Archive for June, 2011

Dr. Drew Interviews Melissa Moore

Melissa Moore is the daughter of Keith Jesperson‘s (The Happy Face Killer) daughter.

In this video Dr. Drew and Melissa make comparisons between Casey Anthony and Keith.

I don’t know how to actually put the video up here so here is the link.

Dr. Drew interviews Melissa Moore.

Melissa also wrote a book, Shattered Silence.

Here is another interview with Melissa.

Killer Had Told Friends What He Did.

Temer Leary couldn’t believe his eyes.

He watched an episode of the television news show “48 Hours” last month, and there on the show was his former roommate, accused of being a serial killer in California.

Leary, a Lake Luzerne resident, thought back to the stories his roommate used to tell of killing people and how Leary and his buddy, former Glens Falls resident Anthony Dilorenzo, used to laugh them off.

Having learned that his former roommate, Michael Gargiulo, had been charged with killing two women in Los Angeles, attempting to kill a third and was a suspect in a killing in Illinois, Leary realized the tales Gargiulo told weren’t exaggerated.

“I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to tell somebody what I know,’” he said.

He left a comment on the television station’s website about the case and what Gargiulo had told him and, hours later, was contacted by detectives in Cook County, Ill.

The next day, he and Dilorenzo were on airplanes to Chicago to tell detectives what they knew about their former roommate and co-worker and the comments he had made about a young woman’s killing in Illinois.

It turned out the stories Leary dismissed as tall tales appeared to be based in fact.

“We never believed him,” Leary said Thursday. “But it turned out the things he told us were true. The detectives couldn’t believe how much we knew.”

Leary and Dilorenzo met Gargiulo in the mid-1990s, when the two Glens Falls men moved to California. Dilorenzo sought a life in Hollywood, and Leary tagged along. They got jobs as bouncers at the famous Rainbow Room bar in Hollywood, where Gargiulo was also a bouncer.

They had a common hobby. Gargiulo wanted to be a boxer, and Leary’s grandfather had operated a boxing gym in Glens Falls.

The three wound up as roommates.

One day, as the trio drove in a car, Gargiulo told of killing a young woman, Leary said.

Leary said detectives and prosecutors in Illinois asked him not to share details about what Gargiulo told him about the 1993 stabbing death of Tricia Pacaccio. Gargiulo and Pacaccio, then 18, were neighbors, and Gargiulo was long a suspect in the case, according to published reports.

The investigation had intensified in recent months, as detectives learned that Gargiulo’s DNA was found under Pacaccio’s fingernails. Gargiulo was later charged with murder and attempted murder in the stabbings of three women. He was dubbed “The Hollywood Ripper” by local media.

Then Leary came forward with evidence in a fourth case. His status as a witness was chronicled, earlier this month, in Chicago magazine, which has been closely following the Pacaccio murder investigation.

Leary said he testified before a grand jury, but no charges had been filed against Gargiulo as of Friday. A spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said she could not discuss the case Thursday because no one has been charged, while Cook County police did not return a call.

Dilorenzo couldn’t be reached this week. Leary said he is travelling out of the country.

Leary’s lawyers, the firm of Brennan & White, worked with police for his testimony. The firm confirmed its involvement in the matter but would not comment.

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan confirmed her office was involved in the matter as well but said she could not discuss it Friday.


Read more


If only his buddies would have believed him.

Many times you read about people looking back over conversations, mood changes and other small things and they realize that the other person was killing at that time.

If bodies are showing up around town and your bud tells you he did it or has just started acting a bit off call the cops.



Mixed Bag Of Killers

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — Police have found the remains of a Walnut Creek woman who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by the serial killer known as the I-5 Strangler in 1977.

Walnut Creek police said Monday that a Napa County sheriff’s deputy found the body of 21-year-old Ellen Burleigh in a dry riverbed near Lake Berryessa.

Roger Reece Kibbe was convicted of murder of Burleigh and five other women in 2009. As part of a plea agreement, he agreed to help locate her body.

The Contra Costa Times reports Burleigh disappeared after meeting Kibbe to talk about a secretary job opening.

Kibbe was in prison for strangling a teen prostitute when San Joaquin County prosecutors charged him in 2009 with murdering six women and dropping their bodies along freeways between 1977 and 1987.
Read more

I hope that finding her body gives the family and friends some peace.

France police are on high alert since it is rumored that suspected serial killer / known rapist Larry Murphy is going to try hiding out there since hiding out in other places around Europe did not work.

SUSPECTED serial killer Larry Murphy has fled Ireland again after spending three weeks holed up in Dublin hotels.

Authorities here breathed a sigh of relief today after the rapist left the jurisdiction without incident.

But police in France are now on high alert after it was reported that Murphy (46) had decided to relocate to Paris for the moment.

Since being freed from jail last year he has moved around Europe staying in both Amsterdam and Spain for extended periods.

He is reportedly staying in the ‘red light districts’ and trying to avoid contact with people. I can not imagine why unless he is slightly afraid that someone might kill him.

