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Shelby Mattson

Shelby Mattson was a "wound collector"-type serial killer, serial bomber, and stalker who appeared in the Season Fifteen episode of Criminal Minds, "Spectator Slowing".


Shelby was born in Texas to Audrey Mattson and her husband Karl Blair and grew up in Little Rock and New Orleans, where his mother worked at a hotel. Blair severely abused Audrey and presumably Shelby as well. Audrey escaped from her husband when he was a child by changing her identity and fleeing to Canada, taking Shelby with him. At some point in his lifetime, he developed his father's violent nature, and he ended up getting jailed for assaulting a patron at a bar with several broken beer bottles following a verbal altercation which led to physical violence. Since that incident, he's been in and out of jail.

A few months before the events of Spectator Slowing, Audrey was targeted and killed by an unnamed serial killer in Montreal while living under the pseudonym Sally Baker, becoming his eighth and final victim. Shelby felt guilty about not being able to protect his mother and placed flowers in the yard in front of her killer's home as a memorial.

One day, several tourists arrived on a cruise ship and a tour was held at the house where Shelby’s mother had been murdered. Upon seeing Laura Kirkman stepping on the flowers on his mother’s grave, Shelby snapped and plotted to get revenge on everyone who was a part of the tour group by sending their relatives bombs in the mail disguised as scrapbooks.

Spectator Slowing

After fatally bombing Joseph Ainsworth and Sheila Stretcher, Shelby dropped off an underpowered package at the house of Rhonda Kirkman, detonating it after she opened the book. He later purchases a male cadaver off a dealer, despite being frustrated that it isn't a woman like he expected. Bringing the cadaver to an abandoned shed, he dresses the corpse in a dress and glasses resembling Laura Kirman and field tests his final device, blowing up the corpse inside the shed.

Shelby sent a funeral card for Rhonda through the mail with the phrase 'fun and games to follow' and a picture of Rhonda picking up the bomb in order to taunt Laura. He then targeted Joel Reynolds, staking out his house and planting the package while Joel was out of the house before detonating the bomb and killing Joel. Returning to his hotel room, he began building his final bomb while remembering his mother fleeing his father.

Shelby then approached Laura in the hospital, making small talk with her by claiming to be visiting his mother. He gets Laura to name her daughter's doctor and drops off a present with a fake bomb inside Rhonda's hospital room and just barely missing Luke inspecting the room. He then called Laura posing as her doctor, getting her to leave the police station and abducting her. Bringing her to Rhonda's home, he tied Laura up and tasered a cop that came to investigate.

Tying Laura to chair, Shelby rambled about his mother working for a 'disaster tour' business and how it disgusted her. He then made Laura hold his last bomb before Prentiss, Reid and JJ came up to arrest him. Surprised, Shelby held up what he thought was the bomb trigger and threatened to detonate it, but Prentiss realized he was holding the camera trigger and wouldn't have killed himself even if he had the bomb, calling his bluff. Shelby tried to grab the real detonator but JJ shoots him from behind, saving Laura.

Though he is shown to be alive and breathing after being shot, it is presumed that Shelby died from his injuries later on.


Modus Operandi

Shelby would craft a bomb inside a fake photo album, with a picture of the victim's house inside the front cover covering the bomb. He would then watch the victim from a distance and detonate the bomb remotely once they'd noticed it. Once the victim was dead or hospitalized, he'd send a funeral card to the victim's family to taunt them.

Known Victims

  • February 4, 2012, Odessa, Texas: Unnamed man (assaulted; beaten with a baseball bat)
  • March 9, 2015: Four unnamed people (assaulted)
  • Unspecified date[1], Little Rock, Arkansas: S. Somma (assaulted; beaten with broken beer bottles)
  • 2019:
    • October-November:
      • Cleveland, Ohio: Joseph Ainsworth
      • Louisville, Kentucky: Sheila Stecher
    • November:
      • Memphis, Tennessee: Rhonda and Sophia Kirkman (survived)
      • Mississippi[2]: Joel Reynolds
      • Memphis, Tennessee: Laura Kirkman (stalked, abducted, and attempted to kill; was rescued)
      • Unnamed police officer (tased)


  • According to a jail intake form, Shelby Mattson's Social Security number is 973-00-4561.



  1. In a police report shown on Garcia's computer screen, Shelby Mattson is stated to have been arraigned on July 26, 1988. This was most likely an error on the editors' parts.
  2. While the location is not mentioned by name, the bombing is said to have happened an hour south of Memphis.