|“||I see a guy walking down the street with a stupid look on his face and I want to bash him over the head with a bottle. To me that's normal. It's weird to me that no one else feels that way. It's all I think about. I can't stop.||”|
— Olson to Rossi
"I always knew I'd end up back in prison; just a matter of when. You can come interview me if you want. I read in one of your books that's how you build your behavioral database, right? Maybe you can learn something from me. I got a lot of questions myself. I'll be honest with you if you're honest with me. 'Cause the one thing that you always ask is the one I don't understand: why. I've no idea why."
Eric was born on March 28, 1985, and, by his own account, was a sickly child, regularly suffering from illnesses such as strep throat. Following his arrest for attempted sexual assault in 2005, he spent three-and-a-half years in prison. During his incarceration, he took up independent correspondent classes in forensic science and criminology with Gladman University. After being paroled in July 2008, Eric met a bar waitress named Linda Jones through the Internet, and the two began dating. Eric, using his extensive knowledge of serial killers, began committing a series of copycat murders. By randomly choosing victims and alternating M.O.s, his crimes were unconnected by the authorities. To relive his kills, Eric took pictures of the murder sites, framed them and decorated the walls of his apartment with them, while Linda was unaware of Eric's status as a serial killer. The two had a mostly normal relationship, except for the fact that Eric would regularly have Linda play the victim in his sexual fantasy. This fantasy involved him pretending to choke, rape, and later kiss her on the forehead at the sites where he committed his murders, this being the only way he could achieve a fulfilling sexual experience.
While walking home from the liquor store one night, Eric passes by the house of one of his victims, spotting criminology student Zoe Hawkes snooping around the property. Approaching Zoe, Eric convinces her he is not a threat and the two begin talking, with Zoe eventually mentioning the deaths, which she theorizes are the work of one killer, that have plagued the area over the last few weeks. Thinking Zoe is onto to him, Eric locks the yard gate and advances on her, bashing her with a bottle when she panics and tries to run. When Zoe falls, Eric garrotes her with her own scarf, feeling compelled to kiss her forehead while doing so. His murder of Zoe having helped him discover his preferred method of killing, Eric, after skimming through one of Rossi's books, goes to a hardware store and buys some wire, which he uses later that night to murder a jogger, dumping the corpse in a body of water near a bridge. The BAU initially believe the latest murder to be another copycat kill, copied from Altemio Sanchez, the Bike Path Rapist. Whipped into a murderous frenzy, Eric, after augmenting and practicing with his garrote, kills a homeless woman in the morning, leading the BAU to believe that he has now "found his own style".
Eric spends the rest of the day in the bar where Linda works. When Linda gets off work, Eric meets her in the park and the two go into the bushes to have sex, Eric pretending to choke her, as usual. As Eric unfastens his pants, the BAU, having found Eric's DNA on Zoe's body and, thinking he is in the midst of committing another murder, appear and arrest him, surprised to learn that Linda is his girlfriend. While in custody, Eric, against the advice of his lawyer, asks to speak with Rossi, claiming to be a big fan. Implying that he had committed more than just the eight murders he is being charged with, Eric makes it clear he wants a deal, and he and Rossi get into a lengthy discussion, in which Rossi gives a brief profile of Eric, explaining why he has been kissing his latest victims. After talking to Linda and inspecting Eric's apartment, discovering his picture collection, the BAU discern where the bodies of his other four victims are, leaving Eric without a bargaining chip. Conceding, Eric admits to Rossi that he does not know why he feels compelled to kill people and claims he just cannot stop himself, also asking Rossi if he would be willing to visit and interview him in prison.
"My lawyer here explains that I'm being charged with eight murders and that I'm probably looking at the death penalty. I've one very important question for you...are you sure it's just eight?"
The unsub is a white male in his early to mid-20s and an anger-excitation offender who copies the M.O.'s of other killers because he is inexperienced and essentially trying to find himself, trying to discern which method of killing he prefers, hence why the crime scenes seemed disorganized (the cuts on Lily Nicks's neck were shallow, the unsub seemed unable to decide what to kill Kayla James with, etc.). This means he is young and impressionable, likely a student studying Criminology, whose computer would be filled with research on serial killers and images of violent crimes and snuff films, which he would treat like pornography that would provide him with a sexual release. The unsub would be socially immature, of average intelligence, psychopathic, and antisocial, meaning he probably lives alone. His small kill zone means he is a geographically stable offender and, because his first act was to mimic the somewhat obscure Butcher of Kingsbury Run (who he did not copy fully, being "frightened" of the crime and wanting to get it over with as soon as possible), he is likely a lifelong resident of the area, who grew up hearing stories of the Butcher. He would keep up with the investigation, has probably committed more murders than the ones that are accounted for, and, like most young people, his mind is always very active. If caught, it is likely that he would be curious and ask a variety of questions about himself and his condition.
