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Inside the Mind of Serial Killer Gary Ridgway

Aired February 18, 2004 - 21:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... doing when you're doing this to this lady?

GARY RIDGWAY, CONVICTED OF 48 MURDERS: Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill.


LARRY KING, HOST: America's worst serial killer speaks in a chilling series of newly released interview tapes with Gary Ridgway, the Green River killer who terrorized the Seattle area for 20 years before pleading guilty to murdering 48 women. Tonight, inside the mind of a killer and inside the investigation that finally brought him to justice with Tony Savage, attorney for Gary Ridgway, who is now serving life without parole in state prison; King County sheriff Dave Reichert, eight years as lead investigator on the Green River task force; detective Tom Jensen joined in the investigation in 1984, has worked on it longer than anyone else and interviewed the killer himself; FBI special agent Dr. Mary Ellen O'Toole, a senior profiler, an expert on serial killers who also interviewed Ridgway last year; and Court TV's Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

For 20 years starting in the early 1980s, a serial killer terrorized the Seattle area of Washington state, leaving behind a trail of women's bodies. The first were discovered in 1982 in or near Washington state's Green River, and the killer was soon being referred to the Green River killer. The serial murder investigation was one of the longest and largest in United States history.

In 2001, investigators eventually got their man. Gary Ridgway was arrested, and as part of a controversial deal which helped him avoid the death penalty, pled guilty to killing 48 women. He is now serving life imprisonment without parole at the state penitentiary in Walla-Walla, Washington.

Some of our guests tonight interviewed Ridgway over a six-month period last year, and hundreds of hours of his taped confessions have recently been released. Now, we will play some excerpts for you tonight, and you may find the material disturbing.

Tony, first, how did you come to represent Gary?

TONY SAVAGE, ATTORNEY FOR GARY RIDGWAY: I was referred to Gary by his family, who had been referred to me as a potential criminal attorney to represent him.

KING: Sheriff, where were you when this first started? Were you sheriff then?

DAVE REICHERT, LEAD INVESTIGATOR, GREEN RIVER KILLER TASK FORCE: No, I was a detective. I was a homicide detective working for the King County sheriff's office.

KING: And what was the first killing, the first report -- the first came upon (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

REICHERT: Well, the first one was July of 1982 and was in the jurisdiction of the city of -- in the city of Kent. The second was the one that I was assigned on August 12 of 1982, Deborah Bonner, floating in the Green River.

KING: When did they hook it together that this was the same person doing these crimes?

REICHERT: On August 15, 1982, so three days later, two additional bodies were found by a rafter.

KING: So you've got two found already, right?

REICHERT: Two found, an additional two, and then on the day that we were on the river banks ready to process that scene, we found another body on the banks of the river. So now we had five bodies within just a few days. And on that next day, August 16, Monday, we put together a task force of 25 detectives within the King County sheriff's office.

KING: Were there telltale signs in all five...

REICHERT: Well, in the two...

KING: ... that said it was one person?

REICHERT: Well, first of all, the victims were taken from areas of prostitution. Secondly, they were -- their bodies were found in the same place, in or near the Green River and the banks of the Green River. And then there was -- there were some odd things, of course, about what he did to the bodies.

KING: Like?

REICHERT: Well, in two of the bodies that were up against the river bank, the two that were found by the rafter, there were pyramid- shaped rocks that were inserted into the vaginas of those two victims. They were weighted down in the river with rocks that Ridgway had moved on top of them, so that they would not float downriver, as the other two had previously done.

KING: Had they all been killed the same way?

REICHERT: Asphyxiation, yes.

KING: Had they all been sexually abused?

REICHERT: As far as we can tell, yes.

KING: Tom -- Detective Jensen, how did you come on to this? You came on sometime later, right?

DET. TOM JENSEN, ON INVESTIGATION SINCE 1984: I started on the task force in 1984.

KING: So that would be three years after the first killing.

JENSEN: Yes. Well, two.

KING: Two. And you worked it for how long, Tom?

JENSEN: I'm still working on it. It's been...


KING: Meaning?

JENSEN: ... continuous.

KING: Well, it's over. He's caught. He's in prison. What are you still doing?

JENSEN: Well, there's still plenty of work to do, analysis of what he told us and determining if there's other things that he may have -- may have done.

