Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Danny Rolling, the Gainesville Ripper

A Red Herring

When Officer Lonnie Scott of GPD had told her superiors about her neighbor, Edward Humphrey, they had already had a number of similarly strange reports from the many people who had come into contact with him over the summer period.

The manager of Gatorwood Apartments, where Tracy and Manuel had been murdered, reported that Humphrey had been asked to leave after he fought with his roommates, who said he was weird and walked in his sleep.  When the maintenance man and the manager had attempted to make him leave he had become violent and thrown a chair at them.  He had also been trouble when he had lived in the opposite apartment block, going into people's apartments uninvited and, when they dared to lock him out, he would peep through the curtains to get their attention.

In early August, Edward was in trouble again.  He was arrested in Ordway, Colorado for disorderly conduct.  His car was confiscated and he was held in custody for 24 hours until his grandmother Elna Hlavaty came to rescue him.  She returned him to Gainesville and found him an apartment. 

The police were quickly able to gather many reports of Edward's violent behavior towards his grandmother as the pair moved around town in search of an apartment.  The numerous other independent reports about Edward made to the police included harassment and arguments and one instance where he produced a penknife at a fraternity house when they tried to stop him from coming in.

Edward Humphrey was definitely a strange character who, police believed, could possibly be the killer.  The investigation began to focus heavily on Edward as the prime suspect, beginning with their surveillance of Edward's every movement.  As he drove back to his grandmother's home in Indialantic on August 28, police helicopters hovered overhead.   On October 30 Edward gave the police an opportunity to place him in custody. 

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