Monday, November 28, 2016

Why the Superbike Composite is Not Todd Kohlhepp

Much has been made recently that Todd Kohlhepp is the guy in the Superbike composite, the guy who was pretending to be a customer - in the words of Sheriff Chuck Wright - who was checking out a motorcycle just a little over an hour before the murders went down. Let's ignore for now that Sheriff Wright claimed that not only was the man in the composite a person-of-interest in the Superbike murders (and I think he should be as he cannot be totally eliminated as a suspect) but that Wright actually claimed he WAS the Superbike killer:

When asked if the sketch of a white man with dark brown, feathered hair is a person of interest or suspect in a 2003 quadruple homicide in Chesnee, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright held up the sketch and replied, "I'm going to be bold enough to say this is my man right here."

Okay, there is zero evidence to support that the man in the composite had anything to do with the crime. Yes, he was in the store that day, but other than that, there is nothing to say that this was the guy. If it was him, he allowed a bunch of people to see his face and, then, instead of just getting rid of these witnesses along with his targets, he left and came back later, leaving people who might well be able to identify him. Sheriff Wright gave a false statement to the public that he knew this was the man who committed the crime.

But, let's put that aside for now. Let's actually go along with Sheriff Wright for the moment and assume that this is the Superbike perpetrator. What do we know of him? Well, we have a description of a white male, age 25-40, 6 to 6'4" (depending on exactly which statement one goes with as the witness kind of waffled), who had dark brown to black hair and a mustache. His weight was somewhere between 175-200 pounds.

Okay, he COULD be Todd Kohlhepp. But, he could be a bunch of other guys in the area as well. What is true about witnesses is that they can be pretty darn good with a description or so far off you wonder about their powers of observation. Now, if five different people gave a description of a really tall man with a limp in his right leg, a jagged scar running down the left side of his face and a tattoo on his arm that said, "Death to All Hos", I am going to say you might do pretty well with that composite! But a tall white guy of normal weight with wavy brown hair between the ages of 25 and 40, you just pretty much could have a casting call in Spartanburg and fill up a football stadium.

Then, nine years after the crime, the witness says he can be more accurate than he was the day after and a new composite is drawn up! Really? Any expert will tell you that memory does not improve over time; the first rendition is far more likely to be correct than the second.

But, let's put all that aside as well, and ask, could the man in the composite be Kohlehpp? By looks, sure, could be him. But what about the other evidence? Evidence which more strongly identifies who this man could be.

Here is what the witness said:

He stated it appeared to him that  Scott (Ponder) did not know this person. He also heard the subject state he had never ridden a bike before. 

Whoa! What? Wasn't Todd Kohlhepp supposed to have been a customer of Superbike? Wasn't he supposed to have bought a bike there and didn't the guys at Superbike take him out to teach him how to ride and make fun of him when he fell? Wasn't he supposed to have returned to buy another bike from Superbike and they made fun of him again, laughing at him about getting his previous bike stolen? Then, how is it this man in the composite was apparently unknown to Scott Ponder and a new bike rider as well?

The most reasonable answer is that the man in the composite is not Todd Kohlhepp. This does not mean that Todd Kohlhepp could NOT have committed the crime; it just means that the composite is not likely to be proof of him having any connection to it.

Again, we have a lot of claims that Todd Kohlhepp is the Superbike killer but, as of yet, we haven't a shred of proof, just a lot of innuendos and lies. I have no problem with Todd Kohlhepp being a suspect but until there is solid proof that he committed this mass murder, I will question why the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office is giving out false statements about this man and the Superbike crime and ask the citizens to demand actual evidence of his guilt. Some say to wait and find out when this case goes to court but my fear is a plea deal will be made and this case will never go to trial. If that happens, we may never see any evidence that Todd Kohlhepp is guilty of this particular crime. And if it isn't him, then the real killer will still be out there.

For more on the case:

 None of the Superbike Victims were Shot in the Forehead

Is Todd Kohlhepp REALLY the Superbike Killer?

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

November 28, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

None of the Superbike Victims were Shot in the Forehead

NOTE: A number of people have not believed that I have any real knowledge of whether or not the Superbike victims were actually shot in the forehead. To them: I have read the autopsy and police reports as I reviewed this case in person at the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office. The information below on the location of the headshot wounds comes directly from the reports.


One of the things police departments do in the course of releasing information to the public is to give the public enough information to encourage tips that might be useful in identifying who the perpetrator of a crime might be, but leave out details that serve no point in aiding identification, details that might help prove they have the right individual if someone they are interviewing gives details of the crime that they have kept secret.

The Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office gave out quite a lot of details about the Superbike murders - what door they believed the killer came in (the back one), that he fired a lot of shots at the victims, and that he circled back around and shot each one of the victims in the head.

The Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office (SPSO) is adamant that the shooter came in the back bay door of the business shot Chris Sherbert first as he was cleaning up a motorcycle, then went through the swinging door into the shop and encountered Beverly Guy leaving the bathroom or the office and shot her, and then shot Brian Lucas and Scott Ponder as they tried to escape out the front door. Eighteen rounds were fired requiring a changing of clips. The SPCO has never explained just when the shooter did this in the midst of shooting the three in the front room and there is no explanation, if he had to change magazines at that point, why the two men didn't escape further while he was doing so. They never explained why, if the shooter mixed his ammunition which included eleven with nickel casings and seven with brass casings (which is what they told me they thought happened - something not very common along with the need for an extended magazine, something also quite rare) and if he shot the victims from the back of the store to the front, how odd it would be that at least three of the victims ended up with a bullet in the head that had a brass casing. I believe the killer had a full 10-round magazine with nickel (nickel-plated over brass) cartridges (plus one nickel cartridge in the chamber - 10+1) and a second magazine with brass cartridges.

I believe the SPSO attempted to develop a scenario that matches their theory that the unknown guy in the composite first went after the employee cleaning up the bike he was supposed to buy and then went after everyone else. Not that this makes great sense because if you come in the back way and start the shooting there, you are unaware of who is out front and by the time you get there, other customers may have come in. Besides, your anger should be with Scott Ponder and he should be the most important target and normally a killer would choose him to start with. Perhaps the thinking is that the perpetrator didn't want his vehicle seen so he parked in the back and came in that way and then went back that way to his vehicle. Nothing wrong with this theory and, in fact, it still could be true if the guy walked past Christ Sherbert to the front, did his shootings, and then returned to get Sherbert. But, the detectives, refused to even allow for this possibility and I think this stubbornness lies in their desire to make Sherbert the first victim of the guy in the composite and, in doing so, they  choose to ignore the ballistics evidence. But it is terribly important as it shows exactly what the shooter did and why - as you will see.

I propose this scenario of how the shootings went down (there is an issue with a couple of the casings whether they were brass or nickel due to the manner of notation in the files):

The behaviors of the victims clearly indicate Beverly Guy was shot
first. If the killer had been intent on shooting Ponder or Lucas first and pulled out a gun in the front room, he would likely have shot the men where they stood considering how close the shooter was to these two men. However, the killer shot them only after they were in motion, running toward the front door
in order to escape. Something clearly set them off and this would be the
shooting of Guy. I believe he pointed the gun at Guy's face and she turned her head causing him to then shoot her in the right side of the head. She fell and he shot her with.  (Shot One - Nickel Casing). Then he fired directly at Guy's before she fell (Shot 2)( Nickel Casing 19) was fired directly at Guy’s chest, the shooter being face to face with her, the men made a break
for it (Shots Three and Four, Nickel Casing 20 and Projectiles at 9 and 10).
The next shot hit Brian Lucas in the backside causing him to
collapse in the door, with Scott Ponder leaping over him; then numerous shots to Ponder’s
back took him down to the ground (used up all the nickel shot in the magazine). It was here he changed magazines to the brass.

At this point the shooter knew there was one more person he needed to deal with and he turned and went back through the swinging doors into the work area. There was music on in both the front and back so it is questionable as to whether Sherbert actually knew the others had been
shot down. It is possible he did hear the shots but by the time he realized what was going on, the shooter had already entered the back of the shop. The shooter fired as soon as he came through the swinging door approximately from the area of three bikes to the left of the door. (Brass Casings 21 and 22. The trajectory is in perfect line with the back storage room where the bullets went through the boxes. The
shooter’s position would be in the general area where the crescent wrench with the black handle was found should Sherbert have thrown it at the shooter in a desperate attempt to stop him. This evidence is proof that Sherbert did see him coming and that the shooter was coming at him from the swinging doors. He was the final victim, not the first victim. Sherbert likely was ducking behind the
motorcycle he was working on as soon as he saw the killer coming toward him
with a gun.  He then moved in on Sherbert who had no way to stand up from behind the motorcycle and run out the bay door without getting shot. The shooter came up over him and shot him in the back and chest (brass casings) and then capped him with a shot to the top of his head (Brass Casing)

The shooter then returned to the front of the business to
make sure Brian and Scott were dead. It is during this time (or while the shooter was in the back) I believe Ponder, still alive but knowing he was not going to make it, dialed 33 on his phone and pressed send, attempting to reach his wife with a final goodbye and, perhaps, an attempt to identify the shooter to her. Ponder appears to have pushed himself up on his knees with his left arm and dialed his phone with his free right hand and pressed the send button at 2:52. This was likely very
within a minute or seconds before the shooter capped him in the head.  I do not agree with the theory  that Ponder dialed the phone number while running in a panic over his friend and through the glass front door. I have attempted to recreate this scenario and found it impossible to hit the three buttons on the phone while in this kind of motion. The shots in the head of all four victims apparently ended their lives within seconds as there is no evidence of movement after the last four shots were fired.