KING: Oh, in other words, you're still suspicious that there may be other questions about other people killed?

JENSEN: Well, the agreement we had with Gary Ridgway only covered King County, and there's -- it's conceivable that there's other murders in other jurisdictions.

KING: How he was caught?

JENSEN: He was caught, basically, by DNA. There was a lot of previous work done on him, and he was always a prime suspect, but science is what eventually caught up with Gary Ridgway.

KING: And how was he arrested? What led you to him and -- you know, give me the details of how he was actually physically caught.

JENSEN: Physically caught? Well, he was arrested at work in November of 2001 by two other detectives. Essentially, walked up to him, told him he was under arrest for three or four murders. He simply said, OK, and got in the car.

KING: And how did this -- this -- well let's go to Tony for that. How did this deal -- you were called in pretty soon then?

SAVAGE: Within two days.

KING: OK. And how did this deal work out, where you and the prosecutors -- there was no trial, right?

SAVAGE: No trial. Let me say this. It wasn't me. We had a very, very good eight-lawyer team. And I like to think I carried my share of the weight...

KING: Were you all paid, or these were appointed?

SAVAGE: I was the only one paid. The others were appointed.

KING: OK. And the purpose was to get -- to see that he tried to save his life, right?

SAVAGE: The purpose initially was to go to trial, but once the state filed the three charges, later charges, then things were looking grim and we took the other tack.

KING: Before we show any of the interrogation, let's find out how this came about. How did he come to submit to these tapes, Dave?

REICHERT: Well, we have always said that when we arrested Ridgway, most of the detectives and myself felt that if we could find evidence that would lead to seven to ten charges, we felt that Ridgway would come to us through his attorneys and want to save his life. And so that's what happened. The defense team came to the prosecutor's office, Norm Mailing's (ph) office in King County, and said, We need to make a deal. We want...

KING: Because you wanted closure.

REICHERT: We wanted closure.

KING: How many bodies did he lead you to after the agreement?

REICHERT: Four additional bodies. Three of those have been identified. One has not been identified. We're still working on that. But the important thing here is that we had seven charged cases. We could have gone to trial on seven cases, but 41 more families had some resolution to this case.

KING: Now, we'll show you -- where was the interrogation conducted?

REICHERT: In our task force offices in south Seattle.

KING: Were you present at much of it?

REICHERT: Yes, I was.

KING: Tom Jensen, were you present at much of it?

JENSEN: Oh, I was there for all of it.

KING: All of it. And were you there, Tony, as his attorney?

SAVAGE: Oh, 80 percent of it. If I wasn't there, one of the other attorneys was present. KING: We'll be bringing Dr. O'Toole and Nancy in in the next segment, but let's just show an example of what we have. We're going to see a lot of it tonight. In this interrogation clip, investigators ask Gary Ridgway, the serial killer, what went through his mind during the killings.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not still angry?

RIDGWAY: I'm still angry (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but I'm tired, too. I put all my effort in choking them, and then the rest of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is putting my foot on them so there's no way they ever could come back to life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what are you thinking as you're sitting there, thinking, Jeez, I just killed this lady? What are you thinking? What's going through your head?

RIDGWAY: You made me do it, you bitch, you whore, you worthless piece of garbage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you're not saying this, are you.

RIDGWAY: I'm not saying it out loud, no. It's in my mind.


KING: It's amazing. You're going to see a lot of this during the hour. We'll be including your phone calls. And when we come back, we'll include Dr. Mary Ellen O'Toole of the FBI and the former prosecutor, Nancy Grace, and continue, of course, throughout the hour with Tony Savage, Dave Reichert and Detective Tom Jensen.

As we go to break, Ridgway goes into detail about the way one of his victims was killed. Watch.


RIDGWAY: I got in to perfecting it, where by using a ligature, that was good because I could bring it up there, and once she starts (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I could wrap it around her neck and concentrate on that, wrap it around again because she's already unconscious and just tie it in a knot and then just -- she -- tied it in a knot, and when I go to the spot, I just untie it and she's dead. She's not going to get up and jump out the back of the truck.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you just told me you were an 8 on a 10 of serial killers, right?

RIDGWAY: Yes, but...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's -- that's pretty damn good, isn't it?

