"Do you confess your crimes?"
Leland was born as William Danary on February 6, 1982. On October 28, 1985, his biological parents, Roy and Becky Danary, both died in a car accident while staying in Loja, Ecuador, with the Peace Corps. He was adopted by a Mormon missionary couple, Orland and Claire Duncan, who then changed his name. His biological parents were descendants of William Stoughton, a 17th-century colonial magistrate who had ruthlessly ordered for the executions of women who were accused of being witches during the Salem witch trials. In his adulthood, Leland moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, which was home to a library detailing the full ancestry of its citizens; he became a volunteer librarian there. Sometime prior to "In The Blood", both of his adoptive parents died. Leland later looked up his ancestry and found that he was a descendant of Stoughton. Possibly because he was grieving the deaths of his adoptive parents, this revelation subsequently triggered a delusion in which he believed he inherited a moral obligation to hunt down and execute witches. This motivated him to kill Abby Stafford, a college student addicted to cocaine, whom he threw off a cliff after torturing her. This was followed by Gloria Carlyle, whom he killed by burying her in a tomb of rocks, effectively crushing her to death. These methods of killing were directly based on a book on witchcraft from the library, which he became enamored with.
In The BloodEdit
The day following Gloria's murder, Leland is first seen working at the library, where he is asked by Yvonne Carpenter to check out the witchcraft book. He nervously replies that it is a reference book that cannot be checked out, but she can use a copy-machine in another room to scan any desirable pages. When Yvonne decides to just leave the book behind, a man named Parker Mills volunteers to scan the book for her. Intimidated by Parker's appearance, Yvonne leaves the library with her daughter Kylie, but Parker begins stalking Yvonne. In the meantime, the BAU, being called in to investigate Gloria's murder, find Abby's body. Apparently finding out that Parker is a repeat voyeur, Leland attacks him in the middle of the night, hanging him in a public city square before projecting hallucinations of cloaked figures holding lit torches. The next day, he finds out from his boss, Charlotte Novak, that Yvonne checked out the book. Enraged, Leland follows and drugs both Yvonne and Kylie, taking them to an abandoned shack once owned by his adoptive maternal grandparents, which is left in his adoptive parents' name. When Yvonne regains consciousness, he accuses her and Kylie of being witches, under a delusion that the two of them are under court. Presumably using information she learned from the witchcraft book, Yvonne convinces Leland that Kylie is a witch hunter who was trying to cleanse her, prompting Leland to apparently release Kylie.
Later that day, Leland returns to the library to apparently try and steal another witchcraft book. Charlotte catches him in the act, and he is forced to kill her. He then returns to the shack and tells Yvonne that Kylie has been released, but then tells her that she has been found guilty of being a witch and will be sentenced to death by burning at a stake. The following night, he forcibly takes her outside, hallucinating 17th-century townspeople yelling at Yvonne and declaring her guilty of practicing witchcraft. Yvonne spots Kylie's unconscious form lying nearby, and Leland tells her that despite being a witch hunter, Kylie is still declared a witch since she is indeed the daughter of a witch, therefore she will be sentenced the same fate as Yvonne's. He then ties a sobbing Yvonne onto the stake and prepares to set the debris below it on fire, just before the BAU arrive and hold him at gunpoint. When his projections of the townspeople begin to disappear, Leland yells to them that Kylie has convinced the BAU to protect Yvonne before charging at Kylie, attempting to kill her. Blake shoots him, mortally wounding him. As he dies, Leland watches as the last of the townspeople disappear. The cloaked figures with the torches then appear, walking up to him, apparently to burn him.
Leland always found his victims through his job as a volunteer librarian, usually selecting them by their interest in a book of witchcraft he had selected. His first two victims were both coincidentally young, blonde, pretty Caucasian women in their 20s who all had educational occupations, although he also moved on to target other victims as his M.O. began to evolve. He initially stalked his victims and took pictures of them, but stopped after killing Gloria Carlyle. He would drug them with chlorpromazine (an anti-psychotic) in some unspecified way, then would abduct them, take them to his adoptive maternal grandparents' shack, accuse them of performing witchcraft, and sentence them to death.
