Author Archives: Dr KR

Op-Eds Around the Net

More views of the latest mass shooting from around the net.

James Garbarino, professor of psychology at Loyola University Chicago.

What is most striking about killers is that for the most part, crazy or sane, they believe their acts of violence are justified. Rodger believed he was right to bring death to pretty women who had rejected him and all the others who he felt had treated him unjustly. In this he is like so many killers I have interviewed.

There is widespread justification for violence as a tactic in America. For example, no society that imposes the death penalty can be said to be “nonviolent” in its core beliefs.

Norm Pattis, a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer

“Elliot Rodgers looks less like a victim of mental illness than he does the Culture of Narcissism coming to its logical extreme. If all we are is the sum of our desires, then desire frustrated is the apocalypse. We should worry less about this young man’s mental illness and more about the social malaise that made him possible.”

We can point to all the warning signs we missed. But they’re yellow flags. They’re not red flags until blood is spilled,” said James Alan Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University who has written several books on mass murders.

Pia Glenn of XOJANE

In a statement to the press, family attorney Alan Shifman spoke on behalf of Elliot Rodger’s father and said of Elliot, “This CHILD was being treated by MULTIPLE professionals. The CHILD was diagnosed at an earlier age of being a highly functional Asperger’s syndrome child.”

Mr. Shifman emphasized the words I’ve put in caps, not doing a very good job of concealing his desire to infantilize and stigmatize Mr. Rodger, because a “crazy Asperger’s kid” is easier translated to “senseless killing” than a 22-year old with a deep-seated hatred of women. The problem is that when you look at the larger issues at hand, unfortunately the senselessness begins to make a little more sense.”

Jeff Yang at Quartz

Rodger grew up in the shadow of Hollywood, a place where terms like “trophy wife” and “arm candy” and “casting couch” are thrown around withglib abandon. It’s a culture that has mainstreamed the notion that women are accessories, party favors, tools for sexual release, not just behind the scenes, but in front of it, particularly within the genres most likely to shape the worldview of young males.

How many “coming of age” movies have supported the idea of loss of virginity as a rite of passage, and used lack of sexual experience as code for subnormal masculinity? How many have underscored the status divide between sexually active jocks, bros and studs and socially invalidated, sexually frustrated nerds, freaks and geeks? I’ve admittedly watched—and enjoyed—many of them myself, from vintage entries like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Revenge of the Nerds to more recent ones like American Pie and Superbad.”

Interesting Array of Opinions About Why Elliot Rodger Did It

Everyone Has an Opinion: Tracking the Responses to this Latest Mass Shooting

Maybe I am a cynic but the rhetoric about mass shootings has become predictable. Common themes to explain these massacres include: lax gun laws, mental illness, misogyny, chronic anger and rage, prescription medications, illicit substance abuse, video games, poor parenting, divorce, bullying, trauma, a mental health system in shambles, isolation and a severe lack of social skills.

The truth is always more complex than any one of these factors. In the case of Elliot Rodger, they probably all played a role, some more than others.

There is also a predictable life cycle of these mass shootings.

First comes the trickle of facts, many of which are initially wrong. Keep that in mind if you are following unfolding breaking news events.

As we speak, reporters are undoubtedly searching for former acquaintances of the shooter to interview, hoping to scoop the latest story. We can’t fault them for doing their jobs.

Next comes the parade of TV experts. It is me or do they say the same thing every time?

Then there will be at least one quasi-celebrity who will make ridiculous statements about what or who is to blame for this mass shooting. Who will it be this time?

We will assuredly hear from the NRA who will pontificate about this latest “crazy killer,” the need for “more good guys with guns” and a revamping of the mental health system (the latter of which I wholeheartedly agree). They don’t typically comment about mass shooting stories until the dust clears a bit.

Also expect to hear from those of whom are convinced of the causal link between mental illness and violence and as a rebuttal those of whom are upset about the connection being made between the two. They are now a staple of every mass shooting news cycle.

Finally, our short attention span and desensitization to violence demands that this story fade from our consciousness by the end of the week or until the next massacre occurs.

Of particular interest are the reactions of others, mostly mental health professionals. Some have balanced opinions and others not so much. I will be highlighting the latter in the coming days.

The TV experts and their opinions are often cringe-worthy. Consider the psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig who said that it was her belief that Elliot Rodger’s rage was due to “homosexual impulses.”

“When I was first listening to him, I was like, ‘Oh, he’s angry with women for rejecting him,’” Ludwig said. “Then I started to have a different idea: ‘Is this somebody who is trying to fight against his homosexual impulses?’”

