Gary Ridgway: The Green River Killer

1904 words - 8 pages

Throughout all of American history there have been those who are well known for committing what are classified as deviant or criminal acts. Most of those who are well known by the public for their actions have committed deeds seen as extremely controversial such as being cult leaders, gang or mafia members, terrorists, rapists, or killers. The lists of members for each topic is numerous, however, there are a certain few that are more prominent than others. One criminal that stands out when speaking of killers in particular is Gary Ridgway, or as he is better known, the Green River Killer. Gary Ridgway is the nation’s most abundant serial killer, with the highest murder rate in America’s history (Gibson).
To better understand the case of Gary Ridgway it is important to comprehend a bit more about serial killers in general. Serial murders are extremely heinous crimes that are known to draw in the attention of the public. Serial murder is “the killing of three or more people over a period of more than 30 days, with a significant cooling-off period” (Knight). There have been numerous studies done by researchers to try and determine what exactly makes up the mind of a serial killer to lead them to do such things. They have theorized that it may be linked to aspects that are biological, neurological, or sociological; however none of them can be pinpointed as the actual cause (Knight). What theorists have concluded is that it most likely is not just one of those aspects, but a combination of them all as well physiological, psychological, and environmental elements (Knight).
One well-known serial killer is Gary Ridgway. Ridgway was born in February of 1949 in Salt Lake City, Utah. His early life can be viewed as an indicator to his later actions, bearing in mind that many of the factors in his life support the profile of a serial killer. Not only was his home life most likely a violent one, his mother was known for being an authoritarian and showing outbursts of anger, but the acts he committed as a younger boy also fit the typical synopsis of a serial killer. He committed acts such as arson, killed animals, and stabbed a young boy just for his own enjoyment to see what it was like (Vronsky). He went on to admit that he wet the bed until his early teen years, sometimes thought about killing his mother, stalked classmates, and even paid a young girl to let him sexually assault her (Loiaconi). He also was known to not be very bright and graduated from high school with a “D” average as well as a below average IQ score (Gibson).
Where the story, or case, truly begins is in Gary Ridgway’s later life. He was married three times as well as divorced three times. He and his second wife had a son named Matthew and he was known as being a friendly man, as well as outwardly religious. He could be seen reading his Bible, going to church, and teaching others to follow God as well (Vronsky). Despite the façade that he put up, it turned out Gary Ridgway was also...

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