Murphy remains the chief suspect for the disappearance of several Irish women in the 1990s.

He has been linked to the cases of Annie McCarrick (26), Jo Jo Dullard (21) and Deirdre Jacob (18) all of whom went missing without trace.

He has served 10 years in prison for the horrific rape and attempted murder of a Carlow businesswoman, but was released last August.

He did not undergo any significant rehabilitation treatment while behind bars and detectives feared that he may strike again.

Source for both quotes.

A video from when he was released.

Joseph Nasso’s preliminary hearing has been postponed until Sept. 9, 2011 so that he has more time to prepare his case.

Nasso is the 77 year old who is defending himself against charges that he killed  four women: Roxene Roggasch, 18, dumped between Fairfax and Woodacre in 1977; Carmen Colon, 22, found near Port Costa in 1978; Pamela Parsons, 38, found in Yuba County in 1993; and, Tracy Tafoya, 31, found in Yuba County in 1994.


A video about Nasso

In Germany a man being called only Jan O or the Cannibal Killer has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

(CBS/AP) BERLIN – German man Jan O., dubbed the “cannibal killer” after he confessed to eating the flesh and drinking the blood of one of his teenage victims, has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

The 26-year-old, whose last name has been withheld in accordance with German privacy laws, was convicted in Goettingen state court of two counts of murder Monday for the November slayings of a 14-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy.

During the trial the defendant confessed to licking blood from a wound of the girl and biting flesh from her neck. He killed the boy five days later.

DAPD news agency reports Presiding Judge Ralf Guenther says the murders showed an “almost unimaginable dimension of criminality.”

According to Sky News , Jan O. had lured a victim identified only as “Nina B.” into the woods intending to rape her, but instead cut her throat. He returned to visit the body several times, and during one return visit, took the life of his second victim, named “Tobias L.”

The boy was allegedly sexually assaulted before being stabbed to death.

Jan O. admitted to committing “vampiristic” acts both before and after they died, Sky News  reports, adding that the perpetrator apologized to the victim’s families and said: “I don’t know what came over me.”

Defense attorney Markus Fischer says he’s considering an appeal.

Read more

How can there be an appeal when Jan O confessed to drinking blood and apologized the way that he did? Appeal What?

Another article has even more disturbing information.

Nina had gone missing in mid-November 2010 after she ran away from home. According to O.’s confession, he lured the young girl into the woods with the intend to rape her. But he instead hit her on the head with a beer bottle before slashing her throat.

As the girl died, according to the confession, O. ate flesh from her wounds and drank her blood. “I did not want sex anymore, just flesh and blood. The taste of it made me addicted,” O. wrote in his confession, details of which shocked the European nation.

In the days after the brutal murder, O. returned to the body several times and repeatedly took advantage of her. He also filmed several clips with his mobile phone as he touched the lifeless body.

In addition, a message was found on O.’s Facebook page in which he said: “Slaughtered a girl yesterday. One everyday until they catch me.” O.’s other online profiles indicated he was looking to meet girls between the ages of 10 and 16.”

In the days after Nina’s murder, during one of his visits to the corpse, O. came across Tobias who he mistook for a young girl. He kidnapped him and stabbed him to death when he discovered that Tobias was a boy, not a girl. Although there is evidence to indicate that Tobias was still sexually assaulted, O. denied this and said he rejects homosexual acts.


That article also goes on to state that even though he was given a life sentence he could be released one day if he is no longer considered a threat. That is insane.

Serial Killer Levi Bellfield Convicted Again

On 06/23/11 Levi Bellfield was convicted of the murder of  Milly Dowler. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Bellfield had already been found guilty of the murders of Marsha Louise McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy on 25 February 2008.

He is suspected in other crimes one going back to when he was only 12 years old.

After his 2008 murder trial, Bellfield was named by police as a suspect in connection with numerous unsolved murders and attacks on women dating back to 1990 – as well as the murder of a 14-year-old girl in 1980, when Bellfield was 12 years old and attending the same school as the victim.

From Wikipedia Article


Levi was a real lady’s man. His ex girlfriend tells of his abuse in an interview.

Miss Johanna Collings also said the twisted murderer would repeatedly rape and beat her during their relationship.

She also said she was also subjected to humiliating sex sessions in which Bellfield would tie a belt around her neck and sexually assault her.

Other times he would burn her with lit cigarettes and once beat her for ironing the wrong pair of work trousers.
Read more

His past acquaintances also have horrible stories about this ‘man’.

Ricky Brouillard, who had worked for Bellfield, told police that his former boss had even offered to sell sex with his “naïve” girlfriend, 16, and her sister, 14.

“I would describe Levi as an animal,” Mr Brouillard told police. “I remember being disgusted. I met his girlfriend on one occasion and he said ’Do you want to buy her off me?’.”

Read More Here


Levi Bellfield’s first child (he has 11), Bobbie-Louise made a documentary about her father called “My Dad the Serial Killer” that was shown in January of 2009. It also had 3 of his other children in it.