RIDGWAY: That's pretty good, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where would you rank yourself? Do you think you're one of the best of all time?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't worry -- I don't think you need to worry about being immodest. Just honestly, what do you think?

RIDGWAY: Well, according to the number, probably one of the best, yes.


RIDGWAY: Probably No. 2 or No. 3, probably.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you think is No. 1 and No. 2?

RIDGWAY: I don't know. Maybe Bundy. I don't know how long he was doing it, but...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You might have gotten away longer than him, did you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that might make you No. 1?

RIDGWAY: It might make me...


RIDGWAY: In my -- yes...


KING: Dave Reichert, was he No. 1? Did he kill more than Bundy?

REICHERT: Well, certainly, by the records that we have.

KING: There were 48, right?


KING: Known -- I think that's more than Bundy.

REICHERT: Yes, it is more than Bundy, and we think that he -- well, he says he did 71 and that we're just too stupid to find the other 23.

KING: He won't give you the other 23?

REICHERT: Well, he says he has and we just can't find them, but... KING: Oh, you can't find them.


KING: So he's -- according to you, Tony, he's given all he's going to give, right?

SAVAGE: To date. I think -- I don't think Gary knows himself how many. And I think he's got stuff buried so deep in his mind that we'll never find out.

KING: Nancy Grace, would you have made the deal?

NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Larry, I really hate to sit on the outside looking in and throw a stone. It's very hard work policing and being a local prosecutor. It's a thankless job. You don't get paid much. But bottom line, no. We still don't know the truth from Gary Ridgway. Why do these people think this man is going to tell them the truth? They just said he won't tell them where all the bodies are. We know he beat a polygraph test. And you know what, Larry? Tidbit -- today is Ridgway's 55th birthday. He probably had a little dessert behind bars! But one of his victims, Larry, was a 15- year-old girl! Don't tell me she was a hooker! And why a jury never got even the choice of the death penalty -- I don't understand it!

KING: And how would you respond, Sheriff? By the way, the prosecutor agreed. It wasn't your agreement, right? Or did you...

REICHERT: Well, I did play a part in this, and I was for the agreement. And I'll tell you, if you really have heart and compassion for this job and you have compassion for the victims, then you understand why we made this deal. We, as detectives -- Tom Jensen, Randy Molinex (ph), myself and all the detectives that worked on this case made connections with these families and with these victims. We grew to know those victims by recovering their bodies. These families held onto the lives of their children until the day we found and recovered their remains.

KING: Were the families happy you did it?

REICHERT: There were -- the majority, the vast majority of the families out of the 48 were absolutely pleased with this decision because they had not closure, but they had some resolution. They knew what happened to their daughter. Only seven families would know. Forty-eight families now know.

KING: Detective Jensen, did you agree with the decision?

JENSEN: Absolutely. It was a tremendously brave decision that the prosecutor Norm Mailing made, and I agree with it totally.

KING: Let's get the thoughts of Dr. Mary Ellen O'Toole before we investigate the mind and what leads to this kind of thing. Would you have made that arrangement, if asked, Dr. O'Toole?

DR. MARY O'TOOLE, FBI SPECIAL AGENT, HAS INTERVIEWED RIDGWAY: Well, I can't really comment on that because that arrangement -- at the point where I came in to assist the task force with the interviews, that arrangement had already been made. I can say that there was just a tremendous amount of information that was developed over a six-month period of time during which the task force and I were talking to Gary.

KING: Now, wouldn't you have been happy, Nancy, to learn all the things you learned, learned all the things for the families that he led you to, rather than to send him to his death without knowledge? Why would you not want knowledge?

GRACE: Of course, I would want knowledge. But it's my belief, after handling serial murder cases, that you can compare MOs, DNA, in this case, microscopic paint samples, which they very wisely tracked back to his truck-painting company to link him to several of the murders. It was incredible police work, fantastic police work. But the reality is, I think that they were blinded by their desire to "learn" about Gary Ridgway's mind. Learn what?

KING: Why do you put "learn" in quotes? Isn't "learn" a good word?

GRACE: Yes, "learn" is a good word.

KING: Why did you put -- OK.

GRACE: Because he is still lying! He is controlling this game. They know, even according to him, that he is taking responsibility for about 71 murders, that he still hasn't come clean!

KING: Tony...

