This paper focuses on the serial killings of John Robinson. Robinson was known at the first internet killer or Slavemaster. The paper will begin by analyzing the killer in serval aspects including criminal patterns, methods, means, modus operandi, and victimology.
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Robinson’s criminal spree continued for well over a decade filled with gruesome and disturbing killings. A discussion will also be done to include an explanation for Robinson’s actions based on biological, psychological, and sociological influences. Additionally, highlights will be made throughout this paper regarding how intelligence gathering can help in identified such threats to public safety.
John Edward Robinson is a lesser known serial killer that is also known as Slavemaster and the first internet serial killer (McClintick, 2013). Serial killers are often deemed maniac or monster. The crimes are often heinous and disturbing. However, society is often fascinated with these stories. The case of Robinson is particularly interesting for a wide array of reasons that will be discussed. He was committed at least eight murders ranging in time of over fifteen years (Kelley 2017). This paper will provide a full analysis of this serial killer and will include crime patterns, methods, means, modus operandi, and victimology. Additionally, a detailed discussion will be completed regarding John Robinson’s actions based on biological, psychological, and sociological influences.
Robinson was an experienced con man and an individual with an extensive criminal background (McAuliffe, n.d.). His criminal history includes embezzlement, forgery, thief, and swindler (McClintick, 2013). This is different from a lot of other serial killers since he did have an extensive background. However, neighbors knew him as a successful businessman (McClintick,2013). He was also active in church, a neighborhood activist, and officer of the president’s association (McClintick, 2013). He ultimately was living two lives. Neither his family or friends was aware of his double life. The next section of this paper will focus on an analysis of Robinson as a serial killer.
While Robinson’s, criminal career began with smaller crimes, it developed quickly to include murder. Robinson was particularly meticulous about choosing a victim. Unlike many notorious serial killers who randomly picked their victim, Robinson carefully chose his victims and got to know them (McClintick, 2013). His murders were driven by money and dominance (Mellor, 2014). His modus operandi was fairly consistent. He typically began communication by responding to ads on Fetish/BDSM websites (Mellor, 2014). Additionally, all of his known victims were females and mostly younger. The crimes he committed were very disturbing. One of the murders was a 19-year-old female who had a small baby girl. After he killed her he then sold her baby to his own brother (McAuliffe, n.d.) Additionally, he murdered a disabled teenager and her mother (McAuliffe, n.d.). He also convinced two women to become his sex slaves and was eventually apprehended when another woman accused him of assault and stealing her sex toys (McAuliffe, n.d.).
Robinson met his victims on the internet and lured them to Kansas with offers of employment and sadomasochistic sex (McClintick, 2013). He exploited the victims financially by getting their life savings and retirement accounts, cashing their disability checks, and even selling one of the victim’s child (McClintick, 2013). His method of killing the women was with a blunt object which was most likely a hammer (McClintick, 2013). The first known victim was Paula Godfrey, who just graduated from high school, and Robinson picked her up from her home after promising to enroll her in a school in Texas (McClintick, 2013). Her family never heard from her again and Robinson was asked about her whereabouts by police and denied any knowledge (McClintick, 2013). A letter was received by family shortly later signed by the victim stating that she was fine and with no other evidence, the police suspended the case (McClintick, 2013). Lisa Stasi was the next victim, who had the infant that was sold, was told by Robinson he was going to send her on a trip to Chicago and had her sign four blank sheets of paper. Again, when her family did not hear from her they contacted the police in Overland, which was he same area as Robinson was questioned in the first disappearance (McClintick, 2013). Robinson’s probation officer called the police about the Stasi case as well and was advised that they had no evidence of wrongdoing and were not pursuing either case at which point the Officer contacted the FBI (McClintick, 2013). Ultimately the FBI found evidence of many other criminal activities but none connected to the two-missing people (McClintick, 2013).
It is important to note the lack of intelligence gathering that was completed. Additional information should have and could have been pursued to try to rule out any foul play concerns. The law enforcement personnel could have made attempts to actually speak to the missing people instead of just dismissing them because of fake letters received in the mail. Had there been a more thorough investigation then the other victims might be alive. Instead, the murders continued for many years later. All in the same fashion with him befriending the victim and then disappearing. When family began looking for them he would use one of the signatures to type a letter and then mail to family. When he was finally caught, the bodies were found in barrels on his property and at a storage building (McAuliffe, n.d.).
