|“||My last hope is that you finish what we started.||”|
Robert Matthew Burke was an ephebophilic serial rapist-turned-killer and abductor who appeared in ...A Thousand Words as the dominant member of a two-person killing team also comprising of his girlfriend Juliet Monroe.
Not much is specified about Robert's background, other than he was born on February 6, 1967, in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was arrested by the Richmond Police Department on May 5, 1990, for four counts of rape. Sometime prior to that, he had been arrested for attempted rape twice, which had resulted in no convictions. In 1991, he was sentenced to eight years in jail for the four rapes. At some point during his incarceration, Robert met Juliet Monroe, a woman who was visiting her incarcerated father, Morris, a serial rapist whose primary target had been her. They formed an intimate relationship, with Robert impregnating her after he was released on October 1999. The following year, he began abducting teenage girls, holding them captive for a year each before killing them to eliminate loose ends, all the while being assisted by Juliet.
...A Thousand Words
Immediately prior to the episode, Robert is considered a suspect for the abduction of Rebecca Daniels, his latest victim. This is because he is a registered sex offender and had been issued a parking ticket near her abduction site. He is later scheduled to be DNA swabbed. This drives him to rent a warehouse under the name "Bob", creating a photo montage of newspaper clippings of his victims along with his journals in it, calls 911, tells them the address, and commits suicide by shooting himself, leading the BAU to be called in to assist the local authorities, discovering the shocking truth.
Robert targeted Caucasian girls in their late teens. Striking once a year, he would abduct them in different cities in southeastern states of the U.S. to keep local authorities from connecting them. After abducting them, he would hold them captive in Juliet's house, repeatedly raping them over the course of a year before eventually strangling them to death. After that, he would dump the bodies in well-traveled wooded areas. It was suggested that Julie took part in the abuse. After killing a victim, Robert would have a portrait of them, along with their first name and year of death, tattooed onto his chest and back. He would also abduct a new victim exactly one week after the body of his previous victim is found.
Robert is apparently a textbook sexual sadist who has little regard for women, with the exception of Juliet. His exact relationship to her is not fully explained, but they appear to have been quite intimate with each other. He wanted the police to go to his home to see his body and everything he left behind. The writings in his journal are graphic and meticulous, and his habit of covering himself in his victims' likeness is methodical and possessive; by doing so, he will always own them. The suicide shows commitment. He is organized and compulsive since the crimes are on a yearly cycle. He got away with his crimes for years and could have continued, but instead decided to commit suicide. By showing his body, tattoos, newspaper clippings about his crimes, and journals, he is saying, "Look at me." Everything he left for the authorities to find and see is essentially a confession to his crimes, which means he may have been trying to hide something. In one of his journals, he accidentally wrote "We found our latest guest", which means he has a partner. It is atypical of a dominant unsub to commit suicide to protect a submissive partner, which means his partner must be his equal in some way. It might be someone he cared about, even though it would be difficult for a sadistic psychopath like Robert to care about anyone.
Burke is similar to William Bonin, a.k.a. "The Freeway Killer". Both were serial killers, rapists, and abductors who committed sexual offenses prior to their murders; committed their murders with at least one accomplice; had M.O.s that involved abducting, raping, and strangling their victims; and killed their victims so they would never get arrested again for their crimes. Robert is also similar to Marc Dutroux. Both were ephebophilic serial killers, rapists, and abductors who had female accomplices who helped them commit their murders and had at least one child with them. Both also held their victims captive in secondary locations where they would be raped before being killed, and were arrested for serial rape prior to their murder sprees.
- Pre-May 5, 1990:
- Two unnamed victims (attempted to rape in separate incidents)
- Four unnamed victims (all raped in separate incidents)
- Dates further unspecified (all abducted in locations at Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, and Alabama):
- 2001: Brenda Carlisle
- 2002: Amy
- 2003: Michelle Kofflyn
- 2004: Gail Genesee
- 2005: Nicole Arbison
- 2006: Renee
- 2007: Karen
- 2008: Samantha Ivans
- 2009: Emma Marker (her body was found on April 7, 2010)
- April 14, 2010: Rebecca Daniels (abducted, held captive, and presumably raped; was rescued on May 6)
- Burke is similar to Season Three serial killer Francis Goehring. Both were serial killers and sexual sadists who targeted women; abducted, raped, and killed them; committed crimes prior to their serial killings (Burke raped four women and attempted to rape two other women, while Goehring tortured and presumably raped his wife), were the dominant members of two-person killing teams, and would later commit suicide before police could arrest them (though not after they had abducted another woman).
- According to his arrest record, Robert's Social Security number is 965-10-1701.