Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The serial mass murderer…

"To me killing people is like ripping open a duvet. Men, women, old people, children, they are all the same. I have never felt sorry for those I killed. No love, no hatred, just blind indifference. I don’t see them as individuals, but just as masses." - Anatoly Onoprienko

Anatoly Onoprienko was dubbed the “Beast of Ukraine,” and killed entire families in remote villages of the Ukraine from 1989 to 1995. I bring him up because serial mass murder perpetrated by an individual is almost unheard of. Usually such actions are carried out by a group of people (The Manson Family), a government (Camir Rouge) or an ideological faction (Al Qaeda). When studying the Midwest Axe Man investigators don’t have much precedent to look at. What drives a person to not only kill an entire family but to actively seek families as their victims? In the case of Onoprienko it was revenge. Revenge for his father abandoning him to an orphanage; revenge for his mother dieing while he was a young boy and allowing his father to take the action he did. He would burn down the houses after killing the occupants because he didn’t want to just kill the family, he wanted to destroy it. To Anatoly the concept of a family was a cruel joke played on him by society.

So why do I bring this up? Mostly for comparison; in the next few posts I am going to be comparing a few crimes with similar characteristics, mostly as an academic exercise, in order to shed light on the possible psychology of the Midwest Axe Man. I’ll try to be careful because I could easily get into trouble with this kind of analysis and I will add the caveat (again) that I am neither a criminal profiler nor am I a criminal investigator.

Onoprienko’s actions indicated clearly he hated his victims, or at least what they represented to him. He wasn’t killing people; he was killing “family,” literally and symbolically. His preferred weapon was a sawed-off shotgun except when it came to females. In two different crimes he used the more personal bludgeoning weapon (in one case an axe, the other a hammer) on the female victims. With the Midwest murders this hatred isn’t evident except in one crime scene, Ellsworth. In contrast, he covered his victims and this is just one signature element present at all the crime scenes. As I’ve said before, covering the body shows a certain amount of remorse, whether for the victims, the crime or both is what is hard to ascertain.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Inspector Winship, I have the heard the experts wrong hundreds of times during my lifetime. DC snipper case was one of the big ones. They were wrong on about every detail. Its just a game of percentages. Most of the time it will be a male. Since population is mostly white there will be more whites that are mass murderers. The percentage was very high they would be right right when they said we are looking for a white male. Surprise Surprise! Well, they were wrong. This much I know. Each and every case is differant and a open mind needs to be used to study the details of that crime.
I believe the study and knowing history of such murders as the mid-west axe murders and the use of common sence makes for one to work through the details and come up with the most right answer.
When I talk about knowing the history of these axe murders you are way ahead of me. You do more than read. You study and break things down.
Most people think they know all there is to know. Sadly they dont. They know just enough to have a good conversation with. But you my friend are the teacher.