I found the video online but I am unable to watch it since I live in America. For those of you that live in areas where it can be viewed here is the link.

I feel so bad for his children. He has made them victims as well.

Update on Anthony Sowell Trial

The jury toured Anthony Sowell’s house.

Here is the 6pm follow up.

This is a pretty good article on the tour as well.

News 5 Article

During Bombik’s hour-long presentation Rufus Sims, one of Sowell’s two attorneys, sat with his eyes closed and his hands formed in a steeple.  It was unclear whether Sims was praying or sleeping.

Sims would not have to sit through another long opening argument.  Co-counsel John Parker took only 10 minutes.  Parker tried to convince the jury that 11 bodies on the Sowell property was not enough to convict his client.

“There are no eyewitnesses. There are no fingerprints.  here’s no DNA linking Mr. Sowell to any of the homicides,” Parker said.

I am guessing that Sims was praying. It will take divine intervention for Sowell to be found not guilty.

As to the statement by Mr. Parker I think the bodies link Sowell to the homicides pretty well.

In September, 2009  Sowell invited a woman he knew to his home for a drink. On September 22, 2009 she reported to police that after a few drinks, he became angry, hit her, choked her and raped her as she passed out. On October 29, police arrived at his home with a warrant to arrest him for the alleged rape. He was not there, but they found two bodies on the floor in the living room.  He was located and arrested two days later.

The bodies of four other women were found throughout the home, buried in a shallow grave in the basement and in crawl spaces in the house.  After digging in the backyard, investigators found three more bodies and the remains of a fourth. Police also found a human skull in a bucket inside the house, which brought the body count to eleven.


I guess the that same person that John Wayne Gacy claimed hid the bodies under his house is back at it?

I respect the law and the justice system but I have a hard time figuring out why some cases go to trial.

Mother wants life sentence for murderer

By court reporter Peta Carlyon

Rachael Betts was murdered while Coombes was on parole.

Rachael Betts was murdered while Coombes was on parole. (Victoria Police)

The mother of Melbourne woman Rachel Betts, who was killed and dismembered by a serial killer, wants him locked up for life.

John Leslie Coombes, 56, of Preston, was on parole for two other murders, when he strangled Rachael Betts, 27, in August, 2009.

He then dismembered her body in a bathtub and threw her remains into the sea off the Newhaven Pier.

Ms Betts’s mother, Sandra Betts, told the Supreme Court the justice system had failed her daughter.

Outside court, she said Coombes should not be allowed back into society.

“I don’t want him to walk free ever again. I don’t think society could ever feel there would be a time when it would be safe to actually have him out,” she said.

At Coombes’s plea hearing, the Victorian Supreme Court heard he was jailed for life with no parole in 1985, but was later granted a minimum term, allowing his release.

Prosecutors are now calling for a life sentence with no parole.

But Coombes’s lawyer says he client did not intend to kill Ms Betts.

The court heard Coombes became angry when Ms Betts told him she allowed the sexual exploitation of two teenagers.

A psychologist told the court the murder directly related to his own sexual abuse as a child.

Coombes will be sentenced at a later date.


The mother is very right. By releasing this violent man the justice system wronged her daughter, allowing her to be murdered. This is such a tragedy since Ms. Betts death was avoidable. If they had only kept him where he was, where he should have been this young lady would still be alive.

Serial Killer Mack Ray Edwards Suspected In 1961 Disappearance, Dogs Find ‘Area Of Interest’

Investigators now believe Ramona Price, a 7-year-old girl who went missing 50 years ago in Santa Barbara, may have been a victim of serial killer Mack Ray Edwards, who is thought to have killed as many as 20 children.

On Wednesday morning, specially trained cadaver dogs searching for the little girl’s remains of found “an area of interest,” in a stretch of construction near Winchester Canyon Road and the 101 Freeway, said police, according to the L.A. Times.

At the time of Price’s disappearance, Edwards was “a heavy-equipment operator” working on area construction projects, including the Winchester Canyon Road bridge.

Edwards hanged himself at San Quentin in 1972 after being convicted in the murder of three children. According to Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez, Edwards remarked in prison that his other murders would never be discovered because, “no one would tear up a freeway.”

Said Sanchez, “A cold case does not mean a forgotten case.” Ramona Price’s parents have died, however her older sister, now 60, is “still devastated.”

Edwards’ monstrous legacy is still unfolding. Three years ago, authorities excavated an exit ramp off the 23 Freeway in Ventura County, seeking the bones of 16-year-old Roger Dale Madison of Sylmar. Edwards, a neighbor and friend of the Madison family, had admitted stabbing the boy near the freeway when it was under construction in 1968. He worked on that project too, and authorities believe the boy’s body may be buried beneath the roadway. After five days of digging, police called off the search[…][H]is crimes were extraordinarily brutal. In 1953, he kidnapped 8-year-old Stella Darlene Nolan, molested her, strangled her and threw her off a remote bridge. When he returned the next day to find the Norwalk girl was still alive and had crawled 100 yards, he stabbed her and buried her in an embankment that became part of the Santa Ana Freeway.


