Former “Mind Hunter” FBI Profiler John Douglas in Contrite Admission Now Believes 1946 “Chicago Lipstick Killer” Bill Heirens Who Served 64 Years for Crimes Was Innocent on All Three Murders and Were He Alive Douglas Would So Testify Under Oath

March 24, 2024
Birch Bay, Washington

Retired FBI “MindHunter” now agrees with Original Longtime Heirens Defender Dolores Kennedy that “Heiren’s was Innocent”

In 2003 in Black Dahlia Avenger, in regards to psychological profiling in general and specifically in response to FBI Profiler John Douglas’ then profile of the 1947 killer of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short, I wrote:
It has been my experience that at best, these “profiles” should be considered an investigative tool; at worst, they can be dangerously speculative demographically overweighted, and misleading, and, if given too much credence, can actually misdirect and impair an investigation. Profiles or patterns of predictability, like one’s daily horoscope, often make more sense ex post facto. Human beings, especially human beings who murder, and above all, those who murder and get away with it, are rarely predictable. Like wild beasts, they are cunning, predatory, and instinctual, and their environment has taught them survival and how best to avoid trappers.
In the Black Dahlia case, for example, John Douglas, former head of the FBI’s serial crime division, provided over the past five years several separate published profiles on Elizabeth Short’s killer. In virtually everything, his profiles were wide of the mark. He theorized: 1) that the killer was a white man in his late twenties; 2) he had no more than a high school education; 3) he lived alone and made his living working with his hands rather than his brains; and 4) though Douglas had made no review of any of the police files, he stated to a “certainty” that Elizabeth Short’s death was the result of a “stranger murder,” in other words that she was a victim of opportunity.
Douglas actually went on record “to a certainty,” informing the public that there was no previous relationship between the victim and her killer. Simply put, “he was absolutely certain that her killer did not know her.”
The esteemed “Mind Hunter” was also on record back then that after having personally interviewed Bill Heiren’s, “Chicago’s Lipstick Killer” in prison for the 1945-6 serial killings he also believed that Heiren’s was guilty of those three horrific murders.
Knowing that John Douglas had taken that firm position some thirty-plus years ago and finding myself working with Dolores Kennedy and meeting with her and Bill Heiren’s at the prison in the attempt to establish Heiren’s innocence, it was with welcome, albeit decades late eyes and ears that I learned of his current change of heart and mind and his present belief that “HEIREN’S DID NOT COMMIT THE CHICAGO LIPSTICK MURDERS AND SPENT 64 YEARS IN PRISON AS AN INNOCENT MAN.”
In their book Law & Disorder (2013), co-authored by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Douglas writes:
When William Heirens–frail, sickly, and wheelchair-bound passed away on March 5, 2012, at the Dixon Correctional Center, at the age of eighty-three, he was the longest-serving prisoner in the United States. In addition to his previously mentioned educational achievements, his record over the years was essentially spotless, and he had earned the respect of numerous prison officials.
Several efforts to have him pardoned, or at least paroled and released, were mounted, the most formidable by Dolores Kenedy, a legal assistant with the Northwestern University Center on Wrongful Convictions and author of the book William Heirens: His Day in Court/Did an Innocent Teenager Confess to Three Grisly Murders? He was denied parole at least thirty times.

But, after examining all of the available facts and evidence from my years of experience in profiling and criminal investigative analysis, I no longer believe him to have been a killer, and he spent the vast majority of his life behind bars for nothing. Though he is now beyond our justice, I would be happy to testify to those beliefs under oath in a court of law. 
I wish I had known enough when I first encountered Bill Heirens to have come to this conclusion and put forth these views. I have spent considerable energy both in and after my FBI service to make up for my initial naivete.”
Additionally, in a separate interview with Mark Olshaker and John  Douglas, in a more reflective tone both have this to say:
THE READERS’ WRITERS: Bestselling authors John Douglas and Mark Olshakera
By DA Kentner (2013)
JOHN) In some ways, “Law & Disorder” is a departure for us. Our previous books, from “Mindhunter” through “The Anatomy of Motive,” all had as a general theme the idea of catching the bad guys and delivering justice to victims and their families. “The Cases That Haunt Us” was kind of a transition, in that we were taking cold murder cases from Jack the Ripper to JonBenet Ramsey and trying, after you clear away all the myth and hype, to figure out what actually happened and didn’t happen. When I was in the bureau and headed up the Investigative Support Group at Quantico, we were overwhelmed by case consultation requests and could only work for the police/prosecution side. Except for rare exceptions like David Vasquez in Virginia, we were not in the exoneration business. But when I retired and started getting consulting requests from both sides, I came to realize that profiling and the kind of behavior-based criminal investigative analysis we had developed was just as applicable in determining who had not committed a given crime as it was in determining who the actual perpetrator might have been. This caused me not only to agree to work for the defense in certain cases but also to reflect on and re-evaluate a number of cases throughout my career. It’s difficult ever to admit you might have been wrong in a certain case, but if you have gained the insight and perspective to understand why you might have been wrong, that can be a very useful and enlightening experience. Why investigations and prosecutions go bad and what can be done differently is one of the main themes of “Law & Disorder.” It is really a cautionary tale of what happens when theory supersedes evidence and prejudice deposes rationalism.
MARK) John is referring to a case early in his career, that of the so-called Chicago “Lipstick Killer” William Heirens, whom John interviewed in prison for his serial killer study. Revisiting that case made us both realize that an investigator can only be as good as the evidence and case materials he is presented with. And we’re not saying it’s easy.

