“He’s a different kind of serial killer”: Real ‘Mindhunter’ delves into the mind of Todd Kohlhepp

Updated: May. 20, 2019 at 2:54 PM EDT
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - John Douglas is known as the original “Mindhunter” and now he’s delving into the mind of serial killer Todd Kohlhepp in his newest book.

In the late 1970s, Douglas was an FBI agent, diving into new territory and revealing a new kind of evil. Douglas and his FBI partner, Robert Ressler, are often credited with coining the term “serial killer.” Their work inspired the Netflix true-crime drama, Mindhunter.

Douglas has stared evil in the eyes while sitting across the table from names like Ed Kemper, Ted Bundy and Charles Manson, but he said his newest research on Todd Kohlhepp uncovers a type of killer he’s never encountered before.

“They may be out there, but in my experience over many years, I haven’t seen one quite like him,” Douglas said.

Convicted serial killer Todd Kohlhepp appears in court.
Convicted serial killer Todd Kohlhepp appears in court.(FOX Carolina News)

He examines Kohlhepp in his new book, “Killer Across the Table,” but said his research on Kohlhepp began years before he ever knew the killer’s name.

Back in 2004, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office asked Douglas to look into the then-unsolved quadruple homicide at Superbike Motorsports.

“I told the police at the time, about a year after the homicide, I believe this is a disgruntled customer and they’ll probably be in the filing system where they probably purchased something in the past,” he said. “Had they gone through the files they would have come across the name Todd Kohlhepp.”

We now know Kohlhepp’s name was on the customer list, but this wouldn’t be discovered until years later.

“Todd Kohlhepp commits a mass murder then a serial murder. He kills four and then a series of others,” Douglas said. “There would be no way that police or I could have tied in the motorcycle shop with the other murders.”

Douglas says Kohlhepp’s explanation for killing is unusual.

“He’s a different kind of serial killer. It’s predatory, but not like a Bundy-type of predatory. He’s more of a revenge-retaliation type of killer,” Douglas said.

He said Kohlhepp’s motive is similar across all his crimes, but his style of killing doesn’t fit into a mold.

“He feels like they’re going to conspire against him or they’re going to rip him off, and that’s how he felt about the Coxies,” Douglas said, “It almost becomes second-nature with him and he just kills them. He said his only mistake with Kala Brown is that he didn’t kill her.”

Douglas said Kohlhepp claims there are more victims out there.

Back in August 2018, Douglas traveled to the Upstate to help Spartanburg County investigators search a piece of property Kohlhepp claimed to have buried two bodies.

“He said there were bodies, but they wouldn’t let him out of prison to show where they were buried,” he said. “It just seems consistent and I believe him.”

While they didn’t find anything back in August, Douglas still believes there are other victims.

“If you want to get some closure with some cases, what do you have to lose?” said Douglas.

“Killer Across the Table” was released on May 7.

John Douglas' new book delves into the mind of SC serial killer Todd Kohlhepp.
John Douglas' new book delves into the mind of SC serial killer Todd Kohlhepp.(Harper Collins)