Ferguson originally sought to question himself on the witness stand, but ultimately did not do so. He told the judge and media that he intended to call a number of witnesses who would prove his innocence, including a ballistic expert, a handwriting expert and two regular eyewitnesses, but they were afraid to come forward and take the stand. Ultimately, he did not call any of the witnesses. He also told Judge Belfi of an alleged conspiracy by the Jewish Defense League to kill him in prison if he was convicted. He said the prison slaying of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was \"set up as a prelude against me.\"
I deeply appreciate the work that went into this publication. I would like to thank all those who participated for their willingness to share their dedication, time and expertise. I believe it will be invaluable to our collective ability to understand, respond to, and hopefully prevent, serial murder.
The topic of serial murder occupies a unique niche within the criminal justice community. In addition to the significant investigative challenges they bring to law enforcement, serial murder cases attract an over-abundance of attention from the media, mental health experts, academia, and the general public. While there has been significant, independent work conducted by a variety of experts to identify and analyze the many issues related to serial murder, there have been few efforts to reach a consensus between law enforcement and other experts, regarding these matters.
In an effort to bridge the gap between the many views of issues related to serial murder, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) hosted a multi-disciplinary Symposium in San Antonio, Texas, on August 29, 2005 through September 2, 2005. The goal of the Symposium was to bring together a group of respected experts on serial murder from a variety of fields and specialties, to identify the commonalities of knowledge regarding serial murder.
A total of 135 subject matter experts attended the five-day event. These individuals included law enforcement officials who have successfully investigated and apprehended serial killers; mental health, academic, and other experts who have studied serial killers and shared their expertise through education and publication; officers of the court, who have judged, prosecuted, and defended serial killers; and members of the media, who inform and educate the public when serial killers strike. The attendees also reflected the international nature of the serial murder problem, as there were attendees from ten different countries on five continents. The agenda encompassed a variety of topics related to serial murder including common myths, definitions, typologies, pathology and causality, forensics, the role of the media, prosecution issues, investigative task force organization, and major case management issues. Each day included panel discussions, case presentations, and discussion groups addressing a range of topics related to serial murder.
The Serial Murder Symposium was conceived, planned, and coordinated by the staff of the Behavioral Analysis Unit-2 (BAU-2). The resources of BAU-2 are focused on serial, mass, and other murders; sexual assaults; kidnappings; and other criminal acts targeting adult victims. BAU-2 staff members have developed significant expertise on the subject of serial murder and regularly provide operational assistance, conduct research, and provide training on issues related to serial murder.
Over the past twenty years, law enforcement and experts from a number of varying disciplines have attempted to identify specific motivations for serial murderers and to apply those motivations to different typologies developed for classifying serial murderers. These range from simple, definitive models to complex, multiple-category typologies that are laden with inclusion requirements. Most typologies are too cumbersome to be utilized by law enforcement during an active serial murder investigation, and they may not be helpful in identifying an offender.
Some of the earlier AFIS systems were not compatible with the IAFIS system, and as a result, those earlier latent fingerprints may not be included in IAFIS. This becomes an issue in serial murder cases, when the offender committed offenses prior to the inception of IAFIS, as latent fingerprints from those earlier crimes will not be searchable. If there is a possibility the offender committed early crimes, the early AFIS systems need to be queried independently. Consultation with laboratory fingerprint experts may be necessary in order to establish what AFIS systems exist, which are interoperable, and the protocols required to query each system.
When conducting serial murder investigations, it is important for investigators to promptly seek guidance from appropriate forensic database experts. Such experts can provide information regarding what limitations exist and what additional queries can be made of the systems, to obtain additional investigative information.
Expert witnesses often play a significant role in high profile serial murder investigations, dealing with forensic and competency issues. In many investigations and prosecutions, the task of linking the defendant to the victim and the homicide scene(s) has been simplified because of physical, trace, and/or DNA evidence located at the scene. Expert forensic witnesses are utilized to explain the analysis and value of such evidence. Identifying and securing the services of forensic psychologists and psychiatrists will be important when addressing issues of competency, diminished capacity, and the insanity defense. Consideration should also be given for other collateral expert witnesses, who may be utilized to address issues outside of the customary topics, such as blood spatter.
Individuals utilized by the media to comment on serial murder cases include both experts and pseudoexperts. Experts are identified as academicians, researchers, retired law enforcement officials, mental health professionals, and retired law enforcement profilers who have developed specific knowledge and experience in serial murder investigations. Pseudoexperts are self-proclaimed profilers and others who profess to have an expertise in serial murder, when, in fact, their experience is limited or non-existent. The media will recruit talking heads, whether true experts or pseudoexperts, to offer their opinions on current cases, when they have no official role in the investigation and no access to any of the intimate facts of the case.
It was the opinion of the experts at the Symposium that it is not possible to regulate or officially censor comments made by talking heads during serial murder investigations. However, a policy statement issued by law enforcement to the media would be appropriate, and below is an example of such a statement: 1e1e36bf2d