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'Spree' shooter straying from typical serial killer motivation - main desire is to provoke terror
San Francisco Chronicle ^ | October 12, 2002 | San Francisco Chronicle Staff

Posted on 10/12/2002 6:52:21 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP


'Spree' shooter straying from typical serial killer motivation

Gunman's main desire is to provoke terror in community, experts say

10/12/2002

San Francisco Chronicle

Experts who study serial killers say the Maryland sniper, unlike most serial killers, kills from a distance because he is more interested in causing terror in the community than he is in getting to know his individual victims.

The Maryland gunman is a "spree killer," someone who kills several people in a small window of time, some experts say, as opposed to a serial killer, who may space his killings over months or years or a mass murderer, who kills many people all at once.

Charles Patrick Ewing, a professor of law and psychology at State University of New York at Buffalo, said the sniper, who has used a rifle at distances of more than 100 yards, appears to be more like the anonymous attacker who mailed last year's anthrax-laced letters.

The anthrax attacks "were driven by the desire to terrorize the community, and the person who mailed the letters didn't appear to really care about who died as a result of them."

"I don't recall a case like this where the murders have been committed at such a distance," Mr. Ewing said. "It is so impersonal."

Classic serial homicide theory is based on sexual motivation, and the killer often stalks or tortures the victim and kills at close range.

The classic view is spelled out by Robert Ressler, a former FBI agent who pioneered psychological profiling and interviewed infamous killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer, David Berkowitz and Ted Bundy.

"To a man, they [serial killers] were dysfunctional sexually," Mr. Ressler wrote in his 1992 book, Whoever Fights Monsters. "They were unable to have and maintain mature, consensual sexual experiences with other adults, and they translated that inability into sexual murders."

Several Northern California cases underscore the classic view. The Zodiac killed six during a series of homicides in the late 1960s, then taunted police in letters to newspapers and law enforcement agencies. Though the Zodiac killer was never captured, many officials who worked the case are convinced that he was Arthur Leigh Allen, a convicted child molester who died in 1992 at age 58.

Similarly, Ed Kemper killed eight Northern California women in the early 1970s and enjoyed visiting his mother afterward while his victim's body was hidden in the trunk of his Volkswagen.

Mr. Kemper said he hated his mother, and she was one of his final victims before he turned himself in.

And Charles Chitat Ng, who killed 11 people in the mid-1980s, made videotapes of himself and his accomplice, Leonard Lake, sexually torturing two of their victims in an isolated shack.

Brent Turvey, a professional profiler from Sitka, Alaska, and author of the textbook, Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis, agrees that the Maryland sniper is different from classic serial murderers.

"Those comparisons are completely inappropriate," he said. "The reason why everybody is making those comparisons is because they are all talking to the retired profilers who made those kinds of cases in the 1970s."

Mr. Turvey said he thinks the Maryland sniper is more like Andrew Cunanan, who killed five people, including designer Gianni Versace, during a cross-country rampage in 1997.

"Cunanan was a classic spree killer," Mr. Turvey said. "A serial killer will kill multiple people on multiple dates with a nice cooling-off period in between. A spree killer will kill a bunch of people in a very narrow window of time.

"Most of these Maryland-area crimes occurred in a very short period," Mr. Turvey said. "He did his killing, then went home to watch the coverage on TV."

Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.

"I don't recall a case like this where the murders have been committed at such a distance. It is so impersonal."

Charles Patrick Ewing, a professor of law and psychology at State University of New York at Buffalo


Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/latestnews/stories/101202dnnatmotives.9f20c.html


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; US: Maryland; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: banglist; beltwaysniper; maryland; terrorist; virginia; washingtondc
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1 posted on 10/12/2002 6:52:21 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: MeeknMing
NO matter what the "experts" theories are, I get the feeling they are stumped by this one.
2 posted on 10/12/2002 7:00:35 AM PDT by fone
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To: MeeknMing
Flipping around the TV dial looking for the VA press conference on the shooting in Spotsylvania, I came across a CNN show (Fox had a financial show on) called Saturday Edition.

