The Poet was a serial killer who murdered his victims, primarily homicide detectives, often in ways that made the deaths appeared to be suicides, and left quotes from the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe at the scenes of the deaths. His police victims included Clifford Beltran, John Brooks, Garland Petry, Morris Kotite, Sean McEvoy, John McCafferty, and William Orsulak. His modus operandi was to drug his victims with their own medications, hypnotize them, get them to write a line of Edgar Allen Poe poetry, have oral sex with them, and then arrange their "suicide".
The killer's identity was discovered by Rocky Mountain News crime-reporter Jack McEvoy, at which point he went into hiding. He later resurfaced in Los Angeles in 2004, where he was pursued by private investigator Harry Bosch.