GRACE: I only pray -- I only pray that those four women whose remains were found in Oregon could justify a new case being opened and him being subjected to at least a jury considering the death penalty!

KING: Tony?

SAVAGE: Well, with all due respect for the lady, she wasn't there. She doesn't know the players. Anybody that says a 15-year-old can't be a hooker just doesn't know much about hookers these days.

GRACE: That is a child! And I know plenty of child prostitution rings, sir!

SAVAGE: Well, we had an 11-year-old...

GRACE: And if you're suggesting that because she was a hooker, she's less of a victim...

SAVAGE: I didn't -- no!

GRACE: ... I'm going to have to take you out on that!

SAVAGE: Lady, I didn't suggest that at all. These women, these girls, deserved as much compassion as anybody, and I'm not lessening what Gary did because of their occupation at the time. And please don't misquote me that way.

KING: All right, let me go to break. Yes, let's stay right on board with what's put in front of us. Some of the police interviews, as we go to break, with Ridgway were conducted on the so-called field trips, when they took him out to the scene of the crime and would have him point out what happened and where. Watch.


RIDGWAY: This is one I took to work and I killed her in the morning on the way to work. And that's where I killed her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So back off the back side of the foundation.

RIDGWAY: Yes. No, not on the back side, up to the foundation, not -- you could get behind it.




RIDGWAY: Took her to -- drove around, and that was a good place to go because -- where I took her up, in Seward (ph) Park.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did she suggest it or did you?

RIDGWAY: I don't know who suggested it. I think I did because I had been there before. I'd been in the park...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You used the park for prostitution before?

RIDGWAY: No, I don't think I used -- no, I had been to the park years before with Marsha (ph), and other times, you know, before that. But that was just a place I'd been, and I figured it'd be a good place to have a date and kill a woman.


KING: Did he ever date anybody he didn't kill?

REICHERT: Oh, yes. Sure.

KING: Oh, yes? Did he have dates in his life? Was he married?

JENSEN: Yes, he was married. He had three wives. The last wife he was married to 13 years.

KING: Any children?


KING: Dr. O'Toole, what do we know -- what were your observations? You're a profiler. What do you make of this apparently docile-looking guy? O'TOOLE: Well, I think that's one of the most interesting features about Gary, and other serial killers, as well. They appear to be very low-key in some instances -- certainly, Gary appeared to be that way -- and compliant, polite, gracious. But that's very deceiving. But I think that's the idea that the general public has with these kinds of offenders. They -- the public wants the serial killer to look like the violence that he commits, and that's simply not the case. Once you start to peel back his pathology, you begin to see just an inordinate amount of information about him, and it's extremely frightening. It's very deep, and it went back a very long time.

KING: Now, he may be a brutal serial killer, but watch how fear sets in when his questioner tells him how rapists are treated by prison inmates. Watch.


REICHERT: It's rape and murder.

RIDGWAY: It's rape and murder and...


REICHERT: Rapists are the lowest on the totem pole when it comes to prison population. Did you know that?

RIDGWAY: I know that.

REICHERT: So you're -- you'll be known as a rapist and a murderer.

RIDGWAY: I'll be known as the Green River killer that killed them for the money and...

REICHERT: They don't give a [DELETED] about that. You think those guys in prison care give a [DELETED] about you as the Green River killer?

RIDGWAY: No, they don't.

REICHERT: That doesn't mean anything to them.

RIDGWAY: They don't mean anything to...

REICHERT: No. You're going to be a rapist.


REICHERT: But you're also a rapist. Is that so hard to say? Yes, I raped them.

RIDGWAY: Technically, I did it for murder -- for money and for -- no, I wouldn't be a rapist.

REICHERT: Not technically, no. You took the money away from them.

RIDGWAY: That'd be robbery then.


KING: That was you doing that questioning, right?


KING: What impressions did you come away with? Then I want to ask Tom Jensen, then I want Nancy Grace thoughts, viewing it from afar. What impression did you come away with?

REICHERT: Oh, I think that most of the detectives who had an opportunity to look him in the eye really were, I think, more than anything, shocked at his lack of emotion. He was to me just a stone. There's no compassion. There's no remorse. There's no feeling for these girls at all and these young women at all. They were garbage to him.

KING: Tom Jensen, what did you come away with?

JENSEN: Oh, I agree with what Sheriff Reichert said. I never saw any significant remorse, no compassion for the victims.

