|“||I did it. I killed all those women in 2007. I tried to be good, but in these last few weeks, I couldn't help myself. I had to kill again.||”|
— Manning's dying words in "Lucky Strikes"
Marcus was born and raised in Bridgewater, Florida, and grew up living with both of his parents and his older sister, Johanna. As a child, he developed cannibalistic urges which culminated when Marcus was nine and he got into a fight with a classmate and bit off part of his ear in third grade. This led to him having a juvenile record that was later expunged. As a result, Marcus presumably became obsessed with cannibalism but, in an attempt to control his urges, attended therapy sessions as a teenager with a therapist named Diana Dugan. Because he was socially-awkward and suffered from loneliness so Dugan also encouraged him to attend group therapy sessions.
While attending Blue Ridge High School, Marcus was frequently bullied. In one incident while he was a sophomore, a group of students stole all of his clothes from his locker while he was showering. They then pelted him with bars of soap, causing bruising on his torso, and took his towel as well, forcing Marcus to stay in the shower room. He was later found by the football coach curled up in a ball and sobbing uncontrollably. In a report on one of his later therapy sessions, Dugan described Marcus as struggling with impotency and "in a state of major depression and futility about his future".
As an adult, he joined a bible study group at the local church and apparently got his cannibalistic urges under control until he met Floyd Feylinn Ferell, a serial killer and cannibal captured by the BAU ten years previously. Floyd had recently been granted supervised home release at his sister, Lori's home on weekends from the Hazelwood State Hospital for the Criminally Insane under the pretense of having overcome his own cannibalistic urges. Realizing they shared the same fantasies, Marcus sought out Floyd and the two hatched a plan for Marcus to copy Floyd's crimes to get him permanently released from the institution by making it seem that there was another killer manipulating Floyd who was still at large. Floyd tutored Marcus on how to act on his fantasies and how to emulate his murders. Floyd also told him about an abandoned warehouse he would take his own victims to after abducting them. This provided Marcus with a private location to commit his murders and he started by killing Evonne Westfield, Johanna's fiancée, apparently as practice since he didn't dispose of her body afterward, likely to avoid drawing unwanted attention from law enforcement.
One month after killing Evonne, Marcus abducts and kills a prostitute named Rebecca Strong, copying Floyd's murder of Abby Kelton to the last detail. Afterwards, he disposes of her body in a construction site restroom, where it is soon discovered. This leads Bridgewater police to once again call in the BAU, who note the similarities with the earlier crimes and suspect that Floyd has begun killing again after being released. This belief is fortified when they learn that Rebecca was force-fed a previous victim's fingers, a signature known only to Floyd himself. Marcus then eats five of Rebecca's fingers, bringing the remaining five to the study group to give to Floyd in a brown paper bag. Sitting next to him in the group, Marcus discretely places the bag with Rebecca's fingers inside on the floor between them. Though he was escorted to the church by Simmons, Floyd manages to slip away to the men's restroom with the bag when Reid calls Simmons to tell him about a Satanic shrine they found in Lori's house and consume the remaining fingers himself. Upon his return, Floyd is verbally assaulted by Lee-Ann Kelton, the mother of Abby Kelton, one of his final victims before being led away by Simmons and Alvez. Afraid that their plan is falling apart, Marcus panics, later ambushing Lee-Ann as she is walking to her car and abducting her.
However, he is unable to take Lee-Ann to the warehouse as Floyd revealed its location to the BAU and they discover Evonne's body. Bringing her to Floyd's old house where he committed his own murders instead, Marcus begins to cut through a still-unconscious Lee-Ann's pants with a knife, saying that she shouldn't have "disrespected" Floyd. He then begins rubbing her legs with oil. Lee-Ann wakes up and tries to escape just as Alvez and Rossi enter the basement, their guns trained on Marcus. He grabs his knife and holds it against Lee-Ann's throat and threatens to kill her. Rossi begins to lower his gun and tells him they know that Floyd has been manipulating him into killing using his M.O., something Marcus denies and claims that Floyd "didn't do anything". Having deduced that Floyd had planned everything prior to his arrest, Rossi tells Marcus that, although he looks up to him, Floyd is using him and wants him to be caught. Marcus then tells them that he committed Floyd's murders before killing himself by slashing his own throat with the knife. Rossi tries to stop him, but Marcus dies instantly. He then remarks that Marcus' confession is all Floyd needs to secure his release, just as he planned. However, Garcia and JJ learn from his autopsy report that Marcus ate five of Rebecca's fingers and are able to get a warrant to scan Floyd's stomach for the remaining fingers, proving that Marcus lied about Floyd's innocence. This not only stops Floyd from being released but also allows them to finally send him to prison for his crimes.
"I can't wait to taste this."
