Organized vs. Disorganized
For the purpose of behavioral analysis, there are two distinct types of crime scenes: organized and disorganized. Each one presents unique insights into the psychology of the Unsub. Occasionally, a crime scene will present elements of both. As with any typing system, not 100% of offenders will fit 100% of the characteristics of the class they fall into. These categorizations are based on characteristics that present themselves in more than 3/4 of the criminals of each offender type. So...without further ado...
Organized offenders are psychopathic and antisocial, irrational but sane. They are indifferent to fellow humans, irresponsible, and self-centered. They are manipulative, deliberative, and full of guile but outwardly amiable as long as it suits his objective. In other words, this type of offender could truly be a pillar of the community, the patron saint of child or spousal abuse prevention, and the neighborhood's most willing handyman. All the while, he is also the bogeyman who stalks his community's women, tortures them, and snuffs out their last breath. He is equally convincing in both roles and this is why the news reports always show the community astonishment in phrases like, "He was always such a nice guy."
They are cunning and emotionless, which is how they can play both sides of the coin. When you have nothing emotional to invest in anyone, giving everyone exactly what they want takes nothing from you, but it can give you an advantage when you are trying to keep people from suspecting you are a compulsive murderer. This offender is extroverted, articulate, and highly narcissistic. He takes great care with his physical health and appearance. He will dress himself neatly whether in business or casual attire.
There will always be a specific stressor in the offender's life that precipitates the beginning of his murderous career. These can be related to finances, employment, a marriage, or any close relationship. While there are events that will trigger the leap to murder, the fantasy is what fuels and builds up the desire to commit the crime. Offenders of this type will spend years, a decade or more, constructing their fantasy world. They use their crimes to hone these fantasies and improve upon them in order to heighten their level of self-gratification.
This offender will perpetrate very deliberative crimes, thoroughly calculated and planned. Premeditation of these crimes will also typically include extensive stalking. He preys mostly on strangers so that he cannot be linked to their victims in any way. He will hunt far from work or home, but in an area he has surveilled and become intimately familiar with. The abduction and abuse of the victim will be perpetrated with as much precision and calculation as the predator has put into planning his clear escape. An organized sexual homicide will have multiple scenes: the location of initial contact or assault, the scene of death, and the body disposal site. This offender is socially adept and may con or persuade his victims into going with him willingly. He may pose as an authority figure, using a uniform that will disarm his victims such as that of a police officer.
Victimology for an organized sexual homicide suggests a female or adolescent male. The victim will be single, employed, and live alone. The offender's risk for this type of crime is higher if committed outdoors or during the day. The victim of this crime is not known to the offender, but is chosen because she meets criteria specific to the killer's psychological construct. In multiple, linked homicides, the similarities in appearance of the victims will be obvious. For example, all of Ted Bundy's victims (except the last one) looked just like his ex-fiancee.
This offender plans his murders, spends time targeting his victims, and displays control over the scene. He is methodical and orderly throughout all phases of the crime. The murders themselves are slow and sadistic for an experienced killer who is comfortable with his level of control over all factors. This type of offender is so in control of his surroundings that he can adapt to obstacles that occur during the commission of the crime in an outwardly calm manner. For example, the Zodiac killer was able to provide a dummy description of a dummy suspect when he came face to face with the police who were looking for him minutes after he'd shot a cab driver. Ed Kemper drove through a security gate at a college campus with two dying women in the car without raising any suspicion from the guards. These predators engage in staging to aid them in evading detection. The scene may be altered to appear careless or disorganized on purpose as a way to throw off the investigation. Secondary criminal activity may be staged to disguise the sexual homicide as some other type of murder.
He takes care not to leave fingerprints, semen, or spent cartridges and shells. They make an effort to erase all prints and other potential evidence. Sometimes these perpetrators will scrub the victim down with bleach, along with the bathroom and kitchen, to destroy any trace he may have left. Some have been known to go to the extreme of removing all of their body hair and mutilating the tips of their fingers to avoid mishaps or carelessness at the scene. Weapons are brought to the scene by the perpetrator and leave the scene with him. He will have a "kit" consisting of various items like tape, chains, ropes, or chemicals. Restraints reflect a methodical approach, providing order for the perpetrator prior to, during, and after the crime. The scene will appear controlled and planned out. All finger- and footprints will be removed. Regardless of the ridiculous notions spouted off on television or in movies, these predators DO NOT want to be caught. EVER. They put so much effort into assuring they will outsmart the police because they all want to follow in the footsteps of Zodiac and Saucy Jack.
