Characteristics of a Serial Killer

While serial killers are different in many ways, they often share similar characteristics.

Take a look:

1. Over 90 percent of serial killers are male.

2. They’re typically intelligent with an above average IQ in the “bright normal” range.

3. Despite their level of intelligence, they tend to do poorly in school. This continues into the “real world”, where they have a hard time keeping a job, and often end up working as unskilled laborers.

4. Many serial killers come from broken homes, where the father abandoned the young child, leaving him with a domineering mother.

5. A serial killer’s family often has a history of criminal activities, alcohol abuse, and/or psychiatric issues.

6. As children, serial killers commonly suffer abuse: psychological, physical, and sexual. Often the abuse comes from a family member. The child is instilled with profound feelings of humiliation and helplessness.

7. Resentment is built up against their abusive, or absent father, which leads to trouble with male authority figures. The brutal treatment from the domineering mother creates hostility toward women, the anger growing in the child’s mind with each new day.

8. A lot of serial killers hate their parents, possibly for the reasons mentioned above.

9. Psychiatric problems can surface at an early age. Many serial killers are institutionalized at some point in their childhood/teenage years.

10. As teens, they often feel suicidal.

11. Many serial killers develop an interest in deviant sexual practices at an early age. They’re into voyeurism, fetishism, and violent pornography.

12. More than 60 percent of serial killers wet their beds beyond the age of 12.

13. Serial killers are often intrigued by fires and fire starting.

14. As children, many torture small animals and insects.

Source: Internal Association of Forensic Science, an article written by FBI Special Agent Robert K. Ressler
“The Serial Killer Files,” Harold Schechter

This is not to say that all boys who are still wetting their beds beyond the age of 12 will become serial killers. Maybe the guy has something physically wrong with him. Just because a child plays with fire, doesn’t mean he’ll kill all his neighbors as he gets older. He might be curious. Maybe he’ll become a firefighter, or a pyromaniac. Yet, some of these children and teens don’t wait to become adults before they experience their first kill.

If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ll know there have been two cases of teen boys accused of killing younger girls: 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale of Clayton, N.J., and 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway of Westminster, Colorado. My thoughts go out to the families of the victims and the accused. Both have experienced a loss.

Lynnette Labelle

Romance with a dark edge