Robert Hampton, American Renaissance, May 30, 2019
Earlier this month, a Kenyan illegal immigrant was charged with killing 11 elderly women in Texas. Forty-six-year-old healthcare worker Billy Chemirmir reportedly murdered women who were between the ages of 76 and 96 for their valuables by suffocating them with pillows. Authorities claim Mr. Chemirmir posed as a healthcare worker or repairman to get into the women’s homes. He had worked as a home aide for many of the women he is charged with killing.
Mr. Chemirmir came to the U.S. on a tourist visa in 2002. He overstayed but was able to get a green card in 2007 after he married an American citizen. Mr. Chemirmir had a long criminal record before his arrest, but was never deported. Police are now reopening 750 other cases of old people who died alone.
It may turn out that Mr. Chemirmir is one of the worst serial killers—defined as someone who has killed two or more people on separate occasions—in American history. Yet, he doesn’t fit the stereotype—he’s black. Serial killers are supposed to be white. In fact, blacks are considerably more likely than whites to be serial killers.
According to a 2016 Radford University study, just 51.7 percent of all serial killers in America since 1900 have been white. Roughly 40 percent were black. The numbers have become more lopsided in recent decades. In the first half of this decade, 60 percent of serial killers were black, while only 30 percent were white. Blacks have been the outright majority of serial killers since 1990.
Whites have never been overrepresented among serial killers. The decade with the highest percentage of white serial killers was in the 1920s: Whites were 78 percent of mass murderers even when they were 90 percent of the population. The 1920s also saw blacks account for the lowest percentage of serial killers at 18 percent. At that time they were about 10 percent of the population.
America had the largest number of serial killers in the decade of the 1980s. Whites were 83 percent of the population, yet were only 53 percent of mass murderers. Blacks were just 11 percent of the population, but were nearly 37 percent of serial killers.
Over 67 percent of the victims of serial killers have been white, and 37 percent have been white women. Blacks are disproportionately overrepresented at 24 percent of victims.
The stereotype of the white serial killer is false. So is that of the white mass shooter; whites are underrepresented among mass shooters, and have been for years.
A possible reason why serial killers are thought to be predominantly white is that nearly all of the famous ones are white. Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, the BTK Killer, and others have inspired books and films. Their trials were front-page news and their names live on. In fictional accounts of serial killers, such as Se7en and Silence of the Lambs, the villain is almost always a white man, further reinforcing a false stereotype.
Non-white killers usually get attention only when their crimes have been so terrifying and widely reported that the arrest, too, must be widely reported. One example is Richard Ramirez, a Hispanic who terrorized California in the 1980s. His crimes were widely covered and national media had dubbed him “the night stalker.”
Another exception is Wayne Williams, the black man convicted for the “Atlanta Child Murders” between 1979 and 1981. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing two victims out of a murder spree that claimed 28 lives. He has become well-known because many blacks think he is innocent and that the real killer was a white racist. In a 1985 book, black writer James Baldwin argued that Mr. Williams was railroaded by a racist system.
Police originally investigated Ku Klux Klan members. Police began to suspect Mr. Williams in 1981 after he dumped a large object in the Chattahoochee River at 2 am. Police soon found a body in the river. Mr. Williams failed three polygraph tests and fiber evidence found on victims matched his DNA. Young blacks also claim Mr. Williams tried to kidnap them during the period of the murders. The FBI profile for the killer suggested he was likely to be black.
Nevertheless, a popular 2018 podcast, Atlanta Monster, concluded that Mr. Williams was framed by racist police, and a forthcoming docuseries will probably make the same argument. Atlanta’s black leaders obligingly announced in March they would re-investigate the case.
There are plenty of other black serial killers who committed gruesome acts and killed more people than better known white murderers.
The Zebra Murders terrified San Francisco from 1973 to 1974, yet are not remembered as well as the Zodiac Killer. The Zebra killers were black Muslims who wanted to start a race war. They killed 15 whites and wounded at least eight. They kidnapped some of the victims and hacked them to death; they shot others on the street. The killings hurt San Francisco’s tourist industry and left the city deserted at night. If people remember anything about these killings it is that police aggressively profiled young black men.
Carl Eugene Watts is also little remembered today, despite being responsible for as many as 80 murders, mostly in Michigan and Texas. Watts mainly targeted white women, and his crimes were particularly vicious; he bludgeoned or stabbed victims to death, sometimes torturing them first.
Watts was set to be released from a Texas jail in 2006 due to a plea deal he made in 1982 that granted him immunity for 12 murders in exchange for pleading guilty to burglary with intent to murder. His early release was voided after he was convicted of a brutal 1979 murder in 2004.
One black killer who may end up as infamous as Ted Bundy is Samuel Little. Mr. Little confessed to over 90 murders last year. If he really had 90 victims, the 78-year-old man would be America’s deadliest serial killer. His confession drew widespread media attention and a documentary about him is in production. Thirty-four victims have been confirmed so far. He beat and raped his victims before killing them.
Even the attention paid to Mr. Little will probably not correct false notions about serial killers. The media like to portray white men in the worst possible light, so they have no interest in correcting misconceptions.
The next big serial killer film will undoubtedly have a white villain. Hollywood loves fantasy and hates race realism. A black serial killer would be too real.