It is always surprising how many TV mental health professionals are quick to offer a diagnosis of these shooters. Dr. Ludwig said that Rodger’s behaviors may indicate “early schizophrenia.”

There are only a few TV experts who I respect.

What have you heard other “experts” say on TV?

New Jodi Arias Letter to Her Supporters: She Still Has a Voice

I have been writing about the Jodi Arias case since her trial last year. As someone who studies extreme abnormality and mental illness she is a fascinating subject. Her ego and desire to be heard are truly remarkable.

It’s hard to fathom how an individual who nearly decapitated someone and who has been adjudicated as guilty of first-degree, premeditated murder continues to feel so entitled. It is no surprise that despite being incarcerated she still has a voice. She does this all through her supporters.JodiStripes2

Psychopaths are particularly skilled at conning people into doing things for them. This can include obtaining money for them or standing up for them when it is perceived that others are trying to expose them. It’s not a coincidence that Jodi has attracted individuals to fulfill these functions on her behalf.

Her latest letter to her supporters is evidence of this. She’s writing to them about an apparent controversy with regard to her art website and the distributor of “Jodibands.” An excerpt of the letter:

“…This may be old news to most of you, but the negative affects are still quietly rippling through the atmosphere due to the damage caused by a misguided supporter… I don’t tend to hold grudges and I’ve long since forgiven the person who sparked this. The purpose of this message is to repair the remaining damage that was caused. I have no doubt that the haters will get ahold of this message and get their panties all in a bunch like they always so predictably do. (They probably will have already proven me right by the time some of you read this). But dogs don’t bark at a parked car and I should be flattered that they’re still paying so much attention to me…

…Anyway, I love you all and I’m cool if you’re cool with agreeing to disagree if you don’t agree with what I’ve said. I would just ask that, please, before anyone throws SJ or any supporter under the bus, remember first who you’re supporting. I am the LEAST worthy among all of you and still you throw me your love so generously. In the future, if any supporter attacks another supporter’s character, please turn a deaf ear to their slanderous accusations when there is no legitimate proof to back them up.”

You could read the rest of the letter here.

If you are surprised that she has followers, don’t be. There will always be people like this in the world.

Consider the man who recently stole a sign dedicated to a seven-year-old victim of the Newtown school shooting. He then contacted the girl’s mother and claimed that the Newtown shooting was a hoax and her daughter never existed. He is a Newtown “truther,” the latest in a long line of “truthers.” Truthers tend to be conspiracy theorists who have trouble coping with reality.

Jodi “supporters” might appropriately be renamed Jodi “truthers.” Their view of reality is just as skewed as the man who believes that the Newtown shootings were a hoax.

Jodi Arias will probably continue to have a voice for as long as there are gullible people in the world. Once she is sent to prison, she may have less of an opportunity to make these contacts and over time she will likely fade into relative oblivion, but make no mistake, she’ll never stop trying. Her ego won’t let her.

FedEx Mass Shooter Leaves Suicide Note, Insights Into Why He Did It

One of the most recent mass shootings occurred at a FedEx workplace in Kennesaw, Georgia on April 29, 2014. The shooter: 19-year-old Geddy Lee Kramer. He shot six FedEx coworkers and then killed himself. When authorities located his car, they found 55 12-gauge shotgun shells, maps and a suicide note. Clearly the massacre was premeditated.

It’s rare for a mass murderer to leave a suicide note. They are typically killed or kill themselves. They rarely leave direct communication detailing their state of mind.

His main issues seem to have been severe depression and not feeling “like a man.” He was obviously suicidal but decided to take out others with him. He didn’t care who he hurt and even says that directly in his note.

“I’m not sad or sorry for the misery I’ve caused.”

Desperate and angry people, who have nothing to lose, can be quite dangerous.

Most mass murderers do not snap. Kramer did not snap and said so in his suicide note:

“This wasn’t the result of me snapping…It was more of a several month snap. Slow and steady.”

Among the majority of mass shooters, there is a clear path to violence. One can look back, and trace the mental deterioration, the planning, the path to ending it all.

Other signs of Kramer’s preplanning included his digital journal and his gathering of various types of weapons and materials for explosives.

Another common theme among mass murderers is the desire for infamy. Kramer apparently thought the act of mass murder would bring him fame, at least to some degree. He saw that as being better than a “nobody.”

His sexual frustrations are evident in his suicide note. He seemed to have believed that he wasn’t a real “man” because he wasn’t getting “laid.”

Many researchers believe that the ingrained ideas of “boy culture” or rugged masculinity play a role in mass and school shootings. Violence is seen as being normal for most boys. Some see it as a solution to their problems.

