Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Genetic Violence: Robert an Stephen Spahalski

I'm not a Serial Killer

Spahalski insisted he was not involved in the murder of Moraine Armstrong. It wasn't initially clear why he would so quickly confess to three others but not this one, in which a witness had placed him at the scene. Questioning him further, they learned that Spahalski believed that to be considered a serial killer, one had to have killed more than three people, and he did not wish to be called a serial killer. "I don't want [you] to think that I went around killing people." He was in fact incorrect, because the official FBI classification minimum is at least three victims in three different incidents. He was already a serial killer.

Official Seal of the FBI
Official Seal of the FBI

However, Spahalski was not going to budge, so they again left him alone in the conference room. They wanted to give him time to think, as well as devise a better approach. He hadn't yet asked for an attorney, and that was in their favor.

Around 6:40 p.m., Detectives Weather and Benjamin entered the conference room again. They found Spahalski to be sullen and uncooperative. They spoke with him for about twenty minutes, telling him the families of the victims needed closure, and then asked if he would speak to other investigators. He said he would, so two other detectives, Cassidy and Dominick, went into the conference room. They had been at Spahalski's house and found Vivian's body. When they asked him to tell them what had happened, Spahalski said he did not remember. He was high.

They then changed the subject. Showing Spahalski photos of Moraine Armstrong, they asked if he knew her. He said he did not, but thought she looked vaguely familiar. He seemed to grow nervous, and got up and walked around the room.

"Is it all right for me to do this?" he asked, and they assured him it was. They gave him the medications from his home that he'd requested, and he told them what each bottle was for. He then said the chance that he had killed Moraine was about 50%, and he might remember better if they allowed him to meditate, so the detectives left him alone for about fifteen minutes.

Once he was talking again, he asked if an iron had been involved in the woman's death and was told it had. Then Spahalski confessed to being her killer, having choked "Marissa" with the cord of an iron. "She got stupid and I choked her out." After smoking crack cocaine together, which he had supplied, he said, they had gotten into an argument over money she said he owed her for sex. Once again, he hadn't meant to kill anyone. It had just happened.


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