This post by Dr. Katherine Ramsland originally appeared on The Graveyard Shift blog on 2/19/14. As a forensic psychologist, Dr. Ramsland can offer informed insights to the breaking “Craigslist Killer” case. This post will be of particular interest to crime thriller and true crime genre authors.
With sudden dramatic confessors, it’s best to verify before you buy
I wrote about Miranda Barbour last week, here, concerning the murder that she and her new husband, Elytte, had committed together last November. For kicks, they’d lured a man to his death with a Craigslist ad. I used their case to describe how two (or more) people can develop a sixth sense about each other for violence. They have a “mur-dar” radar.
Troy LeFerrara, 42, responded to the ad. They picked him up and Elytte used a cord to incapacitate him while Miranda repeatedly stabbed him. They dumped him, cleaned the van and went to a strip club to celebrate Elytte’s birthday. Their phone call to the victim led police to them, and they’ve been awaiting trial.
Over the past weekend, Miranda, 19, said that not only was she guilty of the LeFarrara murder but she’d been killing with a satanic group since she was 13. Supposedly, she’s “lost count after 22.” If let out, she would kill again. Needless to say, this confession has created a flurry of media reports about this “female serial killer.”
But let’s keep in mind that, at this time, Barbour has admitted guilt for one murder for which there is evidence. She’s not yet a confirmed serial killer. Given the brutality of it, we can accept that she’s killed before and perhaps her stories will be validated soon, as law enforcement works with whatever she gives them. However, until then, we should remember the lessons from past cases.