Many researchers have tried to explain serial killers through various different theories to try and better understand why exactly the do what they do. Such theories such as psychoanalytic, biological, sociological, and neurological theories have been researched extensively. “It is for this reason that there is a consensus that what makes a serial killer is a combination of many complex and interrelated neurological, social, physiological, environmental and psychological factors” (Knight, 22, 2007).
Why do serial killers do what they do and how can they do it?
There is no definite answer to this particular question. Many researches have come up with basically three different hypotheses on why serial killers do what they do and why their crimes are sex driven. Some researchers believe strongly that there is some sort of brain abnormality or dysfunction. Whether the dysfunction be related to head injury, tumors, or a “neuropsychological dysfunction in a left hemisphere or low cortical arousal” (Pakhomou, 220, 2004). Some researchers believe that abusive childhood combined with neglect from peers during schooling years created the formula which was needed for creating such a monster. Lastly, other researchers feel that these criminals just choose to act the way they act with no remorse or guilt what so ever. Although there is no support for any one of these to solely explain the cause of these behaviors, research can show that early abuse in the serial killers life may relate to some of the reasoning behind their heinous acts behaviors (Pakhomou, 220, 2004).
It could be hypothesized that a reason for their sexual driven crime is the feeling of pure dominance. The fact that many were abused and totured as children proves that growing up they were also dominated by their abuser. Many times these individuals grow up and kill feel a sense of gratification for having been abused for so many years. They spent so many years being dominated that when they are able to, they fulfill these dominating fantasies on their victims as a way to finally feel in control and finally be dominant (Rutigliano, 2008).
In a study done at the university of Radford looked at the incidence of childhood abuse in serial killers. The researchers categorized abuse into 6 separate categories and they studied 50 serial killers who were motivated by lust and found the following results:
Some type of maltreatment, regardless of abuse type (68%)
Physical abuse (36%)
Sexual abuse (26%)
Psychological abuse (50%)
Another act, which still relates to the idea of the serial killer being abused as children, is their mothers actually being the primary abuser. Many serial killers had actually admitted to killing because it fulfilled some aspect of someone that abused or taunted them. If many serial killers were abused physically, sexually, or mentally, many of their killings makes sense when comparing it to this theory of fulfilling a fantasy against someone who had taunted them or abused them as children. Many times their killings are against women, many times against prostitutes in which they brutally murdered and abused mentally and sexually (Rutigliano, 2008). Caroll Edward stated while under oath at his trial that he would kill young brown haired females that he felt looked like his mother. He stated that his mother was sadistic and adulterous and led him to be obsessed with women who betrayed their lovers. A quote given by Carol explain a lot of what has been being explain in this last paragraph: “I’ve been killing her through them” (Rutigliano, 2008).
The FBI and Serial Killers