Officials confiscate Delling's computers

The multistate shootings that gripped the Treasure Valley this week have become more bizarre with each new detail that emerges.

On Saturday, Ada County Sheriff's officials said they hoped they would find clues and evidence about the case on computers seized from Delling's parents' home in Antelope, Calif., late Friday.

"Those are the two computers that Delling is believed to have access to," Scott Johnson, a lieutenant with the Ada County Sheriff's Office, said Saturday. "They got four or five boxes of things."

He said he didn't know what else was seized but that all the material is being brought back to Boise. A computer forensics team will examine the two computers. Johnson said he didn't know whether they were desktops or laptops.

Authorities fear there may be other victims, but were not aware of any Saturday.

"We received a couple calls last night from citizens, but nothing of any substance," Johnson said.

A case that started with a University of Idaho student found shot to death in his Moscow apartment now spans nearly the entire western United States.

Two people are dead, another is seriously injured, and a troubled young man is in jail in connection with all three.

At the heart of the case is John Joseph Delling, 21, a former Timberline High School student and Boise High graduate whom acquaintances and former neighbors say has been emotionally and mentally disturbed for years.

Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney has called the shootings "serial," and one local criminology expert, while not commenting directly on the case, say some of the patterns could be associated with serial killings.

Investigators say Delling covered more than 6,500 miles, largely using rental cars, in a monthlong journey that took him through seven western states and across Idaho.

He is now accused of killing University of Idaho student and Timberline graduate David Robert Boss, 21, and Boise State University student Bradley Morse, 25.

Both were found with two gunshot wounds to the head — Boss in his Moscow apartment and Morse outside the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation building east of Boise.

Investigators also have linked Delling to the shooting of Timberline graduate Jacob J. Thompson, 23, who was shot three times outside his Tucson home but survived.

Shooting victims in nearly the same way and driving long distances could both be consistent with the pattern of a serial killer, Boise State University criminal justice professor Andrew Giacomazzi said. Ted Bundy, one of the country's most notorious serial killers, drove long distances during his killing spree in the 1970s.

"Driving around and not staying in one place (may be) the best way to avoid apprehension, or it could be some sort of psychotic state," said Giacomazzi, criminal justice department chairman.

Some of the patterns don't fit the serial-killer model, though, said Anthony Walsh, another BSU criminal justice professor.

Serial killers don't often kill people they know, and they usually commit the crime in a more hands-on fashion. Often serial killings involve torture or "sexual overtones" that don't appear to be present in the Delling case.

So far, investigators are baffled by Delling. The crimes he is accused of committing have no apparent motive or connection, and his travels of the last month — driving from Moscow to Boise via eastern Oregon and central Utah — are difficult to explain.

Still, there are some threads that tie the case together.

Delling, Boss and Thompson attended the same high school, although Delling graduated from Boise High. But Thompson told officers that he has no idea why Delling would target him.

Then there is Morse. He went to Meridian High School and seems to have no obvious connection to Delling. Morse was killed as he left his custodian job at the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation building by an attacker whom police say laid in wait then stole his car.

Delling has a criminal history dotted with violent crimes. Court records and a Web posting paint him as a person with serious delusions, at least one of which involved Boss. Delling told his brother that Boss was "stealing my powers."

But whatever is inside Delling's head, he's not sharing it with investigators — he's told them nothing of substance since his arrests, Raney said.

That, coupled with a crime scene that stretches from the Cascade Mountains to the Sonora Desert, means detectives have a lot to piece together before they know exactly how the crimes happened, Raney said during a press conference Friday.

"We're overwhelmed by those possibilities," he said.

Contact reporter Heath Druzin at hdruzin@idahostatesman.com or 373-6617.