Final Project: Psychological Aspects of Offender Behavior
By Day 7
Write an 8- to 10-page interview strategy that includes the following:
Austin (Tex.). Police Department Records of the Charles Whitman Mass Murder Case
An Inventory of the Collection
Creator: Austin (Tex.). Police Department
Title: Austin (Tex.). Police Department Records of the Charles Whitman Mass Murder Case
Dates (Bulk): 1966
Abstract: Charles Joseph Whitman (1941-1966) was an ex-Marine and student at the University of Texas at Austin who shot and killed 14 people and wounded at least 33 others from the UT Tower observation deck on August 1, 1966. In the early morning hours prior to the UT attack, Whitman also murdered his beloved mother and his wife. Another individual died years later of complications from a gunshot wound inflicted during the UT attack, bringing the total death toll to 17. The collection (1941-2000, undated) documents the Austin Police Department (APD) investigation into the mass murder and is composed of reports generated by APD and other investigating bodies, photographs, negatives, digital images, correspondence, personal writings, notes, and clippings.
Accession number: AR.2000.002
Quantity: 7.25 linear feet (14 boxes)
Location: Archives Stacks, qAR, Outer Vault
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768
Charles Joseph Whitman (1941-1966) was an ex-Marine and student at the University of Texas at Austin who shot 15 people and wounded at least 33 others from the UT Tower observation deck on August 1, 1966.
Whitman was born in Lake Worth, Florida in 1941 to Charles Adolphus, a financially successful plumbing contractor, and Margaret Hodges Whitman. Whitman was the eldest of three siblings. His two brothers were Patrick, born 1945, and John Michael, known as “Johnnie Mike”, born 1949. He grew up in an authoritarian household in which his father was emotionally and physically abusive to his wife and children. As a boy, Whitman was involved with the Boy Scouts, playing piano, and hunting. At age 12, he received national recognition by becoming the youngest Eagle Scout in the world. He had a large paper route in the Lake Worth, FL, area delivering the Miami Herald. Although he was described as intelligent (with an IQ of 138.9) and had a history of good grades in school, during his final two years of high school his grades dropped. He graduated from Saint Ann High School in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1959.
On July 6, 1959, Whitman joined the United States Marine Corps. Beginning in December, 1959 he was stationed at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. He earned a Good Conduct Medal, a Sharpshooter’s Badge, and the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal. While at Guantanamo Bay, he was awarded a Naval Enlisted Science Education Program (NESEP) scholarship, which was designed to increase the number of scientists in the U.S. military. As part of this program, Whitman was sent to The University of Texas to begin in the Fall 1961 semester. During this time at UT, he lived at the Goodall-Wooten Dormitory and served as a dorm counselor. It was also during this period that Whitman and two other students were fined for illegally poaching a deer and butchering it in his dormitory bathroom.
Whitman earned poor grades during his first semester. In November, 1961, friend and fellow UT student, Francis Shuck, Jr. introduced Whitman to his future wife, student Kathleen “Kathy” Leissner. On August 17, 1962, the couple were married at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Needville, Texas, Kathy’s hometown. Although his grades improved after marriage, they still were not up to the standards set by the NESEP. The Marines withdrew his scholarship in the Spring 1963 semester. Whitman responded by dropping out of UT in February, 1963, and was returned to active duty with the Marines with a promotion to Lance Corporal. Kathy graduated from UT and stayed in Austin to teach at Lanier High School.
In November, 1963, he was court martialed and found guilty of gambling, usury, and the unauthorized possession of a non-military pistol. He was busted to the rank of Private and served 90 days of hard labor. In December, 1964, he was honorably discharged from the Marines and returned to Austin. In January, 1965, he re-enrolled in UT and maintained a respectable grade point average. During this time, he was employed in a number of jobs and served as a scoutmaster while still receiving financial support from his father.
