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I meant what I said about my luck turning around. It's going to, I can sense it.
Banks

Curtis Banks, Jr., also called "The Circle of Eight Killer" by the media, was a spree killer and robber who appeared in the Season Seven episode of Criminal Minds, "Snake Eyes".

Background

In 1988, Banks' father, Curtis Banks, Sr. (who taught him how to gamble), hit the jackpot gambling and abandoned his family, taking the money with him and going to Las Vegas. The senior Banks became broke and drank himself to death only six months later. Not much else is revealed about Banks' personal life, other than that he was a longtime friend of Eddie Langdon, with whom he was a partner in a failed plumbing firm called 88 Plumbing. He held down several other jobs for short times; he lost one of them directly prior to the episode for punching his own boss. Banks was also a very compulsive gambler, losing a lot of money at casinos in Atlantic City. His dream was to win a jackpot and use the winnings to take his wife Teri on a trip to Tahiti. Unfortunately, his gambling problem cost him and Teri a lot of money to the point that their house faced foreclosure. He apparently managed to pull himself together, albeit only for a brief time. In 2012, on his way to a job interview in Philadelphia, he bought a scratch ticket, winning $250 and falling off the wagon again. He planned to get more money for the Tahiti trip by winning a high-stakes poker tournament in Atlantic City, which had a $50,000 buy-in and a prize sum of one million dollars. In order to fund his gambling, he had to borrow money from a low-ranking mob member, Danny Savino.

Snake Eyes

However, Banks lost a game, which caused him to snap. As a result, he robs and then murders Savino, bludgeoning him with a trophy before leaving eight dollar bills in a circle around his body and an eight of hearts on the body for unknown reasons. Because Savino's death could cause a mob war, this leads to the BAU being called in. When Banks gambles again, he experiences a string of victories that overjoys Langdon, who came along with him for the job interview. He is later approached by Teri, who says that they can't pay the mortgage and the bank is foreclosing on them. Banks tells Teri that there is a poker tournament, which will get him to win a lot of money and then he will be done with gambling afterwards. Teri tells Banks that she wants a divorce and that she is going to her sister's. Shocked by the news, Banks begins to lose games. He eventually approaches a hooker that was previously "all over him" named Patricia Riolo, in a parking garage and bashes her head against her car window before leaving an eight of diamonds on her body and, again, eight dollar bills around her in a circle.

When Banks meets up with Langdon again, he notices a connection in which the victims were all related to Banks but fails to identify him as the killer. Simultaneously, Banks begins experiencing another winning streak. Thinking that he must kill again to keep up the winnings, Banks acquires a handgun from a man named Jimmy. During the following evening, he uses it to kill a gas station owner, presumably chosen at random, and leaves behind his now-signature. However, he continues to lose and realizes that he must murder those closest to him, as Savino and Riolo were connected to him personally. As a result, he lures Langdon into an alleyway, gives him an expensive watch as a present (he had previously seen the watch and expressed his desire of having it), and remorsefully shoots him twice in the back when he has it turned on him. He then leaves behind two eight cards this time, presumably to give a "boost" to his luck. Soon afterward, Banks also kills a high-stakes gambler and robs him of $50,000, leaving behind $20,000 belonging to him.

Using the gambler's $50,000 to buy into the poker tournament, Banks gambles again and an undercover Reid joins the game. Reid eventually identifies Banks as the unsub when deducing that he is being overprotective of a black 8-ball key chain. Reid leaves, secretly alerting the rest of the team, but Banks flees, killing one of the casino's chefs in the process and stealing his jacket for a quick disguise. Desperate for luck, Banks decides to kill the one closest to him: his wife Teri. Fleeing to the house of his sister-in-law, Liz Dorsey, he finds both Teri and Dorsey there and holds them hostage, ranting at the former about how she ruined his winning streak. Rossi enters the house and tells Banks to release Teri and Dorsey and that he will take their place, but Banks only releases Dorsey and then holds Rossi at gunpoint. Rossi attempts to appeal to him, telling him that his father was the reason behind his actions, not Teri. Hotch, Prentiss, and JJ then enter the house and order Banks to put the gun down. Banks looks at the clock, sees that 8 o'clock is nearing, and then looks at the mirror, to which he finally realizes that he is holding his own wife at gunpoint, intending to kill her. Flashing back to all of his killings, then to a moment where his father taught him how to gamble (thus explaining his obsession with the number 8), Banks realizes that he has become his father and releases Teri. Now seeing that it is 8 o'clock, he pulls the gun on himself and commits suicide, which devastates Teri.