His signature was torture by non-fatally slashing the victims' arms and branding a symbol on their necks with a fire-poker with an end styled into the seal of his ancestor, William Stoughton. With each murder, the deepness of the arm slashes would increase and the branded symbols more shallower and distinct. Then, he would violently kill them in various ways that were based from the witchcraft book: Abby Stafford was thrown off a cliff, Gloria Carlyle was stoned to death, and Parker Mills was hanged. As his M.O. continued to rapidly evolve, he began using other methods of executing witches in accordance to other witchcraft-related books, such as trying to burn Yvonne Carpenter at a stake.
His first three victims were also targeted due to them being perceived by him as sinners in some way: Abby Stafford was a drug addict, Gloria Carlyle rejected a utopia sect to move in with her boyfriend, and Parker Mills was a repeat voyeur. Abby Stafford and Gloria Carlyle were both killed at a remote canyon during the day, but Parker Mills was hanged in a public city square at night as Leland began to evolve his M.O. and as his delusions increased. After his murder of Abby Stafford, Leland would begin stripping his victims of anything modern, including contacts, nail polish, and clothing (all of which he would burn in the shack's fireplace), before dressing them in simple, 17th-century-styled robes. Incidentally, he killed his boss, Charlotte Novak, by bludgeoning her with what appeared to be a book pedestal.
"The hour is upon us. With this, I send your soul back to Hell."
The unsub is a physically fit white male in his late 20s to mid-30s who is brazen, confident, and organized. He may be a moral vigilante, a pathology that typically has its roots in repression and guilt that generally manifests itself in low self-esteem and self-loathing. By punishing other people, the unsub may also be punishing himself. He is also literally branding his victims, likely marking them as his own. His organizational skills suggest that he is someone who can get and keep a full-time job, which is likely low-level. His impaired social development would not allow him to move far in the professional world, and consequently, he is most comfortable working in solitude, having minimal interactions with other people. This makes it a challenge for authorities to discover how and where the unsub chooses his victims. The first two victims lived more reserved and studious lifestyles, while Parker Mills lived quietly in the margins of conventional society, so the killer may frequent or work in locations of solitude and contemplation that attracts this type of person, such as museums, gardens, parks, and bookstores. His choice of a city square rather than a remote canyon to kill Parker Mills means that he is gaining confidence, but the recklessness of killing in such a public space suggests that this confidence may be stemming from a delusion. He may believe he is in a place and time that makes him invulnerable, and if his delusion is gaining in strength, then his next killing is likely riskier and more dramatic.
- October 22: Abby Stafford (thrown off a cliff; wasn't dressed up in robes)
- October 28: Gloria Carlyle (buried in a tomb of rocks and fatally crushed her head with a boulder)
- October 29: Parker Mills (incidental; was hanged in a public location; was undressed ante-mortem)
- October 30:
- Yvonne Carpenter and her daughter Kylie (drugged and abducted; both were rescued):
- Yvonne Carpenter (branded on the neck, tied up, and attempted to burn alive at a stake)
- Kylie Carpenter (tied up and attempted to burn alive; was apparently not tortured)
- Charlotte Novak (his boss; incidental; bludgeoned with a book pedestal)
- Yvonne Carpenter and her daughter Kylie (drugged and abducted; both were rescued):
- Leland is the third criminal in the show to have been adopted and subsequently having any part of his name changed, the first two being serial killer Brian Matloff and budding serial killer Jesse Gentry, the latter of whom also appeared in Season Nine.
- Leland has many similarities to Season Seven serial killer James Heathridge. Both were psychotic serial killers who lost their parents as children (although James lost his parents in different incidents while Leland lost both of his parents at once), had stressors that involved the deaths of a relative (for Leland, it was his adoptive parents; for James, it was his grandfather), dressed their victims into clothes of ancient times before killing them (Leland dressed his victims 17th-century styled robes; James dressed his victims in Renaissance-style homemade dresses made by his sister), believed they were sending their victims to Hell by killing them, and deviated from their original M.O.s in the case of their last murders. In both cases, the BAU was called in by local police after the bodies of their second victims had been found and were believed to be the first victims.