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(Two stories follow: cover piece, immediately below, and sidebar, 'The FBI Profiles.' Note: The first sentence in the cover piece has been updated to reflect the number of years since the crime.)

 


Cover story
The Devil And Father Kunz
An Easter tale about murder, the Catholic Church and the strange paths of good and evil


By Chuck Nowlen

Published April 12, 2001
Copyright 2001, Las Vegas Weekly/Radiant City Publications


 

Sixteen years later, someone could still be haunted.


The all-consuming rage at the cockeyed old priest; the uncontainable hatred, day after freezing winter day. The wee-hours confrontation in a dim school hallway outside the priest’s office, where he’d slept like a castaway for the past 31 years.


The attack, the frantic struggle: It all ended in a instant, when the killer plunged a razor-sharp blade into Father Alfred Kunz’s neck, slicing the major artery below his jaw.


And then came all the blood -- warm, slippery torrents of it, coating the painted cinderblock walls and the worn, gritty floor tiles. Almost instantly, Kunz fainted into a lifeless heap, his white T-shirt and black slacks soaked from the gaping wound. According to emergency room medical experts, he would have lived for about another minute, probably in a deep, dreamlike haze.

 

Asperges me domine … – Thou shalt sprinkle me, O Lord …

 

… et mundabo. – …and I shall be cleansed.


Those are the first words of the traditional Tridentine or Latin High Mass, the hallmark of Kunz’s 300-member parish at St. Michael Catholic Church in the tiny farming town of Dane, Wisconsin. People would travel hundreds of miles to hear those words at 8 a.m. every day.


Meanwhile, half a continent away in Las Vegas’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, a boxy white building located in a seedy urban jungle at 9th and Ogden streets, Rev. Courtney Krier says the same Latin Mass at the very same time every Sunday, just like it once was said for all Catholics around the world.

 

That is, until the church changed everything beginning in 1962 with a series of sea-change reforms known collectively as the Second Vatican Council, or, more commonly, “Vatican II.” Krier now says the Latin Mass as a certified rebel. At the post-reform Diocese of Las Vegas, he is described as “not in union with Rome.”


Judica me, Deus, - Give judgment for me, O God,


… et discerne causam meam, de gente non sancta. -- ­and decide my cause against
an unholy people.

 

“Oh yes, I’d definitely heard of Father Kunz,” says the much-younger Krier, whose Sunday morning flock – much like Kunz’s – seems to a visiting outsider like a postcard from some musty, long-forgotten time.

 

“We all knew he was there in Wisconsin, and we knew very quickly about his death. Father Kunz was one of the old-school priests that we younger traditional priests felt like we could turn to.”


Krier, who lives in Spartan quarters and keeps his church unlocked most of the time -- also like Kunz -- smiles when asked if he feels vulnerable in the wake of Kunz’s murder, especially in the hazardous neighborhood that surrounds St. Joseph’s.

 

“My parishioners certainly worry about me,” Krier chuckles, just a tad nervously.


Back in Wisconsin, Kunz’s core parishioners have had to hear the Latin Mass someplace else for the last several years. A church-school teacher found the priest’s body in a pool of blood at 7 a.m. on March 4, 1998, triggering one of the most exhaustive, far-reaching police investigations in state history -- so far without results. Kunz would have turned 70 this Easter Sunday.

***


Nobody foresaw it on that cold, gray March morning, but the aftermath of Kunz’s death would get strange, and then even stranger. There would be stories of exorcism referrals, a satanic assassination and, eventually, innuendos of sexual impropriety by Kunz, who was known at St. Michael simply as “Father Al.”


Later, there would even be allegations that his murder could somehow be linked to evil in the most unthinkable of places: the vast Catholic hierarchy that Kunz was tied to as a diocesan priest. Some even blame the Vatican in Rome.


In the absence of an arrest, the Kunz case also has developed into a religious Rorschach for many -- certainly among those close to the case who consider themselves traditionalists within the troubled Roman Catholic Church, which all but invented the Easter holiday as Western civilization knows it today.