KING: Were they all prostitutes, Tom?

JENSEN: All that he acknowledged killing were prostitutes or had connections to the street or were somehow in a position of vulnerability when they were picked up.

KING: What was your read on your client, Tony?

SAVAGE: Quiet. We're dealing with a man of modest intelligence, not well educated, polite, as Dr. O'Toole observed. I don't think I ever heard him raise his voice but once. Not given to much obscenity, introverted, reserved. Larry, I keep telling people, you could sit down and talk with this guy at a tavern and have a beer with him, and 20 minutes later, I'd come up and say, Hey, this is the Green River monster, and you would say, No way.

KING: Nancy, do they know they're bad, or are sociopaths unaware of their own evil?

GRACE: Larry, from my experience, they know what they're doing is wrong but they justify it. And I guess, in a weird way, that is something interesting about Gary Ridgway. You heard him on the spot with the investigators. He could not say, I raped them. And when they refer to some of these young girls' connection to the streets -- some of them, yes, as they said, were vulnerable, were runaways, one as young as 15! That's only four years older than little Carlie Brucia.

And this guy tonight is celebrating his birthday with a nice meal that we, the taxpayers, have paid for! I don't know. I know they lived with the guy and lived with this investigation for many, many years, but you know, Gacy is convicted of killing 33 people, Ted Bundy 30. This guy, by his own admission, has killed and been convicted of more killings than anybody else, and I am paying for his supper tonight. That's not right!

KING: And Dave, your response?

REICHERT: Well, you know, we had a number of options that we looked at. We could have gone to trial on seven. He could have been found guilty. We go to the penalty phase, and it only takes one juror to say, I can't put him to death. He goes away for life, and we've only resolved seven cases. We could go to trial and he could be found not guilty, or we could go to trial and he could be put to death and we would never know the answers to any of these questions. So we chose a path to what we thought and we felt and we know today was the true path of justice because justice can take...

KING: None of these decisions...

REICHERT: ... more than one form.

KING: None of these decisions are easy.


KING: We're going to include your phone calls. As we go to break, let's hear from some of the families of the victims.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, I'll never forgive you and never will forgive you. You are a loser. You are a coward. You are nobody. You're an animal!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Gary, that gave you no right to do what you did. It was not your right to decide who lived and who died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I forgive you for what you've done. You've made it difficult to live up to what I believe and that is what God says to do, and that's to forgive. And he doesn't say to forgive just certain people, he says to forgive all. So you are forgiven, sir.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we want you to do, Gary, is we're going to walk in the woods here and we'd like for you to try to find the spot where you put this one.

RIDGWAY: I sure will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gary, from here, where did you place the body?

RIDGWAY: I just placed her on the side of the hill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you place it on the side of had hill?

RIDGWAY: Yes, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Face up or face down?

RIDGWAY: Face up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clothed or unclothed?

RIDGWAY: Unclothed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How sure are we, Gary?

RIDGWAY: 100 percent sure. This hill and down from this area.


KING: Let's reintroduce our panel. In Los Angeles Tony Savage, the attorney for Gary Ridgway, the so-called "Green River Killer". Also, here is Dave Reichert, the sheriff of King County, Washington State, who worked the case since the beginning. And in Seattle -- by the way, he's currently running as a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Washington State's eighth district.

In Seattle, is Detective Tom Jansen, who joined the "Green River Killer" investigation in 1984. He's now retired, but, still, as you can tell, attached to this case.

In Dallas is Dr. Mary Ellen O'Toole, FBI special agent, been with the bureau for 23 years. Senior profiler in the behavioral analysis unit. Also sat in on some of the interviews we're watching.

And in New York is Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor, Court TV host and lady who makes frequent appearances on LARRY KING LIVE. Before we go to calls, Dave wanted to add something, so did Tony, about why they chose the deal they did.

REICHERT: Just one quick point to finish up on the thought about the death penalty. So, if a jury did come back and give him the death penalty, we would still be filing appeals. I'm sure the defense team would file appeals for the next 15 years. So, we would still be buying Ridgway's breakfast, lunch and dinner today, on his birthday either way.

KING: And Tony, you were going to add? And then we'll have Nancy comment and we'll got to calls.

