Personality Profile of Long Island Serial Killer: Smart, Sadistic, in a Relationship

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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The police are still referring to the suspected Long Island serial killer as "Unsub," or unknown subject. But through interviews with criminologists, experts, and a former FBI profiler, the New York Times has drawn up a chilling personality profile of the man thought to be responsible for several of the ten remains found in the brush off Ocean Parkway. "This is someone who can walk into a room and seem like your average Joe,” says Drew University's Scott Bonn, a serial-killer researcher. But based on the killer's profile, he actually sounds like he would appear better socially adjusted than average. Well, before you hear about the burlap fetish at least. According to the Times' sources:

He is most likely a white male in his mid-20s to mid-40s. He is married or has a girlfriend. He is well educated and well spoken. He is financially secure, has a job and owns an expensive car or truck. He may have sought treatment at a hospital for poison ivy infection. As part of his job or interests, he has access to, or a stockpile of, burlap sacks.

The experts consulted had access only to the data that's been made public thus far, such as the fact that four of the bodies were prostitutes who advertised on Craigslist. Bonn explained:

“He has to be persuasive enough and rational enough that he is able to convince these women to meet him on these terms. He has demonstrated social skills. He may even be charming.”

Profilers typically classify subjects as either organized killers or disorganized killers. Jack the Ripper was the latter. This man appears to be in the former camp, just like Joel Rifkin and Robert Shulman, the two other Long Island serial killers who preyed on prostitutes. Organized killers are often methodical and seem to live stable lives. Based on the taunting phone calls to victims' relatives, retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente said:

“That gives me an idea that he is a sadist. That would be reflected in his relationship and jobs. He is the one who laughs when a cat gets run over or a kid falls off his bike. He likes the suffering of others, and he really likes it when he can cause it or witness it.”

Bright, Careful and Sadistic: Profiling Long Island’s Mystery Serial Killer [NYT]