 

“This is a time of major crisis within the church, and the breakdown tends to be along traditional and conservative versus liberal lines,” notes Peter Kelly, a Monroe, Wis., lawyer who produced Kunz’s weekly radio show, “Our Catholic Family,” from a tiny studio about an hour’s drive south of St. Michael’s.

 

“I think it’s getting almost to the point of complete collapse,” insists Kelly, who is also a part-time master’s divinity student. “And, yeah, I know: Some people delve into a so-called satanic influence in the church, and everybody sort of rolls their eyes and laughs. But, I tell you, the nexus is really there.”


Kelly notes that before he died in 1978, even Pope Paul VI worried about the church’s future, at one point warning that “Satan’s smoke” had entered the Vatican over the centuries.


Still, could someone within the church really have killed Kunz -- or ordered him killed?

 

“Absolutely, as unbelievable as that might sound to some people,” Kelly says. “Let’s put it this way, it may eventually come out that Father Kunz was killed by some jealous farmer or some sick, twisted Satanist, or maybe some mentally ill drifter, for all anybody knows. But, if so, why haven’t they caught anybody after three years of such incredible, incredible scrutiny?"

 

“Meanwhile, there are an awful lot of people in the church for whom life would have been a lot easier if Father Kunz were not around.”

***

The Las Vegas Catholic Diocese named a new bishop, Monsignor Joseph E. Pepe, late last week, but officials declined several requests for an interview for this story. Other sources, though, confirmed that the Latin Mass is not officially authorized anywhere in Las Vegas, which, by some accounts, has more churches per-capita than any other major city in the United States.


In Reno, the Latin Mass is said at only one church with the local diocese’s blessing, a spokeswoman said.

 

“To some people, (the Latin Mass) is very important. But, for others, being able to put it into to their own language is very important, too,” said the spokeswoman, requesting anonymity. She also noted an encouraging recent increase in Reno’s Catholic church membership.

The Resistance
Although it’s clearly had its problems in recent years, the worldwide Catholic Church is still widely seen as a theological monolith by outsiders. It’s been four decades, after all, since Vatican II, a years-long maelstrom of theology and internal politics that eventually diluted many Catholic traditions that had been deemed unalterable for generations -- including the rosary, the Latin Mass and the concept of mortal sin.

 

In their place, a more humanistic theology has evolved within Rome that tries, however successfully, to embrace more of the realities of the modern world. Still, a small, rock-solid core of pre-Vatican II holdouts remains very much alive within the empire. The traditional ways will come again, they believe; and, to them, the Latin Mass is a symbol of both faith and defiance.


Kunz considered himself a moderate -- he also said the Mass in English, for example, and claimed obedience within the local diocese’s hierarchy. At the same time, he also was a widely recognized elder statesman within the strict traditionalists’ international network. Within a day of his murder, the news had already sped through a tightly knit web of more than 600 vestigial Latin Mass Catholic churches nationwide and beyond.

 

Many, like St. Joseph’s in Las Vegas, operate outside their local dioceses, although bishops are empowered to authorize the Latin Mass if parishes request it -- through a decree by Pope John Paul II called “Ecclesia Dei.” These churches often exist under shadowy, contrived authority; and, while Kunz preferred a low profile, he sometimes was a lightning rod for them.

 

“Father Kunz was a well-known expert in canon law, so he knew how to walk the lines,” Bill Brophy, a spokesman for Kunz’s Catholic Diocese of Madison, noted shortly after the murder.


Adds Krier three years later: “I know I would have tried to contact Father Kunz sooner or later had he lived. His loss leaves us all that much more isolated, especially we younger traditional priests, as far as the resources we can go to.”


From his crucifix- and icon-laden living room on the outskirts of Madison, Wis., Donald Jenkins, one of Kunz’s closest parishioners, sketches tense and acrimonious battle lines within modern Roman Catholicism, whose mainstream seems to disgust him.

 

“The church these days just wants everything to be sugary sweet and wonderful: ‘Oh, yes, have an abortion. Oh, yes, it’s okay to be gay – isn’t that nice? Don’t worry, there’s a place for you in heaven,’” sneers Jenkins, a retired IBM worker.

