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The Crime Scene newsletter offers crime news, listening suggestions and weekly updates to Crime Scene, the award-winning true crime podcast written and produced by Jordan Fenster.

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Describe a serial killer.

In the latest episode of Crime Scene, we try to untangle preconceived ideas around serial murder, using the science of statistics to delve into the hard data.

The result?

As an FBI report says, "Contrary to popular belief, serial killers span all racial groups. ... The racial diversification of serial killers generally mirrors that of the overall U.S. population."

There may be trends - for example, if a victim has been poisoned the suspect is more likely to be white, according to serial killer database founder and former professor Mike Aamodt.

This episode we talk with Aamodt and with Vernon Geberth, a former lieutenant commander and commanding officer of Bronx homicide with the NYPD. He's now a consulting criminologist who has, quite literally, written the textbook on serial murders.

We use Geberth's file on murderer Patrick Baxter - as read by reporter Colleen Wilson - to demonstrate how preconceived ideas on serial murderers might actually hinder an investigation.

It's a complex subject, one on which we could do a 10-episode series. And we might, in future episodes, examine some of the nuances. But, for now, enjoy the piece we're calling "The Typical Serial Killer."

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True Crime News

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