Thank you for visiting my website. I hope that you find it interesting and informative. Please don’t hesitate to send me your comments and questions, and I will try to answer you in a timely manner. My goal with this blog is to address your questions about serial killers and provide information that may help give you a better understanding of their unique pathologies and motivations.
Derrick Todd Lee, Sean Vincent Gillis, and Earl Van Best Jr. are three very distinct types of serial killers. They used different tools to kill. They had different motivations. Each in his own way was somewhat of an anomaly among serial killers.
Lee was African American. In the United States, only 16 percent of serial killers are black. This distinction made it difficult for many to believe that police had apprehended the right suspect, but DNA connected him to the deaths of seven women in South Louisiana. Lee used different methods to kill. Many killers gravitate toward a preferred method, whether it be a gun, a knife, strangulation, beating, or torture. Lee beat some of his victims, strangled others, and stabbed others, either with a knife or a screwdriver. Some he raped. Some he didn’t. Some of his victims were white. Some were African American. Some were young. Others were older. However, all of his victims were accomplished, beautiful women. Lee was a rage killer, disorganized, and drawn to these women because they were the ones he couldn’t have. Lee has never confessed, but it is possible that he killed as many as 17 women in Louisiana.
Gillis could have cared less about the act of murder. After his first violent murder of 82-year-old Ann Bryan, he honed his killing skill with a quicker, more effective weapon—a nylon zip tie. While he did stab and beat some of his victims, for Gillis, murder was not about the thrill of killing, it was about what he could do with the bodies after they were dead. He had a morbid fascination with body parts and dismembered several of his victims after death. He enjoyed necrophilia, and that was the main reason he killed. He also delved into cannibalism. Six of his victims were women who lived high-risk lifestyles, women who would get into his vehicle and whom he could easily overpower. Gillis followed the police investigation of his murders closely and kept files on his computer of some of Lee’s victims. After his arrest, Gillis confessed to the murders of eight women.
Best terrorized California in the late 1960s. He was a revenge killer who preyed mainly on lovers, with the exception of Cheri Jo Bates and Paul Stine. Known as the Zodiac, he became infamous through writing taunting letters to police and newspapers depicting his crimes and threatening future atrocities. He also sent ciphers to newspapers, most of which have never been solved. Best was not a rage killer. In fact, he appeared calm and cool at the murders in which victims survived. He did not rape his victims. He had no interest in them other than a ruthless need to kill them. His weapons of choice were guns and knives. He enjoyed outwitting police, giving them clues about his identity, and terrorizing the public. These things made him feel powerful. The Zodiac is known to have killed five people, and he attacked two others who survived. He claimed to have killed 37 people, but police have not been able to positively link him to any other murders.
While these were three different killers, each with his own manner of killing and motivations, they shared a compulsive need for power and control in the only means they could obtain it—through the taking of innocent lives.