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The serial killer compen.., p.20
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       The Serial Killer Compendium, p.20

           R. J. Parker
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  It was at this point that Russian Special Forces activated their action plan to storm the school to rescue any possible survivors. A disorganized battle broke out as the Special Forces sought to enter the school and cover the escape of the hostages. Some panicking Russian army recruits fled the scene while the Special Forces commandos blew holes in walls to allow hostages to escape. A massive level of force was used. The special forces, regular army, and Interior Ministry troops were all involved, as were helicopter gunships and at least one tank. Many local civilians also joined in the battle, having brought along their own weapons.

  Afterwards, the Russian government defended the use of tanks and other heavy weaponry, arguing that it was used after surviving hostages escaped from the school; however, this contradicts eyewitness accounts and common sense, as many hostages were seriously wounded and could not possibly escape by themselves.

  The attack was followed by large explosions of other detonating bombs and several Shmel fuel-air explosive rockets used by the government forces, which destroyed the gym and set much of the building on fire. By 3:00 p.m., two hours after the assault began, Russian troops claimed control of most of the school. Fighting, however, continued as evening fell, and three gunmen held up in the basement with a number of hostages. They, and the hostages they were holding, were eventually killed.

  During the battle, a group of hostage-takers, approximately thirteen of them, broke through the military cordon and took refuge nearby. Two of those thirteen were reportedly women who allegedly attempted to blend into the crowd and escape disguised as medical personnel. The military cordon had been compromised as they’d permitted the passage of hostage’s relatives, dressed in civilian clothing and, in some cases, bearing firearms.

  A few of the escapees were said to be cornered in a residential two-story house within 120 feet of the gym. Whether or not they had hostages was unknown. The house was destroyed using tanks and flamethrowers by 11:00 p.m., on September the third.

  In the aftermath, Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Fridinsky believed that thirty-one of the thirty-two attackers had been confirmed dead, and one had been captured. One suspected hostage-taker was beaten to death by the fathers of hostages when he was injured and being driven to the hospital. Another suspected terrorist was assassinated on the scene, an event filmed by the Sky News crew.

  According to the official data, 331 civilians and eleven commandos died. At least one surviving female hostage committed suicide after returning home. Many other survivors remained in severe shock. Some injured survivors died in hospitals.

  The Russian government has been heavily criticized by many locals who, days after the end of the siege, did not know whether their children were living or dead. Human remains were even found in the nearby garbage dump several months later, prompting further outrage.

  During the operation, eleven Russian Soldiers of the special groups Alpha and Vympel were killed, among them the commander of Alpha. This was the highest casualty rate ever suffered in a single engagement in the history of these units. One of their members said they’d rescued children first, and the hostage-takers had then shot at their backs; that was why they’d suffered such high losses (another commando admitted shooting children used by the terrorists as human shields). In addition, many were accidentally hit by civilian militiamen, who either fired indiscriminately or mistook them for the hostage takers. Wounds of varying severity were received by more than thirty fighters of the OSNAZ Special Forces.

  In May, 2005, the only known accused terrorist to survive the Beslan massacre was Nur-Pashi Kulayev. All local lawyers refused to defend Kulayev. Albert Pliyev was appointed, reluctantly, as his lawyer. The local people at the time wanted to either lynch the defendant or sentence him to the death penalty. Over 1,340 people act as the injured party on the trial. Kulayev was charged with murder, terrorism, kidnapping, and other crimes, and pled guilty on seven of the counts. Kulayev is said to be incarcerated in a high-security prison on the small lake island of Ognenny Ostrov in the Vologda region.

  As the death toll was so high, 386, the names have not been listed in this book. My prayers are with them and their families.


  In May of 2002, the Secret Service published a report that examined thirty-seven school shootings in the United States. They published the following findings:

  * Incidents of targeted violence at schools were rarely sudden, impulsive acts.

  * Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker’s idea and/or plan to attack.

