Interview with John Douglas, Author of "The Killer Across the Table"



good morning everybody and welcome to lawn crime I'm Jesse Weber and thanks for joining us here on the program where we cover the most interesting live trials and legal stories in the news today now today is interesting because we are going to be live in two different trials one in South Carolina one in Vermont you have two defendants five victims each in both cases and they are both extremely tragic and sad cases that we're going to be covering and the defendants in both interestingly enough are both arguing insanity you can't make this up couldn't have planned this now we're gonna have an opportunity a little bit later on in the program obviously to cover these trials and talk about them but right now we have something special for you and I want to talk about it right now as you know here on our programs we cover really the worst of the worst we cover all different kinds of killers they come in all different forms and types but one of the common questions that everybody of all of our audience and we ask ourselves is why would someone do this why would someone do the crimes that you see on this network and maybe well yeah I'll say yes our next guest might have those answers because he is someone who is sat across from and interviewed some of the most notorious killers in this country John Douglas is a legendary criminal profiler from the FBI and former special agent who's the author of an absolutely incredible book that we want to talk about right now it's called the killer across the table do we have it I want to show it if we can I want everybody to see the cover there we go the killer across the table unlocking the secrets of serial killers and predators with the FBI's original mine hunter John great to have you here on lawn crime it's a pleasure what is it like sitting across you know I'm looking at you as I was reading a book I and now I get a chance to sit across from you any time you're sitting across from somebody do you happen do you analyze them in a way that they might not be expecting the well do you mean the bad guys are someone like yourself no a lot of people think I'm doing that all the time and that I'm assessing things like I assess the environment if I'm out looking I probably look at things different than you I'm maybe with the family I'm looking at sites this would be one heck of a disposal site here if there's this was a disposal site we'd probably never find the body so that's kind of weird working this stuff in so many for so many years right oh you know but it's it's been interesting yeah absolutely now I loved your book and I was curious about this off the front now you focus on Joseph McGowan Joseph Kandra Donald Harvey Todd Christopher Cole hat these are for killers that you predominantly analyze in this book and while the book also discusses Manson and Bundy and Dean and the BTK killer why did you focus on these four they're there each interesting they're each different in the the types of crimes that they they perpetrated I just got so much out of the interview of these four characters it was like Maga like McGowan it was just amazing I wish at the time I had a video camera on us to see how he reacted during the during the interview where he was responsible killing this brownie you know seven-year-old brownie and he got Donald Harvey he who was an orderly in the hospital several hospitals and he ended up killing may be as many as as a hundred you have a guy named Giocondo in the state of Washington never had a case like this where he kills children but he kills his friends children he did this over a period of time and participated in searches and and so he was picked on by me as well and then I go down in South Carolina guidance that by the name of Todd Cole Hef who shoots and kills four people in a motorcycle shop and that's when the cops heard me speaking on the University down there and they said hey John can you help us on that case which I would end up doing but then meanwhile he goes on he kills three other people if you recall a case or or your viewers this was the case where they rescued a woman Karla Brown in a container where Cole that kept her for several several months in the summer and his only mistake he said is I should have killed her he he let her live I'm glad you mentioned that so I think it was Joseph McGowan who when you were interviewing he said at one point he just knew he had to kill this seven-year-old girl that statement that he just knew he had to kill is that a common statement that you've seen her a common theme from a lot of these killers they knew they had to do this well it starts off as fantasy with with most of them its it begins with fantasy maybe fantasy fuel buy pornography or now the internet the stuff on you know on the internet but it but eventually even like when interview like Dennis Rader the BTK strangler a lotta Gann with drawings and a bondage and discipline and also where it could hold a woman a captive for a period of time and he and he would draw draw a like torture you know torture chambers you know with these you know with these women but it is eventually the fantasy no longer become as satisfying for them so they they decide to you know to act out in the case of McGowan he said when he heard the door I looked up and heard this knocking at the screen door he said John I knew I was going to kill her the fascinating part about it the interview is that I did the interview in a very low lighting I wanted darkness I found over the years if I can do a nighttime interview I'll prefer to do a nighttime interview low lighting very little little furniture you know no cuffs on no leg eyes and bring him in the room but I don't want you corrections to interrupt this interaction good to have and what happens is it takes a while but I want to try to turn on the CD in the brain to take him back to the crime that he perpetrated thirty years ago they were getting ready to release him back into society he had served the maximum sentence for killing this this young young child he was a schoolteacher with the