Two new serial killers came to light in the past 24 hours; neither has been convicted yet, but if you read their stories, their guilt is obvious. What I was struck by with both men was how much they looked like the sociopaths that they are.
First, James Worley, who had a secret dungeon hidden by hay bales in his barn outside Toledo, Ohio:
Worley somehow manages to look placid, brutal, conceited, and contemptuous at the same time. Few people look their best in a mugshot, but Worley doesn't look overly concerned. He merely looks annoyed that his streak of bumping female cyclists with his truck, handcuffing them inside his truck, and then transporting them to his barn is over.
The second is Felix Vail, who is thought to have killed both of his wives as well as another woman:
Vail just seems to have an extremely predatory look about him. He has the thin-lipped, carnivorous mouth of a serial killer. And he looks as if he's sizing you up, figuring out what your weaknesses are, in order to take advantage of them. He was at least 73 when this picture was taken (he is 76 now, and was arrested three years ago); yet he still looks ready to pounce. Or, at least, lose his temper.
Here's a picture of Vail when he was younger:
I have no idea whether he had imbibed any substances before this picture was taken, but he has that weirdly relaxed, slightly inebriated, completely confident look that sociopaths sometimes have even when they're not drunk. It's a function of their being completely relaxed and uninhibited and self-confident. (Most of us need a couple of stiff ones before achieving that state.)
Vail must have had grown his hair and beard in an effort to fit in with the hippie ethos of that era. Peace and love!
I know, these impressions are partly due to hindsight. Once you know someone is a serial killer, it's impossible to see him in any other light.
But I swear, both of those guys still have scary faces, and even if I hadn't known who they were, I think I would have felt uneasy around them.
Today, news broke of another sociopath: 14-year-old Kali Jade Bookey, who slit the throat of her brother's 15-year-old girlfriend, telling her she was a psychopath looking for her first kill. After slitting the girl's throat (the girl survived), Bookey told her to "have a nice afterlife," and took off, with an elaborate story already concocted for the police.
I had the same thought you probably did when I saw Bookey's first name, but here are two pictures of her:
If I had been in the same room as her, I definitely would not have felt uneasy. In fact, I probably would have made an effort to convey to her that I wasn't a threat.
No one's character has been etched in their face by age 14, and maybe Bookey's will be when she gets older. But, maybe it won't. The only clue that Bookey might be a little feral is that tattoo on her neck; I'm guessing it's permanent, because she appears to be trying to hide it in the photo on the right. (Most 14-year-olds don't get tattoos on their necks, and most 14-year-olds don't wear scarves like that.)
Sometimes sociopaths look like sociopaths, and sometimes they don't. You just never know.
Update: I've now been told by two people that that's a necklace Bookey is wearing.