Mind Games with Monsters

The FBI's behavioral-science unit draws detailed portraits of killers by focusing on how they commit their crimes

As the ghastly photographs are passed around the table, a police officer states the gruesome facts of each case: a 67-year-old white woman found tied up in her bathroom, her face beaten; a black woman, 55, lying in the hallway of her home, her head bashed in, apparently by a hammer; an 83-year-old white woman discovered on her bed, possibly smothered, her lower body nude . . . In all, 12 middle-aged and elderly women killed between 1985 and 1988, all of whom dwelled within a 2.6-sq-km (1-sq.-mi.) urban area.

Over two days, FBI agent Judson Ray guides and prods discussion...

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