That lady is upset because she is paying for Gary's wonderful meal at the Walla Walla State Penitentiary. If we had gone to trial and lost, the trial would have take a year and the taxpayer was looking at a bill of somewhere between $10 and $20 million. We can feed him Chateau Briand three times a day for the rest of his life and not get to that figure.

KING: Nancy?

GRACE: Hey, I never said it was a wonderful meal, all right. I never said that. But one thing I think is being misunderstood, these are the men that cracked the case. I respect them for hard work. The one detective that stuck with this case for years, Larry.

It's hard enough for me to look at one murder trial and open that file and look at the facts that they're upsetting. These men lived with it every day. I just simply disagree with the final resolution. I think a jury should have decided and I think it's a very interesting that across this country when you have hookers or runaways that are murdered, very often you see a lighter sentence. The guy killed 48 women that we know of, maybe 71. If he doesn't get the death penalty, can somebody tell me who does?

KING: But you only know of 48 because he told you about the other 41.

GRACE: He beat a poly. He beat a poly. He is probably not telling the truth about these, he was just trying to save his own skin.

KING: Olympia, Washington, hello.

Olympia are you there?

CALLER: Larry, privilege to be on your show. Nancy, I've got a question for you. I respect you, you're brilliant.

GRACE: I can tell you're mad at me.

CALLER: No, absolutely not. Everybody knows the death sentence for sociopaths is not a detraction, it doesn't work. This man is going to waste more of our money. Don't you really seriously believe that these families deserve closure and that Dave Reichert and his gang, they deserve kudos. I mean, they took a sociopath off the streets.

GRACE: They did. In my understanding, the killings extended into 1998, so he took a little break, but he resumed shortly after that. If they had not been stopped him, I can promise you Ridgway would have continued. So, there's way to take away from this team. I'm just saying you can study a serial killer until you die and you're buried six feet under and what are you going to know? More about evil?

KING: Dr. O'Toole, is that true or do you learn?

O'TOOLE: There's an awful lot to learn and certainly with Gary's insights to the extent that he would share them I think is extremely helpful and I -- he is in our opinion, he is a psychopath as opposed to a sociopath. That's a very important distinction to make. And there are certain personality traits that go along with that and to the extent that we can learn about his homicides and how he did it and his involvement and how he developed, it's extremely valuable information. KING: Did it start in very early childhood, Mary?

O'TOOLE: Yes, it seemed to have started early on and there's still -- the jury is still out as to whether or not psychopathy, which is a personality disorder, if there is a genetic link to that. Having said that, we know, in my unit, that sex and violence become intertwined at a very early age in the background of a serial killer and it evolves over a period of time. People don't wake up one morning and decide to go out and kill people. There was an evolutionary.

KING: It is an evolutionary process?


KING: More from the Green River serial killer's field trip now as he loses count of the women he killed in a particular area near Seattle. Watch.


RIDGWAY: These are women I killed up here and -- in this area. One up here or two, back there, at the time it was cleared, four or five. Between there and here...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four or five different victims?

RIDGWAY: Four or five different victims. At least, because this is a place -- I lived right up there.


KING: We're back. Vancouver, British Columbia. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: My name is Angela and I have two questions for Nancy.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Why does it seem in the Pacific Northwest there's more serial killers than know other regions in the U.S. and Canada? And I was wondering during his break if he had possibly come up to Vancouver, because we have a pig farmer here who murdered at least 60 prostitutes.

KING: The sheriff would know better but, Nancy, you want to comment?

GRACE: Yes, I have been looking into that guy, Plotkin (ph) I think is his name, and he may be the king of serial killers. But as I was studying, I think you're right, Larry, the sheriff may know more about this. As I was studying whether this guy Ridgway had killed more than anyone else, I did begin to notice that there are many serial killers in that area of the country.

KING: Bundy was there, too.

REICHERT: Bundy was there too.

KING: What do you make of that?

REICHERT: Yes. I think right now we're focused on the northwest and I don't know and have the exact numbers of serial killers, but I think that people -- as you go across the country, you can certainly name off serial killers across the country. But what we've learned as part of this process and investigating this case, there are serial killers operating around the world in different countries.

KING: But don't we have more than any other country?

REICHERT: I just think that we're more aware of the serial killers in our country.

KING: Are there serial killers in Asian countries. Do we know, Tony?

