Visiting a Serial Killer in Prison #psychology
Brandon Fisher always wanted to be an FBI agent, but when that wish comes true, he gets more than he expected on his first case.
Excerpt from Eleven, Chapter 5:
The Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex is a medium security prison and thirty-one miles from Salt Lick. Some prisons in Kentucky house death row, a punishment still enforced down here. I had no doubt that once all was proven Lance Bingham would have his suite upgraded, a last meal granted, and a lethal injection shot straight through his veins.
A guard at the front gate let us pass with a flash of Jack’s creds, and after we relinquished our guns we were on our way to meet with a monster. I had studied a lot of serial killers, their methods, their means, their trophies, and their messages. I had spent hours studying their faces and peering into their lifeless eyes void of compassion, but that was through the pages of literature or through video. I wondered how much different it would be in person.
We were led into a meeting room used by lawyers to confer with their clients. Jack offered me the chair, and he paced behind me. The door opened and two security guards came in securing the prisoner by a grip on both of his arms. His hands were bound together in cuffs at the front. I wondered if the security here was always this intense, or if they were putting on a show for the FBI.
Lance Bingham had round-framed glasses that covered from his brows to his cheekbones. The silver hair on his head and face resembled steel wool, wiry and unkempt. His physique was trim and muscular.
His eyes matched with mine, and the corners of them creased as he smiled at me. His eyes, unlike the photos of killers I had studied, possessed awareness. His gaze reached inside my head and grappled onto my innate fears.
“Sit!” One of the security guards barked the order, shoving Bingham into the chair across from me.
Bingham leaned his torso as far over the table as he could before sitting down. His breath swept across my face. “You’re a little youngin’ ain’t ya?”
The few seconds it took the guard to secure his cuffs to the restraint on the table, I looked back at Jack who bobbed his head directing my focus forward. I knew this. My training and exercises in interrogation had prepared me for this. In fact, I had excelled in this part of the course.
“We’re good here,” I said, releasing the two security guards. I noticed the glance they passed to Jack as if looking to him for reassurance of my directive. He must have backed me up as they left the room.
Bingham smiled. “I killed two cows.” A Kentucky accent graced his speech, even though we knew he was born in Sarasota, Florida—ironically my hometown.
“We’re not here about the cows.”
“Then what possibly could ya be here for?” His index finger tapped the table.
The Kentucky accent by nature attributed softness to the speaker, a sense of innocence. It was uncanny to hear it coming from this man’s lips, a man who had tortured, murdered, and disemboweled at least nine people.
“We found the burial sites.”
Bingham sat back. The smile remained tattooed on his lips like the permanent grin painted on the face of a clown.
“You know what I’m talking about.”
“You’ll have to clarify that officer.” He continued tapping the table with his finger.
“FBI Special Agent Brandon Fisher.” I corrected him.
“Well, how-howdy Special A-agent Fisher.”
My earlobes heated with anger. He kept mind-piercing eye contact. I wanted to avert his eyes, even blink for an extended period to create a barrier between his mind and my thoughts.
Empathize and establish a groundwork. Build on their ego.
“Your basement bunker. Genius really.”
“Can’t say I know what you talking about.” More finger tapping.
My eyes wanted to sag, to shut, to close, but I fought against the urge. “Ten bodies were found buried on your property.” I fanned out the crime scene photos on the table. My stomach flopped knowing I was sitting this close to the man responsible.
His eyes were unwavering. “Beneath my property you say?”
“You tortured them.” I pointed out the incision marks on the most recent victim. “You killed them. You tore out their intestines. We found your meat grinder and the freezer.”
“But you never found anything to prove I did it, I assume.”
“It’s your property, your responsibility.”
Bingham laughed. “You can’t prove nothin’.”
Although the training prepared me to handle real life situations, it was quite another to be staring into the eyes of a sadistic killer as opposed to a colleague’s.
“Do you recognize her?” I put a fingertip on the photo of the most recent victim. Her face had been brushed of dirt, swept away as if she were an object and not once a living human being.
“Can’t say that I do.” A smile lingered.
“That’s enough!” Jack roared from behind me and came over to Bingham. He held him by the scruff of the neck. Eye contact with Bingham was broken as his face contorted and he fought for oxygen.
“You killed those people. You won’t even have a fucking chance to rot in this hellhole. I’ll make sure they inject you, and we’ll be in the front row watching you take your last breath. Tell us the fucking truth and maybe that won’t happen.”
Bingham’s arms pulled back, his constraints allowing him little advantage in the struggle with a free man. A guard peeked through the window in the door but stepped back when I brushed him away with the wave of a hand.
Bingham’s face flushed from a pale pink to a bright red.
“Who is she?” Jack held his face inches from Bingham’s.
Bingham gasped for breath and Jack eventually let go. He stepped back.
“I might recognize her.” The southern accent was gone.
Jack went back for his throat.
“Go ahead. What have I got to lose?” Bingham laughed, and his eyes returned to mine. They latched on as a life-sucking vine does to the brick of a house, destroying the mortar, crumbling it to a fine powder. “I killed cows. I assaulted my neighbor.”
“You must think we’re idiots.” Jack looked at me. “He thinks we’re idiots.”
“I’ll talk to the youngin’, not you.” Another series of finger tapping.
“We’re not negotiating with a murderer.”
“You haven’t proven that I am.”
“It will only take a brief amount of time and I assure you that your ass with be in that execution chair.” Jack gestured between us and repeated his earlier words, “The two of us in the front row.”
“You’re extremely aggressive, Special Agent.” Bingham spoke to Jack yet his eyes were on me. The smile had disappeared from his lips, but the wildfire in his eyes sparked with amusement. “You leave. I’ll talk to him.”
My heart sped up. The government believed in me, and the least I could do was muster enough confidence.
Jack straightened up. “You have two minutes. After that I’ll be coming right back in that damned door, you understand?” He passed me a glance, one I was certain not to miss. His eyes read, are you ready for this kid, before he left the room.
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