  * Most attackers did not threaten their targets directly prior to advancing the attack.

  * There is no accurate or useful profile of students who engaged in targeted school violence.

  * Most attackers engaged in behavior prior to the incident that caused others concern, or indicated a need for help.

  * Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures.

  * Many attackers had considered or attempted suicide.

  * Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted, or injured by others prior to the attack.

  * Most attackers had access to, and had used weapons, prior to the attack.

  * In many cases, other students were involved in some capacity.

  * Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most shooting incidents were stopped by means other than law enforcement intervention.


  In this book, I have written about several doctors who have killed their patients, including Harold Shipman, Marcel Petiot, Michael Swango, H.H. Holmes, and John Bodkin Adams. These are only some of the dozens who have been convicted. It is amazing that these people chose a profession to help save lives, but preferred to kill.

  The Hippocratic Oath is pledged by every physician, swearing to practice medicine in an ethical manner. In my opinion, doctors that kill are actually ‘Hypocrites,’ which the dictionary defines as “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.” Is it not their job to curtail suffering and death? We sometimes put our lives in the hands of doctors, trusting that our best interests are the most important to them.

  Thankfully, there are only a handful of doctors who have been inclined to murder their patients, and they do not represent the millions of doctors who genuinely care and uphold their oaths.

  Nevertheless, it’s not only doctors who have killed in healthcare; there have been several nurses convicted for serial killing as well. Nurse Donald Harvey, for example, killed eight-seven patients and claimed that he started killing to “ease the pain” of patients, but eventually found it to be a sadistic pleasure. His methods included cyanide, arsenic, massive amounts of morphine, turning off ventilators, overdosing on insulin, adding tainted fluid to IVs gathered from patients with Hepatitis B or HIV, inserting a coat hanger into a catheter to cause kidney failure, and suffocation. Harvey is currently serving three life sentences.

  Dr. Joseph Michael Swango

  Born: October 21st, 1954

  Place: Tacoma, Washington

  Killing Span: 1981 – 1997

  Number of Killings: 60

  Captured: June, 1997


  Michael Swango is a former licensed physician and an American serial killer. He was also known as Doctor of Death. While he was in medical school, Swango's classmates gave him the nickname "Double-O-Swango" in reference to James Bond's 007 as any patient he met would apparently die soon thereafter.

  Born in Washington but raised in Quincy, Illinois, he was the middle child of Muriel and John Swango. Michael’s father was a United States Army Officer who served in the Vietnam War, and who later fell into alcoholism. Michael grew close to his mother as his father was away to war. Upon his return from Vietnam, John Swango became depressed and soon after his wife divorced him.

  Michael Swango was an intelligent student in grade school. He spoke as class valedictorian in his senior year, played the clarinet, and was a member of the Quincy Notre
Dame band. Post high school, he joined the U.S. Marine Corp but never saw any action, and was honorably discharged in 1976. While in the Marines, he took a great interest in physical fitness. After being discharged, he was often seen in the gym or jogging.

  Medical Career, Murders

  Swango enrolled at Quincy College, graduating summa cum laude. He was awarded the American Chemical Society Award and moved on to medical school at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. It was during his time at the university that he exhibited disconcerting behavior. Although he was a bright student, he was also known to be sluggish, preferring to work as an ambulance attendant rather than focus on his medical studies. It was also noted at this time that he had an attraction to dying patients. No one thought much of it at the time, but many patients to which Swango was assigned for routine checkups ended up "coding," and suffering life frightening emergencies; five of them passed away. Swango's halfhearted approach to his studies caught up with him only a month before he was due to graduate. It was exposed that he had forged patient checkups during his OB/GYN rotation. He was almost disqualified, but was allowed to remain when one member of the committee voted to give him a second chance. At the time, a unanimous vote was mandatory for a student to be dismissed.