In February, 1966, his parents’ ongoing marital problems came to a head. Whitman drove to Lake Worth, Florida in March to help move his mother to her own apartment in Austin. He was so concerned that his father would resort to violence while his mother was moving that he requested a local policeman stand guard while she moved her belongings out of the home. In April, 1966, she accepted a position in Austin as cashier at Wyatt’s Cafeteria. Over the next few months, Whitman’s father repeatedly phoned his wife and son pleading for his wife to return home. On July 30, two days before the shootings, the elder Whitman withdrew his financial support from his wife and son.
During 1965, Whitman visited several different doctors at the University of Texas Health Center for headaches. In March, 1966, he sought medical treatment there once again, complaining of mental health issues. He obtained a prescription for Valium and requested a psychiatric referral from general practitioner Dr. Jan D. Cochrum. He was referred to psychiatrist Dr. Maurice Dean Heatly. During his only session with Dr. Heatly, Whitman, whom Heatly later described as “oozing with hostility”, expressed concern and fear about “overwhelming periods of hostility with a very minimum of provocation” and conveyed his reoccurring fantasy of, “…going up on the Tower with a deer rifle and shooting people”. Whitman also spoke at length about his childhood, his father and his distress over his parent’s recent separation. Heatly concluded that Whitman was not dangerous enough for involuntary commitment but asked him to return one week later and/or call anytime that he needed help. Whitman never returned for treatment.
On August 1, 1966 Whitman first killed his mother, Elizabeth Whitman, at 12:30 a.m. at her residence in the Penthouse Apartments at 1212 Guadalupe Street. Later, he killed his wife, Kathleen, at 3:00 a.m at their residence on 906 Jewell Street. Around 11:30 a.m. he ascended to the top of the Tower observation deck at The University of Texas at Austin and began shooting at people on campus below. The shooting spree lasted approximately 95 minutes before he was killed by police. Two Austin Police Department officers, Houston McCoy and Ramiro Martinez, both claimed to have shot fatal rounds at the sniper. At the time, sixteen people were killed (including his wife and mother, APD officer Billy Speed, and an unborn baby) and at least 33 people were injured. In November, 2001, David Gunby died in Fort Worth, Texas, from gunshot wounds he received from Whitman in 1966. Dr. Nizam Peerwani, the Tarrant County medical examiner, ruled Gunby’s death a homicide, bringing the total dead to 17.
Whitman’s body was embalmed 24 hours before an autopsy was conducted and conclusive toxicology tests could be performed for evidence of drugs. Dexedrine, a potent amphetamine/stimulant widely used in the military to combat fatigue, was found on his body at the time of death and was a drug that Whitman ingested on a regular basis for all-night study sessions. The initial autopsy, performed by Dr. Coleman de Chenar, a Travis County medical examiner, revealed the presence of a brain tumor. De Chenar concluded that the tumor did not have an effect on Whitman’s behavior. Shortly after the shootings, Texas Governor John Connally assembled a team of medical experts, known as the Connally Commission, to investigate whether the tumor could have had an impact on Whitman’s behavior. It found that the tumor had features suggesting a glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive, malignant brain cancer. The Commission concluded that the relationship between the brain tumor and his actions were unclear, but conceded that the mass could have influenced his ability to control his actions and emotions.
Family members and friends mentioned in this records set include:
Charles Adolphus “C. A.” Whitman – Charles Joseph Whitman’s father
Return to the Table of Contents
Scope and Contents
The Austin Police Department Records of the Charles Whitman Mass Murder Case (1941-2000, undated) contains reports, correspondence, photographs, negatives, digital images, personal writings, notes and clippings generated primarily during the investigation of the Charles Whitman mass murder event and includes work done by several local, state, and federal agencies working in conjunction with the Austin Police Department such as the Texas State Department of Public Safety, Travis County, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Many of the records produced by other agencies were provided as a courtesy between agencies. Researchers should not assume that the Austin History Center holds the complete set of investigatory records from any of those agencies except those of the Austin Police Department. Records Created by the Austin Police Department (1966, 2000, undated), is comprised of material, primarily murder and assault reports, generated as a result of the multi-homicide investigation which took place in August, 1966. Of note in this series is material used as evidence in these reports including Whitman’s suicide letter, personal notes to his brothers, copies of his UT health records, invoices for weapons and equipment acquired in preparation for the mass attack and the note he left behind at the home on Jewell Street requesting that two rolls of camera film be developed. The photographs subseries includes crime scene images taken by the Austin Police Department as well as black and white prints developed by police from the undeveloped film Whitman left behind. The developed photographs capture a more personal side of Whitman, depicting scenes of him with family and friends, sitting on the porch with his dog, Schocie, and a trip to San Antonio he took with his wife just one week before the murders.
