Professor’s killer career

Associate professor of criminal justice at SHSU, Dr. Robert D. Keppel, was interviewed by several reporters during the week of Nov. 3rd after Gary Ridgway admitted to being the Green River Killer.

Keppel became very familiar with Ridgway, who confessed to 48 murders, when he worked for the Green River Task Force, helping unearth 30 skeletons in the mid-1980s.

In a Houston Chronicle article, Keppel said, “It’s pretty unbelievable. There’s necrophilia, possession of bodies, he talks about everything.”

Keppel was the president of the Institute for Forensics in Seattle, Wash., and he worked as a detective in the King County Major Crimes Unit where he was the chief investigator in the Ted Bundy murder case. Several years later he took the position of Chief criminal investigator with the Washington state attorney general’s office where he worked for 17 years and was also an original member of the Green River Task Force.

After working with the attorney general’s office, he became a full-time consulting detective. In August, he was hired by SHSU to teach about murder with an emphasis on serial killers and profiling.

Keppel, however, is best known for his involvement with the “Ted murders.”

Ted Bundy was a man who went on a killing spree in the 1970s. He spent five years on death row in Florida before he was executed in the electric chair in 1989.

While Bundy was on death row, Keppel questioned him while allowing him to be a “consultant” on the Green River case. Bundy confessed to 30 murders, which until Ridgway, was the most confessions in U.S. history. Some of Bundy’s cases were not able to be fully investigated though, and many of them Bundy revealed only to Keppel.

Keppel has been involved in more than 2,000 murder investigations including 50 serial murder cases and he has consulted on several high-profile cases including the Green River killings in Seattle, the Atlanta child murders, and Austin’s yogurt shop slayings.

Keppel helped catch three serial killers: Gary Ridgway, Ted Bundy and David Leonard Wood and has lectured extensively to police officers at national seminars on homicide investigation. He has also testified as an expert on the method of operation of serial killers, the “signature aspects” of murder investigations, and police investigations.

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