We will soon be the slaves and the machines will be the masters.

Kenneth Roberts is a spree killer and serial bomber who appeared in Empty Planet.


Kenneth was adopted at a young age. His adoptive mother died when he was eight. Several years later, his adoptive father needed a blood transfusion. When Kenneth tried to donate his blood, it was discovered that they had nothing genetically in common. Before dying, his adoptive father admitted to Kenneth that he was adopted. Kenneth tried to find his birth mother but he wasn't able to since the records were sealed; however, he did find out that he was adopted in Youngstown, Ohio. Around the same time, he found out that postmodern literature professor and one-hit wonder science fiction writer, Ursula Kent, had put up her child for adoption there, the same year that Kenneth was adopted. This, combined with the plot of her novel, Empty Planet, made Kenneth believe that Ursula was, in fact, his biological mother. In order to be close to her, he moved to Seattle and studied under her at St. Denis University.

During this time, Kenneth began to believe that Empty Planet was a prophecy of the future and he was the hero in the story. He later joined the Freedom From Technology Brigade, or the FFT Brigade, a Seattle-based anti-technology activism movement. On October 8, 2006, the brigade was responsible for an attack on a science lab, in which a young disguised attacker smashed several computers while shouting, "We will soon be the slaves and the machines will be the masters." Previously during the spring, the FFT Brigade was also responsible for destroying four computers at an Internet cafe located near St. Denis University using floppy disc bombs. They left a note reading "Ultimately you'll be as obsolete as your graveyard technology" with a crudely drawn picture of a robot with an arrow through it at the bottom of the note. It was extremely likely that Kenneth was at least one of the perpetrators in both of the incidents.

Empty Planet

Feeling that he still didn't reach out to Ursula, Kenneth decided to recreate events from Empty Planet in real-life. He starts by placing a bomb (hidden in an umbrella) under the bus seat of Dr. Emory Cooke, an artificial-life scientist who had developed a software mirroring the human reproduction system and was also a guest lecturer for Ursula's literature class. However, the bomb is picked up by a teenager and taken to the driver before Kenneth detonates it with a remote, killing both and injuring seven other passengers. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security calls in the BAU to create a threat assessment. Later, Kenneth hears a press conference (staged by the BAU intending to draw him out) where they claim that nobody has taken the blame for the bomb, despite the fact that Kenneth had made calls to various news networks before detonating it. He then proceeds to call Gideon from a payphone near a gas station, calling himself "Allegro". He then detonates a large bomb placed in the gas station, leaving behind a copy of his manifesto, A Guide To Practical Living, which contained some direct excerpts from Empty Planet and demanded that all machinery that has replaced American workers to be stopped within a week. No one was hurt by this bombing as the gas station had already closed fifteen minutes prior to the explosion. Reid then understands the connection between the bombings and the novel.

The following day, Kenneth succeeds in killing Cooke by placing a pressure-sensitive bomb under the seat of his car, ensuring that it would only kill him. He then calls Gideon, demanding that his manifesto will be published in The Seattle Ledger, thereby making sure that Ursula will see it. After planting several bombs at various government buildings, he attempts to kill Dr. Betsy Brazier, an expert on artificial-intelligence and another guest lecturer for Ursula's literature class, but she is saved by the authorities after the bomb squad manages to remove the bomb intended to kill her from her vehicle. Simultaneously, the bombs that he placed in the government buildings are all defused without incident. Later that day, he enters St. Denis University and confronts Ursula with his theory of being her son. He takes her to the lecture room he had studied in and tries to gain her approval. However, she reveals that the child she gave up was a girl, meaning that Kenneth can't be her son. He angrily refuses to accept the revelation when the BAU and the SWAT team storm in. Holding Ursula hostage with a bomb, Kenneth demands that they leave them alone. Meanwhile, a SWAT sniper sneaks up to a high point and aims at Kenneth's heart. Noticing the laser pointer, Ursula throws herself into the bullet's pathway, saving Kenneth's life and injuring herself. She survives, and Kenneth, thrown off-guard by the shot, is arrested.

