Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Green River Killer: River of Death

The Hand of a Killer

Morehead recounts Judith's long history of neglect and abuse, and how, against this backdrop of trouble, she finally found a happiness with Gary which lasted nearly fourteen years. He knew how to be romantic, and they spent a lot of time together. He was a good provider and seemed sensitive to her needs. Once he was in prison, he wrote many letters of apology to Judith and apparently wished he had made better choices in his life, especially because so much of what he had done had violated her. She did hit bottom, but eventually recovered to face life again and to hope for something better.

Gary Ridgway
Gary Ridgway

Along with photographs of Gary and Judith, and a large collection of Gary's letters, Morehead provides background in the development of graphology. "Prior to writing this book," she said, "I had a consulting business in place, and my specialty was providing personality profiles to employers on job applicants. I also worked with offices for team building issues and I was doing seminars with a dentist friend."

While the chapters about Judith's life are interesting — especially the one in which she learns the truth about her husband, what's most unique in this book is the point-by-point analysis of Gary Ridgway's handwriting. Morehead says that in order to develop a personality profile, a graphologist will examine many different characteristics of handwriting, including the size, speed, slant, word choice, style, and approach. She found Gary to be organized, reliable, and controlled. His handwriting changed little across the years; despite being married three times and fathering a son, he remained apart from others emotionally. This showed up quite distinctly in his handwriting.

It's certainly a different approach to understanding the mind of a serial killer, and one that's worth further consideration with others.


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