 

Since the murder, Jenkins has worshipped at St. Therese’s Catholic Church, a sagging, one-time elementary school about 10 miles due west of Kunz’s St. Michael. St. Therese’s, meanwhile, gets its theological marching orders from St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, less than 200 miles away in Winona, Minn. The seminary, with which Kunz had longstanding, but unofficial ties, is part of a banned worldwide traditional sect known as the Society of St. Pius X.


Jenkins, finds familiar Catholic territory there: “Father Kunz would tell you what the law was under the church, regardless of what you thought. He allowed no compromises, no compromises whatsoever. When he said something, that was it. And I worshipped the ground he walked on for it.”


As a succession of crackheads and winos meanders back and forth outside his threadbare 9th Street church in Las Vegas, Krier explains the traditionalists’ underpinnings this way: “We have to obey God. St. Peter said we have to obey God before man, and we believe that the Latin Mass, for example, should be said forever, that we should allow no changes in the church that would detract from the faith.

 

“So, yes, some people call it a war; but it’s not really a war in the classic sense. I’d call it more of a resistance, like the French resistance during the Nazi occupation in World War II.”

High Places
While he worked in relative obscurity in Dane, Kunz was no bit player, either. He had his radio show, of course, although, for the most part, his rather dry hour-long discourses rarely touched on the controversial. He did, however, advise priests and bishops across the nation on a variety of topics, including the arcane prophecies of Fatima, which have sparked considerable fervor in some Catholic camps in the wake of three children’s 1917 visions of St. Mary in Portugal.

 

Kunz also held an open-air funeral for an aborted fetus at St. Michael in the early 1990s, burying it at the feet of a Fatima statue that still stands a few yards from the murder scene. Although the funeral went all but unnoticed outside Dane, Kunz knew it was a thrown gauntlet in the shadow of nearby Madison, where pro-choice and gay advocates are particularly vocal and strong. After his death, some cast suspicious eyes to those enclaves, but no link to the murder has ever been established.


Kunz had also traveled to Rome and met Pope John Paul II as the pontiff prayed alone one morning at a secluded Vatican chapel. One of Kunz’s closest associates was best-selling novelist Malachi Martin, a one-time Vatican insider under Pope John XXIII, who convened Vatican II. Martin would later leave the Vatican circle and become an exorcist, as well as the author of six religious novels, one of which, “Windswept House,” was compared to “Dr. Zhivago” by the Washington Post in 1996.


At the same time, Martin was a guest at least twice on what some might describe as the lunatic-fringe Art Bell radio talk show, produced about 60 miles west of Las Vegas in Pahrump. In an interview six weeks after Kunz’s murder, Martin swore he had inside information that the killing was the “signature” work of “Luciferians.” He also insisted that Kunz had either assisted in several exorcisms or performed them himself at St. Michael church, consulting with Martin often.

 

“What Luciferians resent is interference with someone they regard as theirs,” Martin told me in that interview, adding that his friend believed his life was in danger in the weeks before his death. “We are all convinced beyond anything that Father Kunz was killed in hatred of the faith as punishment -- and as an example for the rest of us.”


Martin also repeated his belief that the aftermath of Vatican II was nothing less than a coup by Satanic forces – that, he said, was why he eventually broke with the church’s new mainstream after Vatican II. Martin wrote about the alleged dark influence often in his novels. In “Windswept House,” for instance, he described a satanic animal sacrifice linked by telephone to the Vatican’s Chapel of St. Paul – and the account does bear eerie similarities to a calf mutilation that occurred near Dane almost exactly 24 hours before Kunz was last seen alive.


Kunz’s friend, Rev. Charles Fiore, of Lodi, Wis., about five miles north of Dane, introduced the two men, and Martin confirmed that Fiore was even the prototype for one of the characters in “Windswept House.”