Copies of Records from Other Institutions (1941-1966, undated), contains Whitman’s educational records and correspondence related to his estate. A substantial portion of material in this series is composed of records created by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with courtesy copies furnished to the Austin Police Department. The records available to researchers were provided by the FBI as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request made of original, sealed FBI documents transferred to the Austin History Center from the Austin Police Department. The copies provided by this request were redacted by the FBI and are freely available to researchers. All original (unredacted) copies of this material have been transferred back to the FBI. Other material of note in this series includes the report of Whitman’s autopsy, performed by Dr. Coleman de Chenar, who worked under the Travis County coroner’s system. The autopsy was not performed until approximately 24 hours after death and after the body already had been embalmed. Therefore, conclusive toxicology testing could not be conducted. However, Dr. de Chenar did find evidence of a brain tumor.
The Writings and Personal Effects series (1941-1966, undated) is composed of material either sieged from the Whitman’s rented home on Jewell Street or were recovered from his wallet following his death. Personal writings contained in hand-printed motivational sayings and journal entries in items such as the Green Memoranda notebook (1963) and the Daily Record of C.J. Whitman (1964) provide context and insight into his life prior to the shootings, encompassing his struggles and impending court martial from the Marines, as well as his relationships with his wife and other family members. Meticulous handwritten notes and drawings, a Marine Corps score book and training handbills clearly document his training and expertise as a military sharpshooter.
The final series, Newspaper articles, Post event Interest and Other Records (1965-1985), is comprised chiefly of magazine articles and newspaper clippings gathered in the aftermath of the tragedy; many concern the two police officers, Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy, both of whom apprehended and shot Whitman on the Tower observation deck. Several articles document the controvesy surrounding which officer actually fired the fatal shots that ended Whitman’s rampage. This series also contains the police statement of Allen Crum, the University Co-op floor manager who first helped save a boy who had been wounded in the gunfire and then accompanied Martinez and McCoy up to the tower in pursuit of Whitman.
The Austin History Center is not the official archives repository for the State of Texas nor its agencies, such as the Department of Public Safety. Nor are we the official archives repository for the United States of America or its agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Drug Administration. Individuals wishing more information on those agencies’ investigations of the Charles Whitman mass murder event may choose to place a Freedom of Information request directly with each agency. Alternatively, they may choose to place a Freedom of Information request with the Texas State Archives or the National Archives and Records Administration. Return to the Table of Contents
Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2017). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Chapter 9, “Homicide, Assault, and Intimate Partner and Family Violence” (pp. 247–287)
Excellent – above expectations
Main Discussion Posting Content
21.6 (54%) – 24 (60%)
Discussion posting demonstrates an excellent understanding of all of the concepts and key points presented in the text/s and Learning Resources. Posting provides significant detail including multiple relevant examples, evidence from the readings and other scholarly sources, and discerning ideas.
7.2 (18%) – 8 (20%)
Postings are well organized, use scholarly tone, contain original writing , proper paraphrasing, follow APA style, contain very few or no writing and/or spelling errors, and are fully consistent with graduate level writing style.
173.25 (63%) – 192.5 (70%)
Paper demonstrates an excellent understanding of all of the concepts and key points presented in the text/s and Learning Resources. Paper provides significant detail including multiple relevant examples, evidence from the readings and other sources, and discerning ideas.
74.25 (27%) – 82.5 (30%)
Paper is well organized, uses scholarly tone, follows APA style, uses original writing and proper paraphrasing, contains very few or no writing and/or spelling errors, and is fully consistent with graduate level writing style. Paper contains multiple, appropriate and exemplary sources expected/required for the assignment.