The Green River Killer was the name given to a serial killer who murdered numerous women in the state of Washington in a period spanning the 1980 and the early 1990s. At the time, the police and detectives were unable to uncover the true identity of the serial killer, but advances in criminal investigative methodologies later after the turn of the millennium prompted Detective Reichert, a police Officer at the time of the murders who had now become the sheriff of King County, to revive the case. Fresh investigations uncovered Gary Ridgeway as the killer.
He had killed a total of forty nine victims and is suspected to be behind nine others. Gary Ridgeway killed his victims, who were mainly prostitutes, through strangulation or asphyxiation, sometimes using a ligature (Smith & Prothero, 2006). Criminal Typologies A typology is basically a systematic grouping of entities that have characteristics or traits similar or interrelated in nature, criminal typologies are therefore characterizations of the motivations behind a criminal’s criminal behaviors.
In other words, a criminal typology is a theory explained in such a way that it can be effectively applied to practically organize, classify, and understand a range of behaviors and acts that violate the law. In this research paper, I identify five different criminal typologies that I think would apply to Gary Ridgeway, the Green River serial killer and explain the reasons behind my conviction that they applied to him. The Psychological Typology From the time he a young boy, Gary Ridgeway’s life was troubled.
His relatives readily testify that his mother was very domineering, and her character caused a lot of conflicts between her and her husband (Smith & Prothero, 2006). These conflicts often ended in confrontations, and Gary and his brothers Gregory and Thomas witnessed enough violent confrontations between their parents. As a child, Gary Ridgeway scored an 82 in an IQ test, suggesting that his intelligence was low (Smith & Prothero, 2006). His grades were very poor, and his life was generally very troubled.
Living in an abusive family definitely affected the young Gary, even as his classmates and neighbors would later testify that he was an invisible student. He often exhibited strange behaviors, like when he stabbed a schoolmate and walked away laughing, remarking that he wondered how it is like to kill a person. He was 16 then, and definitely family struggles affected his outlook in life. The Sociological Typology As noted above, Gary Ridgeway’s life was troubled. Coming from a family with internal strife, he must have felt torn away from the society, and alienated from everything that was happening around him (Smith & Prothero, 2006).
He must have partly (and unconsciously) looking for a way to get even with the society which had taken so much away from him. As a kid, he was ignored by his peers even though most people who knew him describe him as being friendly. Sociological factors therefore contributed in the making of this serial killer (Smith & Prothero, 2006). Additionally, Gary is in record as opposing the activity of prostitutes in his neighborhood. Despite his frequent use of call girls, he was naturally, on account of his staunch Christian faith, opposed to prostitution.
Why he chose to kill prostitutes could be tracked back to his wishes for a fornication-free society, which is quite ironic for him. The Biological Typology According to his three wives and other women he slept with, Gary was sexually insatiable and often tended to exhibit masochist tendencies (Smith & Prothero, 2006). His second wife and a prostitute made allegations to the effect that he had placed each of them in chokeholds in the year 1991. In killing sexual partners who were mainly prostitutes, Gary Ridgeway might have looking to satisfy his sexual desires.
His two marriages had resulted in divorce since he could not be faithful to one sexual partner. He tended to commit outrageous acts of masochism to get satisfied sexually, and murder was the last resolve. The Legalistic Typology I have already pointed out that Gary Ridgeway was openly opposed to prostitution even though he himself sometimes sourced the services of prostitutes. He might have been angry with a political and legal system that had failed to address the issue of prostitution the way he would have wanted it addressed, prompting him to take matters into his own hands.
The fact that he targeted mainly prostitutes around his neighborhood speaks volumes about his intentions or the motivation behind his actions. The Multi-trait Typology Gary Ridgeway exhibited an intricate network of complex behaviors and responses. At one time, he is opposing prostitution, and at the other he is using services from prostitutes. There might be an entirely criminal intent however, considering the way he could dump the bodies of some of his victims across state borders. Conclusion
Criminal typologies can help us understand criminals better, or rather the motivations behind criminal activities. Armed with these theories, criminologists can have better intuition at solving serious atrocities like the ones committed by Gary Ridgeway. However, as the adage goes, prevention is better than cure. These theories can be used by criminal sociologists to plan interventions especially at schools to prevent recurrence of acts like the Green River incident. References Smith, C. , & Prothero, M. (2006). Defending Gary: Unraveling the Mind of the Green River Killer. San Francisco: A Wiley Imprint.