Dr. Bonn Leaves the Tower Crowd Hungry for Blood


Gabi Merchen

After filling out their question cards, the Tower Theater’s audience waited for Dr. Scott Bonn’s master class on serial killers.

Gabi Merchen, Senior Writer

The absolutely packed house at the Tower Theater was alive with excitement in the moments before the talk began. The crowd was at capacity, as the show was completely sold out. Dr. Scott Bonn, assistant professor of sociology at Drew University and expert criminologist, was the host for the evening. He first thanked the crowd for their attendance and then aptly told them, “You must love your murder in OKC!”

In the lobby outside the theater before the show began, there was a table with an assortment of white cards, pens, and a sign that read, “Questions?” There, audience members could write their innermost curiosities about the morbid subject in hopes that it would be selected to be answered during the show.

The master class began with a series of projected videos featuring Jeffry Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and Aileen Wournos. The spine-tingling interviews set the stage for the rest of the masterclass, which featured fresh and juicy details that enlivened the stories of all our favorite repeat offenders.

Attendees learned not only what the serial killers did in extensive detail but also where they ended up: who lived, who died, and who became a born-again Christian in prison and is now a darling of the evangelical community. The talk was incredibly thorough and thought-provoking.

The speaker went over the different types of serial killers to illustrate that many of us probably have a similar image appear in our minds when we think of a stereotypical murderer. One thinks of a man who is probably white who probably lives in his mom’s basement who probably has no social skills whatsoever. According to Dr. Bonn, this is far from the reality of the situation.

Serial killers come from every background, every type of family, and every possible identification. All in all, it was a lively event that centered around one of the darkest subjects in the modern zeitgeist. “The Psychology of Serial Killers” took its audience on a disquieting journey through the early lives and eventual crimes of some of the most notorious serial murderers of all time. He discussed their darkness, their trauma, and the compulsory hunger to kill that united them all.

Dr. Bonn found criminology in quite the roundabout way. His experience in advertising and journalism engendered a potent interest in human behavior that ultimately led him to earn his doctorate degree in criminology. As a former professor on the subject, Dr. Bonn is well accustomed to speaking in front of crowds. His enthralling stories coupled with his impressive credibility made for a thrilling and educational experience. The masterclass was rich with detail and well-curated expertise.

Despite the heavily morbid nature of the subject matter, the speaker managed to sneak in a few jokes that both delighted the crowd and lightened the mood throughout the engrossing talk. The touring masterclass was divided into two acts, as announced at the beginning of the show. The first half consisted of Dr. Bonn guiding his audience through the history, definitions, and groups of thought central to the issue of serial killing.

He spent quite a bit of time parsing out the many possible motivations for serial killing, but much of the talk was focused not on what individual killers did but rather the commonalities and criteria that qualify them for the title of “serial killer.” Believe it or not, he had a photograph with son of Sam that he paid the killer two dollars for, an event he referred to as “serial killer Disneyland.”

According to the speaker, famous serial killer Dennis Rader once likened his killings to a project being done by a director. The killer said that he approached his murders the way that Hitchcock might have approached his films, and ultimately, the killer believed that they both sought to be god.

In the second act, packed in like murder-hungry sardines, the crowd waited with bated breath to see whose questions from the table would be answered by the renowned criminologist. He answered many questions, satiating the morbid fascination of the sold-out crowd, and providing a show to remember filled with all the horrific details one would expect from a professional scholar of serial killing.


Gabi Merchen is a fourth-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.