Martin died in 1999 of a stroke prompted by a fall as he prepared for an exorcism, according to a close associate who requested anonymity. From his hospital bed shortly before his death, Martin said the fall felt more like the deliberate act of an unseen, evil force than an accident at the time. The associate, who was at Martin’s bedside when he died, later quoted him as shouting at one point when asked about the incident: “No, I did NOT fall. I tell you, my legs were pulled out from under me!”

The Flawed Earth
So, who killed Alfred Kunz? According to Dane County (Wis.) Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Hughes, co-leader of the ongoing investigation -- which has included thousands of interviews, several FBI profiles, painstaking crime scene analyses and countless man-hours of police legwork -- a more basic question is, “why?”

 

“The motives are all over the place, anything from jealousy, power and control to betrayal and fear of exposure,” Hughes says. “So take your pick at this point. We just don’t know which one yet.”


This is where the Kunz case gets especially bizarre.


First, the calf mutilation. According to police reports, it happened between 10 p.m. March 2 and 4 a.m. March 3 at a farm less than 15 minutes away from St. Michael – again, the exact time frame of Kunz’s murder the next day. The caged animal’s throat was slit, but, unlike Kunz, its genitals were sliced off. The farmer told police it was probably the work of a Wiccan cult rumored to operate in the area.


According to Don Jenkins, Kunz’s fellow parishioners later described a man “who looked like the very essence of evil” sneering at Kunz from a back pew during Mass shortly before he died. No one has been arrested in the calf case, either. No cult has ever been confirmed.


Another item: A week before the murder, a woman who was certain her middle-aged son was demonically possessed was referred to Kunz for an exorcism by Bishop Richard Williamson at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Minnesota. The woman and her son had not yet arrived as of the night before Kunz died.


Still another: At the time of his death, canon-lawyer Kunz, who served for years on the Madison Diocese’s Marriage Tribunal, was reportedly investigating charges of homosexuality and sexual abuse within the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Ill. That diocese’s bishop resigned less than two years after Kunz’s murder, and a civil lawsuit by an alleged victim was thrown out because it was filed too late. That virtually assured that details of the case would never be made public.


The Springfield Diocese did not respond to telephone inquiries from Las Vegas Weekly. Unconfirmed reports also abound that Kunz’s investigations of priests in his own diocese had won him fierce enemies.


And finally: On the second anniversary of Kunz’s death, Dane County Sheriff Gary Hamblin announced that there was evidence that Kunz had had “intimate relationships” with several women among his flock, and that the murder might have been sparked by jealousy. Outraged, Kunz supporters insist that any intimacy would have been strictly priestly, not sexual; but the Sheriff’s Office remains steadfast.

 

“Oh yeah, there were several of them,” an officer close to the case told Las Vegas Weekly two weeks ago. “Yeah, there’s no doubt about it at all.”

The Dream
Somewhere along a baffling rural maze of winding gravel roads, Kunz’s older brother Benedict squats on the back porch of the farmhouse where he and Father Al grew up. It’s a hot summer day, six months to the day after Kunz’s murder. Benedict is sweaty, unshaven and clad in frayed overalls. About five miles away is the dairy town of Fennimore, Wis., where the strict Catholic family of 10 worshipped daily at St. Mary’s Church downtown, and where Benedict spent the entire morning praying.


The bespectacled mirror image of his brother, Benedict is poring over a stack of old family pictures when a reporter unexpectedly drives up. The family’s Depression-era economic lifeblood -- a makeshift basement cheese factory – is still inside the creaky, sun-bleached old structure, gathering cobwebs at the bottom of a worn set of stairs.

 

“Sometimes, I’ve thought maybe it would be better if it never came out. Maybe that’s what God has in mind,” Benedict says when asked if he thinks the killer will ever be caught. “Let’s say it was somebody you’d least expect -- suppose another priest murdered him. In that case, with all the things you’re reading and hearing about priests these days, having it come out would just hurt the church.”


The 81-year-old Benedict has lived alone in the house since his mother died in 1993 at the age of 98. Until he was murdered, Father Al visited once a week.


