|“||No. I don't know Steven! I don't know Steven! Why do you want Steven?! Steven is stupid! He's... he's disgusting! He's filthy! Steven is filthy! He is filthy!||”|
Steven was raised in a strict household in Oakland Park, Florida. His father, David, was a prison guard who was deeply religious. He also had a sister named Sarah. It has been implied that Steven, at some point, developed homosexual urges and was physically abused by his father as a result. David claimed the abuse to be "protect[ion]" for Steven from himself, and that his killing skills were learned in the process. The repeated abuse and chastising led Steven to believe that he was "filthy" and caused him to hate himself. Wanting to help her brother and get him away from their father, Sarah gave Steven some money, which he used to go on a vacation to Miami in 2008. Later encountering a homosexual man named Robert Feeney on February while in the city, Steven murdered him and stole his identity, successfully disappearing afterwards, being listed as missing and presumed dead. After Feeney, Steven murdered four more men, taking their identities as well.
Two months after leaving home, Steven, after killing the vacationing New Orleans detective Charles Luvet, picks up Deacon Rogers, a tourist from Texas, at an outdoor poolside bistro. Hours later, when Deacon attempts a sexual advance outside a bar, Steven hits him, saying that he is disgusting and dirty. He suddenly apologizes, then begins mocking Deacon, trying to copy his accent. Steven then begins to show affection to Deacon, but puts him in a stranglehold, killing him. Moments later, Steven is found with Deacon's body by a bus boy. Telling the bus boy that he is a cop and that he and Deacon were mugged, Steven runs off, claiming that he is going after the robber, and disposes Detective Luvet's badge before breaking into and trashing Deacon's hotel room, searching for IDs or anything else that can help him pass as Deacon. Steven is then seen driving away in Deacon's car. He passes a hitchhiker on the road, a German youth named Michael Aldridge. When Michael enters the car, Steven mimics his accent, foreshadowing the tourist's eventual murder.
After speaking to Steven's father and sister, the BAU realize that he is not a victim as previously thought and is in fact the killer. Realizing that Steven would be compelled to go to the youth hostel that Michael was hitchhiking to, Morgan and local detective Tina Lopez go there and clear the day room, leaving Steven sitting alone at a table. Steven begins reaching into his bag for a revolver. When referring to him by his real name fails to work, Morgan addresses Steven as Michael Aldridge, gaining his attention. Growing agitated as Morgan and Tina try and talk him into coming with them, Steven begins frantically screaming that he has done nothing wrong and that he is Michael and not Steven, whom he yells is stupid and filthy. As Steven rants on, Morgan manages to calm him down by mentioning Sarah, saying that she misses him and is worried about him. At the mention of his sister, Steven gives up peacefully and, while being led outside, desperately asks Morgan to tell his father that he never did anything sexual with the men he killed.
The unsub is a white male aged in his mid-to late-twenties who is charismatic, charming, intelligent, and very familiar with the area, possibly offering assistance to those that are new to the city. He studies his victims' habits and learns how to gain their trust, and he also likely frequents or works in a gay establishment. How the victims were killed indicates that the unsub may have prior defense tactic training, meaning that he may possibly be in the military or was recently discharged. He steals his victims' possessions, but he doesn't pawn any of them. The victims all being homosexual men indicates that the unsub is either bigoted and/or struggling with his own sexuality.
He killed his latest victim out in the open because he is losing control emotionally and could be devolving. He may presumably be suffering from a Cluster B borderline-personality disorder. The unsub sees his victims living carefree lives without fear or judgment, and by killing them and taking their identity, he shed his own loathed personality. Something triggers his constant need to escape such as drugs, sex, or something that makes him feel vulnerable and he cannot allow himself to have that vulnerability. Escaping into his fantasy protects him from ever having to look at himself. After taking someone's identity, the unsub may also compulsively mimic them without intending to, an instance of this being when he hitchhiked to the youth hostel Michael Aldridge was heading to, despite having absolutely no reason to do so.
Steven targeted Caucasian homosexual men between the ages of 25 to 35, mostly tourists. He would pick them up around Miami and befriend them. The only exception to this is Michael Aldridge, who was killed after a spontaneous decision. After successfully learning how to mimic their mannerisms and accents if they have one, he would kill them in high-traffic areas when no one was around, using a choke hold (one that didn't do any damage to the hyoid bone), in which his right arm would be pressed against their throats while he was behind them, clasping his hands together. The choke hold was learned from his father, who used the same choke hold at the prison where he worked. He would initially immediately dispose his victims' bodies close to where he killed them, but didn't do so with his last two victims. He would then take their car keys from their bodies and their hotel room cards, break into the rooms they were staying at, and take anything he would need to assume their identities. He then spent some time living under the identity of each victim before picking up another victim, killing him, stealing his identity, and repeating the cycle.
Steven may have some similarities to Larry Eyler, a.k.a. "The Highway Killer", a serial killer who sexually abused, murdered, and dismembered over 20 victims between 1982 and 1984. Both targeted homosexual men whom they would pick up on highways (although Steven stayed put in one location while Eyler was active in several U.S. states), were physically abused by father figures (although it was only implied that Steven was physically abused), and subsequently became angry at themselves for their homosexual tendencies.
Steven also seems to have been based on Colin Ireland. Both were serial killers who targeted homosexual men, killed their victims with a similar M.O., and robbed their victims after killing them. Both also killed at least one person involved with law enforcement.
Steven is also similar to Daniel Conahan, a.k.a. "The Hog Trail Killer". Both were killers who had strained relationships with at least one of their parents because of their homosexuality, targeted homosexual men, and operated in Florida.
- February 29: Robert Feeney
- March 21: Benjamin
- April 4: Unnamed victim
- April 13: Paul Hayes
- April 21: Daniel Brown
- April 28: Detective Charles Luvet (also stole his gun)
- April 29: Deacon Rogers
- April 30: Michael Aldridge (killed after a spontaneous decision)
- Steven is the first serial killer on the show to successfully kill all of the victims he targeted. The next ones are Megan Kane, Vincent Rowlings, Lee Mullens, Paul Westin, Larry Feretich, and Charles Johnson. This is a very rare occurrence, as the serial killers depicted on the show typically have at least one survivor.