Like many serial killers, a broken home seemed to play a key part in the formation of Monte Rissell into a killer.
Aged seven he was the youngest of three children when his parents divorced and his mum up rooted them to California.
In interviews with the FBI after his capture he told them if he had been allowed to go with his father instead of his mother he thought he would have become a lawyer rather than a killer.
And with a superior IQ of 120, he may just have done it.
In California his mother remarried and spent much of her time with her new husband leaving her children with little adult supervision. The young Monte began getting into trouble – writing obscene graffiti at school and then dabbling in drugs.
He then shot a cousin with an air rifle.
He claimed his step-dad had given him the BB gun and as punishment after the shooting smashed the gun and beat the child with it.
When he was 12 his mother’s second marriage collapsed and the family moved back to Virginia where his crimes escalated – to driving without a licence, burglary, car theft and rape.
His murderous career was similar to serial killer Ed Kemper – in that he committed the acts despite being monitored by the authorities. Kemper had sex with his mum’s decapitated head after killing her, and is also featured on Mindhunter.
Still in High School, on probation and receiving counselling from a psychiatrist he was written to by his then girlfriend. She was a year older than him and away at college and told him their relationship was over.
The Dear John note sent Monte over the edge and after driving to her college spied her and her new boyfriend in an embrace. But rather than confront her and take his rage out on the new boy – as many his age would do – he drove back to Alexandria.
There after drinking beer and spoking cannabis he sat brooding in the car in the car park of the apartment complex where he was living. In the early hours of the morning another car appeared driven by a single woman and on the spur of the moment decided to attack her.
Using a handgun he forced the woman to drive to a secluded area. By chance the woman Monte has in his car is a prostitute and it is this misfortune which investigators believed drove him to his acts.
No doubt afraid when she realises that Monte is going rape her at gunpoint – but not afraid of sex – she hitches up her skirt and asks him how he likes it and what position he wants her in.
However rather than making him gentler or more sensitive this behaviour enrages him.
He would later tell investigators: “She asked which way I wanted it. It’s like this bitch is trying to control things.”
She apparently faked at least two orgasms and it reinforced his feelings that women are whores and he depersonalised her – making her easier to kill.
After the rape he had still not decided what to do with his first victim but she attempts to run away which again makes him think she is controlling the situation.
In an interview with the FBI he said: “She took off running down the ravine. That’s when I grabbed her in an armlock. She was bigger than me.
“I started choking her…she stumbled… we rolled down the hill and into the water. I banged her head against the side of a rock and held her head under water.”
She was soon dead.
Now having realised he could kill his spree began.
Later the young killer was to let another victim go because she told him she was caring for her sick father who had cancer. Monte’s own brother had the disease so he was able to identify with her.
His second victim, who like all of them was picked up near his home, annoyed him with questions.
He said: “She wanted to know why I wanted to do this; why I picked her; didn’t I have a girlfriend; what was my problem; what was I going to do.”
Like the first victim she tried to escape and so she was stabbed to death in the chest. By number three he had learned from his previous experience and wouldn’t let his victim talk to him, he said: “I was thinking.. I’ve killed two. I might as well kill this one too.”
However the woman was let go after telling him the story about her father with cancer.
The last two were not so lucky – the first drowned and the second Aletha Byrd he stabbed 100 times.
The 34-year-old who worked in a department store was abducted from a car park and her decomposed body was found two weeks later in woodland.
Rissell’s other victims were Ursula Miltenberg, 22, a trainee at a McDonald’s restaurant, Aura Gabor, 26, the woman who lived in the same apartment block as her killer.
He also killed Jeanette McClelland, 24, a proof reader, and Gladys Bradley, 27, a post office clerk.
After his arrest Alexandria Police Chief John Holihan said: The fear that has reigned in the minds of many residents can now be lessoned.”