For decades, police have been attempting to follow Edwards’ trail in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Torrance and other areas where children went missing in the time that Edwards was at large. Four years ago, Santa Barbara authorities allowed Pasadena-author Weston DeWalt to view their files for a book he was writing on the Edwards murders. DeWalt reportedly had unearthed information indicating that Edwards worked for a highway contractor in Santa Barbara at the time of Ramona Price’s disappearance.


Original Article

Ligus: “I am a serial killer”

Thursday 9th June 2011, 2:32PM BST.

Robin Stanislaw Ligus
Robin Stanislaw Ligus

A SHROPSHIRE MAN confessed to being one of the county’s most prolific serial killers during a series of police interviews, a court was told this afternoon.

Birmingham Crown Court heard Robin Stanislaw Ligus, formerly of Monkmoor, Shrewsbury, made “wholesale confessions” to the murders of  Trevor Bradley, Brian Coles and Bernard Czyzewska, who were all found dead within the space of seven months in 1994.

He is already serving a life sentence for the murder of 75-year-old Robert Young, of Shrewsbury.

At the opening of his trial today, prosecuting counsel Mr James Curtis said there was “compelling evidence” of Ligus’s guilt.

He told the court Ligus committed all four murders in “something of a series” to get cash to fund a drug addiction.

Mr Curtis said Ligus was recorded making the admissions in interviews with police as well as medical, legal and academic parties.

Mr Curtis said some of the first confessions were made to a psychology professor who was assessing the risk offenders posed to other people in the prison system.

Mr Curtis said Ligus’s mental state had only deteriorated in recent years following a stroke in 2006 and his admissions of guilt were made from 2000.

Ligus is accused of murdering 53-year-old Ludlow antiques dealer Trevor Bradley, whose body was found in a burned-out car near Melverley.

Ligus has also been charged with the murder of 57-year-old Brian Coles, who was found dead in his home in Higher Heath, near Whitchurch.

He faces another charge of murdering Bernard Czyzewska, 36, whose body was found in the River Severn. All three men died within seven months of each other in 1994.

In May, Judge Mr Justice Colman Treacy ruled that Ligus was unfit to enter a plea.

Mr Treacy today instructed the jury they would be passing a verdict at the end of the trial of whether Ligus was responsible for unlawful killing, rather than guilty or not guilty.

Read more

Can A Test Really Tell Who’s A Psychopath?

May 26, 2011 In November 2009, Robert Dixon took a test to determine whether he was a psychopath. After 26 years in prison, he was due for a parole hearing. In California, before a “lifer” like Dixon appears before the parole board, a state psychologist must first evaluate whether he poses a risk of further violence if released. To do that, the psychologist administers a test — the PCL-R, or Psychopathy Checklist-Revised — designed to measure whether that inmate is a psychopath.

This test has incredible power in the American criminal justice system. It’s used to make decisions such as what kind of sentence a criminal gets and whether an inmate is released on parole. It has even been used to help decide whether someone should be put to death. Many psychologists believe that psychopaths are so devoid of normal human emotion, so cold and remorseless and impulsive, that they are bound, almost by their very nature, to do harm and violence.

Dixon found himself sitting across a table from a no-nonsense female psychologist, answering a series of questions about his family and troubled youth. The woman, Dixon says, didn’t look at him. Instead, she stared at the computer, methodically entering his answers, her face dimly lit by the screen. They talked for over an hour. Then the psychologist thanked him, closed her computer and went away. Several months later, the results came back. “Mr. Dixon obtained a total score on the PCL-R which placed him in the high range of the clinical construct of psychopathy,” the psychologist wrote. Basically, she’d concluded that Dixon was a psychopath — the first time he’d ever received such a diagnosis. It was suddenly extremely unlikely that Dixon would be paroled.

The story of Dixon’s incarceration begins 28 years ago, in the winter of 1983, when Dixon and his friend John Walker decided to rob a young man they saw walking down the street in their Oakland, Calif., neighborhood. Dixon was the lookout. He positioned himself at a distance while Walker approached the man, pulled out a gun and asked for his belongings. The crime was supposed to be quick — grab the wallet and go — but something went wrong. Dixon remembers hearing Walker’s gun fire, then turning to find their robbery victim lying dead on the ground. “What I saw when I looked at my co-defendant was shock — he was in shock that he had just pulled that trigger,” Dixon says. “And so I said, you know, ‘What happened!’ ” “He looked at me and he didn’t answer me. He just ran.”

For the crime of being an accessory to murder, Dixon got 15 years to life with the possibility of parole.

This wasn’t Dixon’s first crime. As a teen he was convicted of date-raping one woman and beating another. Since childhood, in fact, Dixon’s life had been deeply disturbed: He tried to commit suicide at 10, and at 12 he threatened to kill himself and his father, who, according to records, often beat him. He was in and out of detention for the rest of his teens — until the robbery put him in prison.