SAVAGE: I would have to assume so just on the basis of a human being. I would like to say one thing about the number of serial killers in the Pacific Northwest. We know about them, because we've caught them. The reason we've caught them is because we have superb police work.

KING: Detective Jensen, do you have any idea as to why so many in your area?

JENSEN: Greater recognition, I think, because of Bundy and lessons learned in that investigation. I think we just have a greater recognition of serial murders when they occur.

KING: Dr. O'Toole, are they unique to the western United States or to the western world?

O'TOOLE: They are not unique to the west coast, otherwise I think people would be putting their homes up for sale and moving across country. We have serial killers throughout the United States. You had two very high-profile ones in Seattle that was Bundy and then Green River, but we have them all over the United States and, unfortunately, the crime rate in the United States is higher than most countries. So, we do see more serial killers here.

KING: We are going to go to break. One question that puzzled investigators for years in the Green River killer case was why all the women were being murdered. And here's what Ridgway had to say to the authorities about that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So why did you kill? That's the million- dollar question, a lot of people are asking why in the hell did he do it? RIDGWAY: Because they were prostitutes and I killed them because I wanted to kill them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you want to kill them?

RIDGWAY: I was mad at women and prostitutes.


RIDGWAY: Because I didn't -- didn't want to pay for sex. I was having all kinds of problems and my ex-wife...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you've got all kinds of excuses why, right?





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think she'll come to visit you?



RIDGWAY: Because she's starting a new life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is? What do you mean? I don't know anything.

RIDGWAY: I think she's seeing somebody else. She needs somebody else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did she get a divorce?

RIDGWAY: No, not yet. It's in the process.


RIDGWAY: And then she doesn't want to have any more pain of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, if she did come to visit you, would you see her? You would?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you don't think she'll stop by. Do you think your son Matthew will be there?

RIDGWAY: Eventually, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Before we take the next call. Tom Jensen on the day the DNA matched you came down to see Dave Reichert, right?

JENSEN: Yes, I did.

KING: Were you excited?

JENSEN: I was, yes, I was pretty excited.

KING: Because you had the name of a suspect, right?

JENSEN: I knew who the Green River killer was and that's something we were looking for 20 years.

KING: Dave, how did you react?

REICHERT: Well, Tom called my secretary and arranged an appointment to come down and visit with me and he had three blank sheets of paper when he sat down at the table in my office and he flipped the first piece over and he showed a chart and he said we have a DNA profile on Marsha Chatman (ph), flipped the second piece of paper over and he said we have a DNA profile on Cynthia Heinz (ph) and he flipped the next piece of paper over and he said, you can see this one says Green River Killer at the top and the profiles kind of are the same and I looked at Tom and I said, Tom, are you trying to tell me that we have identified a suspect? And he said, yes, Sheriff. He reached in his pocket and he handed me an envelope and he said his name and his photograph is in this envelope and I said I don't even need to open it, it's Ridgway.

KING: Wow. To Little Falls, Minnesota. Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: My question is for Anthony Savage. I've followed your case over the years and you are an excellent defense attorney. What made you decide that you wanted to take this case of the man who America views as a coldblooded monster?

SAVAGE: Your first name wouldn't be Adele, would it?

KING: Who's Adele?

SAVAGE: My granddaughter. Well, Adele, I took the case because this is the way I think the system ought to be run, that everybody is entitled to a defense, the system in our country is innocent until proven guilty and I believe in advocating for people who are charged with defenses.

KING: And I like grandchildren who love their grandpas. Kansas City, Missouri, hello.

CALLER: Hi. This is for Dr. O'Toole.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: I was just wondering if she could elaborate on Ridgway's childhood upbringing and were there any indicators or abnormalities there that they think might explain why he maybe became a killer?

O'TOOLE: Well, his development is really quite interesting, I'll just highlight a few things. He spoke about, for example, after a period of time that he had walked down a sidewalk not too far from his home and he had stabbed a 6-year-old boy and up until really the time that the task force had talked with him, we had not known about that. He really up until that point denied any kind of violent fantasies or any kind of acting out or anything that would have suggested that this was evolving. And the task force actually identified that 6-year-old boy who is now a grown man today and that is just an example of how early on Gary began to fantasize about sexual fantasies and violent fantasies and, actually, began acting out at an early age.