Kunz’s parents were Swiss immigrants -- both brothers retained slight accents – and, according to Benedict, one Christmas Eve, their father gave all the family’s gifts, and even their Christmas tree, to a neighbor who was too poor to have a family holiday of his own. Alfred Kunz delighted in telling the story as a holiday parable of old-ways Catholic faith.

Now comes the story of a boyhood transformation. Father Al was “just a shrimp then,” Benedict explains; he was stricken with appendicitis.

 

“In those days, you know, they still had to use ether when they operated,” he recalls with his sibling’s trademark odd giggle. “The minute he came out of it, the first words out of his mouth were, ‘Mother, I’m going to become a priest.’ He’d had some kind of vision. And that was that.”

Dogging A Suspect
Dane County Sheriff Hamblin, himself a lifelong Catholic, admits that the investigation has been tedious and frustrating; but, one by one, he dismisses the more fanciful possibilities outright.


The calf mutilation connection? “Nope. Lots of rumors going around, but we didn’t find anything.”


The exorcism referral? “We investigated it, but nothing came of that -- although, when you talk about an exorcism referral, I think of someone with a mental illness. And this was probably a very emotional murder, which brings up all sorts of possibilities. There was one case a few years ago, for example, where a priest was murdered because he allowed girls at the altar.”


A church connection? Perhaps the controversy in the Springfield, Ill., diocese? “Nope.”


Someone in the Vatican? Now Hamblin hesitates, a little exasperated: “One thing I sure don’t want to see, Chuck, is an article that slams the church.”


***

For the first year of the investigation, as many as a dozen officers were on the case, scouring the Dane community daily, going door-to-door, sifting through Kunz’s scattered personal effects, consulting with FBI profilers, tracking down thousands of tips from the public, and checking and rechecking what is now a room full of detailed police reports.

 

“I have no idea about the number of people we’ve talked to,” Hamblin says. “I do know that it’s been quite a number of people. It’s been all the way from one coast to the other end of the country.”


Early on, a reward fund was set up that eventually grew to $50,000. Now, only two detectives are working the case, which police sources admit might have been sidetracked at first by the highly unusual circumstances. Due to the manpower shortage, the new strategy is to hone in on one possibility at a time.

 

“Well, it’s ongoing. That’s how I describe it,” Hamblin says of the current effort. “The difference is that it’s probably more focused now. Although, we’ve not had anybody new that we’ve been close to charging.”

 

Several other sources, however, confirm that the investigation is targeting the teacher who found Kunz’s body. After moving in with Kunz’s friend, Rev. Fiore, for six months immediately after the murder, the teacher eventually moved out of state and was recently engaged to be married.


The teacher was interviewed by investigators at least once in late March with a lawyer present. A team of forensic psychologists is also part of the police team, and a crime reconstruction yielded “some evidence” that is being evaluated.


After finding the body and calling 911 on the morning of March 4, 1998, the teacher passed police questioning, although they took his bloody clothing, leaving the teacher wrapped in a blanket, gathered with other shocked parishioners in the Dane Village Hall across the street from St. Michael.

 

“I called (the teacher) the day afterward and asked how it went,” Fiore says of the recent police interview. “And all (the teacher) would say to me about it was, ‘Father, I just can’t talk about it to anybody.’”


Las Vegas Weekly is not releasing the name of the teacher, who had not been formally charged at press time. Hamblin said an arrest is not imminent.

***


Fiore and others who knew the teacher well, however, cannot imagine any connection to the murder. The teacher was not injured in any way on March 4, and Kunz apparently put up a mighty, if short-lived, fight before his throat was slashed. The teacher also showed no visible signs of anger toward Kunz at any time before or after the attack, as FBI profiles assert the killer would have done. No strange behavior before or after the murder -- another profile high point. No drugs or alcohol to ease the torment either.

 

“(The teacher) loved Father Kunz,” Fiore says. “I remember, sometime before the murder, Father Kunz joked to him, ‘You know, as a teacher, you’re one of the best hall monitors we’ve ever had.’ And (the teacher) didn’t blink an eye. He just stood there laughing, right along with everyone else. That’s the kind of kid we’re talking about.”