Robert Dixon Jr., was denied parole after a psychological evaluation deemed him a psychopath. But friends and family say that since his incarceration, they’ve seen a radical change in Dixon. They all believe deeply that the man they know is transformed and no longer a threat to anyone. One of those true believers is Dixon’s father, Robert Dixon Sr. “I’ve seen him change in the last 10 years — drastic change in him, especially with me,” Dixon Sr. says. “He got older and he kind of slowed down.” “Age change everybody,” he adds. “I mean, it’s a poor wind that don’t change.”

The father that beat him severely enough to imply that it was abusive? I hate the way that so many try to ‘victimize’ the predators.

I also doubt that it was just the one test that led to his parole being denied.

Dixon Sr. says this transformation didn’t happen quickly. For a time even after his son went to prison, he was still hard — the kind of man who might punch you in the face if you said something that he didn’t like. In fact, Dixon Sr. says, for some years after Robert’s incarceration, the stories he heard from his son were frequently about conflict with fellow inmates. But about 12 years ago, he says, the narrative began to shift. “He’d tell me about a lot of incidents that would come up and he would avoid ’em.” His son, he says, had learned to walk away.

This probably had something to do with his denial. Just because you start to walk away does not mean that you are rehabilitated. Also, it is easier to ‘behave’ in prison than out.

Robert Dixon Jr. Dixon’s friends and family argue that this change wasn’t simply a matter of the mellowing that comes with age. They say it’s the product of a very deliberate, even relentless effort on Dixon’s part. “He knows that if he’s going to get there, he’s got to be twice as disciplined. He’s got to do things above and beyond. And quite frankly, he has,” says Bob Stuart, Dixon’s best friend.

When we met, Stuart regaled me with stories of how Dixon had worked to transform his life. He even had a folder with copies of various certificates Dixon had earned while behind bars — business courses, self-improvement seminars — a thick stack documenting hours logged in a quest for change. A successful engineer, Stuart met Dixon through a mutual friend who thought Dixon could use a mentor. But 16 years later, it’s clear that relationship has evolved. “I’m doing everything I can to salvage some part of the second half of my life,” says Robert Dixon Jr. “I consider him my best friend,” says Stuart. “Hard to believe that someone inside prison would be, but he’s a person I trust absolutely.”

Psychopaths are experts at appearing as a person they are not. They spend their entire lives fooling the people around them. It is a skill that they have.  It is a skill that they practice.

Also, we can not forget that Mr. Dixon’s motivation can be just to get out. Self improvement courses do not change a man, he must want to really change. I have known criminals that take classes just because they know that they have to for a lesser punishment. They pass the classes and even their instructor will say how much they have changed. Then a few months later they are arrested again for a similar crime.

Dixon’s goal, Stuart told me, was not just to get out of prison on parole. Once out, he wanted to do good. Dixon says the same. “I’m not proud of my life,” he told me when I visited him in a maximum security prison in Vacaville, Calif. “I’ve hurt people. I’ve disappointed myself. I’ve ruined my life. And I’m doing everything I can to salvage some part of the second half of my life.”

So who is the real Robert Dixon — the one the test sees, or the one his friends and family see?

I would test that test more than his friends and family. The test does not have an emotional interest in him.

Canadian psychologist Robert Hare began studying psychopaths in the 1960s, and it’s easy to forget now — in part because Hare’s work has made the concept of the psychopath so commonplace — but a half-century ago, research on psychopaths was considered both obscure and largely irrelevant to understanding crime. Back then, Hare says, there was a very clear consensus about where crime came from: Criminals were made, not born. “In those days, social factors, environmental factors were the explanation for all crime,” Hare says. “When you’re born, you’re a blank slate, and I can train you to be anything you want — a doctor, a dentist.” Hare, for one, didn’t fully buy this. He thought inborn personality was important. He says that as a psychologist, when he looked at people, he just saw incredible differences in temperament: differences in impulsivity, differences in the capacity for empathy, for feeling guilt. “We have individual differences in intelligence,” Hare says. “Well, we should have individual differences in the personality traits that are responsible or related to crime.”

Robert Hare, the psychologist who created the PCL-R test for psychopaths, at first resisted giving the checklist to people in the criminal justice system. But he ultimately agreed to publish the test officially so anyone could use it.

Hare set out to dissect the personality traits that might predispose people to criminality. To do this, he recruited the help of inmates at a prison some 30 miles down the road from his office at the University of British Columbia. “The offenders in those days had hardly ever been studied,” Hare says, “and they were very interested in what I was doing. They would all volunteer. And in fact, one of the head inmates there — the one at the top of the heap — actually held a public address (because in those days they could congregate in groups of four or five hundred) and said, ‘Look, this sounds interesting, I’m in.’ And then everybody else said, ‘I’m in, too.’ ”

Hare set up a lab and started pumping out studies on the prisoners.

