Cause and Effect Essay on Serial Killers

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Are serial killers made? Does abuse make serial killers?

One social factor is whether the serial killer has been abused. Many studies have found that there is a link between serial killers and abuse. A study by Mitchell and Aamodt in 2005 wanted to find the rate of abuse in a sample of convicted serial killers compared to a sample in the general population. They found that 36% of serial killers were physically abused, 26% of serial killers were sexually abused and 50% of people were psychologically abused. They also found that 32% of Serial killers were not abused. They found that 6% of the general population was physically abused, 3% was sexually abused and 2% was psychologically abused. They found that 70% of people were not abused. As a result, serial killers are more likely to have child abuse than the general population. This suggests that serial killer behavior might be caused by abuse as there is a higher percentage of people who are abused that are serial killers than the general population.

Does Maltreatment from the mother cause serial killer behavior?

Maltreatment from the mother causes serial killer behavior because we are weird to feel the bond between them is so incredibly fundamental to our survival and then when that person who is the number one priority in infancy betrays us and is stressful to the child. This suggests that serial killer behavior is caused by maltreatment from the mother because

Case Study

Henry Lucas was born on 23rd August 1936 in Blacksburg, Virginia. His dad was an alcoholic and a former railroad employee who had lost his legs in a train accident. His mother was a violent prostitute who would beat Henry Lucas and his half-brother for sometimes no reason. When Henry was a teenager, Henry was introduced to bestiality and killing animals for pleasure. When in a fight with his half-brother, he injured his eyes and did not get it looked at for 3 days. As a result, his eye became infected, and he had to have a glass eye. In 1951, Lucas killed a girl because she wanted to make sexual advances. However, he said he did not kill the girl later. He was then convicted of many accounts of burglary in 1954. He was sentenced to 6 years. He escaped prison, however, was recaptured. In late 1959, he moved to Michigan to live with Opal, his half-sister. Lucas got engaged in Michigan. However, when his mother came to visit Henry for Christmas, his mother was not happy with his son's fiancee and told him to move back to Virginia. Henry did not want to move back to Michigan, and he argued with his mother. On 12th January 1960, Henry stabbed his mother with a knife. Henry claimed that he was in bed and then woken up by his mother and his mother beat him with a broom. After killing his mother, he drove back to Virginia in a stolen car. He then drove back to Michigan, however, was arrested in Ohio. Henry said he killed his mother in self-defense however, this was not believed, and he was charged with second-degree murder with 20 - 40 years in prison. He was released on 22nd August 1975 after serving 15 years. After being released from prison, he traveled around the American South, and he met Ottis Toole. Henry claims to have an affair with Ottis' niece, Frieda Powell. During this time, Henry killed hundreds of people. After Henry agreed to go to Florida, Frieda and Henry argued at a petrol station in Bowie and Frieda left with a trucker. In June 1983, Lucas was arrested for a firearm violation, however, was later charged with the murder of 82-year-old Kate Rich and the murder of Frieda. Henry claims that the police stripped him naked, did not allow him to contact a lawyer, did not allow bedding and a cigarette, and was in a cold cell. After four days, he confessed to all his crimes in order to get better treatment. At the end of his statement, he wrote 'I am not allowed to contact anyone I'm alone in here by myself and still can't talk to a lawyer on this I have no rights so what can I do to convince you all about this.' The forensic evidence has been condemned as being inconclusive from Kate's and Freieda's murder. They found a bone fragment from a burning wood stove that is believed to be Rich's. They also found a mostly complete skeleton that matched Frieda's age and size. However, the coroner stopped identifying the bones before positively identifying them. He pleaded guilty to the murders of Kate and Freida. He also stated that he 'killed about a hundred women' as well. Lucas said, 'If they were going to make me confess to one, I didn't do, then I was going to confess to everything.' Henry was then taken from state to state to talk to different police agencies to help solve lots of unsolved murders. In November 1983, Henry was transferred to a jail in Williamson County Texas. There was a task force created called the Lucas Task Force. The task force officially cleared Henry of 213 murders due to his confessions. Henry claims the only reason he confessed to all the murders was to improve his condition as he said he received different treatment that was not given to other prisoners. For example, he said he was allowed to wander the police stations, and taken to restaurants and cafes. In Huntington, Henry confessed to the murder of a man that was previously ruled as a suicide. The widow received a large life insurance settlement that was earlier denied. However, the ranger, Phil Ryan became worried about the veracity of Henry's