Profiler: Savagery is Mark of Psychopath


February 24, 2006

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Criminal profiler Vernon Geberth recognizes Patrick Selepak's behavior.

The savage slayings of Scott and Melissa Berels are the mark of a psychopath, said Geberth, a retired lieutenant commander from the New York City Police Department and nationally recognized homicide expert.

Prosecutors say Selepak injected a bleach-filled hypodermic needle into Scott Berels' veins. They say he and his fiancee and accomplice, Samantha Bachynski, smashed Scott Berels' hands with an assault rifle. The pair also allegedly strangled Melissa Berels.

"The person who did this didn't need to torture the victim," said Geberth, author of several textbooks used by police. "He had a gun; he could have shot them. Obviously the offender enjoyed inflicting pain on the victims."

Although Geberth is not involved in this case, the pattern of Selepak's behavior is clear to him.

"This guy fits the definition of psychopath," he said in a telephone interview. "He does not suffer guilt, remorse or shame. Psychopaths are nonsocial individuals and everything they do is done for immediate gratification."

Authorities say they believe both Selepak, 27, of Chesterfield Township and Bachynski, 19, of Midland killed the couple last week. Geberth said Selepak was the likely leader.

In his experience as an investigator in crimes involving couples, he said the male is usually dominant.

"She is subservient to him," Geberth said. "He's doing this in front of her and she is afraid. He could do this to her. He's on a power trip."

And from most accounts, he is manipulative, even smart.

After the Berelses were killed, officials said Selepak and Bachynski took the couple's car, a 1996 Saturn SL2, to Detroit. They left it running and with the Berelses' identification and bank card inside. It was stolen soon after it was abandoned. That action led police initially not to the couple's killers, but to a pair of thieves.

Contact MARYANNE GEORGE at 734-665-5600 or mageorge@freepress.com. Contact CHRISTY OYAMA-ARBOSCELLO at 586-469-8085 or arboscello@freepress.com.

Copyright © 2006 Detroit Free Press Inc.

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