Kramer says that he sought psychological help but how much did he try? One session? Two?

He also says that he tried “medication” but was referring to illicit drugs. The drugs probably exacerbated his psychological problems and fueled his descent into violence.

You can read the suicide letter in its entirety. It’s been transcribed below. You could see the original here. Be forewarned. It’s disturbing.

My final thoughts on paper

This wasn’t the result of me snapping. Well maybe it was. But not like “you know what ____it I’LL KILL EVERYONE. “It was more of a several month snap. Slow and steady. This was the result of my own issues; mental instability, depression, frustration, sexual isolation. I know I shouldn’t complain. I’ve got a comfortable place to sleep. Warm food. But the fact that the field of nothingness and unconsciousness awaits me if I put a 12 gauge shell in my brain is appealing. But know this, this wasn’t a result of media brainwashing and subliminal messages. This is my own doing. I’m a sociopath. I want to hurt people. Maybe a part of this is also the fact that a life lived in infamy is better than just another nobody. This is not anyone’s fault but mine. Mine. If my self-esteem was at a point other than negative and I grew a pair to actually get myself laid, maybe I’d be alive now. I’m in my happy place. I’m in my happy place. I’m in my happy place.

Notes: Final requests

I had a much more elaborate suicide note buy it was gagging to read so I made this instead.

-I want whatever is left of my body to be donated for science.

-I don’t exactly have a fortune so anything that’s left of my possessions is to go to whomever wants them.

-It should be noted that my first choice for my massacre would start with anyone who sold me drugs and a few others on my “_______ list.”

-I had a paper journal with plans, attack patterns and recipes for explosives in a digital journal on my phone with much more. I hid them both in different locations within a 35 mile radius of my home. They’re exposed to the elements so you better hurry.

-I want it to be known that I attempted to get help from not only a therapist but I’ve also medicated with several types of drugs, most of which were illegal, and attempted many times to purchase prostitutes. Both of which became impossible to obtain towards the end… What the _______?!?!

-In case anyone is curious, my mattress is soaked in urine for 2 reasons. 1 is I enjoyed indulging in a fetish of mine. 2. I’ve been awoken from countless nightmares in a pool of urine. So there.

-I had notes and reasons in my journals behind the motive for the attack. You figure it out.

I’m not sad or sorry for the misery I’ve caused.

This was not motivated by media, music, video games (both of which [are] media I guess) or any 1 person. This was personally and I guess to a small extent politically motivated.

Belt
Machete times two
Bandolier
Shotgun
Shells
Gas can
String bag
Lighter

Some favorites

Bands:

Rammstein
KMFDM
Slipknot

Entertainers:

George Carlin
Bill Maher
Lewis Black
Bill Burr

Hobbies: video games
_______ off

Elderly Women Charged with Murdering Husband 40 Years Ago, Jack Blacks’ Bernie May Soon Be Free, Bizarre Religious Plot & More

If you follow the daily news, you’ll see that there are a lot of people involved in homicides. Check out this latest list of stories:

Elderly Woman Charged With Murdering Husband 40 Years Ago

75-year old Alice Uden of Missouri has been charged with the first-degree murder of her husband who was killed nearly 40 years ago. She allegedly shot him in the back of the head to protect her young child from being harmed. He had a long violent and abusive history, claimed her lawyers. His remains were found last year in an abandoned mine shaft on a small cattle ranch.

Convicted Killer “Bernie,” Made Famous by the Jack Black Film, Might Soon Be Released

Bernie Tiede, who shot an 81-year old wealthy widow in 1996, could be free soon. After he killed her, he stuffed her body inside the freezer in her home. If you recall he was the man portrayed by Jack Black in the movie Bernie.

His sexual abuse history apparently was part of what lead to the murder:

“According to the Texas Tribune, psychiatrists that examined Tiede learned he had been sexually abused from the age of 12 until he was 18. The suppression of this led him to be able to disassociate himself from reality, including a murder by his own hand. Living as a closeted gay man in a small East Texas town also created issues for Tiede.”

His attorney’s believe that these new revelations are enough for his life sentence to be reduced.

Rabbi Pleads Guilty to Bizarre Religious Plot

A rabbi pleaded guilty to planning to:

“…lure lure an Israeli man to his Lakewood home where he was handcuffed, blindfolded and beaten until he agreed to give his wife a “get,” a religious divorce under Orthodox Jewish law.”

His wife’s family had paid the rabbi $100,000 to secure the religious divorce. Without the “get” women are prevented from remarrying under Orthodox Jewish law.

