A new breed of predator… white supremacist serial killers.

Up until now, John E. Douglas, veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Behavioral Science Unit (BSU), has encountered serial killers who kill to indulge their unusual and antisocial psychological fantasies. Unless you count genocide such as from the Nazi regime of Germany, the Chinese treatment of Uyghurs, or the Rwandan genocide. Racial hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan kill and terrorize communities, but they do so in groups. Joseph Paul Franklin acted on a solo basis to rid the world of people that he considered to be undesirable. A frightening new category of serial killer was entering the FBI’s lexicon.

Franklin’s sisters reported that Joseph started showing more interest in racist groups when he was a teenager, and that he subscribed to white supremacist magazines. He grew impatient with racist groups because he perceived them as engaging in too much talk and too little action. His former wife, Anita, reported to police that his racist diatribes were frequent and lengthy. She did not appreciate how he treated her, and Franklin told her that he did not want the responsibility of caring for their baby daughter. 

Joseph Paul Franklin was a sniper, and he set off on his goal to kill as many black people as possible. It particularly irked him to see interracial couples, which he targeted frequently. The man also committed bank robberies in order to finance his killing escapades and his family’s living expenses. He would often return home to Anita with large sums of cash that could not be easily explained. This villain needed to be stopped in his tracks. 

FBI psychological profiler John E. Douglas set to work. 

Douglas was both shocked and pleased that the brass of the FBI was beginning to take behavioral science seriously. He and his unit had grown slowly over the decades because the bureaucracy was reluctant to consider a new method of solving crime. BSU typically analyzes crime scenes and evidence to create a profile to help search for persons of interest. However, in this case, they already had a suspect, and they wanted Douglas to help build the case. Douglas set to work in reverse to help take this dangerous person off of the streets so that he could not hurt another individual.

The Killer’s Shadow: the FBI’s Hunt For a White Supremacist Serial Killer by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, 2020

This is a fascinating work, as always. John E. Douglas is an amazing crime fighter and a brilliant psychologist.

John E. Douglas’ web site

Books about hate crime
Books about serial killers