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Russell Smith was a serial killer who appeared in the Season Eight episode of Criminal Minds, "Perennials" via flashbacks.



Smith as he dies.

Born on June 22, 1947, the reason why Smith started killing is never elaborated on (though he was mentioned to be a sexual sadist). He killed a total of eight Alabama prostitutes from 1967 to 1987, by hammering icepicks into the back of their necks, starting with Patricia "Patty" Johnson, who was killed on October 9, 1967, when Smith was twenty years old. Also, during this time period, he somehow acquired a prominent scar on his jaw. He was also arrested for an unspecified reason (likely related to the incident in which he acquired his scar) on August 3, 1977, days before killing his fourth victim Marsha Allen, but was released. His killings ended on January 19, 1988, when he got into a gunfight with Tuscaloosa police officers, during which he was severely wounded. Smith was rushed to a local hospital, where he died from his gunshot wounds. At the same time, in the same hospital, and even alongside Smith's dying body, Willie Kestler was born. This coincidence would motivate Kestler to commit his own killings.


Smith was frequently mentioned throughout the episode, and also appeared in Kestler's flashback about his birth. Afterwards, Kestler assumed Smith's identity as his own.

Modus Operandi[]

Smith targeted prostitutes who were aged in their late teens to early 20s. He would ambush them in outside places and threaten them into compliance with a handgun. His signature was forcing them to lie down on the ground, making them bite down on a block of wood, and killing them by hammering an icepick down into the back of their necks using a large hammer.


No official profile has been made of Smith, as the BAU were more focused on Kestler, but Reid mentioned that he was a sexual sadist.

Real-Life Comparison[]

Smith appears to be inspired by Peter Sutcliffe - Both were serial killers born in the late 1940s, were involved in some violent altercation prior to their killings (though Smith's is never specified), had scarred faces, were in their 20s when they started their crimes in the 1960s (though Sutcliffe didn't actually kill his first victim until 1975, after four failed attempts) and were apprehended in the 1980s (though Smith died while Sutcliffe was captured alive), they targeted prostitutes, blitzed them before killing them with a hammer and a sharp implement (though Sutcliffe used multiple weapons), and their crimes were the object of fascination for another copycat serial killer.

Known Victims[]

  • Alabama:
    • Unspecified date: An unspecified arrest
    • October 9, 1967, Mobile: Patricia "Patty" Johnson
    • December 10, 1970, unspecified location: Lori Silva
    • June 21, 1974, unspecified location: Tina Cavallini
    • August 14, 1977, unspecified location: Marsha Allen
    • March 28, 1979, Gadsden: Carol Hansen
    • September 30, 1983, unspecified location: Cynthia Powell
    • February 5, 1985, Birmingham: Taylor Lynn Grover
    • November 2, 1987, unspecified location: Josie Hardin
    • January 19, 1988, Tuscaloosa: Several unnamed police officers (attempted; got into a gunfight with them)


  • Smith appears to have been based on at least two serial killers from the show's past: