Pathology Writ Large

The expert analyzing the Capitol Hill massacre says pieces are beginning to fit.

The conclusion that Capitol Hill mass murderer Kyle Huff most likely authored a mysterious and revealing letter found in a trash bin is a major breakthrough in explaining why he killed six people and himself. James Alan Fox, the Northeastern University professor and author who is heading a panel reviewing the murders for Seattle police, had been awaiting the official analysis to help confirm his belief that Huff was on a twisted manhunt for the "hippie" purveyors of what he believed was an immoral lifestyle.

It is "highly probable" that the letter—apparently written two days before he went on his March 25 rampage at an after-rave house party—was penned by Huff, concludes a newly released analysis by the Washington State Patrol crime lab. Forensic scientist James Tarver found distinct similarities when comparing the note, found by chance a mile from his apartment house, to eight other Huff writing examples.

"I can't let them get away with what they're doing," Huff, 28, a part-time pizza-delivery driver, wrote in the rambling note. It was written on the back of a parking notice issued by his apartment-house management. " ... I hate this world of sex that they are striving to make. ... The basic jist of it is that they're fucking next to us when were really high to make us freak out. And trying to stop are heart by making it palpatate ... " His main targets may have been adults—he wanted to "kill this hippie shit," apparently referring to people who were causing harm to "kids like me ... "

To Fox and case investigators, the note underscores the notion that Huff appointed himself as exterminator of those who lived or advocated a lifestyle he himself may have wanted to pursue, or from which he was rejected. "A mass murderer is frequently the scapegoat of a group," says Fox, who is winding up his background report for presentation at the end of the month. Based on other psychological information he has learned about the killer, Fox always felt Huff had authored the letter.

"Mass murderers target their anger and frustration at a particular group," says Fox. "What did they do to him? Not necessarily anything. But his perception is that there was a problem. It's quite clear [from the letter] that Huff had issues with sexuality, promiscuity. He could focus this most easily in Seattle on the rave community, which is quite prominent and visible. He was also a fan of music and part of the rave scene. Elements in this letter indicate that his perceptions aren't totally inaccurate—he could certainly claim there was sex and drug use involved in the scene. But [to kill], this is not how most people would react, of course. Most who feel this way don't translate that into acts of violence."

However, for Huff, in his psychological state, killing six teens and young adults after an all-night party was justified, Fox says. While his search for victims to punish might have been at first indiscriminate, the ending was deliberate. He arrived with enough weapons and ammunition to kill scores of people, though Huff may have made up his mind to kill these particular victims sometime during the night. The phrase "Now Kids Now!!!" written in the letter two days before he spray painted "Now" on sidewalks outside the crime scene hints at how close to the edge he'd come in those final days.

"When I talk to his friends and family in Montana," says Fox, referring to Huff's birthplace with his twin brother Kane, "the shooting is really not part of their world. They like to recall what Kyle was like prior to 2006 because that's all they know of him. But in Seattle, it's important to know why and how this happened. The letter is completely in context with what else I've learned about Kyle Huff."

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