Empty Planet (book)

Empty Planet is a fictional science fiction novel written by Professor Ursula Kent under the pseudonym David Hansberry. She was inspired to write it when she gave up her child for adoption. Its primary theme appears to be how machines replace human beings and inspired Kenneth to start his bombing campaign.

The novel takes place in a world where robots have found a way to reproduce with humans and taken over the world. The protagonist is a twelve-year-old boy named Allegro who forms a resistance army shortly after his father's suicide. The army defends humans against robots and also assassinates the scientists responsible for creating them. In the end, Allegro discovers that he is adopted and is reunited with his birth mother, who turns out to have become a robot, forcing Allegro to kill her. She is, in fact, proud of what he does, as told in her narration featured throughout the entire book, as if she was talking from beyond the grave.

Modus Operandi

Kenneth used simple pipe bombs with a fairly light explosive charge, using dried peas as shrapnel to ensure that they would not spread too far, and detonated them remotely from a distance. His signature was engraving a picture of a robot with an arrow through it into the bombs, the symbol being copied from a necklace belonging to Ursula Kent and the symbol for her book. In the case of the gas station bombing, he set it off when no one was around, made it so that the bomb would create a larger explosion than the smart bus bomb, and also left his manifesto and a drawing of the same robot symbol on the floor. He usually avoided casualties, except in the cases of Emory Cooke and Betsy Brazier, both of whom he targeted as part of his plan to emulate Empty Planet and specifically intended to kill. During his attacks on them, he placed compression bombs under the seats of their cars, which would arm the explosives when they sat down and detonate them when they got up.


The unsub is a white male who lives alone in Seattle and is likely self-employed. He is highly organized, meticulous, and very smart. He seems odd to those who know him; angry, distant, prone to sudden violent rage. He would be the kind of man whose neighbors would not be surprised to find out what he was exactly arrested for. The neighbors would have no trouble believing it. All of the attacks, which at first only involved property damage, indicates knowledge of the area. Even though he escalated to committing a bombing that claimed lives, it is not necessarily believed to be his intention. Anyone not directly next to the bomb received minor injuries, so it would be correct to assume that fear may have been the larger motive. The targets could be assumed to be technology. In Seattle, there would be at least thousands of probable targets due to the size and nature of technology. He can be considered a homegrown terrorist, but it is too vague for a description. Bombers are usually categorized as criminal, group-caused, and psychologically disorganized. This unsub is a personal-cause bomber, who is motivated by an underlining emotional conflict.

Real-Life Comparisons

Kenneth appears to have been based on Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber. They were both anti-technology believers (Kenneth more than Kaczynski), only few of their bombings killed someone, and they both wrote a manifesto. Also, his use of the novel Empty Planet as a guide for his rampage appears to parallel Timothy McVeigh, who planned a massive bombing based off an attack in the white supremacist novel The Turner Diaries.

Known Victims

  • 2006, Washington:
    • Spring, Seattle: A victimless bombing at an Internet café
    • October 8, Tacoma: A total of four computers smashed at science lab
    • November 8, Seattle:
      • Two killed, and seven injured, by the bus bombing. The victims are:
        • M. Jenkins (a bus passenger; full first name unrevealed; killed along with B. Dunkle)
        • B. Dunkle (the bus driver; full first name unrevealed)
        • Seven unnamed passengers (all injured)
        • Doctor Emory Cooke (the target victim; attempted but survived)
      • A victimless bombing at a gas station (left his manifesto behind at the scene)
    • November 9, Seattle:
      • Doctor Emory Cooke (killed by a car bomb)
      • Numerous unnamed people inside four government buildings (presumably intended; all bombs were defused)
      • Doctor Betsy Brazier (attempted to kill with the same type of car bomb that killed Dr. Cooke)
      • The university standoff:
        • Professor Ursula Kent (the writer of Empty Planet; briefly held hostage and threatened to blow up)
        • Jason Gideon (threatened to blow up along with the following)
        • Aaron Hotchner
        • Derek Morgan
        • Several unnamed SWAT agents