 1976 to 1997, but managed to live a life of leisure in prison. He retired as a celebrity in Paris, then unexpectedly returned to Nepal, where he was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment on August 12, 2004.

      While Sobhraj is widely believed to be a psychopath — he has a manipulative personality and is incapable of remorse — his motives for killing differed from those of most serial killers.

      The Stoneman was a name given by the popular English language print media of Calcutta to an alleged serial-killer who menaced the streets of that city in 1989. It was never established whether the thirteen murders that occurred over the space of six months, beginning with the first death in June 1989, were the handiwork of one person or a group of individuals. The Calcutta police also failed to resolve whether any of the crimes was committed as a copycat murder. To date, no one has been sentenced for these crimes, making this one of the greatest unsolved mysteries plaguing modern metropolitan Indian police forces.

      Osama Elephant: On Dec 17, 2006 , GUWAHATI, India - An elephant named “Osama bin Laden” that has killed 27 people in northeast India , has been shot dead, triggering protests by conservationists who say forestry officials had probably shot the wrong animal.

      Deadlys pine-chilling killing sprees with an Indian connection: The extent to which Indian criminals have spread their tentacles is given a shocking twist by a World Centre of Crime Investigation-compiled rogues' gallery, which lists five Indians/NRIs among the 'top 10 serial killers in history'. 

      Following are reported by TOI in 2004:
      John Smith: An Indian, terrorised Seattle by killing men and kidnapping children.

      Maheswar Padhi: He is 26-year-old, the youngest psychopathic serial killer in the country. He is known as the 'stoneman' and uses rocks to smash the skulls of persons sleeping on pavements," says Berhampur DSP Rakesh Thakuria. 

      Baldev Singh , alias Harbhajan Singh, and Baljinder Singh are alleged to have committed atleast 105 murders each, killing their victims by strangulation.

      Bhaskar of Tamil Nadu has murdered around 230 persons.

      "The worst part about these five Indian serial killers is that there is hardly any clue about their whereabouts," informs WCCI director Nigel Peter.

      Can Biology make us Murderers?
      Recent reports in science have found discrete locations in the brain that are used in intricate systems that serve as the human moral compass.
      Changes in the brain have long been known to change the behaviors of a man. Serial killers have 'animal propensities'.

      By finding places in the brain where behavioral traits lie we can understand that there may exist people with neuropathological disorders that can show 'rational-analytic behavior' that is dysfunctional in that it lacks the social emotions that guide normal human behavior. Ted Bundy 'knew' what he was doing when he brutally murdered his victims, but he may not have been able to 'feel' the moral emotions that such brutality elicits from normal human beings.
      Current research indicates that the serial killer has difficulty in actually processing, understanding and using emotional material in general.

      Neurobiological disorders are alarmingly common among criminals.
      Biological psychological theories in humans are often strengthened by similar findings in animal research. Ted Bundy made the diagnosis of manic-depressive psychosis and attributed his murders to "uncontrollable manic rage."

      There is also interest in the diencephalic structures of the thalamus and hypothalamus, which have been suggested as having a direct role in aggressive behavior, as well as a role in associating positive or negative emotions with incoming stimuli. Abnormalities in the thalamus might explain a serial killer's inability to maintain personal relationships or display empathy for his victims

      Another interesting finding shows that psychopaths have a greater fear threshold, and are less likely to respond to fear-inducing stimuli.

      Similarly, the hypothalamus plays a role in the reticular activating system, which may block otherwise stimulating activity from reaching the judgement-related cerebral cortex.

      There are several other brain related theories that may explain some of the complex behavior characteristics of a serial killer. Hormonal factors may also play a role.