Adds attorney Kelly, who has been contacted by the teacher, but is not officially on the case: “I can’t imagine anyone in a position like that, living with Father Fiore for six months and silently carrying that kind of incredible burden around inside for three full years. I mean, you’d have to go crazy at some point, wouldn’t you? Frankly, I don’t think (the teacher) is that diabolically clever.”


Still, one police source warns: “Hey, sometimes a murder is exactly what it looks like at the beginning; and, let’s put it this way, we’re not getting the right answers to a few things. And, you know what? With every murder case I’ve ever been on, nobody can ever imagine them doing it.”

Fed Up
Several others in Dane have felt the police squeeze as well, only to be ruled out and left alone. One was Mora Smith, a St. Michael parishioner who was identified as one of the women Kunz might have been intimate with. Smith describes the police attention as relentless, intimidating and unbearable.


Her butcher knives were confiscated, as were a baseball bat, tools, snapshots of Kunz and other personal items. There was interview upon tough interview. Authorities also took blood and hair samples.

 

“They would say, ‘So, Mora, did he touch you? Did he grab you?’ -- they were doing this with all of the women in the parish,” Smith told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last year after Hamblin mentioned the “intimate relationships” at a press conference.

 

“It was all innocent. He was a gentleman. ... I have suffered more than my share.”

 
Smith moved to Milwaukee in a huff after the ordeal, citing police “harassment” and accusing the Sheriff’s Office of “dragging Kunz’s name through the mud.”


Meanwhile, another parishioner who also was intensely questioned told Las Vegas Weekly, “No, I don’t have any complaints about the police. They’ve got a tough job to do, a real tough job if they’re ever going to find the killer. So, no, I don’t have any complaints. They’ve got to do what they’ve got to do.”

The Will
According to his last will and testament, Alfred Kunz left the following to the mortal world: household goods and furnishings -- $1,000; a 1983 Quantum Volkswagen -- $300; a 1989 Geo Metro -- $250; a 1993 VW Fox -- $800; and cash -- $14,867.43, much of it from a church life insurance policy. All proceeds went to St. Michael. Kelly dubbed the radio show’s commemorative Kunz anthology “Father Alfred Kunz: From Rags to Rags.”


The cars? Kunz loved to drive (court records show one $141 speeding ticket in 1993), and he was a mechanical junkie. He would fix old beaters up and offer them as perks to his teachers, whose beginning salary was about $500 a month. Kunz also arranged free apartments for them at a ticky-tack complex in nearby Sauk City.

 

“Father Kunz took (the teacher who found the body) to Sam’s Club one time, and out they came with all this stuff,” Fiore laughs. “(The teacher) was still using this stuff at the time of Father’s death. I particularly remember that they bought … I think it was gallons of peanut butter that day. Father Kunz was always trying to pay his teachers off with stuff like that.”

The Last Man
Other than the killer, Fiore was the last person to see his friend alive late on March 3, 1998. They had just driven 70 miles back from Monroe, Wis., where “Our Catholic Family” was taped. A dusty Wisconsin snow was falling, and Fiore would take Kunz’s place at the mic from that night on.

Fiore and Kelly both remember Kunz beaming with joy at Fiore’s presence in the studio, but also Kunz’s uncharacteristic preoccupation.


Fiore: “It was a beautiful night -- one of those clear, cold March nights where the snowflakes melted on the pavement. And about half-way home, he just clammed up. I could see his expression in the light from the dashboard. And, eventually, I said to him, ‘Al, you’ve been a good friend for so many years.’ ... There was a long pause, then I said, ‘Al, you know, I really do love you.

 

“And then I looked up, and his eyes were filling with tears. All he could say was, ‘I know, I know.’”


The two priests hadn’t eaten in hours by the time they reached St. Michael. When Fiore dropped Kunz off at around 10, he called after him amid the sparse snowflakes: “Hey, Al, be sure to get yourself a piece of cheese or something.”

 

“I think he just said something simple like, ‘I will,’” Fiore says.


