(TheRedWire.com) – Many serial killers evade the law for years, but when they are caught, often it’s because they’ve made some very dumb mistakes.
For all intents and purposes, Richard “the Iceman” Kuklinski appeared to be an average, suburban, middle-class husband and father who lived and worked in New Jersey. However, he came to the attention of authorities in the mid-’80s. A series of killings seemed to be linked to him, mainly because he seemed to be the last person to see several of the victims alive, but there wasn’t any decisive evidence linking him directly to the crimes.
During an 18-month investigation, an undercover agent posed as a hit-man and gained Kuklinski’s trust. After the agent described some of his supposed kills, Kuklinski responded by telling him about the many hits he had made and the methods he had used, including putting victims on ice afterward to confuse the time of death. The agent recorded his impromptu confession. As a result, the Iceman was convicted of 6 murders and sentenced to a minimum of 60 years with 2 additional life sentences added for confessions he made after the conviction.
If that’s not dumb enough, what about a case broken by a killer handing over a floppy disk? The BTK (which stands for Bind, Torture, and Kill) killer, Dennis Rader, began terrorizing Wichita, Kansas, in 1974. Over 20 years, 10 people fell victim to an unknown monster. Until Rader made stupid mistakes, he almost got away with it, but he fell victim to his ego.
In 2004, a Wichita newspaper published an article saying the BTK killer was likely dead or in prison. Rader not only wanted credit for his misdeeds, but he also wanted the authorities to know he was still around. So he left a package containing murder plans and a question at a Home Depot for police, then sent them a message via a local television station asking them to respond via a newspaper ad. Law enforcement happily obliged him.
In the encrypted ad, the police responded by suggesting they would not be able to trace a floppy disk. Emboldened by their information, Rader provided the police with copies of pictures and other files on floppy disks, not realizing the police could trace his name as the floppy file creator on his church’s computer. As a result, he’s now serving ten consecutive life terms.
Sometimes, seemingly brilliant criminals do the dumbest things. Let’s hope they continue to make it easy on investigators in the future.
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