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Are Serial Killers Born or Made

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Maria Cupani

on 10 April 2018

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Transcript of Are Serial Killers Born or Made

Are Serial Killers Born or Made?
What is Serial Murder?
Serial murder is when:

-there are 3 or more victims
-in between each victim there is a "cooling off period"
Types of Serial Killers
Visionary: they
hear voices
have visions
telling them to kill other people
Missionary: they believe that
it's their duty
to get rid of a group of people
Usually the killer kills for his/her psychological reasons, not for material gain, monetary gain, etc.
What is Serial Murder
Types of Serial Killers
Neurological Aspect
Genetic Aspect
Epigenetics (with video)
The "Psycho" Gene
Chromosome Abnormalities
Psychological Aspect
Nurture Aspect
Social Learning Theory (with video)
Fractured Identity Syndrome

The murders also follow the same pattern or M.O (mode of operation)
video ideas:
Case Example: The Zodiac Killer
Case Example: Jeffry Dahmer
Case Example: Charles Manson
Common Traits
Genetic Aspect
Physical Injuries
Hurting Animals
Fetishes and Voyeurism in Adulthood
Preferring Auto-Erotic Activities
Odd/ Different Fantasies
Being Lonely/ Isolated
Bed Wetting
Sexual & Physical Abuse
During Childhood
Psychological Abuse During Childhood
Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Why? oh god Why??!?!

The first was that the
killers were made, through experiences in their childhood
and adolescence. The second was that
they were born that way
, with abnormal brain activity being the main component. The last opinion, which will be presented, was that
killers were made from a combination of nature and nurture
. Many serial killers are made from a combination of neurological disorders, psychological disorders, and bad social experiences in their life.

Case Example : John Wayne Gacy
Jeffrey Dahmer was born in Milwaukee in 1960. When he was a child he took an interest in chemistry and mutilating animals, he was also reportedly molested by a boy at the age of eight.

He joined the US Army in 1979 and got stationed in Germany. In 1981 he was discharged for disorderly behaviour and alcoholism. While Dahmer was serving in Germany there were three unsolved murders near his base.

When Dahmer returned to Milwaukee he was soon arrested for exhibitionism. In 1988 he was sentenced to 10 months jail for fondling a minor.

Upon his release from prison he got a job at a local candy factory and rented a small apartment which later became the famous apartment 213. Dahmer’s neighbours soon complained of an overpowering bad smell and the noise pollution that emitted from his power saw. Dahmer’s excuses was that his refrigerator broke down and the meat spoiled and that he was building book-cases.

In 1991 police responded to a neighbours call who discovered a 14-year-old Asian boy, Konerak Sinthasomphone, bleeding and naked who had escaped from Dahmer. This incident was ignored by police who called it "a homosexual lovers spat". Dahmer killed the boy later that night.

Another one of Dahmers victims, Tracy Edwards, escaped and flagged down a police car. The police went back to Dahmer’s apartment where they discovered photos of dismembered bodies, a head in the refrigerator, a kettle on the stove full of hands and male genitalia, a heart in the fridge with the words 'to eat later' carved in it and the list goes on.

Dahmer admitted killing a number of young Asian and African-American boys. After getting his victims drunk or drugged Dahmer photographed, strangled and dismembered his victims. Dahmer committed acts of necrophilia on his victims and was also a cannibal, this was evident by no other food in Dahmer's apartment except the body parts of his victims. Dahmer had killed a total of 17 males.

In 1992 Dahmer was found guilty of the murders and sentenced to death. While waiting on death row Dahmer was murdered by a fellow inmate and was found with a mop handle stuck in his eye.
John Wayne Gacy killed thirty-three boys in Chicago between 1972 and December 1978.

Gacy was a successful building contractor and regarded as a family man who loved children, he would even visit hospitals posing as Pogo the clown. His earlier life consisted of theft and sexual assaults on boys.

Gacy would go cruising in his car for victims, usually posing as a police officer with a red light on his car. He would then chloroform the victims, take them back to his house where he would rape them, strangle them and bury them in the crawlspace under his house.

Gacy was finally arrested in 1978 when a boy he had invited to his house, Robert Piest, had disappeared. Robert told his parents that he had been offered a job by Gacy, and when he failed to return, the police were notified. When the police went to Gacy's house they were alerted by a strange odour and searched his house, where they discovered the dead bodies under the crawlspace.

