Case Study Two Frank Timmons
Crime: Serial murder Alias: No known alias
Frank Timmons was born in 1964 in a large metropolitan city, as the second-youngest of thirteen children. His parents were Billy, a lot attendant at a car dealer, and Loretta, a
maid; they later divorced. Though Billy was strict, the household was, according to one of Frank’s siblings, peaceful. Other siblings say that Billy was verbally abusive and
alcoholism ran in the family. Loretta died when Frank was twelve. She was described as not being an active parent to her youngest children, leaving their upbringing largely to
the older siblings, and one sister in particular, Margaret. Questions were raised by other siblings regarding Margaret’s overall stability, as well as the possibility of sexual abuse
perpetrated by her. Margaret had difficulty maintaining stable relationships and employment, and was reported to have made a number of suicide attempts, and she may
have followed in her father’s footsteps with regard to verbal abuse and alcoholism. In high school, Frank was good at sports and played football for the school team, but he
didn’t graduate due to not having enough credits. Some siblings indicate that Frank did not earn enough school credits to graduate because of efforts to make money for the family. The family income came primary from DES subsidies and food stamps. Though
well-liked by his teammates, he had a reputation for excessive roughness with opposing teams. During his senior year, Frank and a brother were arrested for raping a young
woman, but no charges were pursued. He was charged with trespassing a few years later, and with driving under the influence the following year.
In his late 20s, Frank was charged with abducting a woman and brutally raping and bludgeoning her. He claimed that she willingly had oral sex with him, and that the rape and assault were the work of two other men. Frank was sentenced to fifteen years for
the abduction and 21 years for a robbery. After serving thirteen years in prison as a model inmate, he was paroled and moved into a house with his wife, Jenny Nelson, not
far from the four-mile area where the crimes would occur. Though his neighbors all knew that he had served time in jail, he was so well-liked that they could look past it. He got a
job as a construction worker. The year after his parole, the serial murders began.
In the first crime attributed to the Serial Murderer, the perpetrator forced three teenage girls behind a church and molested two of them. He is believed to have committed his
first murder a month later. Over the course of the following eleven months, he committed several robberies, sexual assaults, and a total of eight additional murders. His friends and family have strongly defended him, insisting that the police have arrested the wrong man; some have even gone so far as to accuse them of framing him for the crimes.
His wife has since been running a website maintaining his innocence.
Surviving witnesses described a “light-skinned black man” often wearing various disguises, such as a
Halloween mask, and attempting to impersonate a homeless man or drug addict.
Murders were particularly brutal, with the killer often shooting the victims in the head. In addition,
there were reports the suspect was sexually assaulting females as young as 12 years old at
gunpoint within a four-mile radius.
Police say that the shell casings found at each of the crime scenes all came from the same gun.
Frank Timmons was, at the time, on community supervision (parole) with the Department of Corrections. Parole officers provided
information to the police department task force suggesting that Frank Timmons matched the sketch of the serial murderer. Parole officers searched Frank Timmons’ residence and found a ski mask and a
realistic toy handgun. Police used this information to obtain a search warrant for Frank’s residence and found additional items that linked
him to crimes committed by the Serial Murderer.
The crimes were distinguished by having no apparent motive. Timmons’ targets were women. When he killed, the victims were typically snatched from a public corner, taken to a secluded
nearby place, and shot in the head with a medium- or large-caliber weapon. Timmons used some kind of disguise and/or ruse while committing some crimes, such as wearing a Halloween mask to
conceal his identity, approaching his victims asking for a ride, or even pretending to be a homeless man or a drug addict.
Frank Timmons was arrested in connection to the sexual assault of two sisters, an attack which was tied to the Serial Murderer investigation. The sisters, one of whom was visibly pregnant, were
assaulted in a city park. Frank was linked to the attack by DNA evidence collected shortly following the time of the crime.
What are people saying?
Current coworker: He kind of keeps to himself at work. He is
always early and stays late, probably to impress the boss.
I’ve heard he has some problems with his girlfriend:
They fight a lot. They take separate vacations to get away
from each other and are in couples counseling. But, he is a
private guy, does his work, and goes home. I wish I could tell you more.
Current friend: He is the nicest guy I have ever met, and
I have no clue why you think he did these things. As far as I know, he’s never been in any
trouble, goes to mass each week, and loves his life. Are
you sure we are talking about the same guy? He’s too smart
to get himself into trouble and I can’t see him doing anything
like this. Maybe you should spend your time looking for
the real killer because he wouldn’t dream of doing this.
Next-door neighbor: I see him in the mornings when he goes to work. He waves but never
wants to talk. When they moved here, I tried inviting
them over, but he would always decline, so I stopped asking. He sometimes works
odd hours, I think, mainly when there is no one else
home. Seems to keep busy. Respectful but quiet.