Guess what?: the host and all the reporters are women. They're all sitting around in comfy chairs. I'm expecting someone to break out the Tupperware at any moment.

What can justify an all-female news show? What would happen if a network made a decision to intentionally exclude women from a news show and have a men-only show?
3 posted on 10/12/2002 7:05:45 AM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
VA Gov. Mark Warner just came on. I swear it looks like he has bleached-blond hair. What's up with that?
4 posted on 10/12/2002 7:08:04 AM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
Warner's statements were also incredibly insipid. He also encouraged people to go on with their lives, and mentioned that he will be attending a parade later in the day.

Of course, he is sure to have a major security team surrounding him, something not available to the average citizen.
5 posted on 10/12/2002 7:11:30 AM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest
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To: MeeknMing
The anthrax attacks "were driven by the desire to terrorize the community, and the person who mailed the letters didn't appear to really care about who died as a result of them."

"I don't recall a case like this where the murders have been committed at such a distance," Mr. Ewing said. "It is so impersonal."


Well we know who the culprit is then. Have they checked whether Steven Hatfill owns a white van?
6 posted on 10/12/2002 7:12:43 AM PDT by Nogbad
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To: Mitchell; The Great Satan; John H K
ping
7 posted on 10/12/2002 7:15:32 AM PDT by Nogbad
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To: MeeknMing
Last nite on either fox or msn they were asking this proffesor from a north east college what type of people would do this kind of thing , and he gave all kinds of reasons including because the economy was in bad shape. I almost sh!t my pants...Now I hope when they catch this guy and ask him why the hell he is doing this I hope he says it is because taxes are to high or because of affirmitive action...Anyway just another liberal egg head trying to get a liberal thinking cheap shot in.
8 posted on 10/12/2002 7:30:13 AM PDT by TShaunK
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To: MeeknMing
The police were all excercised yesterday looking for a white van. The shooter has been able to elude police now after 10 shootings. It's more likely the shooter is two people - one serving as a lookout. It may be that the while the shooter aquires a target, the accomplice keeps a lookout for approaching observers and a white truck in the vacinity of the target.

At the proper time, after a white truck has passed, the shooter can take his victim. All eyes notice the white truck leaving the vacinity of the shooting. Heck, the shooters could leave the area in a red Dodge Viper and drive right past police blockades.

At any rate, it seems folly to think that a shooter(s?), who have successfully eluded capture for two weeks, are still tooling around in the exact vehicle the police are seeking.

How long until the shooter sticks around and takes a member of the first responding EMT's on the scene? How long until the shooter takes a reporter, live on TV? How long until the shooter takes a spokesman during one of the staged press events?

9 posted on 10/12/2002 7:33:26 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze
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To: Sgt_Schultze
shhhhh ... you're asking all those pesky relevant questions !


10 posted on 10/12/2002 7:37:01 AM PDT by tomkat
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To: fone
I agree!!!

One thing is for sure, whoever is doing this is being driven by pure evil. May G-d take him down before he/she kills again.

11 posted on 10/12/2002 7:43:30 AM PDT by MsLady
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To: Sgt_Schultze
As someone else mentioned,this could be an anti-hunter type also.His method of shooting is comparable to how a hunter kills his prey,shooting at a distance that is.The "I am God" statement refers to the fact he has the power of life or death over his subjects IMO.
12 posted on 10/12/2002 7:48:07 AM PDT by eastforker
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To: Sgt_Schultze
I was even thinking he could just walk away. If the gun is as compact as they say it could be, a jacket could cover up the weapon. This is a crowded area, who's going to notice someone walking away from over 100 yards away?
13 posted on 10/12/2002 7:48:37 AM PDT by MsLady
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To: MsLady
He might be on foot. But it is certain he has evaluated his target for clear line-of-sight. It might serve law enforcement if they would investigate the crime scenes with attention to direction of fire. They could go back along the line of sight and visit the shooting scene instead of the killing scene. There may be certain similarities among the various blinds the shooter is using.
14 posted on 10/12/2002 8:06:34 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze
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To: Sgt_Schultze
It's more likely the shooter is two people - one serving as a lookout.

