An Introduction by Editor in Chief, James L. Knoll IV, MD
One of the things I value about forensic psychiatry is the opportunity for collaboration and “cross training” with other disciplines. Some of the best cross training I’ve had the good fortune to receive has come from one of the original FBI profilers. In this age of “profiling” shows and TV “talking heads,” there are but a very few legitimate experts who have the requisite knowledge, training and experience in behavioral analysis and offender profiling. To say that Roy Hazelwood is an encyclopedia of such knowledge would be understatement. Whenever I spend a mere hour with him, I come away with the distinct impression that I have absorbed a month’s worth of knowledge.
Robert R. (Roy) Hazelwood, MS (FBI ret) spent 22 years as a Supervisory Agent with the Behavioral Science Unit, FBI Academy in Quantico, Va, and is generally regarded as the pioneer of profiling sexual predators. He also has a background in forensic medicine from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Mr Hazelwood has interviewed incarcerated sexual offenders and many of their wives and girlfriends, and has conducted extensive research on violent crimes. He is widely published, and his books—The Evil That Men Do and Dark Dreams—have been well received by the lay public.1 He currently works for The Academy Group, Inc, the world’s largest privately owned forensic behavioral science firm.2 He now gives lectures across the country on a variety of topics, including sexual sadism, autoerotic fatalities, and the spouses of sexually sadistic serial predators.3
Here Mr Hazelwood answers questions about serial murderers that are commonly posed to him. The term “serial murderer” (or “serial killer”) was not even a part of the forensic lexicon until the 1970s, when it was popularized by one of Mr Hazelwood’s FBI Behavioral Science Unit colleagues, Robert Ressler. Most proposed definitions of serial murder share the following elements in common: (1) there have been at least 3 victims, (2) victims are killed in a non-continuous fashion (ie, there is an emotional “cooling-off” period between murders), and (3) the murders usually involve a sexual component.4-6 Now on to the forensic and behavioral insights of one the world’s leading experts on sexual predators.