~ A Serial Killer in Jennings, LA – Part 6 ~

Behind The Yellow Tape – A Serial Killer in Jennings, LA – Part 6

Guest Dr. Maurice Godwin
Host Joey Ortega
Fri, Jul 1, 2011

Recap of the show:

Profiler, Dr. Maurice Godwin, was hired early in the investigation to look into the multiple, unsolved, mysterious deaths of several women in Jeff Davis Parish Louisiana. Questions have arisen as to whether the deaths are the work of a lone killer or if there are multiple killers. This show concentrates on whittling down some of the theories and Dr. Godwin provides a brief background about criminal profiling. A “profile”….be it geographic or psychological, is an investigative tool. It is not intended as a method of solving a crime but as a “tool” to focus an investigation.

Psychological profiling is based on crime scene behaviors only. Generally, the public does not understand that what is done to a body, the location of the body and the interpretation of those behaviors (or lack of behaviors at the crime scene) “paint a picture” of the type of individual who is committing the crimes. A profile doesn’t include a “button” that can be pushed and up pops an individual, or suspect, that law enforcement (LE) can magically hone in on. A profile is not necessary if LE has already narrowed down a suspect. A profile is a useful tool when there are NO known suspects.

Geographic profiling provides a “tool” to narrow a search area down rather than searching any and everywhere. It encompasses known locations (abduction & dump sites) associated with a series of murders in conjunction with mapping software. Geographic profiling can pin point and “predict” a general area of where the killer is likely to live or have some affinity for such as a childhood home, relatives, girl friend, etc.

Psychological profiling is an “art” rather than a “science”. Geographic profiling, on the other hand, is a “science” in that it utilizes mathematical algorithms and mapping software. Dr. Godwin’s profiles are based on research he conducted while working on his PhD as well as the study of 100+ American serial killers. He does not utilize standard FBI model profiling. The FBI originally turned down JDP’s request to profile the earlier murders due to the state of the bodies when recovered. The first 3 had been submerged in water for a length of time and no cause of death could be determined by the medical examiner. Dr. Godwin did do a “limited” geographic profile on the earlier murders.

Joey broached the subject, from a profile standpoint, as to whether a single individual is responsible for the murders OR…..if there was a possibility of multiple individuals involved. Dr. Godwin stated there COULD be multiple individuals involved working in concert with each other BUT…..that it was unlikely based upon his study of the time lines involved.

The time lines/death charts support the theory that the killer visits the area and abducts victims primarily on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and generally during the Spring/Summer months. There is no suggestion the killer is not FROM the Jennings/JDP area…..just that the killer may not be currently living there and “visits” from time-to-time for whatever reason.

Godwin theorizes that it’s unlikely a serial killer “this prolific” would continue to live in the area and only abduct & murder on particular days and certain seasons of the year. The killer is not going to “sit with a calendar” and “plot” the murders out. There is some reason that “dictates” his time Jennings. The killer MAY have a job and/or route that brings him to the area several times a year. Determining WHO visits Jennings on these particular days during certain times of the year, which may indicate seasonal work, could play an important part in solving the murders. Godwin also stated he felt, while possible, it was unlikely multiple offenders working together would work on a “time line” such as what appears with these killings.

Godwin prefers to get into the “killer’s shoes” rather than trying to get into the “killers mind”. His preference is to study where the killer travels to and from, the areas of victim abduction/last seen and victim body location sites. The location of bodies CAN be a “signature behavior” of the killer. Serial killers, much like us “normal” people, do NOT like to travel/operate in unfamiliar areas. They often tend to operate/attack in areas they are familiar with.

Just for the record…..this next paragraph may not be precisely the point Joey and Godwin were discussing and I welcome their corrections but this is my “best” interpretation.

Godwin does not utilize “motivational” and “dichotomous” profiling models long used (and currently used) by the FBI as they are wide in scope. There are specific crime scene behaviors and characteristics that define whether a killer is organized vs. disorganized…..a rage killer, a sadistic killer, a revenge killer, etc. “Classifying” a killer into a certain “category” implies certain behaviors that are not mutually exclusive in any category. Most killers exhibit “mixed” behaviors thus making it difficult to assimilate a profile that adheres to any one certain classification.