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James Thomas

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Criminal
James Thomas
Name James Thomas
Alias The Couple Killer
Gender Male
Family Mary-Ann Thomas (wife)
Occupation Locksmith
Pathology Serial Killer (originally)
Spree Killer (later)
Modus Operandi Shooting (husbands and one wife)
Stabbing (wives)
No. of Victims 15 killed
1+ attempted
Status Deceased
Portrayed By Craig Sheffer
First Appearance Compromising Positions

"No, now it's my turn..."

James Thomas was a serial-turned-spree killer who appeared in Compromising Positions.

BackgroundEdit

James and his wife, Mary-Ann, were regular swingers. He would usually select husbands for Mary-Ann, let them have sex with her and then step in himself. He worked as a freelancing locksmith. In 2009, he suffered from a condition called prostatic hyperplasia. He went in for a routine surgery which went bad, forcing the doctors to remove the whole prostate, rendering him impotent in the process. He and Mary-Ann still kept attending swingers' parties, even though he couldn't take part in the activities. One day, his wife became pregnant with another man. This loss of control drove James to murder the man who impregnated Mary-Ann. Sometime later, being further spurred by his impotence, he started serial killing, targeting couples whose husbands were alpha males that he met previously.

Compromising PositionsEdit

In the beginning of the episode, James, having claimed the lives of the Kepplers four days prior, has completed his ritual again, forcing the Hartways to have sex in a car and then killing them. The two double homicides lead to the BAU being called in by the local police department. During his attack on the Wilsons, the husband puts up too much of a fight, completely destroying the fantasy. After a long struggle, James is able to reach his gun and shoot the husband to death. He then turns to the wife, forcing her to say she wants him. In an attempt to survive, she plays along, even taking off her robe, only to be shot and killed as well. James later attends another swingers' party. The host lets him in, knowing him but asks why Mary-Ann isn't with him; James claims that she is on her way and is trusted. On the dance floor, he sees a dancing couple being approached by another man, which is his usual fantasy. As the trio make out in a couch, James watches them and grows increasingly frustrated until he snaps, pulls out a pair of handguns, and shoots the two men and any other man in his sight. He then begins moving around the house, shooting any men he can find, and escapes. When investigating the scene of the mass shooting, Reid and Rossi discover that James unlocked a door by successfully picking it rather than shooting it open (even though it was a deadbolt lock that could be easily shot through), an act which only a professional could do.

Garcia narrows down the list of potential suspects to James. The BAU and local police raid his home and find Mary-Ann, who, surprisingly, is pregnant. They question her, trying to learn who the father is, but she keeps claiming that James is the father, even though his impotence predates her impregnation and there is no record of her being inseminated in some other way. Reid shows her crime scene photos of men who have been killed by the same type of weapon that James uses. When she sees one of them, she breaks down and admits that he is the father, not James. They ask her about their prior sexual habits, since James is most likely revisiting old patterns. She tells them that they used to do pickup roleplays at a local bar. The BAU go to the bar and find James there. Since he is highly mentally unstable and there would be a lot of collateral damage if provoked, Prentiss goes in pretending to be a fellow swinger who met him years earlier when together with a boyfriend. She begins chatting him up in order to distract him while the others approach him. Realizing that she is lying when she gets his pattern wrong (he always chose husbands for Mary-Ann, never boyfriends), James grabs a gun within his jacket. While SWAT enters, Prentiss reaches into her handbag and shoots James through it. As he lies, dying, he asks Prentiss to tell Mary-Ann that he loves her.

Modus OperandiEdit

James initially targeted couples, the husbands of which he came across during his line of work and were always alpha males. He obtained their personal information by using his skills as a locksmith to open their gym lockers. He would approach them somehow, bind them with handcuffs, make the men ingest Viagra, and force them to have sex in front of him, even setting up a romantic scenery with candles and soft music (depending on what the background scene of the act permitted) and make the husbands wear a condom to make things as comfortable as possible. Once the couple were done, he would kill the husbands by shooting them with a suppressed 9mm handgun and stab the wives to death. The shots were usually not immediately fatal, so as to assure that the husbands would live long enough to see James kill their wives. During the massacre at the party, he used an un-suppressed pair of his usual handguns and targeted only the men.

ProfileEdit

The unsub is an emasculated Caucasian alpha male in his 40s with a near obsessive-compulsive need for control, and judging by the repeated details of the murders, it seems that his ritual is essential to him. These patterns are how he maintains dominance in a world thar he feels powerless in, both sexually and socially. He is a troilist, or someone who gets off on staging scenes and participating in them, such as recording sexual acts on camera or coming to swinger parties.[1] The point for him is the overall performance during the act. He almost definitely has some woman in his life, most likely a wife, as he would otherwise not be allowed to enter inside a swingers' party alone. The fact that his fantasy is two men with one woman suggests that his fantasy is sharing his wife with an unmarried man and then stepping in to prove his masculinity. He practiced this fantasy in his ordinary life, but, when he became impotent for some reason, he could no longer complete it and began killing to gain release. He wouldn't have been the only one questioning his manhood, as his wife would have done so as well. She may have cheated on him or left him; either way, his wife would have been his first loss of control.

Paul Wilson's attack showed him how physically weak he was, and Debra Wilson's enticement reminded him of how futile his fantasies were. Because of his last murder, which went very wrong and disrupted his ritual, he will begin a process called "decompensating", which describes the collapse of OCD patterns that mentally-ill patients use to cope; once one pattern fails, they all do. This means that, since his ritualized fantasy has failed, it will affect his future ones, making him extremely dangerous to the public, and since his first loss of control was most likely his wife, he will start pursuing new fantasies. If he his decompensating, his wife will be the pattern he will attack next as part of the breakdown, or women like her. At the end of a decompensation, the unsub will go in a temporary psychotic break and start revisiting old patterns to see if they would still work. When he finds that they do not, he will be compelled to destroy them and anyone involved in them.

Known VictimsEdit

  • 2010:
    • July-September: The unnamed man who impregnated Mary-Ann (shot at an unknown location)
    • October 6: Robert and Allison Keppler (killed in their house)
    • October 10: Scott and Kathy Hartway (killed in their car)
    • October 12: Paul and Debra Wilson (both were shot at point-blank range in their house)
    • October 13:
      • Eight men killed, and likely several others injured, in the swingers' party massacre. Known casualties are:
        • The two unnamed men shot first (both shot repeatedly)
        • An unnamed man (shot in the head)
        • An unnamed man having sex with the party's host (the last fatality in the shooting)
      • The bar standoff:
        • Numerous unnamed bar employees and customers (intended to shoot)
        • Emily Prentiss (attempted to shoot)

AppearancesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. This is an incorrect term, since troilism actually refers to sexual activity involving three participants (which is what James would do during his first stage of killings)

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