Doss met third husband Arlie Lanning through the lonely hearts column. Lanning died of apparent heart failure, but the house, which Lanning had left to his sister, burned down, leaving the insurance proceeds for Doss. Before Doss left town, Lanning's mother died in her seat. Doss had gone to her sister Dovie's house, and, shortly after Doss' arrival, Dovie died in her sleep. Doss married fourth husband Richard Morton, poisoned her mother, and then killed Morton. Doss married Samuel Doss, and killed him four months after their marriage. Doss had taken out two life insurance policies on her husband. The doctor ordered an autopsy because of the life insurance policies, and the cause of death was determined to be poison. This led to a serious injury that permanently disfigured Aileen. She was physically abused by the maternal grandmother who raised her. Furthermore, Aileen engaged in deviant sexual behavior. She reported having sex with her brother and was definitely promiscuous at an early age. She had a child at 14. She also had a personal history of suicidal tendencies, as well as suicide in the family; the grandfather who raised her committed suicide. Just these few facts suggest that Wuornos will have many of the traits identified by Norris' as concomitant with serial-killer tendencies.
When Nannie was arrested, she maintained an eerily cheerful demeanor for the public. She giggled and laughed, not showing remorse for her actions, or even seeming to clearly comprehend what she had done. She confessed to killing her husbands, her mother, her sister, her grandson, and her mother-in-law. She was charged with the murder of Samuel Doss, pleaded guilty to the crime, and received a life sentence. She was never prosecuted for the other murders. Nannie died in prison.
Nannie's story demonstrates several factors that link her to a serial killer. First, unlike Belle, Nannie's motives were not always financial; she did not always profit from her murders. Furthermore, she had a difficult childhood, raised by a stepfather who beat her and her mother. She was most likely the product of an unplanned pregnancy, since her mother was a single mother. Nannie reported receiving a head injury when she was a child, and she blamed it for her violent behavior. Furthermore, Nannie was known to have mood swings, which could have been indicative of a biochemical imbalance. Her father prohibited her from dating, which actually made her different from her peers, and could be described as an outwardly-imposed sexual deviance. Once married, she engaged in several extra-marital affairs, in a pursuit of true love. In fact, her reported reason for killing her husbands was not for financial gain, but because they had grown boring and dull (Geringer, Nannie, 2009).
The final woman to be examined, Aileen Wuornos, most closely fits the stereotype that most people have of serial killers. In fact, like many male serial killers, she had a very troubled childhood. Her mother married her biological father at 15 and divorced him at 17. The father was a physically abusive pedophile who liked to torture animals and who committed suicide. It is easy to speculate that Aileen was the result of an unwanted pregnancy, since her mother was 17 and divorcing her husband when pregnant with Aileen. Moreover, Aileen's mother abandoned her. Aileen and her brother began setting fires as ...
What is fascinating is that Wuornos, whose personal history so strongly suggests the characteristics Norris identified in serial killers, killed the most like male serial killers. She selected random victims. While it is true that Wuornos was a prostitute, it cannot be assumed that all of her victims were johns. On the contrary, Wuornos' confessions suggest that she would pick up some of the men while hitchhiking, offer them sex, then kill them and rob them. She claims that her first victim raped her, a claim that may have been accurate, because he had a history of sexual violence, but her claims that all of her subsequent victims also tried to rape her seem unlikely. She seemed unwilling to accept blame for her actions, while, at the same time, intervening in her defense to prevent her appellate attorneys from stopping her execution. All of these factors paint a complex portrait of someone who knew she had done something wrong, but may have lacked a mechanism for feeling remorse about it. That facet is similar to the mainstream portrayal of serial killers. However, it is clear that Wuornos was motivated by money. She was desperate to try to keep her live-in girlfriend, and used the money from the murders to finance their very meager standard-of-living. That facet of Wuornos story suggests that while Wuornos, like Belle and Nannie, may have exhibited many of the same features as the male serial killers, the innate differences between men and women may mean that male and female serial killers should be approached in different ways.
Brown, P. (2009). Serial killer myths exposed. Retrieved October 5, 2009 from Crime Library
Web site: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/profiling/s_k_myths/2.html
Geringer, J. (2009). Belle Gunness. Retrieved October 6, 2009 from Crime Library
Web site: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/history/gunness/index_1.html
Geringer, J. (2009). Black widows: veiled in their own web of darkness. Retrieved October 5,
2009 from Crime Library
Web site: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/psychology/widows/1.html
Geringer, J. (2009). Nannie Doss: lonely hearts lady loved her man to death. Retrieved October
6, 2009 from Crime Library
Web site: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/women/doss/1.html
Norris, J. (1988). Serial killers: the growing menace. New York: Doubleday.
Macleod, M. (2009). Aileen Wuornos: killer who preyed on truck drivers. Retrieved October 6,
2009 from Crime Library
Web site: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/women/wuornos/1.html
Ressler, Robert K. And Schachtman, T. (1992). Whoever fights monsters: my twenty years hunting serial killers…
This led to a serious injury that permanently disfigured Aileen. She was physically abused by the maternal grandmother who raised her. Furthermore, Aileen engaged in deviant sexual behavior. She reported having sex with her brother and was definitely promiscuous at an early age. She had a child at 14. She also had a personal history of suicidal tendencies, as well as suicide in the family; the grandfather who raised her committed suicide. Just these few facts suggest that Wuornos will have many of the traits identified by Norris' as concomitant with serial-killer tendencies.
This is in direct contrast to male serial killers, who more often select random, unknown individuals as their victims (Mouzos & West, 2007). In fact, it is estimated that around 70% of female serial killers select family members or someone who is dependent on them as a victim. An example of this is both filicide and infanticide, which are crimes most commonly committed by women (Aki, 2003, cited in
Female Serial Killers Investigate criminal profiling used by the F.B.I. Of female serial killers and provide law enforcement with information on identifying them. While it is a fact that a male serial killer would commit murders based on sex, in other words, sex related crimes, a female serial killer is a much more complicated and complex character, whose motivations in committing the crime of murder is manifold and range over a wide
Female Serial Killers The notion of female serial killers often appears as the minority of cases in the history of serial murder and serial killers. It's as if there is a part of society that refuses to believe that women are just as capable of mass murder as some of the more horrific murderers of our time. Still, while we may not, off the top of our head, be able to
Currently the DSM-IV refers to both these as antisocial personality disorder with the following criteria: A. Pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, occurring since age 15 as indicated by at least three of the following: 1. Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior. 2. Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or
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Dr. Gary Kaniuk Consultation Triage & Testimony in Forensic Psychology Yvette Riley Female Serial Killers -- An Introduction The heinous act of murder has been outlawed by various authorities, states, jurisdictions, and by many religions for thousands of years. One of the best known of the Ten Commandments ("Thou Shalt Not Kill") is explicitly clear on killing. But when the perpetrator kills more than one person, and continues the killing at intervals, it is