This offender takes trophies to commemorate the success of his endeavor. They also serve as proof of his skill and control. These items will be used to help the perpetrator relive the fantasy he has acted out. He will conceal or dispose of the body in a location that is familiar to him, but not connected to the area where he lives or works. He will return to surveill the scenes and may inject himself into the investigation by being overly cooperative with law enforcement. Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, returned to the dump sites to have sex with the bodies of his victims over and over, until maggots invaded the body. This behavior serves a dual purpose: it keeps him apprised of the progress of the investigation while affording him the opportunity to relive the crime where it happened.
Edmund Kemper, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy (pre-Florida), Bob Berdella, Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, Gerard John Schaefer, John Joubert, Monte Rissell, David Meierhofer, John Brennan Crutchley
Disorganized offender is psychotic with non-existent social skills. He is a loner and it is obvious to everyone that he makes no attempt to fit in or acquire friends. May not shave, change his clothing, or comb his hair for days. He works from a spontaneous fury sparked by either anger or passion, drugs or alcohol. He may kill acquaintances, family, or neighbors without thought to the risk of capture. He will initially commit his crimes within walking distance of home or work. If he remains uncaught, he may evolve into an organized offender through experience.
The crimes of this offender will appear to be spontaneous, sudden, and the scene will be left in disarray. Most of the time the disorganized offender will use a weapon of convenience and make no effort to conceal the body. These men will always leave some sort of evidence behind at the scene or with the body. The disorganized offender is prone to instantaneous overwhelming impulses. His victims will be chosen by spontaneous aggression, not careful planning. His kills are a quick overpowering of the victim and a frenzied execution with whatever is handy or available.
Disorganization may arise from the youth of the offender, his lack of criminal sophistication, drug or alcohol abuse, or mental deficiency. Victims may be known to the offender as he takes his opportunities close to his residence or place of employment. The victim is often from the perpetrator's geographic area because this offender gains confidence from familiar surroundings. He acts out impulsively under stress, so if there are multiple homicides they will present themselves as completely random. The victim only becomes such by being in the wrong place at the wrong time with this type of homicide.
The scenes will be random and sloppy. Either the location or the victim will be known to him and either or both are part of his normal routine. His attacks are perpetrated blitz-style. They are sudden and wildly violent. This scene will also exhibit signs of depersonalization such as the victim's face being covered with a pillow or clothing. He uses weapons of opportunity and makes no effort to conceal the body or the victim's identity.
The staging in a disorganized sexual homicide will include positioning the body to suit the perpetrator's personal fantasy and is not an attempt to confuse law enforcement deliberately. This offender may position the body to "hide" acts of the crime. For example, to disguise postmortem mutilation that he is uncomfortable with. Overkill is frequently present in this type of sexual homicide with particular attention payed to mutilating areas of the victim's body that hold a sexual association.
This offender is socially inept and feels inadequate. When he perpetrates the sexual assault, the victim will be dying or dead already. This offender engages in depersonalization and may take body parts as trophies. He establishes control through incapacitation, so he will attack from behind, causing blunt force trauma to the head or face of the victim. He will engage in necrophilia and stabbing or biting types of mutilation. Then he will ejaculate on the victim's clothing or in her wounds. These offenders typically murder their victims by asphyxiation, strangulation, blunt force, or the use of a pointed or sharp instrument.
This UnSub will live alone or with a parental-type figure. His home or place of employment will be near the scene. He will have inconsistent work performance and lacks interpersonal skills. He is nocturnal in habit and will seem odd to those who know him. His relationship partners will be much younger or much older than the offender. Both of these age groups would be perceived by him as non-threatening. Following his crime, the disorganized sexual killer will change his eating habits, increase drinking or drug abuse, and become excessively nervous. He will show an inappropriate interest in the crimes and will introduce them into the topic of conversation frequently.
Richard Trenton Chase, Herbert Mullin, Juan Corona, John Frazier
This type of murder may occur when there are multiple offenders involved. The attack may begin as an orderly operation and then unforeseen factors cause the situation to deteriorate. This may also be a crime that begins as rape, but resistance by the victim or the perpetrator's emotional state may provoke escalation to murder. The youth or inebriation of the offender may contribute to a presentation of mixed indicators. External stressors can also cause deterioration from an organized pattern to a disorganized one. This is what happened with Ted Bundy in Florida.
Mixed Presentation Killers