When the unsub's murders began showing consistency, it was realized the unsub had found himself, likely due to his murder of Zoe. That crime was completely unplanned and disorganized, with the unsub acting quickly and on instinct, liking what came naturally to him and wanting to feel it again. Something is causing him to go on a rampage, most likely a drastic change in his life, or something that he lost or gained control of, like himself. Finally defining himself as a serial strangler drives him into a frenzy, causing him to commit a string of practice murders to perfect his style. His signature (the action he needed to perform during his murders that gave him psychological release) was kissing the forehead of his victims, to feel the heat leave them.
Rossi theorized, judging by Eric's slight, pale and sickly appearance, that his parents kissed his forehead to check his temperature when he was sick and that, at some point in his development, he warped that caring gesture into something perverted.
In his search for a unique M.O. to use, Eric initially copied the M.O.s of infamous killers that he researched, primarily through Rossi's books. As such, he killed people through a variety of means, which included shooting, throat slashing, and asphyxiation, with two of his victims also being raped even though the original killers didn't do so to their victims.
After strangling Zoe with her scarf, Eric found that he enjoyed using this method of killing, and began using a length of wire to garrote his victims from the front. His signature for his last three murders was kissing the victim's forehead as he or she died as a reference to how his parents would kiss him on the forehead when he was sick as a child and so that he could feel the life drain out of them. As a forensic countermeasure, Eric did something to remove his saliva from his victims (with the exception of Zoe, since her murder was spontaneous and incidental), such as throwing the jogger's body in water and wiping the homeless woman's forehead with an alcohol swab. It is unknown if the basis of the murders of Eric's first four victims were based on the M.O.'s of other infamous killers.
Outside of his copycat killings, Eric's habit of having sex with his girlfriend at his old crime scenes may be also based on David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam, who would return to his crime scenes and masturbate there. The aforementioned habit also seems to be an allusion of Arthur Shawcross's tendency to bring his unknowing wife to the scenes of his own murders. Also, his habit of framing photos of his murder sites and hanging them on his walls may have been somewhat based on Harvey Glatman, a.k.a. The Lonely Hearts Killer, who would strangle his victims with a ligature, much like Eric did with his last three victims, take photos of them before and after he killed them, frame them, and hang them on his apartment walls as well. Additionally, a segment of the above quote he gives to Rossi seems to be similar to one stated by Edmund Kemper, the Co-Ed Killer. Eric's signature of kissing his last three victims after killing them is also similar to how Gilles de Rais would do the same thing after killing his victims.
- January 28, 2005: Unnamed woman (attempted to rape)
- An unidentified victim (killed by unknown causes and buried his body in Cedar Park)
- An unidentified victim (killed by unknown causes and dumped his body in the Edgewater Channel)
- An unidentified victim (killed by unknown causes and buried his body in Cuyahoga Valley Park)
- An unidentified victim (killed by unknown causes and dumped his body in the Euclid Creek)
- January 9: Travis Bartlett (a homosexual; lured from a gay bar and shot at a park in Kingsbury Run; partially based on The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run's murder of Edward W. Andrassy)
- January 22: Lily Nicks (a prostitute; was raped and had her throat slashed repeatedly and shallowly with a knife in an alley; partially based on Jack the Ripper's murder of Elizabeth Stride)
- February 8: June Appleby and Troy Wersteler (two college students; both shot in the head inside a car at a parking lot with a .44 Charter Arms Bulldog revolver in an ambush; based on David Berkowitz's murders of Alexander Esau and Valentina Suriani)
- February 15: Kayla James (a homeowner; bound, raped, and fatally suffocated in a home invasion; partially based on Dennis Rader's murder of Shirley Vian Relford)
- February 18: Zoe Hawkes (incidental; was struck in the head with a bag of bottles, then fatally strangled with her scarf at Kayla James's crime scene)
- February 19: Unnamed male jogger (strangled with a garrote wire at a bike path and dumped his body in a nearby creek)
- February 20: Unnamed homeless woman (strangled with a garotte wire like the previous victim at an alley)
- Eric appears to have been inspired by Daniel Dryden, a criminal who appeared in the Criminal Minds novel Killer Profile. Both were serial killers who copied the M.O.s of famous serial killers from the past, with one of their murders emulating David Berkowitz, Son of Sam. Some differences between the two included Daniel devolving to copying spree killers, while Eric evolved to using his own M.O.; some of Eric's murders not being copycat killings; and their motivations behind their series of killings.
- According to his file from the Department of Corrections, Eric's Social Security number is 960-28-1959.
- ↑ This is an incorrect statement in actuality, since that victim, along with most of the Butcher's other victims, was killed by decapitation