Serial killers typically kill 10-12 times and the murders occurs over a period of several years (Holmes & Holmes 1998). Additionally, they usually maintain a low profile, give the appearance of being social responsible, and live virtually undetected lives for years (Holmes & Holmes, 1998). Holmes and Holmes (1998) further discusses that often when killing, the murderer is releasing humiliation in an attempt to regain lost power. It is also suggested that murder is a learned trait where the individual is instigated toward the behavior (Holmes & Holmes, 1998).
Many factors play a role in the development of a serial killer including biological, psychological, and social factors. It is most likely a combination of these factors that create a serial killer. Some biological aspects of serial killers include things such as hormones or gene influence. While it is difficult to identify these traits in serial killers such as John Robinson, it is plausible that he may have some factors playing a role especially given the fact of his fascination with sexual driven tendencies.
Psychological aspects of serial killers are also important to discuss. Psychopathy (also known as sociopathy) is a common aspect of serial killers (Cook, 2011). This means that the person is sane and know right from wrong but lack conscience and empathy (Cook, 2011). While no clear diagnosis exists for Robinson, he exhibits an astonishing number of characteristics that will be briefly discussed. Some characteristics includes superficial charm and good intelligence, absence of delusions or irrational thinking, absence of nervousness, unreliability, untruthfulness, lack of remorse/shame, poor judgement, pathological egocentricity, sex life impersonal and poorly integrated, and failure to follow any life plan (Cook, 2011). Additionally, they have an answer for everything, blame others, show no remorse or guilt, and they say what is expected and what people want to hear (McDermott & Belafonte, 2013). He found out what women’s desires and dreams were and offered to fulfil those (McDermott & Belafonte, 2013). Many of these characteristics are present in Robinson that have been previously discussed.
Social factors are external things that influence and shape individuals. It can be family, friends, media, and technology just to name a few. Individuals can learn behaviors from others that trigger such unreasonable behaviors such as serial killings. For example, killings being glamorized in the media may influence a person. In this case perhaps it involved technology. Robinson was known as the first internet killer as he relied on BDSM chat rooms to fulfill his fantasies. The lifestyle he lived with BDSM was violent in nature. Perhaps this website helped encourage and condone such behaviors to the point of escalating his fantasies to the level of murder. Robinson was a psychopathic sexual sadist in which financial gain and dominance was his goal (Mellor,2014). He also had a visible aggressive side and some of his neighbors even noted that he could be prickly and mean when upset (McClintick, 2013). Additionally, Robinson very much liked to control his surroundings and neighbors reported him yelling at his wife and kids like a drill sergeant (McClintick, 2013).
Robinson’s killings were calculated and troubling in the fact of how he befriended the women. Intelligence gathering is critical to prevent and end threats and potential threats. In a case as severe as this, it is critical that intelligence gathering be effective as it can be the difference between life and death for the next potential victim. Additionally, an analysis was completed of this serial killer and included crime patterns, methods, means, modus operandi, and victimology. These areas are key elements in intelligence gathering and identifying a suspect. The behavior of a serial killer often leaves many people wondering why and how someone case can exhibit such violent and careless behavior. This paper also evaluated Robinson’s behavior based on biological, psychological, and sociological influences.
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McAuliffe, C. (n.d.). 14 Disturbing Facts about the First Internet Serial Killer, John Edward
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McClintick, D. (2013). Serial Killer J.R. Robinson’s Sinister Alter Ego. Vanity Fair. Retrieved from https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2001/06/jr-robinson-serial-killer
McDermott, M. & Belafonte, H. (2013). Booktalking Anyone you Want me to Be: A true story of sex and death on the internet. New York Public Library. Retrieved from https://www.nypl.org/blog/2013/10/18/booktalking-anyone-you-want-me-be-john-douglas
Mellor, L. (2014). John Edward Robinson: The Spider’s Web. Serial Killer Quarterly. Retrieved from https://www.serialkillerquarterly.com/skq-review/welcome
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