Lessons I’ve Learned from Stupid Killers

March 20, 2010

- See all 763 of my articles

Since the birth of my son at the tail end of last year, I have been recording lots of episodes of TruTV’s Forensic Files and watching them during nighttime feedings.  In the past three months, I have watched literally dozens of episodes.  During this time, I’m learned lots of lessons from some of the killers who are, well, not so smart.

Note: we don’t condone any sort of criminal activities.

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice …

Everyone knows that you shouldn’t mess with success.  If something works the first time, you should try it again, right?  Not always.

A recurring theme are men who kill their wives.  Sometimes, after a suspicious – but apparently accidental – death, an anonymous caller will notify the police that the man’s first wife died in similar circumstances.  If the women died in car accidents, you can make the argument that it’s simply coincidence.  Car accidents are fairly common.

If the women both drowned in the bath tub, this is a bit harder to explain away as a coincidence.  This isn’t a particularly common way to die, so the odds of it happening to two of your spouses is pretty unlikely.

Moral of the story: mix it up a little bit.  If you’re going to kill multiple spouses, you need to use different methods.  Or, of course, you could simply refrain from killing people.

Failure to observer a proper mourning period

Everyone has a different length of time for mourning.  Some people never get over the death of a spouse.  Others are able to move past the tragedy and eventually find love again.

But if you return from Vegas with a new wife a couple of weeks after your first wife died, police are probably going to take a second look at you as a suspect.

In one particularly notable case, the husband and his fiancée actually sent out wedding invitations (just to HER family and friends, apparently) BEFORE the first wife was dead.  I guess this is somewhat understandable, since people need to be able to save the date on their calendar.

Moral: Thirty days hath September, April, June, and minimum mourning periods.

Gotta give them credit

Every once in a while, the cops are able to determined that a killer purchased poison (or other items involved in the crime) by examining credit card receipts.  Apparently, the term “paper trail” means nothing to these people.

Moral: Cash is king!

Not what it’s cracked up to be

When examining broken windows at a crime scene, the cops check to see if the window was broken from the outside or the inside.  If the window was broken from the outside, most of the glass will fall inward.  If it is broken from the inside, most of the glass will fall on the outside.

Since the vast majority of criminals break into houses rather than out of them,  when there are indications that a window was broken from the inside, it typically means that the scene was staged.

Moral: Take a moment and actually step through the crime scene, starting at the point of entry.  If you’re going to kill someone, you needn’t be lazy with the details.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Martin Kelly
    Mar 21, 2010 @ 20:00:51

    This is just too funny! I really enjoy stupid criminal stories. The problem is, the police generally only catch the stupid ones. This is not a hit on the police, it is just a lot harder to solve a crime than the fictional shows would lead you to believe.


  2. kosmo
    Mar 21, 2010 @ 20:50:11

    The Forensic Files people are pretty straightforward about this. If you don’t have a pre-existing connection to the victim, or a previous criminal record (meaning that your prints/DNA are in a computer somewhere), it can be really hard to catch someone.

    Imagine that you drove 400 miles in a random direction, shot someone in a mall parking lot, refueled using a prepaid debit card (license plates splattered with mud to elude cameras and a hat pulled over your head), eat sandwiches that you packed (avoiding restaurants) and show up back on work on Monday. They’re going to find you how, exactly?


Leave a Reply