Serial killers are murderers who kill at least three people over more than a month with a cooling off period in between, according to the FBI’s definition.
Police probing the cold case killings of two woman and two girls 20 years ago say the Texas man who is suspected of committing the crimes fit the classic profile of a serial killer, reported AP.
William Lewis Reece, a 58-year-old from the Lone Star State, is charged in the killings of 19-year-old Tiffany Johnston, 17-year-old Jessica Cain and 12-year-old Laura Smither.
AP reported Reece is suspected, but was not charged, in the death of 20-year-old Kelli Cox, whose remains were discovered outside Houston and identified in 2016.
Experts claimed he fits the definition of a serial killer because he chose his victims by gender and age and derived pleasure from the control he exerted over them before their deaths.
The report said Reece was already serving a 60-year prison sentence in Texas for a kidnapping offense when he was linked to the killings. He is reported to have led police to graves where Cain and Cox’s remains were found.
All four of his alleged victims disappeared during a four-month period in 1997. Johnston lived in Oklahoma. The other victims were from Texas.
Reece has pleaded not guilty to the Johnson killing. Oklahoma prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in that case. He faces two more murder counts in Galveston in Texas but these charges are on hold pending the trial in Oklahoma.
Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady has branded Reece as a serial killer saying his actions were “truly horrific.”
Joseph Cillo, a professor of criminal justice at Florida’s St. Leo University, said Reece fits the classic profile of a serial killer. The evidence suggests he followed a pattern of choosing young women and left behind little evidence. He said:
“Serial killers are generally known as pattern killers. If Reece has (killed) four young females, it makes it a pattern.”
He said the killer appeared to have a sexual connection to the deaths.
An article in Psychology Today suggested serial killers often have a sexual motive and the FBI’s definition can be wide of the mark.
It stated The National Institute of Justice gives a definition of serial killing that is closer to the common conception and includes sexual deviance. It defines a serial killer as someone who commits two or more murders with sadistic sexual overtones and a psychological motive.
On this definition, the serial killing can be defined as a type of sex crime. In recent research, Radford University studied 3,000 serial killers for common traits.
If you have been charged with a serious crime like a homicide, it’s vital that you receive vigorous criminal defense representation.