John Floyd Thomas: Alleged prolific serial killer and combo breaker


From John Floyd Thomas Jr.’s listing on the sex offender registry

Los Angeles police believe a 72-year-old sex offender named John Floyd Thomas Jr. may be one of the most prolific serial killers in California history. His history of rape and murder may go back to the late 1950s. The following is from the Los Angeles Times:

[Authorities] say they have linked John Floyd Thomas Jr., a 72-year-old state insurance claims adjuster who twice has been convicted of sexual assault, to five of the slayings. Detectives also describe him as a suspect in up to 25 more based on the circumstances of those crimes.white seniors, in neighborhoods from Hollywood in the north to Inglewood in the south

“When all is said and done, Mr. Thomas stands to be Los Angeles’ most prolific serial killer,” said LAPD Robbery-Homicide Cold Case Det. Richard Bengston.

I’ve been slow to criticize behavioral analysis as it is applied to serial criminals. It has worked in the past, to some degree. However, Thomas’s arrest may be yet another signal that it’s time to re-think the mythologized art of criminal profiling. Most of his victims were, according to the LAT, “white seniors, in neighborhoods from Hollywood in the north to Inglewood in the south.”

For me, that pretty much breaks it – I can’t recall off the top of my head how many other serial killers in recent years who have crossed racial lines, but there have been enough of them to make me believe an old saw about serial killers – that they tend to stay intraracial – is just plain wrong. One example – Larry Bright. This Peoria, IL serial killer was a white man who targeted black women. He killed 8 women before he was arrested.

And with John Thomas, profiling didn’t even enter the picture, anyway – DNA put him back behind bars. A profiler, however, would have probably told you off the cuff that based on victimology, Thomas was white.

Anyway – John Thomas is behind bars and at this point, any sentence he receives if he’s convicted of the murders with which he’s been charged will be a life sentence. Hopefully, if behavioral analysis is to evolve as the hybrid art/science it is said to be, he will at least let some profilers talk to him, get inside his head, find out how he managed to get away with his crimes for so long – even though he was a known sexual predator.