At 3:12 PM, the emergency phone call to 911 comes in from
Noel Lee.

Now to the head shots: First of all, not everyone was lying on their backs making a shot to the forehead an easy thing. The shooter had no plan to shoot them all in the foreheads. He simply came up to each victim and delivered a final shot to the head to insure that they did not survive the attack.

Here are the locations of each of the four final headshot wounds (entry only):

Scott Ponder

Right temporal region 4.75 inches from the top of the head, 3.0 inches to the right of midline, and 4.25 inches circumferentially from the midline anteriorly

Brian Lucas

Gunshot wound 1 – Above left ear 3.5 inches from the top of the head, 2.75 from left of midline. No powder stippline or tattoing is identified.

Beverly Guy

Gunshot Wound 1 - Entrance wound in the right temporal region at the hairline 3.5 inches from the top of the head and 3.5 inches to the right of midline. No surrounding soot or powder
deposition is identified. A barrel imprint is not present.

Chris Sherbert

Gunshot wound 1 – Left paritel skull 0.5 inches from the top of the head and 1.75 inches to the left of midline. The wound measures 0.32 inches in diameter with a small superficial abrasion associated with the wound in the hair.

Four shots to the foreheads of all four victims?

Absolutely not - and why the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office wants you to believe this lie is something every citizen and family member of the victims should question and demand an answer.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

November 25, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Is Todd Kohlhepp REALLY the Superbike Killer?

Let me start out with this simple statement: I can accept that Todd Kohlhepp is the Superbike killer, a freaky anomaly whom I never suspected committed the crime, I am okay with that...if it is really him. If it is really him, four families can have closure after thirteen years and finally see some justice in the murders of their loved ones. If my profile of the case, my analysis of the evidence, did not point to Kohlhepp, I apologize to the Spartanburg Country Sheriff's Office (SCSO) for having been less than useful in my service to them. I can admit to not always being right, not 100%; I never expect detectives to always be right or 100% perfect either. We are just humans trying to do our best. This is one reason I am very particular about criminal profiling being considered a tool in aiding focus and decisions in investigation, not some kind of psychic vision of exactly what happened. I make sure when I turn in my profiles to police departments that I explain each and every one of my conclusions and what evidence supports those conclusions. I hope that my analysis and clear explanations allow the detectives to use their own skills in deciding if my conclusions make sense and if they should follow through on my thoughts and suggestions.

The Superbike case was a mess from Day One. It has been made public that the investigation appears to have gone the wrong direction when DNA results were screwed up and Melissa Brackman (then married to Scott Ponder) became the main suspect. Even now with the claim by the SCSO that Kohlhepp is the Superbike killer, they have admitted they never even interviewed him in spite of his name supposedly being on a Superbike customer list and having such a horrific criminal record.

I was brought in in 2009 to review the case. I spent a week inside the SCSO reviewing all the files and developing my analysis. I did note that the strongest lead was not followed up on properly and there were a number of errors made in double checking information and unlikely theories were pursued that may have badly effected the investigation. I have seen this quite often with cold cases, so I don't get that upset with detectives; they are doing their best with the training they have and I do believe they wish to solve their cases.

However, in the Superbike case, there was an overfocus on the unknown customer in the shop and Sheriff Wright kept saying over and over that this was the guy who committed the crime. Yet, there was not one shred of evidence to support this person's involvement while much evidence pointed to another individual. When I questioned Wright as to why he thought it was this guy, he told me that the individual never came forward to the SCSO and let them know it was him. I laughed and said, "I don't think I, myself, would come forward! I would think I would be accused of the crime!" Wright told me the citizens of Spartanburg were of a stellar type and would definitely come forward. I asked him if he thought someone with a concerning criminal record would be willing to put his neck in the noose and he said he believed that even someone with a criminal record would come forward. I was not sure what world Sheriff Wright lived in but I found it rather rose-colored-glasses-ish to think this way.

