Murder in New York City is not uncommon.
A psychopath leaving a note near the body with a punch list of demands is.
In Brownsville more than 48 hours have passed since the murder of Vindalee Smith. The pregnant 38-year-old was set to deliver in weeks and to be married this past Sunday. Now there are numerous questions about who is responsible in her stabbing death inside of a basement at East 94th Street.
"You know it's a little strange," says Dan Austin, a retired NYPD forensic investigator. What he finds particularly strange is the note recovered at the scene. It has been reported that Smith's killer made demands to have "D.C. Sniper" co-conspirator Lee Boyd Malvo released from prison or else one pregnant woman a week will be murdered.
For Austin, who has seen approximately 1800 homicides dead bodies, the amount times he's seen a note attached to a body or somewhere near a body cannot be counted on one hand, "None that I can remember."
When PIX11 News asked him his this one struck him? "It's just completely off the wall, peculiar, odd," said Austin.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr. N.G. Berrill concurs, "My initial thought this is a mighty unusual situation."
Dr. Berrill knows crazy when he sees it. The wall of downtown Brooklyn office is decorated with professional and academic accolades. What his credentials do not display are the hundreds of interviews with killers in New York and Florida.
Throughout all of his years of experience Dr. Berrill can only recall one case where a note was left at a murder scene, the notorious and still unsolved Jonbenet Ramsey case.
This said, Dr. Berrill quickly notes that a letter left behind does shed some light on the killer's psyche, "If someone has the wear with all to sit and write a note after the fact or before the fact, you're talking about a completely different kind of killer. You're taking about someone who is premeditated, it's not off the cuff, and moreover, you're talking about someone who is much more psychopath."
Dr. Berrill added that the killer demands is a form of psychological terrorism. It can also be a ploy to divert the investigation. Nonetheless he feels that guards need to be up for pregnant women in Brooklyn and elsewhere in the city, "I think it should be taken seriously. Look a murder has taken place that is irrefutable. I don't know what kind of game is being played out here, I don't know what the end goal, but if he's talking about targeting pregnant woman I would take it seriously."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times