Serial Killers


Serial Killers Essay, Research Paper

Serial Killers and What They Are

Behavior is sometimes defined as the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment. Parents, girlfriends, sisters, brothers, and peers can all affect a person’s behavior. Not everybody necessarily will have the behavior of a serial killer. In this paper, I will attempt to show the difference between the psychopath and the psychotic. Explain how the environment, upbringing, and treatment of serial killers led them to become who they are today.

Most serial killers can be placed in two categories, the psychopath and the psychotic. Psychotics are clearly insane and fail to perceive reality correctly. However, very few serial killers fall into this category. Most serial killers have a thought out scheme, or plan of going about things. They think things through, and evaluate what the situation could bring to them. This comes from a long line of abuse, intolerance, and dysfunction during their early childhood years. Many people may even go so far as to view certain serial killers as geniuses, in the respect that their actions are so well thought out so very carefully planned. These types of serial killers would fall, under the psychopath category. A psychopath, also known as a sociopath, does not suffer from a mental illness, where in their makeup of their DNA have nothing to do with the way they are. A psychopath, rather suffers from a severe brain flaw, or personality, resulting due to the way they were brought up, their environment, and the way they were treated by family, especially that of the parents, or brothers, and sisters. One thing to note about the psychopath is that, the majority of the time, they realize the crime they are committing is wrong. This does not concern them, however, as they feel their need to kill and punish is greater than any rule or law (

Psychopaths are usually very smart, very deceiving, and very normal upon first glance. They look like everyone else and behave like everyone else when in the company of others. Deep into the depths of their mind, they are working up an elaborate plan on how to catch their prey tonight. They have a need to kill, and an elaborate scheme, to fit the pieces of the puzzle. Their need to kill comes from the way they were treated in the past. Some serial killers hold vengeful thoughts towards their parents, fathers in particular, who dismissed them from their lives or abused and harmed them when they were children. An example is, John Wayne Gacy, During Gacy’s late teens, he had some trouble with his father, although relations with his mother and sisters were very strong. John Wayne Gacy, Sr., was an abusive alcoholic who physically abused his wife and verbally assaulted his children. Although John Sr. was an unpleasant individual, young Gacy deeply loved his father and wanted desperately to gain his devotion and attention. However, his father would drink himself stupid and physically and verbally abuse young Gacy. He would call him a queer, and a mama’s boy, and seemingly avoided his son at all costs. Unfortunately, Gacy was never able to get very close to his father before he died, something which he regretted his entire life. ( This type of behavior, presented to a child at a young age, is bound to stir up some troubled emotions. Gacy was to never get over his father calling his only son a queer. During a three year period, Gacy would go on to viciously torture, rape, and murder over 30 young boys, who would later be discovered buried under the floorboards of his home.

Another notorious serial killer whose killings were based on major events that occurred to him during his adolescent years is the infamous Ted Bundy. Bundy grew up with a family of all women. He never knew his father, and his mother and sisters played a big role in his life. He was shy as friends recalled him being a loner in school. In college he met a young woman by the name of Stephanie Brooks, and he fell instantly in love. Stephanie became Ted’s first love, and she was the first woman Ted was ever involved with sexually. Although they dated for a while, and enjoyed many of the same things, Stephanie did not feel for Ted, the way he did for her. She felt he had no goals no future. Ted tried all he could to impress her including lying, which was something Stephanie could not stand. Eventually, she broke it off with him. Ted never recovered from this breakup. Stephanie moved to California, but Ted could not stop thinking about his lost love. Ted was obsessed with Stephanie, and he couldn’t get her out of his mind. It was an obsession that would span his lifetime and lead to a series of events that would shock the world. (

Ted Bundy, was sentenced to death on July 31st, 1979 when he confessed to the murders of 28 young women, all whom looked exactly like his first love, Stephanie Brooks. All of the women were about college aged, with long brown hair parted in the middle, from middle class families, just as Stephanie Brooks had been. The brutalities of his killings were nauseating to most. He lured the women in pretending to be a poor, helpless man in an arm or leg cast, asking for their help. Eventually, he would lure them away, rape and torture them, and finally kill them. Again, we see the effects of how some trauma or even heartbreak in a person’s past could make such a menace to society in a search and destroy mission.

The way a person is brought up and raised, the events that take place around them as they are growing up, their relationships with parents, siblings, friends, lovers, all these things are a factor in the way the mind of any one person will develop. I don’t believe one is born a criminal, or born a psychopath. These types of behavior, are made in the mind at a young age. One does not have evil running through their veins. It is something that can come up on most any one. Depending upon the situations in their lives, and the events that unfold around them as they grow. This is not to say that just anyone person who suffers a breakup from a first love will end up on a killing spree such as Ted Bundy did. This is the result of a traumatic childhood, which lacked in the nurturing, teaching, and understanding needed to become a well-rounded person in society. Psychopaths, in return, feel the huge urge and desire to repair things to their liking, to fit with their frame of mind. They will overcome anything in their minds to get what they wanted and take back what they so wrongfully thought they lost to begin with. I agree with the thoughts and the analysis, on the mental disorders of the serial killers. It has become and art form or a job for these kinds of people. They kill for fun, and they want to show that they are the ones that can’t be caught or beaten. The killers that are brought up in today’s society are going to be better at what they do, show less remorse, and also become an unstoppable killing machine. There are smarter ones coming out now and there are ones that will no longer want to get caught and leave behind clues. My opinion is one day there will be somebody that will be on the loose and take what he took from society to his grave; some have almost succeeded in that mission.

Furio, J. The serial killer letters. Philadelphia: Charter Press, (1998).

Holmes, R. & Holmes, S. Serial Murder. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE

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Schechter, H. and Everitt, D. The A-Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. Pocket Books. N.Y. 1996

Mary Beth, Tynning. Mind of a killer. Aug 1995.

Unknown. The Criminal/profiling info cite Feb. 5 2001

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