But, I didn't belabor the point. I gave my final analysis to the SCSO and left town. I never contacted media and I never told the family what my profile included. I kept quiet until Sheriff Wright made this statement three years later:

In March of 2012, Sheriff Chuck Wright said on the killings were, "probably one of the most gruesome, horrific crimes committed in our county."
With a new sketch released, Wright said they wanted national media attention because someone out there had to know the person. He said that because the customer was never identified and never came forward as a witness, deputies believed he knew what happened.
"This fellow will tell us exactly what happened in the shop that day," said Wright.

In other words, he said he was the killer. And this was a blatant lie since there was no evidence at that point in time to support such a claim. I, therefore, made a public statement that there was no proof that the man in the composite was the killer. Sheriff Wright then spoke out on television and claimed I had no inside knowledge of the case and only knew what I had "read on the Internet." I followed that up with some posts concerning the case which indicated I did indeed know more than what I read on the Internet. It was my hope at this time to encourage the families and citizens not to accept lies from their public servants and get Sheriff Wright removed from office. I had hoped a new sheriff might move the case forward based on evidence and there might finally be some progress.
However, nothing came of my stand and I said no more until recently in 2016 when Todd Kohlhepp suddenly came out of the blue and "confessed" to the Superbike crime.
I was stunned, to say the least. And confused. A serial killer that is also a mass murderer? That would be one for the history books. It isn't the way serial killers behave. An angry customer? There were no known angry customers except for a slightly peeved final customer that tragic day but that man wasn't Kohlhepp. There had been no angry phone calls or angry visitors to the establishment in the days or weeks or even months leading up to the mass murder. Todd Kohlhepp made no sense except that Sheriff Wright was up for re-election in the next few days and the Superbike case had been an albatross around his neck; could Todd Kohlhepp simply be a convenient patsy? 
And what would be his motive to kill four people in cold blood? Eventually, the story came out - or should I say two stories came out (both obviously from Kolhepp or the police but not from true witnesses). One, that he bought a bike from the store and the people there laughed at him when he fell over while learning to ride and, two, that he bought the bike, it was stolen, and they laughed at him when he came back to buy another. Both stories are pretty unimpressive as a motive for murder but add to that six months passing between the time he bought the bike to when he supposedly gunned everyone down and it is even more shaky. I guess one could conjecture that he came back six months later to buy another bike and he was the man in the composite and he was laughed at once more but it still seems quite unlikely that one joke would inspired Kohlhepp to come back an hour later and mow everyone down who worked in the shop. Yes, he is a psychopath and a killer but it is still a pretty lousy motive.
But, where is the evidence that it is him? So far, there is no physical evidence but it has been claimed by the SPSO that Todd Kohlhepp knew things only the killer could know. I found that odd since pretty much everything about the crime had been on the Internet - on Geraldo, on Ameria's Most Wanted, on Crime Watch Daily and on my blogs and other's blogs. But, then 48 Hours had Melissa Brackman (Ponder) receiving a call from Detective LaChica of the SCSO in which it is said he stated that Todd Kohlhepp knew something only the killer would know, that ALL THE VICTIMS WERE SHOT ONCE IN THE FOREHEAD.
FOREHEAD? I was stunned again. True, THAT piece of information had never been made public. 
Lead investigator, detective William Gary with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s
Office, said the caliber of gun used was a 9 millimeter and that a number of shots
were fired with few misses.
“The person that did this was very accurate in their shooting. They had at least two
moving targets, possibly three,” Gary said.
One theory is a “disgruntled customer” murdered the four people out of revenge. The
show said there was speculation the shooter was a professional hit man. After the
victims were shot, investigators say that the murderer circled around and shot each
of the victims in the head, execution-style.

Okay, so the SCSO did say they were all shot in the head execution style but never mentioned there were shot in the forehead. So, if it was true that all the victims were shot in the forehead and Kohlhepp knew this, then, indeed, he knew something that had not been made public.
The only problem with this is "it is NOT true." NONE of the victims were shot in the forehead. So why is Kohlhepp saying this (unless he just guessed and guessed wrong and, therefore, is NOT the killer) or the SCSO is making this up to get the public to believe that Todd Kohlhepp really is the killer?
If this case is plead out, if Todd Kohlhepp admits guilt and the case never goes to court (saving Kohlhepp, perhaps, from the death penalty, and saving the families from the trauma of reliving the crimes), then no evidence will ever have to be publicly presented to prove Kohlhepp is the Superbike killer.
Something is very wrong in Spartanburg and the citizens need to find out exactly what it is.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
November 21, 2016