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Dahmer, Gacy, Manson--these names have earned their place among America's most notorious cultural icons. America is fascinated by its serial killers--who they are, what they've done, and how they got away with it for so long. Creating the mental picture of these killers is the job of criminal specialists known as profilers, people who analyze and dissect the intricate motives that fuel these frighteningly intelligent stalkers. In this four-part A&E series Serial Killers: Profiling the Criminal Mind, former FBI agent John Douglas walks you through up-close case studies of a few of the most savage men in the history of law enforcement.
The first volume looks at the rash of murders that took place between the late 1970s and early 1980s in Atlanta. The horrific murder spree of Wayne Williams provided an opportunity for the FBI to legitimize and bring criminal profiling to the forefront of serial-killer investigations. Douglas discusses how the psychological profile of Wayne Williams was developed that led to his capture and arrest.
The second volume on Jeffrey Dahmer shows how the child of a college professor, raised in an affluent neighborhood in Ohio, could turn into a man obsessed with murder, molestation, dissection, and the consumption of his victims. The third volume looks at John Wayne Gacy, a successful business and family man by day; by night, he transformed into a cruising, child molesting, "rope trick" strangling clown. When Gacy was finally pinned for the murder of a teenage boy, the police had no idea of the horrors that lay under the Gacy residence. The authorities ended up uncovering a cemetery of 22 victims under his house.
The final volume looks at the best known of the killers: Charles Manson. It tells of Manson's childhood, his life behind bars, and the development and dynamics of his cultlike "Family," and follows the trial that captivated a nation. --Rob Bracco
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