Modus Operandi

Banks targeted people that he believed jinxed him and took his luck in gambling away. Usually, these people had either long-term or short-term assocations with him in some way. He would kill those victims by bludgeoning them to death with some incidental object, such as a trophy or even the victim's own car. Later, as he began developing his "system", Banks would shoot them with a handgun. His signature was taking the eight one-dollar bills from his victims' wallets and lay them in a circle around the bodies, and leaving a playing card on their bodies, usually an eight of something. When Banks killed his friend Eddie Langdon, he shot him from behind out of remorse for him and left $88 in a circle around the body and two eight cards on the body, the extra amount of money and the two cards presumably acting as some sort of "boost" to his luck and may have even been a reference to the name of their former business, 88 Plumbing. However, while he targeted those that he was associated with, as said above, Banks wasn't hesitant in killing random victims as well. When he would do so, he would just snap their necks and not leave behind the one-dollar bills and cards of eight, in order to ensure that these kills didn't "count" in his system. The only exception to this rule was the gas station cashier, Harvey Redland, due to the fact that Banks didn't fully recognize his system yet.

Profile

The unsub is a compulsive male gambler aged in his 30s or 40s who is targeting people who prey on or take advantage of gamblers, such as loan sharks and call girls. The killings may have been triggered by recent gambling losses. Because he is able to use such brutal and violent force, he is probably physically fit. Since he is able to move around in one of the most surveyed locations on the planet (a casino) without fear of being recognized, he probably doesn't have a criminal record, nor does he have a very domestic life with a wife and children; that would only moderate or stabilize his pathological behavior. As a compulsive gambler, he is extremely superstitious and will not be able to stop his actions on his own. The number eight, his signature that he leaves behind, seems to be a compulsion to him has some significance to himself, such as a birthday or an important event in his life. Not only is he an addict, but he is also a killer, and based on how many victims and how quickly he has killed, he is not likely to stop. The unsub basically believes that killing people and leaving the dollar bills and playing cards on their bodies gives him luck in gambling. Because his luck did not improve when he killed Harvey Redland, he also figures that the closer he is to his victim, the more luck he receives.

Known Victims

  • 2012:
    • January-February: An unnamed ex-employer (assaulted; punched his face)
    • February 7: Danny Savino (a mob member and loan shark; bludgeoned at least three times with a trophy in his office; an eight of hearts was left on his body; robbed of an unspecified sum of money)
    • February 8: Patricia "Francesca" Riolo (an escort; bashed her head on her car window twice in a parking garage; an eight of diamonds was left on her body)
    • February 9: Harvey Redland (a gas station clerk; shot three times in a random attack in a gas station convenience store; an eight of spades was left on his body)
    • February 10:
      • Eddie Langdon (his best friend and former business partner; shot twice through the back in an alley; left $88 in a circle around him and two eight cards on the body)
      • The unnamed high-stakes gambler (snapped his neck in his hotel suite; robbed of $50,000; Curtis's own $20,000 were left behind; did not leave any eight cards on his body)
      • Unnamed casino chef (incidental; killed in a kitchen, apparently by snapping his neck, then stole his jacket)
      • The standoff at Liz Dorsey's house:
        • Liz Dorsey (his sister-in-law; held at gunpoint; was released)
        • Teri Banks (his wife; held at gunpoint and intended to kill; was released)
        • David Rossi (briefly held at gunpoint)

Notes

  • Banks seems to have been inspired by Bill Hodges ("Parasite") - Both were psychotic spree killers whose crimes were financially motivated (Hodges would con people out of their money, Banks killed people to increase his gambling luck), had M.O.'s that sometimes involved bludgeoning victims, and constantly had guilt-ridden flashbacks to their murders. Both also died in some form of suicide (Banks shot himself, while Hodges committed suicide by cop).

Appearances

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