SKH Note-

In a sense, I guess we can consider Bill Heiren’s “lucky” in that his sentence “life without the possibility of parole,” he got to live into his Eighties instead of being executed in his late teens. Sixty-four years for a crime he did not commit is NOT JUSTICE.  In 2022 the prison population in the United States was 1,200,000. It is estimated that 4-6% of those prisoners are innocent. Let’s call it 5%. That means that currently, there are 60,000 innocent individuals incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. These are TODAY’s numbers. Back in Bill Heiren’s day, police corruption was commonplace throughout the United States.  Consequently, the false arrests/imprisonments, manufactured evidence, perjury, and wrongful execution numbers were much higher.
In presenting my father’s suspect crimes in “The Early Years Part I (the 1920s) and Part II (the 1930s), In those books I present several cases of false arrest of another for crimes believed committed by George Hodel. These were identical crime signatures to the Suzanne Degnan child kidnap sexual assault murder from 1946. Sadly, one of those crimes resulted in the execution of a young man totally innocent of the crimes. See the below books and audiobooks for complete details.
SKH Note #2—Thanks again to LW (Dr. Luigi Warren) in the Comments section for pointing me to the UNRRA Files below, of which I was totally unaware. The several documents confirm my suspected timeline showing GHH did not arrive in China until sometime in January/February/March 1946, as he was awaiting transportation, likely at the UNRRA Home Office in Washington, D.C.
UNRRA Monthly Bulletin Pub. end of December 1945
“Shows Drs. G. Hill Hodel, Chief Regional Medical Officer and physician Alvah S. Miller reported for duty and are “awaiting transportation.”


UNRRA Monthly Bulletin Pub. March 1946
The report shows Dr. G.Hill Hodel left for the recruitment program for China
sometime between January and March 1946.



“Personnel deployed 1-31 March 1946 Hankow UNRRA  Dr. G. Hill Hodel Regional Medical Officer”




  1. Luigi Warren on March 24, 2024 at 4:14 pm


    Seems like the Lipstick Murders could have much more in common with the Zodiac crimes than first appears. If GHH was making trips east in preparation for his China mission and laying over in Chicago (a big air/rail hub) he might have seen that as as a perfect opportunity to terrorize another city, Fantomas-style, while staying just out of reach. And this pattern (or addiction) might have started early with a school’s out visit to San Francisco in the summer of ’21. Then we have the indications that Beth Short somehow cottoned on to what happened in Chicago and was asking around about it during her stay there before her return to LA in ’46. It all fits together.


    • Steve hodel on March 24, 2024 at 4:38 pm

      Absolutely “all fits together.” Add to that the fact that Elizabeth goes to the Sunset Blvd radio show with a man “with a Chicago Police Badge” and when back in Chi Town tells the reporters that she knows a “Chicago policemen on the Degnan case.” Add to that GHH’s suspected child kidnap sexual murders in the 1920s and yes, it “all adds up.”

  2. Steve hodel on March 24, 2024 at 10:24 pm

    I won’t be responding to obvious trolls in the comment sections. Will just send them to trash immediately without playing any games.

    • Luigi Warren on March 25, 2024 at 1:22 am


      I found the UNRRA files database, which can be searched at

      There are several files referencing your father.


      They comport exactly with the timeline you pieced together in BDA. You noted in BDA that GHH was hired effective December 3, 1945. He reported for duty (presumably at the Washington DC HQ) sometime that month. As of the end of December he was still awaiting transportation. There are no details on where and how he spent that waiting period or when exactly he left the US or whether by ship or plane or from which coast he departed (he returned in September 1946 on a ship which arrived in San Diego after a 2-week voyage). The files state that GHH deployed to Hankow at some point during March 1946, which is consistent with what I believe is the first dated in-country activity mentioned in “The China Letter,” a field trip to Hsun Hwa T’ien sometime in April 1946 (p. 34).


