Important Facts About Mass Shooters From A Highly-Qualified, Retired FBI Profiler

Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole, senior FBI profiler/criminal investigative analyst (ret.), Behavioral Analysis Unit, and Editor-In-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Violence and Gender recently responded to Richard Freidman’s op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Why Can’t Doctors Identify Killers?”

She disputes his conclusion that mass shootings are not predictable.

If these crimes are not predictable, “it forces us to fall back on the “snapping theory– that someone just “snaps,” and we don’t see it coming and we can’t do anything to prevent it.”

Other important highlights from the article about mass shooters include:

Nihilistic/homicidal/suicidal ideation associated with mass murderers evolves over time, and evidence of this is reflected in their planning and preparation for the crime, their interactions with others, how they live their lives, their writings, and their behavior regarding social networking; people don’t just snap

The Association of Threat Assessment Professionals has developed standards for evaluating individuals who make or pose threats; there is the science behind threat assessment

Threat assessment science is based on the biopsychosocial model of medicine and encompasses all aspects of an individual’s life to help identify warning behaviors

If warning behaviors are overlooked or misread, it should not lead to the conclusion that they were absent or that threat assessment professionals have no knowledge, training and expertise to act on those behaviors

The majority of mass shooters are motivated by fame and infamy and when possible the shooters name should be not be used

Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole is a highly-respected individual who has conducted a great deal of research about threat assessment.

The New York Times should consider publishing her response to Richard Freidman’s op-ed in their newspaper.

Jodi Arias Working With Production Company To Tell Her Version of Events

The latest in the Jodi Arias saga is that she has found a production company to produce a feature film told from her perspective about the killing of Travis Alexander. Surely this will be a work of fiction. Jodi Arias

Gary Nelson, of Splash Hit Productions, has been corresponding with Jodi, her legal team and her family and friends. He has developed his own perspective on why she killed Travis Alexander, and he doesn’t seem to blame Jodi.

The killing was a “poor alignment of the stars.”

“I think Jodi, and no fault of her own, was in love with the thought of being in love. She was out searching for something. Had they not met, I don’t think we’d be sitting here talking. I think this was something that took two sides to complete,” he told Radar Online.

Many people have said that they have been trying to Google “Splash Hit Productions ” and are not finding any trace of the company on the Internet. I tried myself and didn’t find anything either.

For as long as Jodi Arias is living, she will be doing things of this nature. She is not a normal person.

It’s difficult for us to understand how anyone could act like she does, think like she does, but she is not like us. There’s something very wrong with Jodi Arias.

Even if this movie is made, I see it as a losing proposition. No one in their right mind would believe Jodi Arias’ version of events. And which version would she tell? The ninja story? The one about her being a victim of domestic violence? Surely by now, she has a new version of events.

Only the Jodi Arias “truthers” would believe her version of events and thankfully, in the grand scheme of things, there’s not many of those.

Weekend Reads

Check out these news stories I’ve been following:spiral2

A Waffle House waitress tried to have her husband killed by her lover on Memorial day while she was out on a picnic with her kids.

A bitter divorce ends in murder-suicide while the couple’s three children are in the home.

California doctor is arrested for the murder of his professor wife Dr. Doris Knapp; she was also part of a medical team that won a Nobel Prize.

The Massachusetts Parole Board approved the release of a man convicted as a juvenile of first-degree murder; first release of its kind in the state.

Man who killed a Houston postal worker, received 75-year sentence, served less than half of it and has now been released. Victim’s mother: “I would like to blow him off this earth, that’s what I’d like to do.”

Drug informant and former Cocaine Kingpin, portrayed by Johnny Depp  in the movie “Blow,” has been released from prison after 17 years.

Man who is accused of stabbing two children in a Brooklyn elevator has a long history of severe mental illness but had “fallen through the cracks.”

