A Breakdown of All of the 'Mindhunter' Season 2 Killers (PHOTOS)
Dennis Rader (aka the BTK Strangler)
Portrayed by Sonny Valicenti
As with Season 1, Dennis Rader creeps around the corners of Mindhunter, usually appearing in the cold opens of each episode. Known as BTK (“bind, torture, kill”), he killed 10 people (mostly women) in and around Wichita, Kansas between 1974 and 1991. At the time, he worked for a security company where he installed security alarms in peoples homes, as we saw him doing in Season 1.
While Agents Bill Tench and Holden Ford reference BTK in the series, don’t expect to see them interviewing him any time soon, as Rader evaded capture until 2005. Despite his communications with the media at the time of his killings, Rader remained elusive. A part of this may be that he broke many of the rules established by the Behavioural Science Unit’s research into criminal profiling. Rader was married with children, college-educated and gainfully employed.
It wasn’t until he resumed his communications with the press in 2004 that police were able to make an arrest. He’s currently serving ten consecutive life sentences at El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas where he is kept in solitary confinement for his own protection.
Ed Kemper (aka the Co-ed Killer)
Portrayed by Cameron Britton
It’s weird describing a serial killer as a “breakout star,” but Ed Kemper (portrayed with scary accuracy by Cameron Britton) was undoubtedly the highlight of Season 1, and he returns briefly in the second season. Bill and Holden make an impromptu visit to the surprisingly amiable murderer before interviewing Charles Manson, who Kemper refers to as a “charlatan.”
The 6-foot-9 serial killer and necrophile murdered 10 people, including his grandparents and mother. Most of his victims, who he killed between 1972 and 1973, were female students from co-educational institutions—hence the nickname “Co-ed Killer.” His crimes are too gruesome to go into here, but they’re described in gory detail in Mindhunter Season 1. Kemper was convicted in 1973 and is currently serving eight concurrent life sentences at the California Medical Facility, where he is considered an exemplary prisoner. During his imprisonment, he’s recorded hundreds of audiobooks for the blind, which we see him doing in Season 2.
Portrayed by Damon Herriman (who also plays Manson in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood)
One of the most infamous criminals of all-time, almost everyone knows the story of Charles Manson, the cult leader who in 1969 persuaded his followers to commit a series of murders in and around Los Angeles. The most notable was the killing of actress Sharon Tate, who at the time was eight-and-a-half months pregnant. An ex-convict and wannabe musician, Manson preached that the murders would help bring about an apocalyptic race war. Manson would later deny these claims, insisting that at least some of the killings were copycat crimes intended to exonerate Manson Family associate Bobby Beausoleil.
Even though Manson never killed anyone himself, in 1971, he was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He was originally sentenced to death, though that was later commuted when California got rid of the death penalty in 1972. Manson would end up serving a life sentence at the California State Prison where he died in 2017 at the age of 83.
Manson attracted widespread media attention and had an air of “celebrity” about him. He received thousands of letters while in prison and even married. In Mindhunter, Holden is clearly drawn to Manson’s magnetism, to the point where he even gives him his sunglasses. Bill, on the other hand, is far less impressed with Manson’s arrogant ramblings.
Portrayed by Christopher Backus
After interviewing Manson, Holden visits Tex Watson, a Manson family member who participated in the murders. Unlike the crazed leader, Watson appears to show a semblance of remorse for his actions. A former high school athlete and student of the University of North Texas, Watson claimed he was a heavy drug user at the time he joined Manson’s cult. Like Manson, he escaped execution when California scrapped the death penalty in 1972.
During his imprisonment, Watson converted to Christianity, released an autobiography, married, and had four children through conjugal visits. He also became an ordained minister and attained a Business Management degree from the California Coast University. He’s been denied parole 17 times and remains incarcerated at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, California.
David Berkowitz (aka Son of Sam)
Portrayed by Oliver Cooper
From July 1976 to July 1977, David Berkowitz terrorized the city of New York, where he shot and killed six people (again, mostly women) and wounded seven others. At first known as the .44 Caliber Killer (for his weapon of choice), he would become better known as “Son of Sam,” the name he used in letters left at the crime scenes and/or sent to the press. The media coverage gave Berkowitz a level of notoriety and led to the greatest manhunt in the history of New York City. He was eventually arrested on July 31, 1977.
During questioning, Berkowitz confessed to the crimes but claimed that he was ordered to kill by his neighbor’s labrador retriever, stating that the dog was possessed by an ancient demon. He later admitted that the demonic possession claims were a hoax, as we see during his interview with Bill and Holden during Season 2. Berkowitz is currently serving six consecutive life sentences at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, New York.
Elmer Wayne Henley Jr.
Portrayed by Robert Aramayo
Elmer Wayne Henley Jr. was an accomplice of “The Candyman” Dean Corll, a serial killer who abducted, raped, tortured, and murdered at least 28 teenage boys and young men between 1970 and 1973 in what became known as the Houston Mass Murders. Henley was just a teenager himself when he and fellow accomplice David Owen Brooks helped lure victims to Corll’s home. On August 8, 1973, after almost being taken prisoner himself, Henley shot and killed Corll and turned himself in to the police.
