- Using the crime classification worksheet found in Chapter 1, Exhibit 1.1, choose a major crime or specific criminal and discuss the crime(s) through the use of the factors on the worksheet. Be sure to provide a citation in APA format of the crime or criminal you researched.
The specific criminal who I choose to analyze using the crime classification worksheet found in Chapter 1, Exhibit 1.1, is Steven Pennell, the sexual sadist. The victims of Steven Pennell were high risk victims. They were either involved in prostitution or drug use. This is illustrated in the case involving Catherine DiMauro. The text, Serial Violence: Analysis of Modus Operandi and Signature Characteristics of Killers, describes DiMauro as a “former lunchwagon driver with a police record of prostitution arrests” (Keppel & Birnes, 2009, p. 143). Robert Keppel and William Birnes explain that DiMauro’s main mode of transportation was “main mode of transportation was walking or hitchhiking” (2009, p. 143). The sexual assaults committed by Pennell appeared to be scripted according to his sexual fantasies which were motivated by intense anger. Keppel and Birnes explain that Pennell’s anger exhibited towards his victims was “so intense that he was almost robotic, acting out a sequence of demands regardless of whether the victim actually suffered from the coup de grace in each mechanism of death” (2009, p. 142). John Douglas, Ann Burgess, Allen Burgess and Robert Ressler reveal that Pennell “targeted the buttocks and breasts, beating and pinching them with tools, including a hammer and pliers” (2013, p. 29). Additionally, Pennell also used “duct tape and ligatures to control his victims while he tortured them” (Douglas, Burgess, Burgess & Ressler, 2013, p. 29).Therefore, the use of both ligatures and blows from a hammer points to another important feature of the crimes committed by Pennell: overkill. Keppel and Birnes mention that the type of overkill used by the criminal “signified an organized effort that simply was necessary to satisfy the killer’s angst” (2009, p. 142). Furthermore, the bodies of Pennell’s victims had signs of mutilations and bite marks, as revealed by an autopsy done on Michelle Gordon’s body (Keppel & Birnes, 2006, p. 149). In addition, Pennell humiliated his victims by dumping their partially nude or nude bodies at the same place they were found, which was most likely at the side of a highway (Keppel & Birnes, 2006, pp. 142, 144).
- Using the crime classification numbering system, how do you classify the crime(s) you selected? Explain your answer.
The crimes committed by Steven Pennell can be classified by the code 134, as indicated by the Crime Classification Manual (Douglas, Burgess, Burgess & Ressler, 2013, p. 207). This is because the murders committed by Pennell are sexual in nature although his victims were not rape; that is, there was no “penile penetration and ejaculation” (Keppel& Birnes, 2006, p. 139). Pennell used sadism to gain sexual gratification and to control his victims; and these sadistic acts led to their eventual death. Keppel and Birnes mention that bondage killers such as Pennell “need to control a living victim so as to build up the anticipation of becoming sexually gratified” (2006, p. 142).
- What is prescriptive interviewing? Prescriptive interviewing is a tool which is used by law enforcement officials used to lead a suspected offender into confessing his involvement or participation in a crime (Douglas, Burgess, Burgess & Ressler, 2013, p. 508).
- What is the purpose of prescriptive interviewing, and how is it applied to crime classification?
The purpose of prescriptive interviewing is to reveal the criminal’s mental process as well as to humanize him or her (Douglas, Burgess, Burgess & Ressler 2013, p. 510). Prescriptive interviewing is applied to crime classification through the use of important preparatory steps which would enable the crime analyst to create a profile of a criminal, examine findings of a victim’s autopsy report, analyze crime-scene photos and all other data related to the incident, and victimology (Douglas, Burgess, Burgess & Ressler, pp. 507-526). This information which is necessary for the preparation of a prescriptive interview is important in determining the classification of a crime.
- How would you apply prescriptive interviewing with a character such as Charles Manson?
I would apply prescriptive interviewing with a character such as Charles Manson by prescribing a set of questions which mirror the language and the thought process of Charles Manson. Hence, a considerable amount of preparatory work needs to be done related to data collection concerning the crimes that he and the Manson family, which was under his control, committed. There needs to be data collection done which reveals Manson’s upbringing and his state of mind. This assessment and analysis of this data will lead to identifying the motivations of Manson, which led to the committing of violent crimes. The analysis and assessment of the data will also assist me in prescribing key questions in order to extract a confession from Manson in the same manner that Tom Snyder did during his interview with Charles Manson.
Douglas, J. E., Burgess, A. W., Burgess, A. G., & Ressler, R. K. (2013). Crime classification manual: a standard system for investigating and classifying violent crime (3rd ed.). New Jersey: John and Wiley& Sons.
Keppel, R. D., & Birnes, W. J. (2009). Serial violence: analysis of modus operandi and signature characteristics of killers. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
The Other Side of Madness. (2008, February 8) The Manson Snyder Interview Part 1 of 6 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8Uq44qeB_8&feature=related