Gacy made three confessions, but declined to testify at his trial for murder. The Jury who tried him were told by a psychiatrist that Gacy was suffering from a personality disorder that did not amount to insanity. Seeing this, on the 13 March 1980, Gacy was sentenced to life imprisonment, but this was changed to a death sentence. Just after midnight on 10 May 1994 Gacy was executed by lethal injection at Stateville prison in Joilet, Illinois
Luis Garavito is considered the worst serial killer of all time for having a higher death toll than any other. He confessed to murdering 140 children, though investigators believe that he is responsible for over 400 murders. He was found guilty in 138 of the 172 cases, and the sentences for these 138 cases add to 1,853 years and 9 days in prison.
Luis was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused as a child by his father.
Case Example: Luis Garavito
Physical injuries, such as head trauma from either a serious accident, injuries during birth, or physical abuse are links to aggressive behavior. Damage to the temporal lobe can cause cause seizures and amnesia. But the temporal lobe is involved with hormones, aggression, motivation and emotion.
Major factor
May show interest
Felt pleasure in hurting them

It's believed that early isolation AND bed wetting can lead to animal cruelty.
When the alcohol and substance abuse was when the individual was in their mothers womb, it can cause serious birth defects.
Small eye openings, retardation, a small head and brain and central nervous system issues are only some of the problems they could face, if they survive.

Alcohol and substance abuse at home can be worse. Attachment disorders, ADHD, depression, and behavioral problems can start at a young age.
According to FBI records; more than 70% of serial killers experiences substance and/or alcohol abuse in their childhood homes.

Psychological Aspect
Serial killers do think differently from non-serial killers
For some, murder doesn't shake them
They don't think of the effect that it'll make
Often question themseleves

Hardest to capture
and identify
Highly intelligent
and well organized
Every detail is planned out beforehand
Makes sure there is
no evidence left behind
watch potential victims for weeks
before killing them
Takes precautions to make sure
body isn't found
takes great pride in their "work"
Possibly watches for stories about their murders
Rarely plan out the death
of victim
Victim is usually at the
wrong place
at the
wrong time
Strike when an opportunity arises
Don't hide
/cover up
Low IQ
and very antisocial
moves to different towns
/cities to avoid being caught
claim that voices
or other imaginary things told them to kill and usually have
no memory
of committing the deeds
Psychological abuse is one of the major common traits. Being psychologically abused as a child can give you a different perspective and cause permanent thoughts/feelings of other people. It also involves humiliation.

Emotionally scarred
Not able to relate to others and their feelings
Not being able to form healthy relationships
Sexual and physical abuse during a serial killers childhood has a big impact on their future. Many killers who were sexually and physically abused during their childhood were never treated with love and never learned how to work out bad situations, instead they solved issues by turning to violence.
Nurture Aspect
The environment you live in that influences an individual
Childhood and teenage years

Childhood abuse leads to social isolation.
46% of serial killers never finished high-school.

what does this mean?

Neurological Aspect
There are
3 main components
in a killers brain
that are different
from a normal person's brain.
The frontal cortex
mainly controls and restrains emotional outbursts,
the anterior cortex
lets you deal with conflicts and how to respond as well as motivations.
The amygdala
controls basic emotions and reactions to fear.
A killer's brain has a
special relationship
between the
orbital frontal cortex
, the
anterior cingulated cortex
and the
In a killer's brain, the orbital frontal cortex and the anterior cingulated cortex have
very low levels of activity
compared to a normal person. The amygdala however, stays the
same or has even higher
levels of activity than a normal person.
Bed wetting is unusual for children over the age of 5. Matters are also worse if parents, family, or other people tease them about it.
It is speculated that bed wetting might be related to arson and animal cruelty in some way.

Over 57% of serial killers were bed-wetters beyond the age of 12. One example is Arthur Shawcross, he constantly denied this and said it was his little brother, Jimmy.
The "Psycho Gene"
Chromosome Abnormalities
Hedonists: lust (get
sexual pleasure
through killing) and thrill (get a
and find it
Power-seeking: want to be
in charge of life and death
(God complex)
People with
MAOA-L still need a trigger
to commit violent acts. Some scientists and psychologists believe
childhood neglect can be the trigger
Epigenetics is the


gene activity changes
that are
NOT caused by changes in the DNA
The central concept is that
environmental forces
can turn specific
genes on or off
as well as

These changes may last for a
very short
amount of time or a
very long
amount of time.
Social Learning Theory
Fractured Identity Syndrome
Common Traits
Hurting Animals
Fetishes and Voyeurism in Adulthood
Preferring Auto-Erotic Activities
Odd/Different Fantasies
Physical Injuries
Being Lonely/ Isolated
Bed Wetting
Sexual Abuse During Childhood
Psychological Abuse
Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Case Examples

