|“||I know that feeling. When is it ever going to end? The sadness, it just goes on and on, every breathing moment. And the pain, it overwhelms you. And if you could end it...you would. That's when you looked at me, Curtis, I knew in that moment what you wanted of me. What you wanted me to do. I'm only sorry it took me this long. But I'm here now. You can let go, Curtis. I think we're ready now.||”|
Peter lived on the Brassard College campus with his father Charles and brother James. James was frequently molested by Charles, a professor at the college. Eventually, on April 6, 1984, when Peter was fifteen years old, he couldn't stand his brother's suffering anymore and slashed James's wrists, making it look like a suicide. From that moment, Peter adopted an Angel of Death-like sense of mercy. Three months prior to A Higher Power, a fire occurred at the Shadyside Recreational Center that resulted in the deaths of fourteen children. This set off Peter's serial killing: he would attend multiple anonymous support group meetings for people grieving, looking for parents of the deceased children, and then kill them. When Paul Baleman, the brother of police officer Ronnie Baleman, was found electrocuted in his bathtub, he became suspicious and called in the BAU to investigate Paul's suicide and four others.
A Higher Power
After he kills two more victims, Peter is identified and tracked down just as he has stated his intention to kill Laurie Ann Morris, who had also lost one of her children in the fire. Since they are in a car, she steps on the gas and drives into a dumpster. The BAU arrests Peter, who keeps claiming that he had done nothing wrong. The BAU later tells Ronnie that analysis of Paul's journal and the absence of Paul's name in Peter's apartment reveals that his suicide was not Peter’s work.
"You just have to let go."
The unsub suffered some sort of major, tragic event, after which had caused him to kill someone he believed was so miserable they had to die. After that, he created his own sense of morality, in which he rationalizes his first kill over and over again by targeting people he believes cannot be saved by anyone but himself. Choosing who lives and dies gives him a strong sense of power. He is convinced that he is on a mission of mercy, and even after he is apprehended, he will maintain that he did nothing wrong. He is a white male aged in his mid-to-late 30s, who is polite, forthcoming, confident, earnest, friendly, charming, and not outstanding, as evidenced from his victims allowing him to enter their homes voluntarily. Also, in every case, there was no evidence of a struggle and no attempts made by his victims to escape. He finds a personal connection and uses it to buy time to kill his victims.
He may work in the medical field or in a law enforcement position, as Angels of Death typically are. He may also be a first responder who was present on the day of the fire at the recreational center. He is also intelligent enough to know his victims' schedules and daily routines. He is all about control, as he chooses how and when they die, and he even positions them exactly to how he wants them to die. This makes him hyper-vigilant, someone who is always on the lookout, risk-averse, and unseen. The fire at the recreational center caused so much grief and suffering for the children's parents, which became a trigger for the unsub. Now, he is unable to stop himself from targeting people he believes needs his help. As more information on the case was revealed, it became possible that if the unsub's father taught at Brassard, the unsub himself may be a local to the area, and the only way to catch him is to find out how he is getting into his victims' lives.
Targeting the parents of children who were killed in the Shadyside Recreational Center fire, Peter would find them through anonymous support group meetings and befriend them, using the alleged suicide of his brother as a way to gain their trust. He would eventually sedate his victims using a paralytic (which isn't named in the episode), which metabolizes so quickly that it wouldn't be detectable through medical analysis. He would inject the drug into the victims' hairlines using a syringe, which would essentially make it invisible unless one looked closely at the victim's body. After that, he would kill them with emulations of suicide methods, including gunshot, falling off a roof, and hanging. He would also leave behind a suicide note of sorts, written by the victims as part of their therapy. At first, Peter killed his victims two weeks apart, but he later killed more frequently, possibly being set off by Paul Baleman's suicide.
- April 6, 1984: James Redding (his brother; slashed his wrists; his death was written as a suicide until 2008)
- February 10: Alan Forest (slashed his wrists like the previous victim)
- February 24: Tammy Manuelson (killed by an overdose of sleeping medication)
- March 10: Kevin Dalstrum (asphyxiated with carbon monoxide)
- March 24: Diedra Nollard (thrown off a rooftop)
- April 8: Beth Smoler (hanged)
- April 9:
- Curtis Fackler (shot in the head with a revolver)
- Laurie Ann Morris (held at gunpoint and attempted to kill)
- Note: In addition, Peter had intended to murder six other people whose children also died in the Shadyside Recreational Center fire. However, he was apprehended before he could carry out the attacks.