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The Lake City Torso Murder

The Lake City Torso Murder is an account of the brutal murder of Fred Laster whose body was found dismembered behind a gas station in Lake City, Florida. At the crime screen, several items which could provide evidence for the murder were left, and they included a flannel shirk soaked in blood, a mattress cover and a knife which was probably used to maim him. This crime remained unsolved for over twenty-three years despite the forensic police having a sample of both the DNA of the victim and the unknown assailant.

The case took a twist in 2015 when a modern DNA test finally identified the body of the victim as sixteen years old Fred Laster. The family of the victim had early on confessed to the police that Fred disappeared before the discovery of his mutilated body. After the police unearthed the identity of the victim, they assembled a short list of suspected persons. Mysteriously on that list was a young pastor who was a friend to the family, Ronnie Leon Hyde. Fred’s sister confessed to the police that Ronnie was the last person who saw Fred before his disappearance despite Ronnie trying to change the stories during the span of the investigation.

The police decided to take a sample DNA of Ronnie and matched it with the one on the crime scene considering that Ronnie’s car was seen at the gas station on a fateful day. DNA results revealed a match and the sixty years old pastor was arrested for first-degree murder.

Some of the personalities that may lead an offender to commit a crime again include antisocial personality patterns like aggressiveness and weak self-control and other problems like mental illness and substance abuse (Skeem and Peterson, 2011).


Skeem, J., & Peterson, J. (2011). Major risk factors for recidivism among offenders with mental illness. Report prepared for the Council of State Governments (CSG).



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