In one experiment, he placed the prisoners in chairs and told them that in 30 seconds he was going to zap them with an intense electrical shock. Then Hare measured their heart rate to see if that information bothered them. Most of the prisoners were bothered, but a small subset weren’t. “Most people show lots of emotional arousal, anticipatory fear, anxiety, while they’re waiting for the shock to occur,” Hare says. “Psychopaths, hardly any.”

Another time, Hare showed prisoners both highly emotional and totally neutral pictures — a picture of a rape, say, versus one of a table. And again, he measured their physical response. He found that for most prisoners, the emotional pictures prompted a very different reaction than did the pictures of a table or chair. “But with psychopaths, there’s no difference,” Hare says. “They treat these horrific pictures as if they were neutral pictures — no difference whatsoever between them.”

Ultimately, this work led Hare to theorize that people with psychopathic personalities were essentially emotionally deaf. They simply did not have the capacity to feel, in a firsthand way, emotions like empathy and love and remorse. “It’s sort of like trying to explain to a colorblind person what the color red is,” Hare says. “Can we teach a colorblind person how to see red, what red is? You can have all the dictionary definitions you want, but the person will never quite get it.”

While Hare was making progress in his research on psychopathic personality, his work was still regarded as marginal, in part because the field of psychopath research in general was in chaos. One major problem: the lack of a clear and standardized way to identify who was a psychopath and who was not. There was no way to measure psychopathy, as it’s known.

Hare says it’s hard to overestimate just how large an issue this is for a community of scientists. “Science cannot progress without reliable and accurate measurement of what it is you are trying to study,” he says. “The key is measurement, simple as that.” And so Hare decided to make a way to measure: a test for psychopaths.

Hare sat down with his research assistant and together they wrote down all the personality traits they’d consistently seen in the psychopaths they’d studied. Things like lack of empathy, lack of remorse, manipulation, egocentricity, impulsivity, superficial charm, psychological lying.

For each of these qualities, Hare wrote up a description so it would be clear what he meant by, say, lack of empathy.

Psychologists using the test were supposed to ask the prisoners a series of questions to determine whether the trait was present.

If it was there, the prisoner got 2 points; if it wasn’t, zero; if the psychologist couldn’t tell, 1 point was awarded.

The test listed 20 traits to check, and so Hare called it the Psychopath Checklist. Scores were totaled at the end — 40 was the highest score, but anything over 30 certified the test taker as a psychopath.

Hare next tested his test to make sure that it was “scientifically reliable” — that two people using the test on the same person would reach the same conclusion about whether that person was a psychopath. In research settings, the PCL-R’s reliability appeared astonishingly good. Voila! The test was born! It was 1980.

For about five years, Hare’s test did exactly what he wanted it to do: make the science of psychopathy better. Psychopathy researchers from around the world bombarded Hare’s lab with requests to use the PCL-R. They published study after study on their findings. Then, in the mid-’80s, one of Hare’s students, an undergraduate named Randy Kropp, decided to conduct a different kind of study using the PCL-R.

Kropp selected a group of prisoners with high, low and moderate scores on the PCL-R, then followed them after their release from prison. He wanted to see whether prisoners with high scores were more likely to commit crimes than those with low scores once they were out on parole. About a year later, he published his findings. “Those who had low scores on the PCL-R, about 20 to 25 percent would be re-convicted within four or five years,” says Hare. “In the high group, it was about 80 percent.” So a parolee who scored high had an 80 percent chance of committing another offense within the next five years. Low scorers had just a 20 percent chance of recidivism.

These results were shocking at a time when most researchers believed criminal behavior was primarily the result of poor environments. A number of very famous psychological experiments had help create this impression: There was the Stanford Prison Experiment, and Stanley Milgram’s obedience-to-authority study (in which normal people gave electrical shocks to a person they couldn’t see because someone in a white coat told them to), as well as B.F. Skinner’s work on conditioning.

Suddenly, the PCL-R — a personality test used only in marginal academic research — appeared to identify the world’s most serious chronic criminals. The research community was stunned, says Stephen Hart, a former student of Hare’s who is now a leader in the field of psychopathy research. “Here we are using a diagnosis of personality disorder to predict criminal behavior, and it’s working!” says Hart. “An old psychologist Jacob Cohen called this the intraocular effect, like it just really hit you between the eyes.” Its predictive ability made the test potentially useful outside the lab.

Shortly after Kropp’s finding went public, Hart recalls, Hare’s lab got a visit from Canada’s National Parole Board. It wanted the test: “They said quite literally, ‘What we want to do is give everybody this test, and then have the test score written in big red numbers on the front of the file. No parole board should be able to make a decision without having some knowledge of whether or not somebody is psychopathic!’ ”

But at least initially, Hare was deeply concerned about letting people in the criminal justice system use the PCL-R. He feared that the test, created purely for research purposes, might be used incorrectly in the real world and could hurt people. Hare was particularly worried, he says, because by that point, the test had become widely respected as a scientifically reliable instrument. “The potential for misuse of an instrument that has solid scientific credentials is very great,” Hare says. “And the reason is people say, ‘ Well, it’s got solid scientific credentials — it’s really, really good. It must be good.’ So my apprehensions were there from the very, very beginning.”