confessions Ryan would tell Henry about fictional crimes and Henry would say he had some involvement in them. When Henry confessed to a crime, a case file would be sent to the Lucas Task Force. Henry would be questioned and sometimes allowed to read the case file. As a result, he could use information that only the police had and use it in interviews. Henry claimed that Henry was part of a cannibalistic cult called 'The Hand of Death.' He said that he killed Jimmy Hoffa and gave poison to Jim Jones, the cult leader. The Texas Attorney's office issued a study in 1986 as a result of the methodology of the Lucas Task for and the reports about the Lucas Task Force. Most of the report was a timeline of Henry's claimed murders. Also in the report, they compared the murders Henry claimed to have committed to reliable sources about where Henry was at the time of the crime. They found that where the crimes were and where the reliable source said Henry did not match up, so they were unsure whether he committed the crime or not. One example is on 10th August 1977, Henry claimed to have murdered Curby Reeves in Smith County, Texas, however, he was working a full shift at the Kaolin Mushroom Company in Kaolin, Pennsylvania, which is backed by the payroll records. Another example is on 20th March 1979, Henry claimed he murdered Elaine Tollet, however, as seen in the medical records, Henry was in a hospital in Bluefield, West Virginia. Another example is Henry claimed to have been involved in a robbery-murder however, Chris Piazza, at the time, a prosecutor in Little Rock, Arkansas said that 'the testimony of Henry Lee Lucas ... is dubious, to say the least' and 'inaccurate in nearly every detail.' Henry was convicted of 11 crimes. He was sentenced to death for the murder of an unidentified woman, who got the name 'Orange Socks' as it was the only item of clothing she was wearing. She was found on Halloween 1979 in Williamson County in Texas. Henry's confession was recorded, however, showed signs of being edited, as a result, some people believed that the police removed the parts that showed they were telling Lucas about the crimes. Dan Morales said that it was highly unlikely that Henry murdered the woman named Orange Socks. He was also skeptical of the Lucas Report, however, he then ended up supporting it. Cecil Kuykendall, the Williamson County prosecutor, thought that Henry was not a suspect because his confessions showed he was not a suspect and there was evidence that Henry was in Florida working as a roofer, when 'orange sock' was killed. Henry told Shelladay, that he confessed to murder as legal suicide and that he just wanted to die. Henry said he was in deep regret and sorrow for giving false confessions, saying that he 'was not aware how crooked they [Texas authorities] were until it was too late.' Also, The Houston Chronicle article also said that Henry gave confessions for several reasons, for example, improving his conditions, wanting to embarrass the police, and feeling guilty about killing Powell and Rich. Mattox was aware that some of his confessions might not be true. In 1999 in the Rafael Resendez-Ramirez case, he said I hope they do not start pinning him [Henry] on every crime that happens near a railroad track.' Ottis Toole, Henry's supposed confederate, died from cirrhosis of the Liver in September 1996 while serving six life sentences in a Florida prison. In 1998, the Texas Board of Pardon and Parole voted to recommend changing Henry's death sentence to life imprisonment. George W Bush, the then-governor agreed to change his death sentence to life imprisonment, the only time he changed a sentence in his entire time of being governor. On 13th March 2001, Henry Lucas died in prison from heart failure aged 64. This suggests that serial killers are made because he committed crimes and might be linked to the abuse he suffered when he was a kid. As a result, this shows that if someone is abused when they are young, there is a chance they could become a serial killer.

Does being raised without a father cause serial killer behavior?

The absence of a father is the single most cause of a crime. Boys are three times more likely to go to jail if they don't have a father than peers who do have intact families. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation said that children are two times more likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime if they don't have a father and they are also three times more likely to go to jail by the age of 30 than children that live in intact families. This causes serial killer behavior because this crime could be murder and if the person is more likely to do this more than once so are more likely to become serial killers.

Does a parent's fight cause serial killer behavior?

In the 1950s, Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck, Harvard professors, did a study and found that one-third of boys from their sample from boys from houses with spouse abuse were likely to commit crimes. The number of criminal behaviors was higher in intact families with a higher amount of conflict and neglect compared to a broken home that does not have conflict. This causes serial killer behavior because if the boys come from houses with spouse abuse, they are more likely to commit crimes, which could be murder, as a result, if they commit several murders they become a serial killers and are more likely to because they are more likely to commit a crime.

Do parents break up cause serial killer behavior?