  However, even before that happened, several students and faculty members had raised alarm about Swango’s capability to practice medicine. In the end, the school permitted him to graduate a year after his class with the stipulation that he repeat the OB/GYN rotation and complete several assignments in other specialties.

  Although his dean gave him a very poor assessment, Swango still managed to get a surgical internship at Ohio State University Medical Center in 1983, and soon rose to a placement in neurosurgery. While he worked at the Rhodes Hall wing, nurses began observing that genuinely healthy patients began dying inexplicably with alarming regularity each time Dr. Swango was the intern on the floor. One nurse caught him injecting medicine (or not medicine) into a patient who later became peculiarly sick. The nurses reported their unease to administrators, but were accused of being paranoid. Swango was cleared by a quick investigation in 1984.

  While at Ohio State University Medical Center, part of Swango’s residency included a one-month rotation at Columbus Children's Hospital. There were sufficient suspicions at this point that he was required to have someone else with him at all times while at the Children's Hospital. Nurses were instructed not to call him even if he was listed as the doctor on call, and he was not appointed to a position as physician once his internship ended in June of 1984.

  In July of 1984, Swango went back to Quincy College and started working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Adams County Ambulance Corps even though he had been dismissed from another ambulance service for making a heart patient drive himself to the hospital. It did not take long for other paramedics on staff to begin noticing that every time Swango made the coffee or brought food, several of them would become brutally ill for no apparent reason. Just three months later, Swango was arrested by the Quincy Police Department and arsenic and other poisons were discovered in his custody. He was convicted on August 23rd, 1985, of aggravated battery for poisoning co-workers, and subsequently sentenced to five years in prison. Franklin County, Ohio prosecutors also considered charges of murder and attempted murder against Swango, but decided against it for lack of physical evidence.

  In 1989, Swango was released from prison. He found work as a counselor at the Ohio State Career Development Center in Newport News, Virginia. He was forced out, however, after being caught working on a scrapbook of disasters on work time. He then landed a job as a laboratory technician for ATI Coal in Newport News, Virginia, now Vanguard Energy, a division of CITA Logistics. During his time there, several employees required medical attention, complaining of unrelenting and increasing stomach pains.

  About the same time, the good doctor (or not) met Kristin Kinney, a nurse at Riverside Hospital. Swango and Kinney fell in love, and planned to marry and settle down. Swango was employed as a lab technician until 1991, when he quit his position to look for a new position as a doctor. After he quit his job, the FBI commenced an investigation, questioning employees on several occasions, though Swango wasn’t aware of it at the time.

  In the same year, Swango legally changed his name to Daniel J. Adams, and applied for a residency program at Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, West Virginia. He wasn’t successful; however, in July of 1992 he began working at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls. In both applications, he forged several legal documents, including an actuality sheet from the Illinois Department of Corrections that falsified his criminal record. The sheet he submitted declared that he had been convicted of a misdemeanor after he’d gotten into a struggle with a co-worker, receiving six months in prison rather five years for the felony charge of poisoning that he served.

  This was a very significant omission on his part, knowing very well that most states won’t award a medical license to a convicted felon as they consider a felony conviction to be confirmation of unprofessional behavior. He forged a ‘Restoration of Civil Rights’ letter from then Governor Gerald L. Baliles of Virginia, stating that Baliles had reinstated Swango's right to vote and serve on a jury – based on reports from friends and colleagues that Swango had committed no additional crimes after his misdemeanor, and that he was leading a commendable lifestyle.

  Swango established a genuine position at Sanford, but in October made the blunder of attempting to join the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA did a more methodical background check than the medical center and found out about the poisoning conviction. That Thanksgiving day, The Discovery Channel aired an episode of Justice Files that included a segment on Swango. In the course of the AMA report and phone calls from terrified colleagues, Sanford Medical Center fired Swango.

  Author’s Note: Would this stop Swango or whatever his name was? Not likely.