Not so sure about that. A single shooter with a cold blooded and calculating mind, and an eye for picking out good shooting positions could do this just as well as two people. It just seems unlikely that two or more people could be of the same mind to commit this type of "impersonal" attack without some sort of more obvious common motivation (i.e. terrorism for political causes). But if it is more than one shooter motivated by terror, why aren't the terrorists making known their cause?

In any case, the focus on the white van must be some sort of disinformation play on the part of the authorities. Hard to believe that the perp(s) would continue to use a white van after the media coverage and also hard to believe that the investigators would not factor this in.

What a sick, twisted mess.
15 posted on 10/12/2002 8:08:57 AM PDT by jgorris
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To: Sgt_Schultze
At the elementary school shooting, we know the cops identified the place where the shots were fired. The note and the tarot card were left there.

Presumably, they also have scent swabs from that location. It might very well be a dog who eventually identifies the sniper.

16 posted on 10/12/2002 8:12:57 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Sgt_Schultze
If the sniper shoots a newsperson, won't he be taking too much of a risk of being caught on camera? Which suggests first responders to the shootings ought in future to be sure to be accompanied by somebody carrying a camera.
17 posted on 10/12/2002 8:14:38 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: Dog Gone
Let's hope they've used dogs to find the other places the sniper shot from.
18 posted on 10/12/2002 8:15:59 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: jgorris
In any case, the focus on the white van must be some sort of disinformation play on the part of the authorities.

The authorities may feel they have to tell the public something, and, since they cannot say what they really know for some reason, they tell us about the white van instead to keep us pacified.

19 posted on 10/12/2002 8:17:49 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: jgorris
I don't discout al-Quaida terrorism at all. This is exactly the behavior threatened months ago when the US was warned that its citizens would face death going about their daily activities.
20 posted on 10/12/2002 8:17:57 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze
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To: MeeknMing; The Great Satan
Charles Patrick Ewing, a professor of law and psychology at State University of New York at Buffalo, said the sniper, who has used a rifle at distances of more than 100 yards, appears to be more like the anonymous attacker who mailed last year's anthrax-laced letters. The anthrax attacks "were driven by the desire to terrorize the community, and the person who mailed the letters didn't appear to really care about who died as a result of them."

If the Great Satan is right about the anthrax being a threat to our leaders, the shootings may be the same. And Saddam Hussein may be behind both.

21 posted on 10/12/2002 8:19:34 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: fone
"NO matter what the "experts" theories are, I get the feeling they are stumped by this one. "

It is probably a teenager into Satan stuff. That involves Tarot cards.

There is a sniper video game that at one point says "I am God".

It is probably like the teenagers in Colorado who shot up their school and killed a bunch of people.

They are looking at the wrong profile.

22 posted on 10/12/2002 8:20:35 AM PDT by Dan(9698)
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To: Dog Gone
Maybe I'm giving the sniper too much credit, but he has eluded capture now for two weeks. Since the tarot card was planted, it is likely the shell casing was as well. It may have been from an earlier shooting, and placed at the scene with the before the shooting. The sniper could have backed up further along the same line of sight and shot from a different location.
23 posted on 10/12/2002 8:21:33 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze
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To: aristeides
Indeed. It would be a good idea for everyone to carry a camera/camcorder and pan the suroundings as soon as they have taken cover.
24 posted on 10/12/2002 8:21:35 AM PDT by null and void
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To: aristeides
Perhaps the shooter could be caught on camera. But it is just as likely that the camera-operator, after seeing his reporter bleeding from the chest, would seek cover before turning his camera on the source of the report.
25 posted on 10/12/2002 8:24:44 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze
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To: Dan(9698)
I think you might have it. I hope the gov has thought of this as well.
26 posted on 10/12/2002 8:24:55 AM PDT by StolarStorm
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To: Sgt_Schultze
Regardless, the sniper was at that location, and while he was probably careful enough not to leave a fingerprint, he did leave a scent. It doesn't matter whether he actually fired from that location or not in that regard, although I suspect that he probably did.
27 posted on 10/12/2002 8:27:33 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: MeeknMing
With no more information then we have at this time, my opinion is just as valid as anyones, so here goes.

I believe this is a sleeper cell that has been activated.I believe there are at least two in what ever vehicle they are using, with possibility of others in covering positions around them.

I believe they will continue to kill until caught, at which time they will be killed in a major gun battle.

I am hoping the authorities are publicly treating this as a criminal act while privately treating it as a war.

I believe that there have been several acts of terrorism already committed against us, but because the government is not ready to act yet, they have been covered up as unconnected acts of violence.

The terrorist have gone along with this game by not publicly proclaiming responsibility, possibly because they know the government knows, and they know that the American people will demand vengence when the truth come out.

28 posted on 10/12/2002 8:34:52 AM PDT by CIB-173RDABN
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To: Dan(9698)
It's a good possibility that the killers are teenagers who are into Satanism.

I tend to lean towards the terrorist explanation (on a poll on www.courttv.com early this morning only 30% felt it was a case of terrorism.)

It could also be members of Hispanic gangs active in the DC area, perhaps part of initiation into the superviolent Salvadorean MS-13 which has chapters across the country. Or one of the many Asian gangs active in the DC area. So far no Asian victims.

It could be also some crazy cult members, such as surviving member of Rev. Jim Jones's Death Squad. Jones used to scream "I am God." The black cult leader, Father Divine, likewise declared himself as God.

29 posted on 10/12/2002 8:39:10 AM PDT by Dante3
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To: Dante3
So far no Asian victims.

Cab driver from India.

30 posted on 10/12/2002 8:43:05 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: Dan(9698)
There is a sniper video game that at one point says "I am God".

What's the name of the game in question? Personally, I think that's just tripe served by Bo Diddle to justify his talking head appearances.

31 posted on 10/12/2002 8:48:14 AM PDT by Tree of Liberty
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To: Nogbad
"I don't recall a case like this where the murders were committed at such a distance," Mr Ewing said. "It is so impersonal."

The sniper murder of a woman holding an infant child at Ruby Ridge in Idaho and the killing of the women and children witnesses to the initial ATF attack and helicopter strafing at Waco, Texas do come to mind....

-archy-/-

32 posted on 10/12/2002 8:50:42 AM PDT by archy
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To: Sgt_Schultze
I don't discout al-Quaida terrorism at all.

Well, based on past behavior, I think they'd be trying to take credit for it.
33 posted on 10/12/2002 8:59:32 AM PDT by jgorris
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To: jgorris
Well, based on past behavior, I think they'd be trying to take credit for it.

Really? Please remind me where it was they publicly admitted the attacks of September, 11.

34 posted on 10/12/2002 9:02:25 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze
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To: Sgt_Schultze
Really? Please remind me where it was they publicly admitted the attacks of September, 11.

OK, they didn't claim it immediately after 9/11, for tactical reasons, but they have since done so. I mean, they released taped messages to the media admitting it.

On the otherhand, I conceed that the fact that they haven't so far claimed it would therefore rule out it could be a terrorist operation.
35 posted on 10/12/2002 9:17:51 AM PDT by jgorris
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To: TShaunK
My, Gawd ! Lemme drag out my cliche on DIMocRATS:

Liberal DIMocRATS are the party of the Ethically Challenged....

36 posted on 10/12/2002 9:24:11 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
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To: jgorris
I think the tapes you remember include the one found in Afghan caves after intense bombing. But even on that tape, Usama didn't admit to the deed. In subsequent interviews, I remember al-Qida members recounting how they listened to Usama predicting more plane crashes on that fateful day. But, officially, I cannot remember al-Quaida admitting culpability.