Seattle Pacific University shooter Aaron Ybarra has a history of being hospitalized for problems with “rage;” had tried suicide-by-cop in order to become famous; was obsessed with Columbine; went on a shooting spree to kill as many people as possible  and then kill himself.

Police kill an 18-year old mentally ill teen after family calls 911 for help. Police say she lunged at them with a knife. The family is devastated wondering why they didn’t just taze or tackle her. This is the second shooting of a mentally ill person by an officer in the San Mateo county police department.

Marissa Devault, who was convicted of killing her husband with a hammer, was sentenced to life in prison without a chance for parole.

A man claims his cat is to blame for him killing his stepfather.

The New York Times describes the horrific conditions in one southern jail: “Pictures don’t lie…I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, and I’m pretty convinced that there is nothing out there that has been made public that is this shocking.”

All states should follow: Colorado bans long-term solitary confinement for people with serious mental illnesses.

Protect Yourself Against Psychopaths: A Unique Coaching Service

I recently had the opportunity to conduct an email interview with Louise Delahunty, PG DipCOT, founder of Psychopathy Awareness and Harm Reduction Coaching (PAHRC).  Louise is a mental health occupational therapist, coach and acupuncturist by background, trained under psychopathologist Sandra Brown M.A. in coaching survivors of psychopaths.

PAHRC Logo

PAHRC works to raise awareness of the impact of partial/full blown psychopaths in the personal/ business realms in order to avert ‘inevitable harm’ or support you work through the aftermath.

What Was the Impetus For Your Business?

I think in many ways psychopathy is a subject that chooses you.

My first professional experience with a client I suspect was psychopathic was with ‘X’ who regularly featured in the local press as a WW2 hero and would actively seek this attention. Receptionists at my workplace would constantly remark how ‘lucky’ I was to be assigned this seemingly affable charmer who’d shower them with chocolates and compliments.

Yet I knew a different side to X. A lifelong gangster who at nearly 80 would charge into local pubs and attack people with his walking stick! Someone who would repeatedly say he wished the Germans had won the war (whilst courting the press, let’s remember, with an opposing persona). The last I heard of him was that he’d been arrested for an attempted rape in a residential home.

As with most mental health professionals I had had no training in detecting the signs of psychopathy…and spent hours pouring over what seemed unfathomable psychology to me. ‘How could X be so lethal, yet so adored? Who was he really?…Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?’

Once the penny dropped that I’d encountered a probable psychopath I began to question why the vast majority of us are in the dark about psychopathy – something that affects us all in one way or another. It was as if a handful of researchers and forensics professionals had exclusive rights to discuss the subject and I grew increasingly uncomfortable that such important information was in so few hands.

But it was the impact of psychopathy on other people that really gripped me. I found I couldn’t let go of it and began to research it prolifically. I took courses in the states and met and communicated with 100’s of survivors from India to America. Their stories were strikingly similar – whether they’d been involved in a cult or loved a fraudulent person. Learning about psychopathy in the hardest way possible forces a ‘paradigm shift’ in someone – the world is not how they thought it was and never quite will be again. Survivor’s stories are appallingbut their strength is phenomenal.

Who Primarily Uses Your Services?

This will surprise people, but primarily Mental Health Professionals (MHP’s) who have been victimized by psychopaths who may also be Mental Health Professionals! They are eager to avoid a re-run or to help others who’ve had this experience.

There are many erroneous assumptions that MHP’s should ‘know better’ ‘be able to spot psychopaths’ or ‘would never be psychopathic.’ It doesn’t work like that. I’ve spoken with leading experts in the field who’ve been victimised.

For me, this speaks of the power of this type of psychopathology and the capacity of people with marked psychopathic traits to manipulate and deceive. So I’d really urge people not to assume they are ‘immune.’ There’s not a psychopath ‘behind every tree,’ but they exist in every walk of life, more often than people think.

Is Your Business Similar to What Threat or Risk Assessment Professionals Do (i.e. highlight some of the potential problem people at an organization?)

