Case Studies CJ211
Term Paper – Criminal Behavior
April 3, 2013
Joel Rifkin – “Joel the Ripper”
Joel David Rifkin, also known as “Joel the Ripper”, who was born on January 20, 1959 is a serial killer convicted of the murder of nine women. Although it is believed he killed as many as 17 drug addicted prostitutes, between 1989 and 1993 in New York City and Long Island. He is suspected by some to be responsible for some of the Long Island prostitutes whose remains were found in March and April 2011. In an April 2011 prison interview with Newsday, Rifkin denied having anything to do with the recently discovered remains. Rifkin often hired prostitutes in Brooklyn and Manhattan; he lived in East Meadow, a suburban town on Long Island. While viewing all the videos, reading books, viewing documentaries and newspaper articles on this man it is truly hard to pinpoint the exact type of killer he truly is; considering the many traits of a few different serial killer types he could fit. This person, I won’t even classify as a man could fit a few serial killer types; such as mission, but has so many characteristics of a hedonistic sexual sadist as well as power/control traits. He for the most part would have sex with most of his victims and then kill them, which were all prostitutes that would go undetected as missing for quite a while and he very well knew this information. He would make them comfortable, have sex with them and for most of the cases beat and strangle them and later dismember them and distribute their body parts. Although, in some cases he incased them in a trunk and dumped them but typically keeping to his usual dumping sites; some cases he used concrete and threw them in the East River never to be found. I consider him a mission killer because he targeted prostitutes with a random selection but mainly did it when his mother and sister were out of town which to me sounds planned to a certain degree. He has stated in many interviews that he didn’t always plan to kill them but it was rather spontaneous. Although, he was very organized in his disposal of each and every victim it is stated he changed his method of disposal variously. He did mainly stick to a concentrated area of Manhattan and Brooklyn. He was found later to have kept many items, ”trophies”, from each of his victims so that he could relive each of his kills. Rifkin's birth mother was a 20-year-old college student, birth father a 24-year old college student and army veteran. He was adopted by Benjamin Rifkin, who was of Russian Jewish descent, and his wife, Jeanne, of Spanish descent, who converted to Judaism when she got married. The Rifkin family did not have a synagogue affiliation; Joel considered himself to be agnostic, because he never had his bar mitzvah. The Rifkin’s adopted Joel on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1959, when he was three weeks old, and they adopted a daughter, three years later. As a young boy, he was a member of the Cub Scouts. In 1965, the family settled in East Meadow, New York, where Rifkin would spend most of his life. He grew up a shy child making him a target for bullies. Something about Joel Rifkin made him different, a quality that made him an immediate outsider, falling prey to all bullies. Classmates named him The Turtle, after his slouching posture and slow walk. He was always left out of all the neighborhood games; Joel was the butt of all the pranks and jokes. The bullies assaulted him in school and pulled his pants down, stole his lunch and books, and harassed him constantly. Things for Joel got worse at East Meadow High School. Joel was the stereotypical nerd, in glasses and high-water pants with white socks. One of the bullies who harassed him later called Rifkin an abuse unit. He talked about how he was subtly obnoxious and that his presence annoyed you. Rifkin joined the yearbook staff, and had his camera stolen. He tried his hardest to put the senior yearbook out, but he was...
References: Holmes, R.M., Holmes, S.T. (1998). Serial Murderer., 2nd Edition. Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA.
Joel Rifkin Interview Part 1/5 – 5/5, You Tube. Joel David Rifkin Interviews. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2kjkBXCxdA
Mladinich, Robert (2001). From the Mouth of the Monster: The Joel Rifkin Story. New York:
Newton, Michael. Joel David Rifkin: New York’s Most Prolific Serial Killer. Retrieved from www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/predators/rifkin/7.html
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