During a six-month stretch in 1992-1993, a series of arsons cropped up in Washington State. They weren't limited to a key geographical area. They weren't kept to a certain type of home or business. They were crimes of opportunity and there didn't seem to be any end to them.
Until one witness - who wasn't all that certain of what she'd seen - underwent hypnosis. During her calm and relaxed state, she was able to recall enough details of the suspect for a sketch artist to come up with a reasonable facsimile of the arsonist.
And when a man saw the sketch, he feared the worst - that the drawing was his son, Paul Keller.
Since his son worked for him at his advertising business, he went back over the logs of Paul's outside sales work. Sure enough, Paul had been in the towns where the fires occurred around the times when they occurred. Then the father went over the profile of the suspect, and sure enough, Paul met the key characteristics of this psycho.
When authorities captured Paul Keller, he denied everything - until the officers complimented him on his work. Then he opened up and told them everything. I watched some videotape of his confession where they'd taken him to some of the crime scenes, and he seemed proud of himself for the fires he'd set.
He admitted to 76 fires. In one of those fires - at a retirement home - three people died.
Paul Keller was convicted of the arsons and the murders. He'll be up for parole in the year 2079. They interviewed him in prison, and he seemed to know what he did was wrong, but he almost reminded me of the
One site I read while doing research for this post called all his other fires 'victimless crimes' because no one died, but he did around $20 million in property damage. Personally, I don't see that as victimless.
Have you seen Backdraft? It's a pretty awesome movie, plus it has Kurt Russell. :le sigh: And Sutherland plays a particularly creeptastic firebug. :shudder: And just to make it clear, my villain - Emma - isn't a firebug, per se. She uses fire, but she isn't drawn to the flames. It's just a convenient and horrific way to put an end to all her old flames. Consider it her idea of poetic justice. ;o)