Masters a master's degree and Jesse was fascinating at one point because when I said you don't go back take me back thirty years ago what was the like and he said when I heard the knock on the screen door I knew I was gonna kill her what did you do and then he talks about how he got her down into the basement and he started talking to me about rage he had white rage and red rage and what do you mean by that he's a red rage is something that that I can control the red rage but white rage is something that I have no control over and the reason he was experiencing this rage at that time was was he got demoted on his in the job as a schoolteacher he was living with his mother who was away at work his grandmother's upstairs hard of hearing doesn't know what's going on up there it's it's over the Easter holidays the school his fellow schoolmates there go off the teachers go off to the Bahamas did not invite him breaks up with his girlfriend she wants nothing to do with him anymore so the parole board's thinking that they're dealing with a pedophile that's killing a seven-year-old old girl and that's not going to be the case when I do the evaluation so he goes through all of the the specifics of the case and and how did you know what did you do he says well he talks about how he sexually assaulted or he tells me about how difficult was to manually strangle a manually strangled to kill her it's a lot harder John than it is in the in the movies takes talking about it like it's no it's just like you and I talking about our you know going to lunch or something you know something like that and so this goes on but what's amazing as he's telling me this it was freezing in this in this cell that we were all right the entity was being conducted and the guards would be looking in the window once in a while he'd be looking out but he was sweating and his pecs were shaking as he's telling me this story he's just he's just trembling and so what I was able to do it was the kick on the fantasy and I was very positive in my and in my interview with him like not if you go get out when you get out like a seduction you said that's right and again he's trying to show this this empathy and and and like I'm on I'm on his side here and my job is to evaluate him to see if he could have this propensity for future future you know violence he takes me through anything and what really came out at one point was I when you get out where you going he said New York City and Weiss is because another inmate was in here has an electrician up in New York I said and he said I said it's expensive up there and he looks back to see if the guard is looking and listening it and he says John I got money I said why make a license plates and any whatever he says no he keeps looking back he says well my mother died I got life her life insurance well my grandmother died I got the insurance for my grandmother and then as well as the house when they sold the house but I said I put the money out of state and why did you that so the victims families can't get in any other money I've read that part and you said how more evil can a person yeah that really just even more towards their family and you know the thing that struck me I'm always looking for common characteristics they got very defensive when they mention their mother's right seem very much he's a big factor when you trying to understand how they were brought up so can you explain that look what is the relationship between maybe a domineering mother and somebody who ultimately ends up being a killer yeah as a matter of fact a woman in a book review of my current book really blasted me the other day only gave me a three star that was on Thursday yeah because I'm blaming as many of these guys the it it's routed back to early childhood it goes back to early childhood there's the total dysfunction there and there may be abandonment there and then they may be some type of physical sexual psychological abuse directed towards this this trial and so then it's it's not that every every child who experiences those things will grow up to be a bad anything but I can tell you of the people who have interviews we and other agents have interviewed in our research we find this we find this this characteristic and you know in the backgrounds of them and it's a love-hate relationship and and I don't want to interviewed Gary Hyde Nick one time and Lesley Stahl just went to 60 minutes and Gary Hyde Nick from your your viewers we remember in the movie Silence of the Lambs the guy Buffalo Bill kept the women down in a pit oh yeah you remember that well that was know that he was a composite of three killers Ed Gein Ted Bundy and Gary heightening out of Philadelphia what a mixture who I yeah wonderful wonderful guys and interviewed him and all these guys but but when I brought up them the mother apart with him it really threw him off it scared the hell out of out of the film crew that was it was all around there but but every time you get to the mother it's just love-hate kind of relationship now the crimes he was perpetrating it or heinous I mean he was worse than even then in silence the Lambs he would put women in the pit in the basement but fill the pit up with water with them in the pit and then he had these shackles on him and we get electric wire and electrocute then then he went so far as to to put take the victim there's one victim and a meat grinder fed her to the rest of the women and his dogs and he claimed insanity as it as a defense help and I insist in the prosecutor to show that yeah he's committing insane acts but look at some of it look at his behavior look what he did he boarded up the house so no one can hear the screams and yells from these victims and down in the face when he cemented in you know in the windows plus he had over six hundred thousand in the bank trying to keep make sure they doesn't get caught he knows the difference between right and wrong the question is and you interview them and I remember when you said you'd they would recount these crimes it was almost a shift in their eyes they would recount this is there a sense of fondness