Walter Ellis, known as “The Milwaukee North Side Strangler,” was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of seven counts of murder. Ellis is known as a serial killer- a person who kills three or more people at separate locations and events with a “cooling off” period in between each and who usually commits the murders for a psychological thrill or pleasure. The general profile for a serial killer can be described as, but not limited to, Caucasian, male, and late 20s to early 30s in age, often killing within his own race, utilizing a “hands-on” method of murder, and selecting victims that share certain characteristics. However, more specific characteristics of a killer’s profile can vary based on his or her classification as either an organized or disorganized serial killer. Organized killers are typically very intelligent, meticulous, and charming, while disorganized killers usually have low IQ’s, lack close friends or family, and are extremely antisocial. Sometimes, a serial killer can be categorized as mixed; a mixed offender shows careful planning in his crime and indicates a high IQ within this process, but the murder in particular may be messy. Jack the Ripper is a prime example of a disorganized killer, as he primarily used overwhelming force to suddenly attack victims and left their bodies in the same place they were attacked. Ted Bundy is an infamous organized serial killer who was careful in selecting victims and considering the details of his plan to kill each.
Serial killers not only exhibit similar qualities as adults, but forensic psychologists have discovered that they also possessed parallel childhood tendencies and family lives. It is common for serial killers to have grown up with at least one biological parent present; however, family life is often unstable upon closer look. Other common childhood characteristics of serial killers include being a bed-wetter late in childhood, pyromaniac, and showing cruelty to animals.
Serial killers generally behave in a way that indicates anger, bitterness, or resentment pre-crime due to the fact that their series of killings is usually set off by a particular action rather than by resentment that has built up slowly and gradually over time.