Other News

The Boston Globe reviewed “The Psychopath Whisperer” and is not impressed.

Insane sex laws inspired by Republicans.

Watch Dan Rather’s new documentary series about the American mental health system crisis and patient dumping.

Party Monster” is out on parole after spending 17 years in prison.

“Far too many US laws violate basic principles of justice by requiring disproportionately severe punishment” according to a report released by the Human Rights Watch.

A groundbreaking report released by the National Research Council, the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, documents significant problems with U.S. incarceration rates.

Murder, Mental Health, The Death Penalty & New Video Might Have Blown Amanda Knox’s Alibi

William Bruce was a young man with schizophrenia. He was committed to a psychiatric hospital until mental health advocates helped get him released despite him being actively symptomatic and dangerous. He then killed his mother. Years later, he is in a hospital, medicated and has gained insight into his illness. He told the Wall Street Journal:

“None of this would have happened if I had been medicated.”

The gunman who killed three people and wounded four others in Arkansas had been released from a mental hospital a few days before the shooting. It’s not clear why but most likely either because he was a danger to himself or others.

Las Vegas cops held a “purity seminar” about “promiscuous” girls.

Remember the man (Byron Smith) who set a trap and executed two teen intruders? These recordings capture their horrific deaths. They are graphic. The shooter was given life in prison without parole.

Has Amanda Knox’s alibi for the night of Meredith Kercher’s murder just been blown? It might just be true, according to newly released footage.

Stephen Bright, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, recently gave a speech at the United Nations about the death penalty and discrimination. It is worth reading in its entirety but I focused on the part about death for people with mental illnesses:

“…Of course they committed horrendous crimes, took innocent lives that left others suffering and scarred for life, and they must be isolated to protect society. But through no fault of their own, they are tormented souls suffering from devastating afflictions that leave them unable to think and reason like people who are not so afflicted. That is greater punishment that any court can impose…

The Jodi Arias Defamation Lawsuit?

According to sources, apparently Jodi Arias is seeking representation in a possible defamation suit. For what exactly is anyone’s guess.

There is not much known about the potential lawsuit but certainly there will be more to come.

Ronald Reagan Shooter Out of Psych Hospital on Conditional Release Despite Deceptive Behavior

John Hinckley Jr., 58, is currently being granted conditional release from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington. D.C. He was found not reason by guilty of insanity (NGRI) for shooting President Ronald Reagan, Press Secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and a police officer, Thomas Delhanty. Hinckley had a long history of schizophrenia and shot the president for the purpose of impressing actress Jodie Foster.

After Hinckley was found NGRI, the Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984 was passed that essentially made it nearly impossible to be acquitted due to insanity.

Hinckley has been allowed to spend 17 days a month visiting his mother. Secret Service agents, who had been watching Hinckley without his knowledge, noted that he would go to bookstores and view history books that dealt with presidential assassinations.

Perhaps that is what the judge meant when he said that Hinckley still “exhibits deceptive behavior.”

His attorney’s recently told a judge that he was in “full remission” from depression and a psychotic disorder.

Hinckley’s family is hoping that he will eventually be released.

Few people might know that Hinckley has been spending a good deal of time outside of the hospital.

His seemingly ever-lasting interest in presidential assassinations is concerning. It seems risky to allow Mr. Hinckley out of the hospital without monitoring. Mr. Hinckley’s delusions were at one time so real that he attempted to assassinate the President and the United States. Though his condition is said to have improved, it seems that anyone who attempted to assassinate the President of the United States should not be released.

Weekend Reads

A UK woman went to the police 120 times begging them to assist her in stopping her stalker. They failed to listen and he stabbed her eight times with a 12-inch long pair of scissors. Luckily she lived.

Bondage, betrayal and lies: The strange murder case of Michele Williams.

Is Chantix to blame for a murder committed by a soldier?

Judge sentences convicted rapist to work at rape crisis center but quickly faces criticism.

Police in Maryland plan to live-tweet photos of “Johns” during a prostitution sting.

Amy Schumer gives a powerful speech about the difficulty of developing confidence (and how quickly it can be shattered).

Will.i.am goes off about Congressional inaction regarding mass incarceration.

Speaking of the insanity of mass incarceration, how you watched Frontline’s Prison State? Or their new documentary about solitary confinement? These are “must sees.”

Did you know that Anderson Cooper had a stalker? He does and he has been released from custody. “Anderson has nothing to fear for me. I’m just concerned that people are going to walk around with walkie talkies, they’re going to see me on the street and people around Anderson Cooper might guide him to my path in order to get me in trouble.”