Marcus copied Floyd's murders to near-perfection, enough to make the BAU believe Floyd had started killing after a decade of dormancy. He would incapacitate his victims by striking them in the head then abduct and transport them to an abandoned warehouse, where he would hold them captive for a time and rub their legs with oil to make the meat tender. He would then kill them by slashing their throats but not before severing their fingers and legs. After killing them, he would carve inverted pentagrams on their chests like Floyd did with his own victims. However, Marcus did deviate from Floyd's M.O. when he killed Evonne Westfield, his sister's fiancée and thus a victim he had a personal connection to, something Floyd himself never did. Because of this and the fact that it was also his first murder, Marcus hesitated in killing her and didn't perform some of Floyd's rituals on her, such as severing her legs. He also bit her right leg numerous times, again deviating from Floyd's M.O. as Floyd only rubbed the legs of his victims.
In the case of Rebecca Strong, Marcus copied Floyd's murder of Abby Kelton exactly, force-feeding her five of Evonne's severed fingers (a fact withheld from the public) and completing all of Floyd's rituals, including severing her fingers and legs. Marcus later disposed of her body in an isolated women's restroom, where Floyd abducted his last victim, Tracy Lambert. He even arranged Rebecca's earrings and jewelry equidistant on the floor, similar to how Floyd neatly arranged Tracy's books on a toilet seat after abducting her. The only notable difference between both murders was that Rebecca was a prostitute, Floyd's original victim type, while Abby was a low-risk victim. He also ate five of Rebecca's fingers and gave the remaining five to Floyd, who also ate them. In his abduction of Lee-Ann Kelton, Abby's mother, as the BAU had discovered and compromised the warehouse, Marcus instead transported her to Floyd's old house where he intended to kill and eat her like the previous victims.
No official profile of Marcus was made by the BAU as they believed Floyd was personally responsible for the latest murders. However, Simmons did mention that, if it was a copycat, the unsub was looking to revel in the horror left behind after Ferell's murders. Reid described copycats as vulnerable narcissists who, although overtly boastful, harbor deep-seeded feelings of inadequacy and emulating notorious crimes make them feel powerful. They also considered the slim possibility that the unsub was the dominant half of a two-person killing team with Floyd who eluded capture by them ten years ago but later dismissed this theory based on the hesitation and inexperience demonstrated in Evonne's murder.
Real Life Comparison
Like Floyd, Marcus shares several similarities with the suspected serial killer and cannibal Nathaniel Bar-Jonah. Both had cannibalistic urges dating back to their childhood, attacked another child when they were children, had a previous criminal record covered up in some way (again, like Floyd, Marcus had an offending minor's record that was expunged, while Bar-Jonah changed state and wasn't obliged to register as a sex offender) and went to church on a regular basis.
Marcus also shares minor similarities with Carl Großmann, a.k.a. "The Berlin Butcher", and Nikolai Dzhumagaliev. All were killers who targeted and cannibalized women and dismembered their victims post-mortem. Both Marcus and Dzhumagaliev each had a history of mental illness and targeted a male victim at some point (although only Marcus tried to cannibalize his victim, who also survived the encounter). In copying Floyd's signature of leaving Satanic pentagrams at crime scenes, Marcus also draws influence from Richard Ramirez, who did so in some of his crimes.
Finally, Marcus' own signature of biting his victims, which allowed authorities to obtain dental impressions from the bite marks, may have been inspired by Ted Bundy, who did the same to one of his victims.
- December 9, 1988: Unnamed student (attempted, but survived; bit off a piece of his ear)
- September 11-15: Evonne Westfield (Johanna's fiancée; did not severe her legs; also bit her right leg post-mortem)
- October 21: Rebecca Strong (a prostitute; was force-fed five of Evonne's fingers, severed her legs and dumped her body in a restroom; also ate five of her own severed fingers; gave the remaining five fingers to Floyd; he also later ate them)
- October 22: Lee-Ann Kelton (mother of Abby Kelton; abducted and intended to eat her, later held at knifepoint; was rescued)
- Marcus is somewhat similar to Claire Bates, a child abductor who appeared in Season Four. Both were mentally-ill budding serial killers who attempted to kill someone and bit off a piece of their ear when doing so.
- Aspects of Manning's M.O. are similar to many previous criminals who have appeared on the show:
- Dana Seavers abducted her last two victims after applying blunt-force trauma to their heads.
- David Roy Turner repeatedly bit his first victim.
- Wallace Hines force-fed pieces of his first victim to his later victims.
- Robert Parker, Earl Bulford, and Connor O'Brien killed their victims by slashing their throats.
- The report on the bullying incident states it occurred on April 13, 1994, when Marcus was fifteen and was referred to the principal three days later on April 16. However, it also stated that Marcus would meet with the school guidance counselor to discuss the incident on April 16, 2017. This was most likely a mistake on the designer's part.
- ↑ Impotency has another meaning apart from the one about a male's inability to achieve an erection. It describes feelings of helplessness or inability to take effective action