Despite maintaining that he didn’t participate in the rapes and murders, Henley is currently serving six consecutive terms of 99 years at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for his part in the killings.
William “Junior” Pierce
Portrayed by Michael Filipowich
According to the New York Times, William Pierce was released on parole in 1970 after serving just seven years of a 10-to-20 year sentence for theft, burglary, and arson. His release came in spite of a psychologist’s warning that Pierce “may be dangerous to himself and others.” Unfortunately, this proved to be accurate, as less than a year later, he was rearrested and charged with the murder of nine people, including Margaret “Peg” Cuttino, the 13-year-old daughter of a South Carolina senator.
Mindhunter doesn’t get into the gritty details of Pierce’s crimes; instead choosing to use the tobacco-chewing prisoner as dark comic relief. Holden grows frustrated with Pierce, who claims he can speak multiple languages, though he is barely able to grasp English. Thankfully, Agent Jim Barney is able to coax some information out of Pierce with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Pierce is currently serving a life sentence at Georgia State Prison.
William Henry Hance
Portrayed by Corey Allen
While in Georgia, Holden and Jim also interview William Henry Hance, a former soldier convicted of murdering three women (and believed to have killed a fourth). Two of the victims were young black sex workers found outside a local military base, and the third, a 24-year-old white Army private. Hance tried to avert detection by sending a series of confusing ransom letters (printed on military stationery) to the police, pretending to be a white vigilante group called the “Forces of Evil.” These letters are referenced in the third episode of Season 2. The real-life Bill Tench, Robert K Ressler, actually helped Georgia police create a profile of the killer, though this isn’t mentioned in the series.
Hance was executed on March 31, 1994. His case was surrounded by controversy due to his mental status and accusations of racial bias during sentencing. According to
the New York Times, one of the jurors, Patricia Lemay, claimed other jurors made racist remarks about Hance during the trial, such as “just one more sorry n***er that no one would miss.”
Portrayed by Morgan Kelly
Before he was convicted of killing film journalist Addison Verrill in 1979, radiographer Paul Bateson was best known for appearing as a radiological technician in The Exorcist. In 1977, Bateson apparently met Verrill at a gay bar in New York’s West Village, and after going back to the Variety writer’s apartment, he ended up stabbing him to death. When Verrill’s friend, journalist Arthur Bell, wrote about the murder in The Village Voice, a man alleging to be the killer called him to tell him what happened. Bell then received another call from a different man who named Bateson as the killer.
Once arrested, Bateson gave the police a written confession that matched what he told Bell, and while he later pleaded not guilty at his trial (claiming to be drunk when he gave his confession), he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Police also tried to connect Bateson to a series of murders of gay men in the area, but ultimately couldn’t find enough evidence for a conviction. He served 24 years and three months at the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility and was released on parole in August 2003.
Bateson’s current whereabouts is unknown, but
the Social Security Death Index shows that a Paul F. Bateson (same D.O.B. and a Social Security number issued in his birth state of Pennsylvania) died on September 15, 2012.
Portrayed by Christopher Livingston
Wayne Williams has a prominent role in Mindhunter’s second season as the police and FBI investigate a series of child murders in Atlanta. An aspiring music promoter and photographer, Williams was pulled over by police in May 1981 while exiting a bridge over the Chattahoochee River (where police heard a “big loud splash.”) Two days later, the body of a 27-year-old man was found in the river. After failing three polygraph tests, Williams was eventually arrested when hairs and fibers retrieved from another adult victim matched those from his home and car.
Prosecutors would later match 19 different sources of fibers from Williams’ home and car to several victims, but he would only be convicted with the murder of the two adult men. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in February 1982, and the child murder cases would soon be shut down, with Williams remaining as the prime suspect. Williams continues to maintain his innocence as he serves his sentence at Telfair State Prison; he has been denied a retrial on several occasions.
As of writing, 27 of the Atlanta child deaths and abductions remain unsolved, though, in March 2019, the Atlanta police reopened the cases, hoping to attain a conviction due to new technology.
Mindhunter returned to Netflix on August 16 for another season of grisly murder and chilling serial killer interviews.
The FBI's Behavioral Science Unit — headed by Agents Bill Tench and Holden Ford — continues its research into criminal profiling, this time sitting face-to-face with infamous killers such as Charles Manson and "Son of Sam" David Berkowitz.
The Netflix drama's stars share how Charles Manson and David 'Son of Sam' Berkowitz will be a part of the new episodes.
While the likes of Manson and Berkowitz, plus the return of Ed Kemper and the BTK killer, garner the most attention, the second season also features some lesser-known but equally deplorable monsters.
Check out the gallery for the lowdown on all the killers featured in Mindhunter Season 2.
Mindhunter, Season 2, Streaming, Netflix