In a study of 405,000 prisoners released from 30 states in 2005, researchers found that 55.1% were arrested again within five years. “Five years after release, black offenders had the highest recidivism rate (81 percent), compared with Hispanic (75 percent) and white (73 percent) offenders.”

A 16 year-old boy is charged with the murder of his eight-year-old brother.

A woman faked illness 93 times to be in the presence of a nurse with whom she was sexually obsessed. The stalker was sentenced to a few months in custody and three years of probation.

A murder suspect with a “low IQ” does not want to be seen as “retarded.” He tells the court: Let’s go ahead and start the trial with the death penalty. That’s what I want.”

Jason Baldwin, of the West Memphis Three, advises actor who plays him in the new film “Devil’s Knot.”

Creepy. A man had been keeping notes on 20 women he had been following, rating their looks and tracking whether they were alone. He did this from a van he had converted into a “movable dungeon,” complete with chains and handcuffs. Investigators made the discovery after a shootout in which the man was killed by officers.

Chelsie Shallhas saw a young man slip into a storage locker and was creeped out by what she saw. She was right to be concerned. Seventeen-year old John David LaDue was planning a gun and bomb attack on the school right after killing his family.

Interested in Cold Cases? Check out the blog “Defrosting Cold Cases.

Elderly couple dies after apparent murder-suicide at nursing home.

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post on the execution of Clayton Lockett: “When I read about the crimes Lockett committed, I wish I could support capital punishment. When I read about what Warner did, I want to strangle him with my own hands. But revenge is not the same thing as justice, and karmic retribution is not a power I trust government to exercise. The death penalty has no place in a civilized society.”

First Study To Show That Innocent People Have Been Executed in the United States

Authors of a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences attempted to determine the rate of false convictions among people sentenced to death.

They examined exonerations among death-sentenced defendants between 1973 and 2004. Their data came from two primary sources: (1) the Bureau of Justice Statistics which is maintained by the Department of Justice and; (2) The Death Penalty Information Center which has recorded a list of defendants sentenced to death since 1973.

They ultimately ended up with 7,482 defendants in their study, 1.6% of whom had been exonerated.

The researchers used a statistical method called survival analysis to calculate their findings.

They determined that approximately 4.1% of defendants were erroneously sentenced to death between 1973 through 2004.

The researchers estimate that of the 1,320 defendants executed since 1977 in the United States, only “several” were innocent.

The 4.1% figure translates into about one in 25 people in prison under a death sentence are likely innocent.

The authors noted that their findings are unique because there are “no other reliable estimates of the rate of false conviction in any context.”

The 4.1% rate of error is higher than Justice Scalia’s 2007 estimate of 0.027%.

Though support for the death penalty has decreased in the past decade, the majority of Americans continue to support it. It’s difficult to support a system in which innocent people could be executed (and according to these researchers have been executed).

Case in point: Cameron Todd Willingham.

One innocent person executed is one too many.

The authors close with an important point: a great majority of innocent defendants who are convicted of murder are neither executed or exonerated.

“They are sentenced, or resentenced to prison for life, and then forgotten.”

The Jodi Arias Hep C Story Appears Not To Be True

So it looks like the Jodi Arias stories about her having hepatitis C and a leaky breast implant are not true. Jennifer Willmott, one of Jodi Arias’s attorneys, did not file a lawsuit nor did anyone on her defense team. She doesn’t know who filed it.

 

The Smoking Gun may have solved the puzzle. They think the hoaxer is Jonathan Lee Riches. Jonathan is a 37-year-old Pennsylvania man who has apparently filed hundreds of fictitious lawsuits on behalf of celebrities and other public figures.

 

Riches was arrested for attempting to visit the home of Adam Lanza, the individual responsible for the Sandy Hook elementary school tragedy. He apparently videotaped part of this trip and put some of those clips on YouTube.  He also told journalists that he was “Jonathan Lanza” an uncle of the school shooter. He told media outlets that Adam Lanza had been taking antipsychotics for schizophrenia. On camera, he also dropped to his knees and acted as though he was praying for the young victims.

 

In the past, he has filed phony lawsuits posing as the father of actress Selena Gomez and accused Justin Bieber of stealing a credit card to pay for a “penis enlargement.”

 

This man knows how to get attention.

 

The Smoking Gun contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections who told them that inmates place letters anonymously through the mail and that prison officials do not check the accuracy of names listed along with the return address.

 

Mr. Riches is currently incarcerated. His earliest possible release date is June 2015.

 

I doubt we’ve seen the last of his hoaxes.