there's a sense of pride I mean there'd be coming Taurus for a reason based upon their crime so when they look back on it are they proud of what they did yes in in most cases that they are proud there's no feeling to them it's justifiable murder when they perpetrate crimes like this they're the ones they look at themselves as a victim a victim no society a victim of this upbringing that they had but but they they had free will they are able and I'll tell them this at some point right in the interview that you were able to make these choices you made the wrong choices but you it was you who made the choice at the decide to go out and you know and kill and now you should face the consequences and be punished but when I do the interview I'm not really a real and your nose kind of guy and the thing that really surprised and which is different than in the mine hunter series that you see which is based on me and and and the work is that I go in with no notes I have no notes I have no tape recorder I fully research them you research them you know the case backwards and fours with dr. Anne Burgess and Boston College who we teamed up with back in the late 70s and 80s we developed a 57 page computer I has protocol for the interview process but we fill out a lot of that people from the prison records police files and then the rest it's good to be from the interview but you're not doing this you're not filling out in a form and and there you're dealing with very paranoid individuals they don't why you taking knows why do you have a tape recorder you know here they don't trust you they don't trust this the corrections they don't trust the other inmates in there they don't want to be perceived as a snitch in the system so some of the feedback that I've gotten from an including McGowan after I did the interview with him and then I went of course I went for the parole board and and slam dunked him but he was writing to someone a lot of these guys get girlfriends it's amazing how many girlfriends they get in prison that the worst of crime the more love letters they seem they seem to get and he was telling me so you know during the interview this guy Douglas developed this profiling for the FBI I looked down he had no notes he had no no no and he was taking he knew everything about the case more so than the psychiatrist and said Colin DUP to you and they they had this rapport with you but I kind of admit if I was sitting across from these people I would be a little scared I'd be a little nervous did you ever feel nervous and you ever feel scared a little bit the aw I interviewed an Aryan Nation a brotherhood guy one time was shot and killed Alan Berg in his driveway he was a disc jockey yeah and Colorado and he was a mean a mean guy and they brought him in shackles and understand why until they caught him in the room with me and now that I knew why he wanted to kill me he hated that of course who I represent and and and hated what'd he say to you – well that's the thing I thought this is a wasted interview because because he's not saying he's basically you know lecturing preaching to me but then I'm writing no I am getting something out of this because if you deal if I'm involved in a situation or a law enforcement agency we have to we may negotiate but we have to go into into a posture a tactical type of posture because you're not gonna change the thinking of these guys you know there's so mission-oriented do any of them keep you up at night I mean when you look back and I know you said Ed Gein you didn't even have a chance to really dissect him because he was already kind of lost as mine at the time but like when you look back at maybe Manson or Bundy or even the killer's that you mentioned in the book is there anybody that you think about late a nice yes still haunts me I'll be perfectly honest with you it affected me it affected me my relationship with wife your in bed at night time and and you may have some flashback of some horrific ation you're dealing with but one of the worst ones where there were these two guys in prison in the California system they're convicted rapist named dedeker and Norris and their fantasy was to get when they get out when they're when they rehabilitated they've got to get out and they go to rape and murder of teenagers and for every year of a teenager's life so they're gonna try to find him from 13 to 19 years of age they get a vehicle and the vehicle of choice is a van and it's usually a commercial type of van where the insulating the interior no one can hear the screams and yells or anything like that and then they proceeded to kill but they taped they actually taped the the torturing of the victim it's it's hard to imagine and I really I got a thank you for all of your service and what you've done it's been tremendous and listen I think thanks for coming up thank you Jeff thank you very much everybody pick up the book the killer across the table we encourage everybody to read it John Douglas everybody we are gonna take a quick break on our end and talk about more about our live trials stay tuned

5 thoughts on “Interview with John Douglas, Author of "The Killer Across the Table"

  1. He is an amazing human being for sure!! He was involved with my sisters case, and did the profile, and when I tell you that he nailed everything about the guy, he really did nail it. He told the DA that he was going to kill another girl soon and unfortunately he was right about that too. He was a serial rapist, my sister was his 1st victim and 5 months later he killed again. But I'm certain if he didn't help out with the case and profile there would've been way more than 2 victims for sure!! It was in 1996 in a place called Olathe, Kansas, and years later we finally got to meet him and thank him in person. He was down here working with the DA that prosecuted our case, well the same DA was that prosecuted the BTK case in Johnson County, so when he was down here we went and had lunch with him. He's brilliant!!

  2. Fantastic interview, John Douglas is brilliant. I will be buying his book ASAP.

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