For years, Hare made it clear to his students that he would not give the test out to anyone working in the criminal justice system, according to Hart. “He said, ‘I’m never giving the checklist to people who work in the criminal justice system. I’m just going to give it to scientists who do nothing, as opposed to people who actually try to make decisions,’ ” Hart recalls. “And we actually had a lot of value or moral discussions about that. About whether we should actually restrict that information to certain kinds of scientists who promised not to do anything useful with it.”

According to Hart, Hare’s students argued that scientists don’t really have the right to withhold knowledge once that knowledge exists. Ultimately, Hare agreed, and published his test officially so that anyone could use it. Which is how the test ended up being used in the criminal justice system in America, on people like Robert Dixon.

Charles Carbone, Dixon’s lawyer, is a small, wiry man with an intense gaze and perfect diction. He tells me that two years ago, when Dixon’s psychological evaluation arrived in the mail, he was devastated. “I remember reading the report and feeling heartbroken,” Carbone says, “because I knew no matter how hard I worked from that day forward, that when I brought him back to the board, we were going to get denied.” In California, the governor, along with the parole board, must sign off on every parole granted. Carbone says there’s just no benefit — and considerable risk — associated with being seen as soft on crime. And, he points out, there’s no political cover if the prisoner re-offends. “The headline will be: Well, The Psychologist Told You So. There is no political upside,” Carbone says. “They only have something to lose by allowing these lifers to go home.” Which is why few people with Dixon’s test scores ever do go home.

Still, Carbone is trying to fight it. He hired Peter Bradlee, a forensic psychologist, to evaluate Dixon. Like Dixon’s friends and family, Bradlee concluded that Dixon is not a psychopath. “I concluded that he has developed, among other things, a sense of caring, an ability to be compassionate with other people, that he’s matured in that way,” Bradlee says. Obviously, Bradlee and Dixon’s friends and family could be wrong: Dixon could be a psychopath. But in recent years, use of the PCL-R in the criminal justice system has come under more intense criticism. Among the critics: its creator, Robert Hare.

Hare says he has come to feel that some of his initial fears about the test’s potential for misuse have come to pass. “I feel ambivalent about it,” Hare says. While Hare remains a strong believer that his test works well for the kind of basic scientific research that it was originally designed for, he and others have begun to wonder if it does as good a job outside the lab. “Once you get into the real world, there does seem to be some lessening of reliability,” says Daniel Murrie, a professor at the University of Virginia who has studied what happens when psychological tests are taken from a rarefied research environment and transferred to the rough-and-tumble world of criminal justice.

About four years ago, Murrie decided to study the PCL-R to look at what happened when a psychologist hired by the prosecution gave Hare’s test to the same prisoner as a psychologist hired by the defense. Did those two psychologists give the same score to the same person? The answer, says Murrie, was no. “Ten, 15, even 20-point score differences we found,” he says, ” And overall there was about an 8-point difference in scores.” The question is why. One possibility, Murrie argues, is that the psychologists using the test in prisons and courts might not be well-trained. “We don’t know if the people giving the test in the field have gotten formal, rigorous training, or if they’ve just sort of bought the manual and maybe read a couple of papers and just decided to start using it,” Murrie says. But Murrie thinks it’s also something else.

He says that in his study, psychologists hired by the prosecution consistently gave higher scores than psychologists employed by the defense. Probably, Murrie says, because they’re being paid for those opinions, and that money influences them.

As for Hare, he sees both this bias and the lack of training as a problem. It really seems to bother him. “I’m very concerned about the inappropriate use of this instrument for purposes that have serious implications for individuals and for society,” Hare says. “It shouldn’t work that way.” In fact, Hare says, he is so disturbed by some of what he has seen as he has traveled through America training psychologists in use of the PCL-R, that he sometimes has trouble focusing on the way his test could be affecting people’s lives. “I think about this periodically, and I probably try to suppress it,” Hare says. “I do disassociate myself from it. I mean, if I thought about every potential use or misuse of the instrument, I probably wouldn’t sleep at all.”

Of course, Dixon’s family is convinced that there has been a misuse of Hare’s test, and convinced, too, that this error will somehow, miraculously, be corrected. They even have a home waiting for Dixon when that correction finally happens. When I went to visit Robert’s father at his home, he took me down a hallway and showed me a neatly prepared, fully equipped second bedroom. It was, he told me, for his son.

I’m very concerned about the inappropriate use of this instrument for purposes that have serious implications for individuals and for society. It shouldn’t work that way.

For most of their lives, these two men had serious difficulties. But somehow that conflict, Dixon Sr. says, has passed. “We put more value on each other,” he tells me. “We found a need for us.” Robert Dixon will have a new parole hearing in 2014. If he goes to that hearing with the psychological evaluation that he currently has — which he’s slated to do — it’s very likely he will be denied.