Jodi Arias Claims To Have Been Infected With Hep C In Jail

There are several recent news stories about Jodi Arias. The first is that she is claiming to have contracted hepatitis C through an infected needle when she was given a tuberculosis vaccine in Maricopa County jail.pjodi

 

According to the CDC, hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that can range from mild to serious. The disease spreads primarily through the contact with blood of an infected person. People can also become infected by having sexual contact with a person infected with the virus. Cases of hepatitis C are either acute or chronic. The majority of people who have hepatitis C develop chronic infection.

 

Jodi Arias is also claiming that she was neglected by jail officials after one of her silicone breast implants leaked and caused a fungal growth. It’s unclear what is meant by “neglected.” Did they not treat the fungus? Did she request another implant and it was denied? There are no answers to those questions at this time.

 

The convicted murderer has filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, along with a restraining order against the Sheriff.

 

When asked for comment, the Sheriff presumes that Jodi’s trying to seek publicity since he has cut off all visits by the media to her in jail.

 

Jodi Arias is also claiming that the Sheriff makes her say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning to get food. The Sheriff claims that he does play certain songs in the jail but that none of the inmates are forced to sing.

 

“She’s smart. She knows if she ties me in, she’s going to get some press,” Arpaio said. “She knows probably I won’t just hide, so this is what she wants. I’m probably falling into her trap. On the other hand, I still have to defend my jail system and my dedicated office. I’m not worried about it.”

 

TMZ is also featuring this and other stories about Jodi Arias. In legal documents TMZ has obtained but not released, Jodi is claiming that the Sheriff has put cameras in her cell and that he has intercepted sexual letters between her and Travis Alexander’s cousin and then leaked them to Nancy Grace. Nancy Grace is apparently now claiming that Jodi and Travis’s cousin are getting married.

 

Apparently Jodi did not file the papers with the assistance of a lawyer. Reporters are now in the process of attempting to obtain the legal documents for examination. Some are already finding “holes.”

 

For instance, one Phoenix reporter, William Pitts, tweeted that the court documents have inconsistent information including: the wrong jail and jail address. He also noticed inconsistencies in driver’s license signatures. When Mr. Pitts contacted Arias’ lawyer, Jennifer Wilmott, she said that none of these claims are true. Certainly there will be more to come.

Update: Mother Who Heard Voices Drowned Both Sons

A Pennsylvania woman, Laurel Michelle Schlemmer, 40, drowned her three-year-old son in a bathtub. She also attempted to drown her six-year-old son because “crazy voices” told her she would be a better mother to her third child if the other two “weren’t around.”

According to court documents, the mother put her oldest son, age 7, onto the bus before nine in the morning. She returned to the family home, filled up the bathtub and told the younger boys to take off their pajamas and get into the bathtub. She was fully clothed when she got into the tub as the “crazy voices” told her to push the boys into the water. She sat on top of them while they were submerged under the water.

She told detectives that she thought she would be a better mother to the seven-year-old child if the other two weren’t around. She thought that the other two would be “better off in heaven.”

After getting out of the bathtub, she took off her wet clothes, put them and two towels into a trash bag in the garbage. She then lifted the boys out of the bathtub, put them on the bathroom floor and called 911.

She did not attempt to resuscitate the boys because she “did not know how to do it.”

Another Andrea Yates?

This case is fairly similar to Andrea Yates. Andrea Yates was a middle-class Texas severely mentally ill mother who drowned her five children in a bathtub. The drownings began nearly as soon as her husband left for the day.

She took each child and put them face down in the water, one by one. She then immediately called 911 and spoke “unemotionally” to the authorities.

Soon after she called the authorities, Andrea phoned her husband Rusty. “It’s time. I finally did it” was what she told him on the phone.

Andrea gave a 17 minute confession to the police. Her rationale for killing the children was that she realized she was not a good mother to them and “they weren’t developing correctly.” She also did not want her children to be tormented by Satan. Satan had been conveying “bad thoughts” via the television and cameras in her home. She was frightened that Satan would lure her children to him and that perhaps she had some of Satan in her. She thought that Satan was giving her directions about harming her children and about how to drown them.

Andrea believed that drowning them was a way out for her children who would then be up in heaven, safe with God.

She ultimately thought that she was saving her children by drowning them.

Laurel Michelle Schlemmer might also have believed something similar but it’s too soon to know her exact state of mind.

The most telling aspect of these crimes, is that in both cases the mothers who committed these heinous acts of violence immediately reported themselves to the police. There was no effort to hide what they did, a behavior that often signifies severe mental impairment.

Yet another tragedy involving severe mental illness.