If these shootings are terror related, we can expect them to stop, with similar shootings to begin in another city with long lines of sight and with substantial tree cover.

37 posted on 10/12/2002 9:30:23 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze
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To: Sgt_Schultze
with similar shootings to begin in another city with long lines of sight and with substantial tree cover.

The fact that such shootings have not occurred elsewhere, at least so far, is the biggest argument against this being Middle Eastern terrorism.

38 posted on 10/12/2002 10:11:21 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
That show is a joke. I wrote to CNN about it.
All of the co-hosts IMHO are former Clinton employees!
Today they were TRYING not to sound biased. The two
blondes can never pull this off, one can barely conceal
her sneer when President Bush is mentioned. BTW, does anyone know if Kelly Wallace on that show is related to
Mike Wallace?
39 posted on 10/12/2002 10:20:20 AM PDT by 2rightsleftcoast
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To: MeeknMing
I think that is what I said last week, whether the perp is a Muslim or not, he is a terrorist. This is terrorism.
40 posted on 10/12/2002 10:23:48 AM PDT by Eva
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To: jgorris
"Well, based on past behavior, I think [al-Qaeda would] be trying to take credit for it."

Almost alone among terrorist groups, al-Qaeda has not been ostentatious about claiming credit for their deeds.

The fact that nobody is claiming credit therefore disqualifies groups like Hamas, Hizbollah and other terrorist splinters, but not al-Qaeda.

41 posted on 10/12/2002 10:35:51 AM PDT by okie01
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To: aristeides
Charles Patrick Ewing, a professor of law and psychology at State University of New York at Buffalo, said the sniper, who has used a rifle at distances of more than 100 yards, appears to be more like the anonymous attacker who mailed last year's anthrax-laced letters.

Ewing has collected two sets of two in this thought. He has yet to add them and obtain four...

42 posted on 10/12/2002 10:38:31 AM PDT by okie01
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To: fone
Talk about impersonal murder--what about the Tylenol Murders. That was never solved.
43 posted on 10/12/2002 10:53:13 AM PDT by soozer47
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To: Mitchell
I hope it is not ME terror related. But, remember, the WTC incident was not terror suspect until plane 2 struck. A second sniper locale would raise the public spectre of ME terrorists. US Gvm't could not stifle the cries for Arab profiling. At this time, we only have a single locale - let's hope it stays that way, and they catch him/them soon.
44 posted on 10/12/2002 11:29:47 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze
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To: fone
Duh, and the killer also wants to inflict pain in the police, who so far are unable to round him/her/them up.
45 posted on 10/12/2002 11:48:28 AM PDT by Hila
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To: Sgt_Schultze
I agree 100%. My mind is open right now as to whether these shootings are a crime by an insane person or a military action by Middle Eastern terrorists. We don't have enough information yet to rule out either possibility.

46 posted on 10/12/2002 11:55:33 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: jgorris
it took time for them to admit that act, as it is still too early to admit this act if it is them. if i were a terror group, i wouldnt admit it. why would i, then have them come down hard on me before more acts are committed. think about it, silince response is this shooters best ally. he knows what he is doing.
47 posted on 10/12/2002 12:33:04 PM PDT by smokegenerator
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To: MeeknMing
"Those comparisons are completely inappropriate," he said. "The reason why everybody is making those comparisons is because they are all talking to the retired profilers who made those kinds of cases in the 1970s."

I have a nagging suspicion the FBI is still profiling from the 1970's too. Hope I'm wrong.

48 posted on 10/12/2002 12:50:22 PM PDT by EverOnward
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To: null and void
Maybe he will disappear like the UFO sightings.
49 posted on 10/12/2002 1:18:17 PM PDT by Vetnor
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To: soozer47
Talk about impersonal murder--what about the Tylenol Murders. That was never solved.

She was convicted and is now serving time...

50 posted on 10/12/2002 1:57:29 PM PDT by null and void
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