Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bones to Talk With

The Motive

The FBI profilers told DA Joe F. Grubb that these murders had not been sexually motivated. That surprised Grubb, since the girl was nude and her clothing was taken from the scene.  But the profilers insisted that this person had other motives and said they should be looking for someone who might have a history of abusing animals.  Grubb knew that's exactly what they had. 

The profilers went on to describe the killer as "organized," "antisocial," and fitting the typical behavioral profile of what they called a lust murderer.  What excited him was torture and mutilation, and possibly even a bit of necrophilia.  Such people were driven by violent fantasies and when opportunity and tension crossed paths, the result was usually destructive.  This person would abuse substances and would have a car and be fairly mobile.  He would collect weapons and take souvenirs from the crime scene.  He would also attend to the media coverage and collect articles about his crimes.  The motive was typically wrapped up in rejection, hostility toward society, and an erotic attraction toward violence. 

In short, it was a thrill kill, fueled by rage.  The target was the girl.  The boy just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was probably killed first.

That appeared to fit what they knew already about Jason Massey.

Investigators also learned that in June 1991, Dr. Kenneth Dekleva, a state psychiatrist, had examined Massey at the request of his mother, who had come across two notebooks that contained Massey's journals, kept since 1989.  She was disturbed by their violent content, especially his list of names of girls he wanted to kill, and wanted her son evaluated.  Dekleva read (and copied) the journals, which had been kept over the past six months, and learned that Jason had an obsessive fantasy life and was enamored of the idea of becoming a serial killer.  In fact, he described it as a "sacred journey."  He listed specific girls he wanted to rape and kill as a way to "engrave his name on society."  Apparently, he wanted to reap as much sorrow and suffering on others as he could.  He described himself as a student of police procedure, ensuring that when he finally got around to committing these crimes, he would know ways to avoid getting caught.

As Dekleva made his way through these journals, it was apparent to him that Massey had actually made plans and purchased weapons, turning fantasies into action, which increased the danger that he would act out and possibly kill someone.  While it's difficult to predict when someone is truly a threat, these are among the signs that make a threatened action more likely to happen than not.  Dekleva concluded that Massey did indeed pose a threat to others, and might even be suicidal.

Massey was committed to the Dallas Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit for further observation, although Dekleva knew there was no real treatment for antisocial personality disorder.  Other doctors examined the young man, eighteen at the time, but they did not agree with Dekleva's prognosis, so Massey was released.

Yet Dekleva still had the journals, and they confirmed for Prosecutor Clay Strange what the FBI analysts had said: Massey wanted to kill just for the sexual thrill.  In fact, he had been obsessed with it for several years.

On March 17, 1994, Jason Massey was indicted on two counts of capital murder, to which he pleaded not guilty.  In his letters from prison, he expressed his belief that he'd soon be free again and "without restraint."

The prosecutor's team worried over that possibility.  The trial would hinge on just how well they could teach the jury about scientific analysis and then weave it into the circumstantial evidence.  Given the short history of DNA analysis and the fact that class evidence like fibers could not be definitive, things could still go wrong.


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