UPDATE: The second child has died and Schlemmer has been charged with homicide.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette has reported that she was found not competent to stand trial and was sent to a state mental hospital for further evaluation. A doctor said that she has major depressive disorder, is psychotic and has suicidal ideations.

An April 4, 2014 article states that a 911 worker was fired for disclosing details of the 911 call from Schlemmer. The 911 call-taker said the mother originally said she thought that her children drowned in the bathtub.

Weekend Reads: Stalking Mom & Guilty Verdict For Man With Schizophrenia

Google Studying Employees

Did you know that Google is running a century-long study about how people work? Their employees are serving as study participants.

So far they have found there are two major approaches to work-life balance: segmentors and integrators. Segmentors are psychologically able to “turn it off” at home. They represent 31% of Google employees.

Intergrators are the kind of people who are constantly checking their emails. This group represented 69% of their employees.

Stalking Mother

This 44-year old mother was jailed for stalking a little league coach and his loved ones for her son not making the team. This letter was addressed to a 10-year old child:

“Think about it Dom. If something terrible happens to your dad, or mom or you sister, you can blame you dad for not taking my threats seriously. He will meet harm and the outcome will not be good for you. You might never see your dad again.”

Pastor Rick Warren

Pastor Rick Warren’s son Matthew committed suicide about a year ago. Pastor Warren has since launched a ministry that focuses on mental health. It will be:

“…a long-term campaign to launch discussions of mental health in pulpits and pews across the U.S. Friday’s workshops include “Christianity and Depression,” “How to Launch a Support Group and Counseling Ministry in your Church,” “Suicide Prevention: Saving Lives One Community at a Time” and “Food and The Body: Three Steps to Healing Eating Disorders through Community.”

“There is no shame in diabetes, there is no shame in high blood pressure, but why is it that if our brains stop working, there is supposed to be shame in that?”

Mother Kills 4-Year Old

This mother allegedly killed her four-year old son because she thought he was gay.  In a Facebook message, she wrote that she believed her son Zachary was going to be gay:

“He walks and talks like it. Ugh.”

Patton Oswalt as Matthew McConaughey in True Detective

FBI’s Most Wanted

One of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives turns himself in. The MS-13 gang member is accused of killing a young mother and a toddler in a very brutal way.

Man With Schizophrenia Convicted of Murder

David Tarloff, diagnosed with schizophrenia, was found guilty of stabbing a psychologist to death in a botched robbery six years ago.

Mr. Tarloff was attempting to steal $40,000 so that he could free his mother from a nursing home.

This was his third trial. The first trial never made it past jury selection because Tarloff became unstable. The second trial ended in a mistrial because the jury deadlocked.

The defendant reportedly brought a small black bag and a rolling suitcase with him to the scene of the crime. The bags contained knives, a meat cleaver, a hammer, ropes, duct tape, women’s clothing and adult diapers. He waited outside of the victim’s office while she was in a session with a patient. After the session was over, he stabbed her with a knife 15 times in the face, head and chest. When a nearby doctor heard the screams, he tried to save her and was ultimately stabbed by Tarloff.  He survived the attack.

Mr. Tarloff was soon apprehended.

Mr. Tarloff has a long history of severe mental illness. He was admitted to psychiatric hospitals 20 times. His psychiatric record is 10,000 pages long. He underwent ECT (shock therapy) 37 times during a 2012 stay in a psychiatric hospital.

He was obsessed with his delusional interactions with God. He said that God had instructed him to carry out the robbery.

The insanity defense is the most difficult to defend. This quote from a Tarloff juror highlights what the majority of the general public erroneously believes about this defense:

“Right is right, wrong is wrong. If he gets away with it, how many other people out there with schizophrenia could get away with it?”

Juries are not allowed to consider sentencing when deciding a verdict. In cases with insanity pleas, jurors often think that if adjudicated insane, that person will be free. They don’t go free.

Had he been found not guilty by reason of insanity, he would have been held in a psychiatric institution indefinitely and would receive treatment. The guilty verdict means that he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole. He will receive little if any treatment in prison.

A Vice Tweet

Wolf of Wall Street

The real Wolf of Wall Street: Was the movie accurate?

“That stuff was really really accurate, believe it or not. In some aspects it was even worse than that, although I would say I did more quaaludes that cocaine,” says Belfot. “I think that it is fun to have them watch someone snort something.”

Thursday’s Mental Health & Criminal Justice Headlines

Jordan Linn Graham has been sentenced to serve 365 months in federal prison without the possibility of parole. The judge also barred her from benefiting in any way from revealing details about the murder. The judge did not think she was remorseful about her husband’s death. He kept waiting for her to say she was sorry but she never did.