If a child's parents break up within the first five years of a child's life, the child is at risk of becoming a criminal. Most marriages usually end after about three to four years, so a large proportion of very young children see and go through the emotional pain of the start and the end of marital dissolution. This is also the time when the children are most vulnerable to disruptions in their emotional attachment to their parents, which impacts them when they become teenagers and mature. Teenagers in blended or divorced families also tend to have more behavioral problems. This causes serial killer behavior because if their parent's breakup when their child is under 5, the child could have behavioral problems and these behavioral problems could cause them to become a serial killer.

Does Being in a stepfamily cause serial killer behavior?

Issues in families where at least one of the parents is biologically the parent of the child (stepfamilies) can also have serious effects. A professor of Criminology at California Sate University, Jil Leslie Rosenbaum, in a study she conducted for the California Youth Authority of female delinquents says 'In the two-parent families examined in this study a great deal of conflict was present. Of these parents, 71% fought regularly about their children. The conflict usually came from one set of children who belong to one parent having a bad influence over the set of children who belong to the other parent as in the conflict there was 'his,' 'hers' and 'theirs' present. the type of punishment invoked, or one particular child receiving too much attention.'

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There are much higher rates of conflict outside married families that are intact. The rate of behavioral and emotional problems in children is more than double in stepfamilies. As a result, this shows that there are major effects on the amount of teenage crime due to the marriage arrangement of parents.

This causes serial killer behavior because if 71% of parents fought, this could cause double the emotional problems in stepfamilies and behavioral problems, Behavioral problems could be linked to serial killer behavior, which would then be more likely to cause them to become serial killer.

Does the influence of criminal parents cause serial killer behaviors?

Violent children usually come from violent parents. In 2007, over 1.5 million children had a father in prison and 147,000 children had a mother in prison. The children who are violent are the most likely to have seen violence and conflict between their parents. Also, they are more likely to commit many different types of crimes (become 'versatile' criminals) and are more likely to commit serious violent crimes. This causes serial killer behavior because if they have parents that have committed crimes, this crime could be murder and if they commit more than one murder, they will become a serial killer.

Does the Neighbourhood cause serial killer behavior?

Family violence that happens inside the family is one of the major contributors to teenage violence in socially disorganized neighborhoods. The neighborhood itself is, includes the youth's violent peers who are also rooted in their own broken families) is the other powerful reason, especially for a person who is more likely to commit a crime, and its culture of violence and aggression then is more likely to happen in schools. This causes serial killer behavior because if they live in a neighbourhood that has a lot of serial killers in it, the person is more likely to become a serial killer.

Does the quality of parenting cause serial killer behavior?

When a child's emotional attachment is to their parent, it helps them to become a well-adjusted adult, as a result, if a parent rejects a child, it can have major negative effects. A professor of sociology at the Lowa State University, found that 'Rejected children tend to distrust and attribute malevolent motives to others, with the result being a defensive, if not aggressive, approach to peer interactions... Such [rejecting] parents not only fail to model and reinforce prosocial behavior, but they actually provide training in aggressive noncompliant behavior. This causes serial killer behavior because if a child does not become a well-adjusted adult,

When a family rejects a child, which is the child's first and most fundamental 'community' it sets the stage for another social tragedy. Children who have been rejected are more likely to gradually drop out of normal community life. Professor Simons continues: 'Parental rejection... increased the probability of a youth's involvement in a deviant peer group, reliance upon an avoidant coping style, and use of substances.' Many other studies in the professional literature also find this. Parents and children bonding is important to help protect against youth violence. This causes serial killer behavior because if the person is more violent, this could mean the child could commit violent crimes like murder and if they commit a lot of murders, they will become a serial killer.


Overall, I think that serial killers are born, however, I think that serial killers can be influenced by what they experience when they are a child but cannot cause them to become serial killers. I think that there must be something there that can create a serial killer inside some people. This is because not everyone who is abused becomes a serial killer and if serial killers were made, most people who were abused would become serial killers. However, I do believe that nurture factors can help to make someone into a serial killer and that some serial killers would not be serial killers due to their past. However, I also believe that upbringing affects whether someone becomes a serial killer or not because if they are not taught how to behave properly as a child, they might not become a serial killer as they would have known how to behave and what is right or wrong. An example is a serial killer whose father was also a serial killer, as a result, the serial killer was not taught when he was young that murdering people was wrong so would kill people and not realize what he was doing was wrong.

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