Introducing a new factor that is not really known, biological reasoning could be the main reason behind someone becoming a serial killer. Even though it is reiterated throughout life and things like religion and punishment, why would someone still kill multiple times? This is because this is how they were born and wired into life. Using the use of genetic disorders, family history, neurology and other elements, it will be evaluated if the lesser-known biological reasoning is the most prominent reason.
Many serial killers did not have serial killer parents as such but what about the children of serial killers? Their genetics could be a reason why another killer was born. For example, the son of the “Rostov Ripper” Yuri Chikatilo, definitely turned out to be a criminal. The “Rostov Ripper” AKA Andrei Chikatilo murdered 52 women and children and even though his son did not do as bad, his son, in 2009, stabbed a man several times. Prior to this, he had been charged with fraud, extortion, rape, kidnapping and racketeering. Even after knowing his father and watching him get punished for this, it wasn’t a big enough deterrent and the crimes were still carried out.
Even though this next example is not necessarily a murderer, this person has talked about being scared that they would end up like their parents. The son of Fred & Rose West, Stephen West, has said that he was worried that he may continue his parents’ murdering life with him referring to be much like his father in nature. With him knowing it’s bad, he still thought there might be a chance for him to turn out like that.
A reason why genetics and parents may not be a cause of serial killing is that there are many examples where the children of infamous serial killers have grown up in a more behaved way. For example, the daughter of Ted Bundy, one of the worst known serial killers, Rose Bundy was conceived when Bundy was in prison. Even though there is not much on her, it was said by a Quora user that she is a good Christian and is living a happy life with her surname changed. The fact that not much is known and “Rose Bundy” has not been in the news, it is suggested that might be true. This, therefore, maybe down to her environment and her relationship with her father being non-existent. Since she had no contact with her father and had learnt that his behaviour was the cruellest, she stayed away from that life and all bad. Despite Bundy being said to be one of America’s worse serial killers, his daughter has managed to stay away from that lifestyle.
The son of Gary Ridgway, Matthew, had a good relationship with his father with plenty of contacts. He mentioned that his father was a normal dad (a ‘soccer dad). As his father was murdering on the side, Matthew would spend time on the weekend with his father. Once, Gary brought Matthew in the car with a woman. When the woman didn’t return, Gary had told Matthew that the woman decided to walk. There was another time where, while Matthew was sleeping nearby, Gary had sexual intercourse with a murdered body. Due to Gary being such a doting father and despite Gary having strong fantasies about killing from a young age, Matthew did not turn into anything like his father. This further proves that it is more likely down to the environment that a killer is made.
Talking more about science, the study of neurology and the brain can help to distinguish what makes a serial killer different to others internally. James Fallon, a neuroscientist, has analysed 15 psychopathic killers and found that compared to a healthy brain, there was a decrease in the orbital cortex and the area around the amygdala. This is the part of the brain that prevents impulsivity so the decrease of activity, means the person is more likely to make impulsive actions. The impulsivity may explain the lack of remorse that a killer may feel when killing multiple times since they did what they wanted to do quickly and afterwards it was the satisfaction of letting out anger built inside.
Using Fallon’s research, he mentioned in his book that he had conducted scans of people in his family. When looking at a certain scan, he saw that one was like those of a psychopathic killer and to his surprise, it was his own. He is a neuroscientist with no signs of becoming a serial killer which shows that despite having this slight disability in his orbital cortex, there was no effect on him. You could argue that someone’s brain may not have always been in this certain way and only developed after killing more which explains how someone can kill again but in terms of being born with it, it would be ruled out.