A former president of the San Francisco Board of Education is accused by the FBI of being involved in a murder-for hire-scheme and a gun and drug trafficking conspiracy.

You probably already know this but it bears repeating: the United States is the only country in the world where a person under the age of 18 can serve life in prison without parole. Every state in the United States has laws that allow for children to be charged as adults under certain circumstances, this according to Human Rights Watch who today filed an amicus brief before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Arkansas throws a mother in jail for breast-feeding while drinking a beer.  Even though it’s not illegal, she was still arrested for endangering the welfare of a child.

There have been over 300 people exonerated in this country. Most of them are men. This is a rare case about a 74-year-old woman who was released after serving 32 years for a murder she did not commit. In fact, the murder was committed by her abusive boyfriend. The University of Southern California Post-Conviction Justice Project contends that if the jury had heard testimony on the effects of intimate partner violence, she would not have been convicted.

According to one reporter, the case of Marlon Sullivan is fascinating and perhaps horrifying. Marlon Sullivan is an NFL agent, who is accused of dealing drugs, illegally selling firearms and offering to commit a murder-for-hire. Undercover federal agents believe that he would “have no trouble pulling off a “hit.”

Clifford Burns is accused of stabbing his estranged wife to death on Christmas Eve. His defense: “extreme emotional disturbance” (EED).

This type of defense is pursued when a defendant alleges he “acted under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse” when he killed another person.

In essence he saying he snapped and it was his wife’s fault. According to reports, it seems more likely that he planned to attack his wife, which is to say it was premeditated and not the result of him snapping.

He sent text messages to his daughters warning them that something was going to happen, he disposed of the knife immediately after the attack, and in a videotaped interview, he repeatedly discussed different ways that he had planned to go after his wife and have a standoff with police in the woods.

He has a lengthy history of domestic violence towards both his wife and one other woman.

Ohio is considering legislation in which drug dealers could be charged with murder if one of their customers dies from an overdose. Five others states are already doing this.

A 14-year old boy admitted to killing his 46-year-old father and 13-year-old brother.  His family members expressed concern because of his torture of animals. Investigators say that he has no remorse for what he has done.

Wednesday Mental Health & Criminal Justice Headlines

The FBI’s new most wanted fugitive is Juan Elias Garcia who killed a 19-year-old New York woman and her two-year-old son, execution style. Garcia is allegedly a member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang (MS-13).

At the time that he allegedly committed the murders, he was only 17 years old.

Remember the newlywed who pled guilty to pushing her husband off a cliff last summer?  Jordan Graham, 22, was supposed to be sentenced Thursday for the murder of her 25-year-old husband.  That sentencing has been placed on hold because she recently filed a motion to withdraw her plea on the basis that it was “illusory” and a “hollow formality.”

Read an investigation into Pennsylvania’s bleak prisons.

Don’t miss Michael Hall’s excellent story in Texas Monthly on the Lake Waco murders and the possibility that the men convicted of the crime may actually be innocent.

The evolution of the death penalty in one map.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling Wednesday, March 26, 2014 that makes it legal to prohibit someone with a misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence from owning a gun.

Think Progress believes that the ruling “could have significant implications in interpreting which state domestic violence laws bar gun possession.”

The Marijuana industry has its first full-time lobbyist.

Eight days have passed and there is no sign of missing eight-year old Relisha Rudd.

The police believe that a 51-year-old janitor of a homeless shelter, where the child had lived, killed his wife and now has the young girl in his possession.

The Washington Post traces Relisha’s difficult life.

Congressional Hearing Addresses Psychiatric Bed Shortage

Wednesday, the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing about the significant decrease in the psychiatric bed shortage.

One of the witnesses includes the outspoken Sheriff of Cook County Thomas Dart.

Mr. Dart has been trying to do everything within his power to deal with the thousands of mentally ill people passing through the Cook County Jail.

His tweets give you a sense of how bad the problem has become.

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Additional testimony will come from Chief Michael C. Biasotti. Mr. Biasotti is the Immediate Past President of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police. He has written extensively on the management of the severely mentally ill and their interactions with the police.

He also has a daughter with schizophrenia who has been involuntarily committed more than 20 times.

His recommendation to the committee would be to prevent individuals from decompensating to the point where law enforcement becomes involved.

“Make the seriously mentally ill first in line rather than last. As a law enforcement officer and father, I know treatment before tragedy is a better policy than tragedy before treatment.”

If interested in watching the hearing, you can tune in at 10 AM on the Energy Committee website. Hopefully reform is on the way.