Fiore, too, has endured and cleared heavy police scrutiny since the murder -- a good investigator in this case can’t afford to be limited by assumptions. One of the most basic: A killer would never return to the scene of the crime the next morning, knowing the treatment he or she would get from the cops.


Crime scene analysis places Kunz’s death closer to 10 p.m. March 3 than to 7 a.m. March 4, when his body was discovered. It was Fiore who formally identified the victim at the scene for the press.

Benediction
It is two weeks before Palm Sunday, and Las Vegas’ St. Joseph’s Church has just been robbed.

 

“It’s the second time,” says Father Krier. “The guy just walked in and said hello in broad daylight, and nobody here bothered to stop him. Then he robbed us blind.”


Again, I ask him, don’t the incidents make him worry about his safety?

 

“You have to put your faith in God,” Krier answers coolly. “As a priest, I don’t feel like I can lock up the church. If you put up barriers, you end up closing yourself off.”


I now ask Krier if there might be some kind of overarching theological assessment of all murder possibilities: the satanic cult, the church-related hit, the jealous spouse, the random drifter and the rest.

 

“Yes, I agree that in the end, they all come from the same place,” he answers. “It all comes from the same authority, and the Holy Scripture teaches us that the devil is the father of all lies.”


Krier also mentions an irony in the Kunz case that I had not heard before: The traditional Latin Mass concludes with a prayer to St. Michael -- the archangel for which Kunz’s parish was named -- but the prayer was one of the first elements of the service to die after Vatican II. The prayer is categorized as a liturgical exorcism.


In other words, Easter Mass will resonate powerfully with Alfred Kunz’s memory this Sunday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Las Vegas.


Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini -- Blessed is he who comes in the name
of the Lord


Hosanna in excelsis -- Hosanna in the Highest!




Although profiles are case-specific, statistical probabilities are central; that is, profilers often link a crime’s details to proven offender characteristics in other cases. Police consider profiles guiding tools only; they are not all-inclusive and must be supplemented by standard investigative techniques.


Here are the conclusions of the most recent FBI profile in the Kunz case:

* The offender showed “obvious rage” publicly, and the likely motive was related to jealousy, revenge, betrayal or something else very personal.


* The weapon might have a connection to the killer’s employment or hobby, and is one the killer feels comfortable using.


* The impetus for the murder could have been an incident that occurred between the killer and Kunz within 72 hours of the crime. This could have been the result of a long- or  short-term conflict, and possibly of a nature that other people would consider insignificant.


* The killer would try to ensure an alibi to account for his absence during the time of the homicide. The excuse might be weak, but the killer will not waver from it.


* The day after the murder, the offender might have missed work, feigning illness or injury. If the killer did go to work, it would have been difficult to concentrate while worrying how the police might be able to find a link to the crime.


* The killer’s preoccupation with the crime may have caused noticeable behavioral changes such as withdrawing from friends and family, changes in eating and sleeping habits, and/or increased use of drugs or alcohol.


* It is possible that the killer is vocal in proposing theories about the crime that draw away attention, such as an interrupted burglary, a transient or a conspiracy.


* People close to the killer may be aware of a past dispute with Rev. Kunz. They might suspect the killer’s involvement in the crime, but they also might sympathize with the killer’s situation.

Previous profiles, meanwhile, emphasized the following:


* The killer is a white male, probably in his late 20s or older. The age estimate is in keeping with the killer’s lack of panic after the murder. The murderer was known to Kunz, with a physical size that posed no threat.


* Kunz’s murderer was probably employed full time -- nothing of value was taken from the scene -- with at least a high school education and no extensive criminal record. The killer’s intelligence is average but without the street smarts of a sophisticated criminal.


* The killer did not expect the amount of blood gushing from the fatal wound, complicating the weapon- and clothing-disposal problem. Also unexpected was how fiercely Kunz struggled. No matter how brief the altercation was, the killer was punched several times and may have been scratched or cut by the murder weapon. These injuries would have been visible to those close to the murderer.

 

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