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Psychology of Serial Killers

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Presentation on theme: "Psychology of Serial Killers"— Presentation transcript:

1 Psychology of Serial Killers
By: Steve Christiansen & Rob Kissner ***WARNING-Graphic Photos

2 Presentation Learning Objectives
Definition of homicide Three types murder F.B.I. definition of serial killing Who are serial killers? The insanity defense The M’Naughten rule The ALI/MPC test The irresistible impulse test *Guilty but mentally ill (GBMI) Four major risk factors

3 Presentation Learning Objectives
Anti-social personality disorder Key features of psychopathy MacDonald triad of serial killers Diphasic personality formation Psychological signature of serial killers Technology to help capture killers Conclusion and questions

4 Homicide: The killing of one human by another.

5 Three Types of Murder SERIAL SPREE MASS

6 F.B.I Definition of “Serial Killing”
“The term ‘serial killings’ means a series of three or more killings, not less than one of which was committed within the United States, having common characteristics such as to suggest the reasonable possibility that the crimes were committed by the same actor or actors” (Title 18, United States Code, Chapter 51, and Section 1111).

7 Who are serial killers? Average age 30 years old
95% male, 5% female (Why more men than women?) 73% white, 22% black, 1% other Average or low IQ median IQ of 95 from sample of 174 serial killers Fetishism-sexual attraction to a part of the body or object Partialism-atypical sexual interest in a part of the body (armpits, breasts, buttocks, navel, hands and feet are most common) Necrophilia-sexual attraction to corpses Varying degrees of psychopathy QUESTION-How do fetishes or partialism develop?

8 The Insanity Defense The legal concept referring to the criminal’s state of mind at the time the crime was committed. It requires that, due to mental illness, a defendant lacks moral responsibility and culpability for the crime and, therefore, should not be punished. (Source: Forensic and Legal Psychology, 2012)

9 Test #1-The M’Naughten Rule (Right-Wrong Test)
M’Naughten Rule (1843)-at the time of committing the act, the party accused was unable to distinguish right from wrong because of a disease of the mind (over 50% the states in U.S. use this test) Question-Why is this hard to prove in court?

10 Test #2-ALI/MPC Test for Insanity (American Law Institute, Model Penal Code)
ALI/MPC Test –also known as the substantial capacity test, the ALI/MPC test states a person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct, as a result of mental disease or defect, he/she lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality (wrongfulness) of his/her conduct or to conform his/her conduct to the requirements of the law (used by Federal Government and a few states)

11 Test #3-Irresistible Impulse Test
The defense must show the defendant knew his or her actions were wrong and were unable to resist the urge to commit the crime. Interview 0 to 3 min.

12 GBMI-Guilty But Mentally Ill
Dennis Rader-BTK Killer Defendant is found guilty and is sentenced to prison for a period consistent with that verdict. Defendant receives treatment for mental health issues while in prison or is transferred to a secure mental health facility (13 states currently use this). Interview 18 min. to 24:50

13 Jeffrey Dahmer 1978-1991 Serial Killer Rapist Body dismemberment
Cannibalism Killed 17 boys and men Received 15 life sentences Killed in 1994 by fellow inmate Dahmer Interview 0-4min.

14 The Four Major Risk Factors
Antisocial personality pattern History of antisocial behavior Antisocial attitudes Antisocial associates Nicole Simpson

15 Anti-social personality disorder
A pervasive pattern of disregard and violation of the rights of others, occurring since age 15 years old. Deceitfulness and manipulative-lying, conning others Impulsive or failure to plan ahead Aggressive/irritability-repeated fights or assaults Reckless disregard for safety of self or others Consistent irresponsibility-work behavior/financial responsibility At least 18 years old Lack of remorse-indifferent to or rationalizing harm to others Behaves in a ways likely to be arrested Outward appearance of normal behavior Unresponsive to social control (Source-Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed.)

16 Key Features of Psychopathy
Disregard for right and wrong; manipulative Persistent lying or deceit to exploit others; superficial charm Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or for sheer personal pleasure Intimidation, dishonesty and misrepresentation Hostility, significant irritability, agitation, impulsiveness, aggression or violence Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others Irresponsible work behavior Failure to learn from the negative consequences of behavior

17 FBI-Profiling Organized Killers Disorganized Killers
Average to above intelligence Below average intelligence Socially competent Socially inadequate Skilled work preferred Unskilled work Sexually competent Sexually incompetent High birth order status Low birth order status Father’s work stable Father’s work unstable Inconsistent childhood discipline Harsh discipline as a child Controlled mood during crime Anxious mood during crime Use of alcohol with crime Minimal use of alcohol with crime Precipitating situational stress Minimal situational stress Living with partner Living alone Mobility with car in good condition Lives/works near crime scenes Follows crime in the media Minimal interest in the media May change jobs or leave area Significant behavioral change (drug or alcohol use)

18 MacDonald Triad of Serial Killers
Bed wetting (nocturnal enuresis) (after age 12) Cruelty to animals Fire Setting

19 Diphasic (two) Personality Formation WHO AM I?
One phase is the fantasy life where the child has complete control and then the adult. This is the hidden personality that dreams and fantasizes about killing. The other phase is the shell that walks through the real world and has little energy or effort committed to it.

20 The Psychological Signature
Signature killers comprise the majority of serial killers The signature is the psychological “calling card” or “personal stamp” that he leaves at each crime scene and what fulfills him The “signature,” crudely put, is “what the killer gets off on” based on years of violent dreams and fantasies (Source: John Douglas, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2010)

21 The Signature The signature is often an unconscious pattern that may include: type of victim selected method used to control the victim types of wounds inflicted any post-mortem activity with the body body disposal or dump site

22 Technology to capture killers
REJIS-Regional Justice Information Services MULES-Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement Service NCIC-National Crime Information Center HITS-Homicide Investigation Tracking System AFIS-Automated Fingerprint Identification System (Che Sims story)

23 Conclusion and Questions
Serial killers are not born violent. They become killers after years of fantasizing about fulfilling their anti-social needs. The signature drives a person into a diphasic personality formation, a public personality that may seem very normal/friendly and the “human hunter” personality to satisfy deep psychological needs. There is no cure for serial killers.


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