In terms of our corporate coaching, our current focus is on advising on recruitment practices to minimise the risk of a business hiring their organizational downfall – prevention is far better than cure. It is also important for organisations to be aware of control tactics exhibited by those with psychopathic traits in order to understand what is going on and plan how to deal with it more effectively.

We are currently in discussion about working with a psychologist trained to screen organisations.

If Someone Believes That They Are Working With a Psychopath, How Do You Instruct Them To Protect Themselves?

Firstly most difficult and unreasonable people are not psychopaths (for the record nor are most criminals or psychiatric patients). Psychopaths are in a league of their own and I suspect most of them would agree with me on that. I once heard psychopaths described as ‘serial soul killers’ and think this is really what we are talking about, someone who effectively ‘wipes people out’ to inflate themselves across different contexts and across their life span.

Research the subject selectively – start with Babiak and Hare’s ‘Snakes in Suits’, and the documentary ‘I am Fishead’ https://www.fisheadmovie.com/

A psychopath’s optimal exploitation of people and organisations relies on others not seeing behind the mask, particularly those with the influence or power to do anything about it. Realising you may be dealing with a psychopath can be liberating (‘that explains it!’) and lonely at the same. Recognise those around you may stay dazzled by the psychopaths fraudulent charms. Confide only in colleagues with whom you have a long established, trusting relationship, or with people outside. Emotional support is vital – the impact is often severe.

Don’t let the psychopath know you’ve ‘seen’ them (they will see this as a threat or challenge which can activate their vengefulness). Stick to neutral conversations where possible and avoid getting defensive. Agree when you authentically can, leave a paper trail of everything and start looking for your next job unless you are very confident you can oust them (without using the ‘p’ word!) and have a lot of support. Change your passwords regularly and don’t leave your mobile lying about.

Has Anything Surprised You About Your Work Thus Far?

The surprises that fade least are these:

  •  Up to 1 in 25 lack conscience – a critical component of what, for most of us, it means to be human.
  • That most people have encountered/will encounter a full/partial psychopath yet few will realise what has happened and that it wasn’t their fault. This often reminds me of a Steve Biko quote: “The greatest tool in the hands of the oppressor… is the mind of the oppressed.”
  • That so few people can admit they were wrong about someone (this is a different thing from not realising it I think).

PAHRC’s next scheduled course ‘How Psychopaths Harm’ runs in London, July 21st. Visit www.dontbelievethemask.com to find out more.

There is a real need for this service. I would encourage you to check out PAHRC.

Have you been harmed by a psychopath?

Latest Ruling: Jodi Arias Remains Eligible for the Death Penalty

By now, you’ve probably heard the news. Jodi Arias remains eligible for the death penalty.Jodiwhiteshirtclip

It’s another loss for her defense team.

Jodi Arias’s attorneys recently filed a motion asking Judge Sherry Stevens to dismiss the prosecutor’s ability to seek the death penalty. The reason for the request: Jodi’s mitigation specialist was banned from the jail for approximately one week.

It was argued that the one week ban prejudiced her mitigation specialists’ ability to properly prepare for Jodi’s upcoming sentencing trial.

It was also argued that the ban “affected the relationship” between Jodi and her defense team. It supposedly caused a “lack of trust.”

The judge ruled that the defendant ultimately failed to prove her argument and thus denied the motion. It was noted, in the ruling, that the court had observed Jodi interacting with her mitigation specialist since the incident but judged that there did not appear to be “any change in the relationship” between the two.

There was not enough proof to support the argument and no specific information was presented regarding how the one week apart would hurt Jodi during the sentencing phase of her trial.

Thus, it remains possible that Jodi Arias might be given the death penalty.

Do you believe that Jodi Arias will receive the death penalty?

Barring any further delays, jury selection for the penalty phase is expected to begin on September 8, 2014.

It’ll be interesting to see what her defense team has in store for this jury. No doubt it will include some of her “artwork.”

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.