KING: Did he ever kill an animal ever as a youngster?

O'TOOLE: He talked about, we did ask that. He did talk to interviewers and he and I had talked about it that he was cruel to animals, but they don't say it in a direct way, like, yes, I'm cruel to animals. It was more like, yes, I did this and then I did this, but I think it's important to point out, though, when people hear this that cruelty to animals is not necessarily a predictor certainly of someone becoming a serial killer.

KING: What was his relationship with his mother and father?

O'TOOLE: Well, there's a lot to that and the relationship was certainly an interesting one and some of the rituals, specifically, as they relate to, for example, bathing behavior with his mother were rituals that he repeated with some of his prostitutes prior to engaging in sex with them.

KING: He had a relationship of a weird kind with his mother?

O'TOOLE: Well, we don't usually use the word weird, but we do look for things in their background that would be present when they're actually acting out their assaults. So, we spent a lot of time looking at that because that is very important information.

KING: As we go to break, perhaps the most gruesome of clips is of Ridgway explaining how he went back to the scene of a crime to move a victim's body and something very important was missing. Watch.


RIDGWAY: I dumped a women off, forget her name, at the park and in the last couple days I thought it was on the other side but it was at the park and I don't think I went back and got her head. The head was missing. I don't think I went back and got her head. I placed it on the park side by the river.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Park side by the river.

RIDGWAY: Yes. Like I said, last time I thought it was over near the other side.




RIDGWAY: You put your arm around here like this so this is doing all the pressure. By leaning back like that you're not really choking them in the back, it's just the front. If I had a (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I'd be pulling back and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) knobs on the end of her, some were (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I could pull on it like that and cut into it once she passed out and maybe I pulled around there and tightened it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you feel when you're doing this to this lady?

RIDGWAY: Kill, kill, kill, kill.


KING: Los Angeles, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. You mentioned earlier sheriff and Tony Savidge that he has a son.

What was his relationship like with his son and also how is his son dealing with this?

KING: Sheriff or Tony?

SAVAGE: I'm glad you asked that. If I could expand just a little, I'm not trying to pardon what Gary did, but we think these awful things and we assume that they are the substance of his entire life, but that's not true. He's human. He has human qualities. He did do some good things. He did do beneficial things. He had a good family relationship. His family still loves him. He had a good relationship with his son. His son and his other relatives are just devastated by this because the Gary that they knew that was their friend and father and brother isn't this Gary.

KING: How old's the son?

SAVAGE: Early 30s.

KING: In this clip, a wicked revelation from Ridgway, when an investigator asked what would have happened if Ridgway's young son had witnessed any of the murders?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you say you would kill him if you thought he was a witness?

RIDGWAY: I could have killed him if he was a witness, yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't that something. Kill your own son -- if he was a witness. So, you're trying to tell me that you couldn't put a rock in the back of someone's head if they were a witness, you could kill your own son?


I got you again. I got you again. You kill your own son if you think he's a witness.

RIDGWAY: If I had to -- If I had to kill him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you would.

KING: The more you know the less you know. We thank, Tony Savage and David Reichert and Detective Tom Jansen, and Dr. Mary Ellan O'Toole, and Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor for being with us. Don't forget next week, by the way, February 26, next Thursday night we'll moderate the big Democratic Party debate incorporation with CNN and the "Los Angeles Times." I'll be back in a couple minutes and tell you about tomorrow night.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had just turned 15-years-old and was just an immature teenager trying to find her way in life before it was snuffed out by Gary Ridgway. I won't ever forgive him for that. He's destroyed my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gary Leon Ridgway, I forgive you. I forgive you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't hold me anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shame on your Gary Ridgway. May God have mercy on your pathetic soul, because the rest who know the truth about you won't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's an animal. I don't wish for him to die. I wish for him to have a long suffering, cruel death, hopefully terminal cancer. I know he feels no remorse. He's beady little evil eye's would like to probably choke everyone's that been here. But you won't have that opportunity this time.



KING: Tomorrow night one of my favorite people Barbara Walters will be with right here on set in Los Angeles for a full hour with your phone calls. And Friday night Regis Philbin returns to LARRY KING LIVE, this time with no surprise birthday parties.

It's never a surprise when we go to New York, because that means "NEWSNIGHT" is next.


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