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Natalie Knox and Nick Jamison were a pair of spree killers who appeared in the Season One episode of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, "The Ballad of Nick & Nat."

Background[]

Natalie and Nick were both U.S. citizens from Mobile, Alabama. Natalie's drug-addicted mother had a total of three failed marriages. Her third husband, a prison guard, was accused by Natalie of raping her when she was nine, but the case was dropped when Natalie's mother claimed she was lying. During her sophomore year at high school, Natalie met Nick, who was raised by his father alone after his mother abandoned both of them when he was five years old. Because of the abandonment, Nick started acting out in school and was diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder by the age of ten. He grew close with Natalie and the two eventually started a romantic relationship. In 2013, Natalie and Nick both entered Cuba illegally via Mexico and renounced their American citizenship six months prior, considering themselves Cuban. On November 7, 2015, Natalie was raped by an American tourist named Stan Williams, who was then beaten by her and Nick when the latter intervened. They nearly killed him, but Nick stopped Natalie and carried her away despite her protests. The incident caused them to spiral out of control; they killed another American named Victor Foster and stole his handgun and car.

The Ballad of Nick & Nat[]

One night, Natalie meets Rodrigo Fernandez, a Cuban-American from Miami, Florida, at a bar and chats him up while Nick watches from a distance. Natalie then leaves the bar, followed by Nick. While Natalie is walking alone in the street, Rodrigo drives up to her and she asks him if she can come into the car, and he allows her to. When Natalie steps inside, Nick steps in as well and Natalie shoots Rodrigo. The next day, both of them park in front of a store, and Natalie goes inside while Nick waits in the car. After trying on a shirt, Natalie spots an American flag that had been hidden behind it and asks the clerk why he has it. The man replies that the U.S. is good and that it will help Cuba in the future. This prompts a furious Natalie to kill him. Later, while sitting in the car, Natalie smears blood all over her face and does the same with Nick's face, and they both kiss. Later, Natalie puts a picture she took of the clerk's body in an envelope. Nick tells her that she needs some sleep, but Natalie refuses, saying that there is no time for sleep, and accuses Nick of thinking that the whole thing was a joke. She then yells at Nick to get out, but he refuses, touching Natalie.

Later, they both approach a statue of Che Guevara, their idol, and overhear a conversation between two American tourists, one of whom insults Che and calls him a narcissistic psychopath. Natalie orders Nick to shoot the tourist, which he does. Afterwards, Natalie becomes frustrated at the Cuban press for failing to address the pictures of her victims that she sent to them. Nick comforts her by telling Natalie that they will give them something they can't ignore. Arriving at the Hotel Naciona, Nick kills the security guard, then they both take everyone else hostage. Nick finds a reporter and orders him to start recording, while Natalie gives the hostages an anti-American speech. Moments into the speech, the International Response Team, the local police, and the military arrive. Garrett introduces himself and tells Natalie that everyone is listening, enthralling her. When Garrett tries to convince him and Natalie to surrender, Nick refuses, realizing that the police will separate the two of them forever. Not wanting to be abandoned again, he convinces Natalie that the two of them will always stick together. Then, Nick aims his gun at the Cuban military officers, prompting them to gun him and Natalie down.

Modus Operandi[]

Natalie and Nick targeted American citizens or people who sympathized with the U.S. They would kill their victims by shooting them with a .45-caliber Colt MK. IV Series 80 handgun they obtained from their first victim. Their usual signature was leaving objects either on the victims' bodies or in the victims' mouths; objects that referenced famous quotes said by Che Guevara. They would then take pictures of their victims and write captions on them (usually in Spanish so Cuban citizens could read their messages) and send them to Cuba's TV stations so they could broadcast them to the public. When they attempted to kill Stan Williams, they beat him to near-death since they did not have a weapon at the time.

Profile[]

The unsubs are a two-person, male-and-female killing team, both of whom are American. The signatures left at each of the crime scenes point to famous quotes said by Che Guevara, while the locations of their killings are based on the "revolutionary road" Che took when he liberated Cuba. The unsubs most likely see themselves as Cuban revolutionaries in their own right, and they are validating their actions by leaving objects at the crime scenes and following Che's path. This, along with the narrow time-frame, suggest they are ideologically-driven spree killers. Based on the fact that they target Americans or American sympathizers, it is believed that their connection to Che is because of his anti-American rhetoric.

Real-Life Comparisons[]

Natalie and Nick were likely based on Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow - Both were spree killer couples with at least one member being a victim of rape, attempted to kill the rapist by beating (one of Knox's rapists in her case, while Barrow acted alone and was successful), one member had an absent parent, one member had a record of rebellion, both were motivated by revenge against American systems (Knox and Jamison targeted American democracy, while Parker and Barrow targeted Texas prison systems), killed their victims by shooting (though Parker and Barrow killed by other means), and died from being shot with a hail of bullets by police. Also, the title of the episode, "The Ballad of Nick and Nat", may be an allusion to Parker's poem "The Trail's End", which is commonly named by historians "The Story of Bonnie and Clyde".

Natalie and Nick were likely based from Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate - Both were spree killer couples who did poorly in high school (which was where they met), and killed most of (all in Jamison and Knox's case) by shooting them with at least one handgun.

Knox shares similarities with Aileen Wuornos - Both were female killers who claimed to have been raped by their adoptive father as children, were set off by an attempted rape as an adult, and killed their victims by shooting them.

They may have also been partially inspired by Joseph Paul Franklin - All three were killers from Mobile, Alabama, both Jamison and Franklin had absent parents, did poorly in high school, and all three roamed the country in a car and shot random people who did not conform to their political views.

Known Victims[]

  • 2015, Cuba:
    • November 7, Havana: Stan Williams (the tourist who raped Natalie; attempted, but barely survived; was beaten by both and left for dead)
    • November 9, Santiago de Cuba: Victor Foster (stole his gun and shot by Natalie; stuffed an apple into his mouth post-mortem)
    • November 10-11, Camajuani: Rodrigo Fernandez (shot by Natalie; also stole his car and left a mescal bottle containing a crushed worm on his body)
    • November 11:
      • Tarafa: Unnamed clerk (shot by Natalie; stuffed an American flag in his mouth and kissed his forehead post-mortem; also left the message "Bless Your Heart")
      • Santa Clara: Austin Morrison (shot by Nick)
      • Havana: The Hotel Nacional shooting and standoff:
        • Unnamed security guard (shot by Nick)
        • Numerous unnamed patrons (all held hostage and threatened to kill)
        • Jack Garrett (held at gunpoint by Nick and attempted to shoot)

Appearances[]

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