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Sunday, 6 April 2008

Charles Ray Hicks told state police troopers he knew why the severed hands of Deanna Marie Null were inside his bathroom

Charles Ray Hicks told state police troopers he knew why the severed hands of Deanna Marie Null were inside his bathroom.But, he never said anything more.
That left investigators without an explanation of the murder and dismemberment of the 36-year-old woman, and why – if Hicks is guilty – he would discard all body parts but keep her hands.Criminal personality expert Judith M. Sgarzi doesn’t know but has a theory.“He kept the hands, about all my guess would be, to use to please himself or to relive his fantasy of what he had her do before he actually murdered her,” said Sgarzi, a professor of criminal justice at Mount Ida College in Newton Centre, Mass.Sgarzi, an expert on criminal personality development and domestic violence, said a dismembering killer fits the psychological profile of a serial killer – a sexual sadist who has no remorse and commits crimes for pleasure.She also suspects the body of a previous victim is somewhere out there.While there have been no updates in the Null case since Hicks was arrested, Sgarzi believes a nationwide search for similarities into other unsolved dismemberment crimes may be under way.To search for patterns, Sgarzi said investigators will have to look at similar unsolved crimes prior to the Null case.If police investigating the case know more, they’re not saying.That leaves the public still wondering about the circumstances surrounding the brutal slaying of the former Williamsport woman.What they do know is that the woman’s body parts were found in January – strewn across highways in the Pocono region.Null’s hands were found inside Hicks’ Coolbaugh Township home in early March shortly after his arrest for the homicide. The hands were wrapped in the Feb. 4 issue of the Scranton Times-Tribune.Null’s body parts were found Jan. 29 along interstates 80 and 380 in Monroe County and 14 miles northbound along I-380 into Lackawanna County.Both hands were then wrapped in four more layers – a bag placed inside a sock, an outer bag with detergent and another sock.Hicks asked questions as he was being taken to jail following the arraignment on March 8, according to a trooper who testified at the preliminary hearing. He asked investigators what they found inside his home – and said they didn’t find a lot of blood, the trooper said.
Sgarzi, who reviewed the master affidavit on the case, said she thinks the person responsible for Null’s death and dismemberment is a disorganized killer who put the body parts out so they would be found.Some of the body parts were found miles away from where Hicks lived, but some were found close his home. Null’s severed head was located about 200 yards from Hicks’ house.
“From the description I saw on the affidavit, it appears some of the body parts were found close to home to where he lived,” Sgarzi said. “If this is true (that he did it), it is a sign of the profile of a disorganized serial killer.”Sgarzi said it is possible whoever killed Null led a double life as a serial killer who is a sexual sadist. The profile of a serial killer, she said, shows these individuals are loners who are pleasant enough to talk with people, but are leading a secret life that took root in childhood fantasies.But, in time, the sexual sadist will play out his or her fantasies in reality. Behaviors escalate over time, said Sgarzi, “All of the research shows that whatever the crime, no matter how vicious, the fantasy is far worse,” she said.
The Null crime, she said, “is definitely the work of one person.” State police have said Hicks’ demeanor has been calm, polite and relaxed, which Sgarzi said is not unusual for someone who might fit the profile of a dismembering killer. Hicks continues to deny any involvement in Null’s murder and dismemberment.
“If you watch interviews with the most famous serial killers, they are all calm and show little emotion, because they have no guilt – they have never developed it. That is what allows them to do this kind of crime.”Hicks, 33, formerly of Burleson, Texas, was employed as a subcontractor at Tobyhanna Army Depot.
At the time of his arrest, according to a trooper, Hicks said he was not on any medications but was prescribed psychiatric medications about five months prior while dealing with a “rocky” divorce.According to court papers, Hicks’ trouble with the law goes back at least six years:In 2002, he was arrested in Texas for assaulting a woman and causing bodily injury. The misdemeanor charge filed in Tarrant County was dismissed.
In 2003, Hicks was charged with aggravated sexual assault, also in Texas.
In 2006, he was arrested in Virginia for assault and battery and possession of cocaine. The assault and battery occurred in Hampton, where Hicks pleaded guilty. The cocaine charge was dropped.
In 2007, he was charged with aggravated robbery in Tarrant County, Texas. The felony charge was dismissed in August 2007
Sgarzi believes this shows a pattern of violence and anger.
“All assault cases are about anger,” Sgarzi said, “but more important, about displaying power over a victim.”
According to Hicks, he only met Null twice – and each time for sex.
Hicks told police he drove to Scranton in search of a prostitute. He said he had sex with Null on two separate occasions, and the two smoked crack cocaine, police said. He would give her drugs and money for sex and they would drive around in his Mercury Grand Marquis.
Null was last seen driving off with a man on Jan. 18 in Scranton, friends told police.
Null, a Williamsport native, had been living in Scranton for nearly two years, and investigators said she would work as a prostitute to support her drug habit.
His family members are steadfast in their belief that Hicks is innocent. They maintain he was set up and that he does not fit the profile of a dismembering murderer.“No one fits this description until they are caught, and they are the least likely to stand out,” Sgarzi said.
Sgarzi believes the information presented in the affidavit and the evidence gathered by police would stand up in trial.
The evidence: A pair of human hands, the bloody shoes found in Hicks’ trunk and hacksaws found inside his home.
Jan. 18: Friends of Deanna Marie Null say they last saw her when she got into a car in Scranton
Jan. 29: Parts of a woman’s body are found in several trash bags along interstate highways in the Pocono region and Lackawanna County
Feb. 4: Police identify Null as the victim in the human remains case
March 8: Charles Ray Hicks of Tobyhanna, Coolbaugh Township, is charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of corpse in the death of Null
March 14: Hicks is ordered to stand trial in the murder of Null
“...(I)t appears some of the body parts were found close to home to where he lived.
If this is true, it is a sign of the profile of a disorganized serial killer.”

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