  3. Patricia ONeill on March 25, 2024 at 4:47 pm

    Steve, how convenient for GHH when presented with travel delays in his varied career(s) assignments over many years! “Well, I’m stuck here in Chicago so what do I do here? Hmm….sit in a bar, see the city, maybe take a coupla days to myself?!” Whatever the choices, GHH was totally addicted to sexual connections involving violence! And after many years of dealing with this addiction (IMO) the violence dominated! Was it just toward women? That we may never know. For sure GHH did not choose to “semi retire” in SF because of its’ conservative population! And I have no doubt GHH was well aware of the proclivities of that city & some of it seeping into its’ PD😟. The sex/violence addictions of GHH unfortunately dominated his high intelligence and the instances in various cities, locales made it difficult to investigate! That is why I feel it is so important that your father’s story be told to more than just your readers! With the abuse during his childhood & teen years GHH unleashed approximately 80 years of boundless anger not only in CA but worldwide thru his travels😔! Your books are “must reads” for medical, educational, historical societies……this is what happens when only one child is abused😱!
    The man GHH presents a powerful lesson……..a worldwide wake-up call🫵!!

  4. Steve hodel on March 25, 2024 at 6:46 pm

    Patricia O:
    Totally agree. His psychopathic anger was so strong that releasing it on just one individual or family was not enough. As a Misanthrope, he had to reach out and make his crime so horrific that it would hold a whole city in terror. He was a terrorist and knew how to spread fear and stoke the fires by sending in taunting messages that “I can’t control this thing inside me. There will be more.” And more there was in LA, San Diego, Chicago, Manila and San Francisco. FIFTY YEARS and FIFTY VICTIMS.

  5. Luigi Warren on March 25, 2024 at 7:53 pm


    On the update, check out S-1121-0000-0230-00001.pdf at p. 115. Table VII puts GHH’s deployment more specifically into the window March 1-31. Looks to me like everything is compatible with the GHH doing the December 10 Frances Brown murder, the January 7 Suzanne Degnan murder and sending the JtR-inspired package with the human ear near the end of January in the course of transcontinental stopovers in Chicago and/or a crash course at the ASTP language school at the University of Chicago to prep for the Hankow deployment.


    • Steve Hodel on March 25, 2024 at 9:00 pm

      Exce;;emt find. I have posted that March 1946 Deployment on the above blog. Thanks for your good eyes LW. I missed it. A seven-month, March-September 1946 deployment in China fits perfectly.

      • Luigi Warren on March 26, 2024 at 11:20 pm


        Just to narrow it down a bit further, in the UNRRA China Office monthly reports GHH is listed as one of their “key personnel” (Grade 13 and above) at the end of March 1946, but not at the end of January. This list covers all UNRRA China offices — the regional offices and the HQ in Shanghai. Thus, it appears that GHH had not reached China by the end of January 1946. He probably would have gone to the Shanghai HQ at least briefly before he made the trip inland to Hankow to take on his duties as Chief Regional Medical Officer, which we know occurred sometime in March. Indeed he mentions meeting a girl selling blackjacks on the streets of Shanghai in “The China Letter.” But, it seems he had not even arrived at the Shanghai HQ by the end of January 1946. See S-1121-0000-0230-00001.pdf p. 109 and S-1121-0000-0228-00001.pdf p. 101.

        In UNRRA’s Health Division Bulletin references to “reported for duty” generally refer to reporting for duty at headquarters (1334 Connecticut St, Washington, DC) and “transportation” generally refers to transportation to a country of interest.. E.g., see S-1301-0000-1371-00001.pdf pages 12, 19, 49, 74, 104, and 146.

  6. Steve hodel on March 27, 2024 at 12:26 am

    Yes, always appreciate you as my pencil sharpener for sure. Thanks for putting a good point on it.
    My sense is he did not get to Hankow until Feb or March and not leave D.C. until late sometime in Feb ’46at earliest.

  7. Yolie💎 on March 30, 2024 at 11:05 am

    Rap’cha and I join in the Sisterhood of the Sacred WombSpace to send you a cleansing, centering breath and powerful VIBRATIONS for ancestral healing! This is a powerful season among all the faiths of the world and we celebrate this time for ancestral HEALING! Embrace the power and the joy of embracing your forefathers and FOREMOTHERS to dispel the negative energies of past generations and replace it with purest LOVE 💖💖💖💖💖 What a beautiful love it is, Steve💖💖💖💖 The message of ancestral healing never grows old. It is eternal!
    Peace to you🙏
    Peace to Brother Kel 🙏
    Peace to FaunaElizabeth 🙏
    Peace to powerful Dorero of the Sacred WombSpace 🙏
    Peace to noble Rima, earthly Guardian of Steve 🙏
    Peace always 🙏
    Kristel is here with us in spirit but has been up all night with Boogers the rescue cat. She is praying that dear, sweet Boogers won’t cross Rainbow Bridge🌈.

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