The suspect pool for the Long Island Serial Killer (LISK) aka The Craigslist Killer, is a fairly deep one, depending on who you talk to. While there are certainly suspects who seem like a complete impossibility (Joel Rifkin, David Berkowitz), there are others who seem like possibilities. That said, there are still others, those with means and those without, who may have had a hand in the demise of the Gilgo Beach 4 (Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes and Amber Lynn-Costello), as well as Shannan Gilbert, Jessica Taylor, “Peaches,” and the others.
This week, we’ll be taking a look at one such suspect. He has a name, he’s referenced on the LISK boards from time to time, and he was a favorite suspect for a long time, but has since seen his name taper off quite a bit since the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) started looking harder at John Bittrolff as the prime suspect in the case, whether officially or unofficially. For our purposes, this former-favorite suspect will be referred to as The Banker.
The Banker functions as a primary funding source for parties, gatherings and has extensive connections across Long Island. In a sense, this individual is very similar to The Well-Spoken Man, however; he’s nowhere near as educated. The Banker is a businessman, a mover and shaker in the Long Island political scene, and in every sense of the word - a phony.
Having had discussions with individuals who were close to The Banker’s family, they presented him in varying ways - some describe him as a doting father and husband, one who would do anything for his family, putting a sense of moral value above anything else, while others describe The Banker as a degenerate gambler and frequent flyer when it comes to sex workers. Like everything else in this case, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the reality while ignoring the smokescreen.
Hiding one’s nocturnal proclivities while in the public eye proclaiming to be a family man and supporter of traditional, moral values isn’t a new concept, but The Banker takes this notion further. In regards to the gambling aspect, The Banker is noted to have frequented Atlantic City quite regularly, and unsurprisingly, bodies of various sex workers had been found there, as well. Some arranged in such a way that they pointed toward Long Island.
Hervey Cleckley’s book Mask of Sanity first posited the notion of an individual, or psychopath, appearing at first to be a perfectly average, even charming human being. This is done both to present themselves in a way that allows them to function in society, but also to perhaps stem the tide of their internal mayhem. While The Banker may exhibit some of the aspects of Cleckley’s clinical profile, it isn’t complete. Poor reactions to external influencers is one that makes sense, along with the rumored impersonal sex life, however; there are others that just don’t click.
In my research, Cleckley points to “lack of remorse or shame” as one the indicators of a psychopath. The Banker doesn’t exhibit this. In my interviews and discussions with folks who are close to the family of The Banker, at some point, there seemed to be a remarkable amount of remorse over some event that occurred.
The notion of being a public family man and private deviant seems like a lot for one individual to shoulder. Whether The Banker struggles with maintaining their mask of sanity or not remains a mystery.