(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.)
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
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
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,
… 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
“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
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.
“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
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
“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
“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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
“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.”
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
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?
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
“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
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
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
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.”
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
“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.”
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
“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
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.
It is two weeks before Palm Sunday, and Las Vegas’ St. Joseph’s Church has just
“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
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
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
* 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 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
* 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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