Meanwhile, use of the PCL-R continues to spread; it’s now mandated by statute in several states. And the test has helped cause a shift in our ideas about where crime comes from as well. The idea that criminal behavior is primarily a product of poor environments has much less power today, in part because Hare’s work seemed to teach us that crime resides inside the person. Inborn personality traits, like empathy, can influence whether people participate in crime. When you think about criminals this way — as people who are almost genetically predisposed to crime — you are much less likely to invest in their rehabilitation than if you saw their acts as the product of unfortunate environmental circumstances. This is why it’s so important to figure out if bias and bad training are affecting Hare’s test to the point that it is potentially mislabeling people. After all, once someone is labeled as a psychopath, what can you do with him? Nothing but lock him away.



I agree that we need to make sure that the people giving / grading and scoring these tests need to be trained properly. I also think that they should always be independent and never informed of who the person is. This can be done by having one person administer another grade and a third actually score. There are ways to make sure that the results are not contaminated.

As a tool this test is indispensable. Not using it would be a miscarriage of justice.

Too Soon To Tell If Skeletal Remains Belong To Ted Bundy Victim, Expert Says


There has been speculation online and in the media that skeletal remains found in Washington State could be linked to notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. It’s not the first time the discovery of human remains has sparked such a report, but at least one expert says it is far too soon to begin drawing any parallels between this victim and the dozens claimed by Bundy.

“It is reasonable to wonder but it’s also reasonable to be open-minded enough to realize that a lot of murders happen and they weren’t all committed by an infamous killer. As always, one has to look at the evidence to sort that out,” Dr. Park Dietz told The Huffington Post.

Dietz is president of Park Dietz & Associates, which has given court testimony or been consulted on numerous serial killer cases, including those involving Jeffrey Dahmer, the Green River murders and the D.C. snipers.

Twenty-two-year-old Kerry May-Hardy’s remains were found in a shallow grave near Suncadia Resort, a golf course in Roslyn, Wash., on Sept. 6. A backhoe operator was digging a waterline ditch when he made the discovery about two feet below the surface, police said.

When authorities exhumed the remains, they discovered the victim had been buried in blue clothing and wore a 14-karat gold ring.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office used DNA that was previously obtained from May-Hardy’s mother during the course of the Green River Killer investigation to make the positive identification.

Prior to the testing, family members had contacted law enforcement when they saw a forensic artist’s composite sketch of the victim. The family felt the sketch closely resembled their missing loved one, police said.

May-Hardy was last seen in June 1972, near the Capitol Hill area of Seattle. According to police, she was married at the time and her disappearance was reported to the Seattle Police Department by her mother.

“She was fun … she was my sister,” May-Hardy’s sibling, Carlee Norwood, told Seattle’s KIRO-TV Channel 7.

Even though she was just 9 years old when her sister disappeared, Norwood said neither she nor any of her family members has ever forgotten her.

“She was very close with our whole family, with everybody,” Norwood said.

Kerry Mayhardy
Kerry May-Hardy

Now that the identification of the victim has been made, officials have the daunting task of trying to determine who buried her in the shallow grave nearly four decades ago.

According to local media reports, the location where May-Hardy was found was isolated and wooded at the time she went missing. Its location is also about five miles from Interstate 90 — an area familiar to Bundy, who had dumped victims along the same corridor.

Bundy is believed to have murdered dozens of women in Utah, Idaho, Washington and Colorado throughout the 1970s. He was captured in Florida in 1978 following the murders of two college students and a 12-year-old girl.

Bundy received the death sentence for the Florida crimes. On Jan. 24, 1989, he was executed.

Before his execution, Bundy confessed to killing more than 50 women. Some suspect the true number could be nearly double that.

The majority of Bundy’s known victims were attractive young women with long, straight hair parted in the middle. A recent photo police released of May-Hardy is eerily similar to the images of many of Bundy’s victims, but Dietz warned not to put much stock in it.

“I know that it is considered one of the obvious truths among layman that serial killers look for a common type — and Bundy is one source of that myth — but it is generally not true,” the serial-killer expert said. “They look for whoever is available and attractive enough. So, any resemblance between this woman and Bundy’s victims, I don’t find very persuasive.”

The Kittitas County, Wash., Sheriff’s Office did not return calls for comment.

Speaking with Seattle’s KOMO News, Undersheriff Clayton Meyers said investigators were still looking into the possibility that May-Hardy could be a Bundy victim.

“We’ll look into everything,” he said. “We’ll be working with the Seattle and King County investigators who are responsible for those [Bundy] cases. We don’t have anything at this point — it’s very early.”

Investigators will have to start, Dietz said, by determining the “circumstances of this girl’s life before she disappeared and where Bundy was in 1972.”

Anyone with information regarding Kerry May-Hardy in 1972 is asked to contact Detective Andrea Blume at (509) 962-7069.

By David Lohr

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