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Tubbs

Nathan Tubbs, a.k.a. "The Campus Killer", was a sociopathic spree killer who appeared in the Season Three episode of Criminal Minds, "Doubt".

Background

Born on February 22, 1969, Tubbs lived in Flagstaff, Arizona and was married to a woman named Cheryl, having a daughter named Sam with her. He applied to the local Police Academy on February 10, 2003, but was denied entry four months later after failing the psychological exam, with the results stating that he had a borderline personality with antisocial and sociopathic tendencies. Five months after being rejected, Tubbs got a job as a security officer at a local college campus and, three years later, lost Cheryl and Sam when, after assaulting the former, she divorced him and gained full custody of Sam, with Tubbs receiving no visitation rights. Depressed over losing Sam and being rejected by Cheryl, Tubbs went into a downward spiral, becoming an alcoholic and growing addicted to pornography. On September 14, 2007, a mere two days after his family fell apart, Tubbs killed a college student named Brenda Gladwin, who reminded him of Cheryl.

Doubt

Dubbed "The Campus Killer" by the media, Tubbs, a day after claiming his second victim Sharon Stanworth, murders another girl named Amy Deckerman, this one while she was waiting for the campus security shuttle. As the BAU, along with local authorities, investigate this new killing and the others, Tubbs sulks in his apartment before going out in search of another victim. Finding a student on her way to her car, Nathan offers her a lift and, while he drives, attempts to make small talk. The largely one-sided conversation grows more and more disturbing, with Tubbs yelling at the girl to swear that she would never abandon anyone like his ex-wife did. Tubbs is then pulled over and arrested by the police and BAU, his concealed knife taken, and his intended victim rescued. At the police station, Tubbs is questioned by Gideon, who tries to coerce a confession from him, due to none of the evidence they have against him being solid enough for a conviction. Refusing to admit to the murders, Tubbs is held overnight and reluctantly released the next day when another murder with an M.O. similar to his is committed with a note being sent to the police by someone claiming to be the real killer.

With the campus being temporarily shut down due to all the deaths, Tubbs, finding himself alienated by everyone, cleans out his locker. On his way home, Tubbs is approached by a student named Anna Begley and is lured away to a secluded courtyard by her. Believing Begley wants to have sex, Tubbs grows nervous after seeing a security camera trained on them and suggests they go to his apartment before Begley reveals what she truly wants from him. She committed the murder that got him released; her reason for doing so being that she wants Tubbs to kill her. When Begley takes out a knife and begs him to end her life, Tubbs refuses, believing it to be a setup. Walking away, Tubbs is grabbed by Begley and, in response, he calls her a bitch and states that she is not going to trick him into saying or doing anything incriminating. Directly after saying this, Tubbs is stabbed in the stomach by Begley. Morgan, who had been trailing him with Prentiss, tries to save Tubbs, but despite his best efforts Tubbs still bleeds to death. The deaths of Tubbs and Begley resulted in Hotch getting suspended and Gideon resigning from the BAU.

Profile

The unsub is a white male with access, since he has managed to move in a small local community with high police presence without raising suspicion, meaning there is a chance that it is someone who has been seen by police. It is very likely that something has set him off that caused him to go off on a spree. Since the victims were all killed in non-secluded areas and lacked defensive wounds, the unsub might be living or working on-campus. He may be a student, professor, or part of a support staff. All of the victims were brunettes who were stabbed, even after death, which signifies that the unsub may have been rejected in some way by someone physically similar, such as a mother or girlfriend. He may feel emasculated and this rejection is the stressor that sent him over the edge. People will notice his devolution: he will have most likely have found religion, been drinking, or been harming himself. He displays a great amount of anger toward his victims even after killing them; he stabs his victims repeatedly post-mortem, but seconds later, he feels remorse. It is possible that his victims are in a position to trust him because he is a part of campus life.

While questioning him, Gideon noticed that Tubbs chewed his fingernails, which told him that it was possibly his way of punishing himself, and goes on to say that the reason he folded his victims' arms over their chests was because he felt guilty about murdering them, as he was supposed to be their protector.

While Tubbs was officially a spree killer, he shared certain characteristics of a serial killer; he targeted a specific type of victim, had a specific M.O., and kept trophies from his crimes, the last characteristic being atypical of spree killers.

Modus Operandi

Tubbs targeted brunette, Caucasian, female college students who resembled his ex-wife, Cheryl. He would approach them at night when they were alone, and incapacitate them with a taser. He then killed them by stabbing them once, directly in the heart, with a knife.

His first signature was stabbing them repeatedly in the heart with a knife post-mortem. His second signature was posing them by folding their arms over their chest afterwards. The folding of the arms signified his remorse over the fact that the victims also reminded him of his daughter. Before killing his victims, Tubbs made each victim swear that she would not do the same thing Cheryl did to him: have a child with somebody and take it away from them. After the murders, Tubbs kept newspaper clippings talking about his crimes as trophies.

Real-Life Comparisons

Tubbs is similar to Edmund Kemper - Both were spree killers (Kemper later) with almost identical victimologies (young female college students, though Kemper also killed others), picked up victims with their cars by offering them rides, stabbed them to death (though this was only one of Kemper's methods), performed ritualistic acts on their bodies after death (Tubbs stabbed his post-mortem and folded their arms across their chests, while Kemper eviscerated, experimented with, and even engaged in necrophilia with his), and kept souvenirs of some kind (Tubbs kept newspaper articles of his murders, while Kemper kept Polaroid photographs of his victims and their body parts).

Tubbs appears to have been based on Ted Bundy - Both were killers who were rejected by their lovers, targeted women who resembled the women who rejected them (brunette, Caucasian, female college students), used authority positions to get close to their victims and lure them into a false sense of security (Tubbs was a security guard, while Bundy often pretended to be a police officer or firefighter), kept trophies (Tubbs kept newspaper articles that mentioned his murders, while Bundy kept his victims' skulls), and were both given the nickname "The Campus Killer".

Tubbs is also similar to Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi (or Bianchi at least) - Both were psychopathic killers who were divorced before their killings, tried to apply for law enforcement and were rejected, had jobs as security guards, targeted women, used their positions to lure them into their cars, were given names by the media, and had female copycats.

Both Tubbs and Begley have elements in common with both Eric Rudolph and Richard Jewell (a man who helped minimize damage at Rudolph's attack) - Both Rudolph and Tubbs were killers who were the subject of a large FBI investigation and were given nicknames by the media. Like Jewell, Tubbs worked as a security guard who became the main suspect in the same investigation, which subsequently ruined his reputation, and he would later be exonerated without being formally charged. In the meantime, the investigation overlooked another crime (Begley's murder), which is similar to how Rudolph was able to commit two other bombings while the public was still focused on Jewell. Both Tubbs and Jewell were also still tailed by the FBI even though they were never charged with a crime.

Known Victims

  • Unspecified date: Cheryl Tubbs (his ex-wife; assaulted; punched in the eye)
  • 2007:
    • September 14: Brenda Gladwin
    • September 16: Sharon Stanworth
    • September 17: Amy Deckerman
    • September 18: Helen (attempted)

Notes

  • According to the Cadet Records Log of the Coconino Law Enforcement Academy, Tubbs' Social Security number is 987-07-1377.

Appearances

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