|“||You'll never understand what I did. But out there... my followers... they understand.||”|
— Johnson as he is arrested
Johnson was born on February 6, 1976, in Boise, Idaho, and received computer and network training at some point in his life. On May 5, 2002, he was arrested for three counts of possession of torture videos. As a result, he was sentenced to two years of rehabilitation in a halfway house (his arrest record mentions that he suffered from sexual addiction), but he escaped in June 2003. He eventually got a job as an Internet installer for Meridian Telecom using an alias. Without the company's knowledge, he would go around knocking on doors asking people if they wanted free fiber optics installation. The company later found out about this, and he was subsequently fired. Sometime after losing his job, Johnson began serial killing, stalking women whose facial symmetry matched his own, eventually reusing his fiber optic cable installation ruse to get into their homes, where he would hide miniature cameras, in order to know when it would be safe to break back in, and plant more cameras. After a few days, Johnson would enter in the middle of the night, and strangle the woman to death, using his cameras and fiber optic connection to broadcast the murders live for a select few (who he would send illegal videos to as "collateral" in case they turned on him). Johnson placed the bodies of his victims in a walk-in freezer he had acquired from local businessman Austin Chapman, who also watched his videos, and to make sure no one realized something was off, would make it appear as if his victims were still alive by hacking their social networking accounts, where he posted (under their identity) about going on vacation.
The Internet Is Forever
Johnson claims his third victim, Dorris Archer, disabling her security system with the correct codes, and letting her dog (familiar with him from previous entries) out. Later, Johnson is shown checking the social networking profiles of a woman named Allison Kittridge, whom he eventually spies on in person at a cafe, watching as she updates her status. Later, outside Kittridge's home, Johnson watches a press conference being held by JJ and Detective John Fordham, who show a composite sketch of him, and advise the public to be cautious online. When a reporter mentions the theory that the killer targets women whose facial symmetry match his own, Johnson is clearly perturbed, and proceeds to close his laptop and attach a mini-cam to himself. Thrown off by the press conference, Johnson does not wait for Kittridge to go to bed, and instead barges in. He quickly strangles her to death while she is in the kitchen, removing his planted cameras afterward, but forgetting to take the fiber optic cable. After putting Kittridge's body in the freezer with the rest of his victims, Johnson sends out a mass email to his fans, telling them that since the FBI is watching, his next murder, which he intends to commit tomorrow, will be the best yet.
When the time comes, Johnson abducts Lucy Masters, and takes her to the freezer, leaving a mini-cam on her television. Afterwards, Morgan and Prentiss, having discern Masters is the next victim, begin inspecting her home. At that moment, Johnson remotely activates the television, which displays the bound and gagged Masters. Having gotten the full attention of the BAU, Johnson puts on his gloves and mask, and begins to strangle Masters, only to have his connection interrupted by Garcia, who had taken the case personally after having witnessed Kittridge's murder online. Johnson tries to re-establish the connection, but is unable to, and grows enraged, knocking objects aside as he pulls off his mask and makes his way back to Masters, whom he begins choking again, harder than before. Before he can kill the woman, however, Johnson is pulled off her by Morgan and Detective Fordham, who had been able to discover his location by tracking down and interrogating Chapman. As he is being hauled away, Johnson tells Prentiss and Morgan, after the former asks him why he did it and what he sees in the women he murdered, that they will never understand why he did it, but all of his fans out there will.
Johnson targeted Caucasian women in their late 20s to early 30s who lived alone and whose facial symmetry was the same as his. Prior to committing his murders, he would casually enter the victims' homes with a ruse, in which he would asked them if they wanted free fiber optics installed into their homes. This would allow him to place a number of mini-cameras (the video feed being routed to his laptop) in the houses, one pointing to the front door to know when they would leave and what their security codes were, and more in several other rooms in the house, including the bedroom and even the bathroom. Using the GPS feature of social networking sites (which allowed him to know where they were every time they posted a message), he would also stalk them online.
Usually striking at night, Johnson would discreetly sneak into his victims' homes, disabling their home security system and allowing any eventual pets to leave, go to the victim's bedroom while she was asleep and kill her by manually strangling her. He always avoided leaving behind any forensic evidence by wearing gloves, a black ski-mask, and dark clothing that covered all of his skin. Simultaneously, he would stream the murders live in a chat-room. All the cameras were set on Johnson, to make as good a show as possible. To avoid being tracked down by the police, Johnson would use a number of proxy servers to hide his identity. Johnson would take the bodies, as well as the mini-cameras and fiber optics, with him after each murder and then hang the bodies by meat-hooks in a walk-in freezer, which Chapman lent him. In order to buy himself some time, he would hack into his victims' social network site accounts and leave a message to trick their friends and family into believing they went on a trip or on vacation.
In the case of his fourth victim, Allison Kittridge, he killed her in her kitchen in the evening after being angered by Internet articles about him, afterwards taking the cameras he put in her house, but not the fiber optics. He would later use the freezer for his attempted killing of Lucy Masters. He initially killed his victims every two months, but since he was also a narcissistic killer and found out the BAU was watching him, he began escalating between the murders.
"Welcome to the show."
The unsub is a narcissistic Caucasian male in his early- to mid-30s and 5'10" in height who craves the immortality that is displayed on the Internet. He recognizes his face on his victims and kills them as his method of saying, "This is what I look like." This also invokes his compulsion to take the bodies with him to a secondary location, where he preserves them so he can see his own reflection when he looks at them. He is an expert on computers and home networks, so he may have a criminal record that involves an indication of extensive computer training. He may work at an electronic store or an IT department, or be a computer distributor active at the same locations where his victims worked. Every aspect of his life has been constructed from an inflated sense of himself, so unsubs like this one will be particularly vulnerable to what is referred to as "narcissistic injury": if his self-worth is attacked or damaged, he will lash out. If he is found, he should not be challenged publicly; instead, he should be talked to and be politely asked if he knows anything about the "brilliant mastermind" who is stalking the women. Under no circumstances should he be denigrated, as difficult as it is, and he needs to be talked to about his exploits as if he is being respected.
Based on his M.O. and background, Johnson can be considered an organized power-seeker type serial killer.
Johnson may have been based on Joseph DeAngelo - Both are serial killers who targeted lone women in middle-to upper-middle-class neighborhoods, previously stalked their victims for a prolonged amount of time, and broke stealthily into their homes during the night while wearing similar, dark clothes and a ski mask. Also, the instance of Johnson becoming familiar with the German shepherd owned by one of his victims and releasing it the night of the murder is very similar to reports of East Area Rapist victims claiming that guard dogs were unusually not aggressive to the attacker, as if they had become accustomed to him previously.
Johnson may have also been inspired by the John Edward Robinson - Both are serial killers and abductors who found all of their victims through social media sites, made them disappear without a trace, and were given nicknames with the word "Internet" in it.
He is also similar to José Antonio Rodríguez Vega - Both were pathological and narcissistic serial killers who became killers after serving time in jail for a different offense, entered the homes of their victims by peddling their services door to door, strangled them manually, and both were given nicknames for their crimes.
- January: Paula Renmar
- March: Samantha Rush
- May 15-16: Dorris Archer
- May 18: Allison Kittridge (strangled in her kitchen instead of her bedroom)
- May 19: Lucy Masters (abducted and attempted to kill; was rescued)
- According to his arrest record, Johnson's Social Security number is 973-10-1701