Act Focused
Process Focused
The mind of a psychopath
For many years psychologists and doctors have studied the world's most notorious serial killers to see how they became killers. After numerous evaluations, there were three popular opinions on how killers came to be.
74% reported psychological abuse
When some people feel that they can't escape their mistreatment, they tend to fantasize and create a new reality so they can escape.
Their emotional development is controlled and maintained in their fantasy. The fantasy is controlled by them.
But the boundaries between the fantasies and reality fade...turning fantasies to dominance, sexual control, torture, and eventually...murder.
The theory that individuals
learn from the environment
they're in and look for
acceptance from society
and learning "acceptable behaviour" from
influential people
Three different types of models
Scientists are now believing that
psychopathic behaviour can be found in genes
They have found a
(monoamine oxidase)
links to violence and aggression
They're finding that these
aggressive genes can be passed down
through generations (it's not common though).
The MAOA gene is very rare, but the

gene is very common, about
40% of the population have it
The Bobo Doll
32% of serial killers admit to being sexually abused as a child.
And 42% admit that they were abused.
It usually starts off with an event or series of events that
fracture the personality
The fracture is often
not visible to society
, the killer will try to hide the breakage to the best of their ability
The event and breakage usually happens during the killer's
childhood and adolescence
" A part of me was hidden all the time"
- Ted Bundy
Case Examples
This can be a a result of moving around a lot. (moving houses).
They experience no meaningful relationships during the times of moving, so they are not capable and lack capacity of forming a strong relationship with others.
They are known as "loners".
Rarely remembered by classmates
Rarely had any close friends
They are often bullied then become anti-social...
resulting in the child becoming involved with arson, weapons, and theft form a young age.

Most serial killers admit that they avoided social events and parties.
They never experienced sexual experiences as "normal teenagers" do. They'd rather prefer masturbation and other erotic-activities such pornography.
Without that social structure in his/her life, they are unable to experience a "normal" sexual relationship, resulting in solo-sexual activities.
They tend to read detective magazines to look for murder and sexual cases to arouse them...linking murder and sex together.
XYY Syndrome (Jacob's Syndrome):
This XYY (or 47-XYY) affects
only males
Behavioural disorders, admission to psych hospitals and
more frequent in XYY
Some past studies show a
antisocial behaviour and XYY
XYY was called the "Super Male Disease" because it was thought to create over-aggressive males who lacked empathy
Jacob's syndrome is also a
cause of aggression
"But I am more than a mere sociopath. The FBI informed me that I am a 47XYY human male. That means I have an extra Y chromosome. Some doctors believe that men like me with extra Y chromosomes have extraordinary strength and are genetically born to be killers.... A 47 XYY is considered a predominate, super male, Anthony. Does that mean I'm a part of our past or our future? Does that mean God made me to murder?"
-Arthur Shawcross
From an early age, most serial killers will be extremely interested in voyeurism, fetishes and paraphilias. Most killers will start out as "peeping toms" who seem relatively harmless. However, after becoming peeping toms they will move on to breaking into houses, rape, and eventually, murder. Since bondage and dominance are so common in most paraphilias, killers will most likely follow this route in their adolescence
Most killers don't like being in long conversations because they think the true identity will show
"The most striking aspect of the test results is the patient's total denial of responsibility for everything that has happened to him. He can produce an 'alibi' for everything. He presents himself as a victim of circumstances and blames other people who are out to get him ... the patient attempts to assure a sympathetic response by depicting himself as being at the mercy of a hostile environment."
Section of report detailing Gacy's 1968 psychiatric evaluation.
An mysterious murderer known only as the 'Zodiac'( signed from his taunting letters sent to newspapers), killed five people in San Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969. The Zodiac killer selected his victims at random and killed them usually by a blitz shooting attack.

The first known murder by the Zodiac killer happened on 20 December 1968, a man approached a couple sitting in their car in Vallejo, California, and shot them dead.

On the 5 July 1969 the Zodiac struck again, shooting a couple in their car near the Vallejo area, leaving a woman dead and a man wounded.

Letters were sent to newspapers in San Francisco supposedly claiming to be from the killer, and were signed 'Zodiac' which was adopted by the media to name the mysterious killer. In some of the letters there was lines in code which was decoded by an cipher expert, this read some things such as - 'hunting humans was the most exciting of all sports'.

The Zodiac killer struck again on the 27 September 1969 at Lake Berryesa. A hooded plump man wearing glasses held a couple at gunpoint at a picnic area and then stabbed them both, killing the woman. The killer then notified the police with a telephone call.

The last known murder happened on the 11 October when a San Francisco taxi driver was shot dead. A letter was sent to a San Francisco newspaper accompanied by a bloodied piece of the taxi driver's shirt. That was the last known murder although the Zodiac sent more letters threatening more murders.

The Zodiac Killer case remains unsolved.
Born in Ohio in 1934, Charles Manson is notoriously connected to the brutal slayings of actress Sharon Tate and other Hollywood residents, but was never actually found guilty of committing the murders himself. However, he is still associated with several brutal slayings including the famous 'Tate-La Bianca' killings that have immortalized him as a living embodiment of evil. Images of his staring 'mad eyes' are still used today to illustrate countless serial-murder news stories. The Manson Family—including Charles Manson and his young, loyal drop-out disciples of murder—is thought to have carried out some 35 killings. Most were never tried, either for lack of evidence or because the perpetrators were already sentenced to life for the Tate/La Bianca killings. In May 2007, Manson was denied parole for the 11th time.
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