  The AMA quickly lost track of Swango as he’d managed to find a job in the Psychiatric Residency Program at the Stony Brook School of Medicine. His first rotation was in the Internal Medicine Department at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Northport, New York. Once again, his patients began dying for no reason, and four months later his wife, Kinney, committed suicide. Sharon Cooper, Kinney’s mom, was dismayed to find out a person with Swango's history could be permitted to practice medicine. She contacted a friend of Kinney's who was a nurse at Sanford. The nurse advised Sanford's Dean, Robert Talley, about Swango's whereabouts. Talley then telephoned Jordan Cohen, the dean at Stony Brook. Under extreme questioning from Alan Miller, the head of Stony Brook's Psychiatry department, Swango admitted that he had lied about his poisoning conviction in Illinois, and he was fired on the spot. The ensuing public outcry resulted in Cohen and Miller being forced to quit as well before the year was out. Before he resigned, however, Cohen, with knowledge about the past mistakes of other medical facilities, sent a warning about Swango to all the one hundred and twenty-five medical schools, and the one thousand teaching hospitals across the U.S, successfully disenabling Swango from receiving a medical residency anywhere in the United States of America.

  Since the incidents at the Veteran Affair’s facility, federal authorities had gotten involved. Swango dropped out of sight until June of 1994, at which point the FBI discovered he was living in Atlanta, Georgia, working as a chemist at a computer equipment company's wastewater facility. The FBI notified the company and Swango was fired for lying on his job application. The FBI then obtained a warrant charging Swango with using falsified credentials to achieve entry to the Veteran Affair’s Hospital.

  By the time the warrant was executed, however, Swango had fled to Zimbabwe. There, he got a job at Mnene Lutheran Mission Hospital in the centre of the country, again based on phony documents, and again his patients began dying without explanation. As the Medical Director, Dr. Zishiri, had suspicions, Swango was suspended, but because the hospital was unable to complete satisfactory aut
opsies, no solid conclusions could be drawn to press charges. During his deferment, Swango hired a prominent lawyer by the name of David Coltart to facilitate him in returning to clinical practice. He also appealed to the authorities at Mpilo Hospital, Bulawayo, to permit him in the interim to continue working there voluntarily. This was opposed, however, by Dr. Abdollah Mesbah, a surgical resident, who had frequently found Swango snooping around on the wards and in ICU even when not on call. He’d suspected that some unexpected deaths could have been related to Swango, but he’d had no proof at that point.

  Swango rented a room from a widow in Bulawayo who became ferociously sick after Swango prepared a meal for her and a friend. The woman consulted a local surgeon, Dr. Michael Cotton, who suspected arsenic poisoning and convinced her to send hair samples for forensic analysis to Pretoria. In due course, these clippings established toxic levels of arsenic in the hair. The lab reports were passed on by the Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Division, then through Interpol, and on to the FBI, who then visited Zimbabwe to interview Dr. Cotton, and the Pathologist in Bulawayo, Dr. Stanford Mathe.

  Swango, however, had scented that the trap was about to be set and crossed the border into Zambia and then Namibia where he found temporary medical work. In March of 1997, he applied for a job at the Royal Hospital in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, using a counterfeit résumé. While all this was taking place, Veteran Affair’s Criminal Investigator Tom Valery consulted with Dr. Charlene Thomesen, a Forensic Psychiatrist, to help him with the case. She was able to analyze documents and data, and formulate a psychological profile of Dr. Swango, giving her evaluation of why he had committed such horrific crimes. Tom Valery was called by the FBI to discuss holding Swango. Valery then called Drug Enforcement Agency Agent Richard Thomesen who was stationed in the Manhattan DEA Office to discuss the investigation. Thomesen's conversation focused on Swango lying on his government application to work at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he prescribed narcotic medications. This, and other proof, was sufficient for Immigration and Naturalization Service agents to arrest Swango in June of 1997 during a stopover at Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport on his way to Saudi Arabia.

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