Dysfunctional Minds: 6 Common Personality Disorders of Criminals

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Photo courtesy of canterbury.ac.uk.

It’s the unique personalities of people who help make this world an interesting place. Generally, our one-of-a-kind character traits are just harmless little quirks. But sometimes, there is a dark side to our eccentric personalities.

This is because, some of us have developed unique traits in a very dysfunctional, extreme manner. And,  these deviant behaviors generally equate to some form of a personality disorder.

Not everyone who has a personality disorder is a criminal, but many outlaws display the traits of at least one of the following six brain disorders.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

The term ‘schizoid’ means a person who has a natural tendency to direct attention to their inner life, and away from the world outside. People who suffer from schizoid personality disorder are generally aloof and detached. And they have no desire to form close personal relationships. Their indifferent to social norms, and to the people they encounter.

Of course, many of us are aloof. But these people take aloofness to the extreme. The strong feelings of detachment, and their rejection of societal conventions can lead people with schizoid personality disorder into trouble with the law.

Why? Because they have no interest in society – or its rules.

Borderline Personality Disorder

As one of the most volatile of the disorders, people who suffer from borderline personality often experience severe feelings of emptiness, and fear of abandonment. These traits lead to extreme emotional instability, which then results in unstable relationships filled with outbursts of anger and violence.

The prevailing characteristic of borderline personality disorder is a lack of “sense of self.” Sufferers often act in very impulsive manners, and react to external stimuli in very extreme ways. People with borderline personality disorder are prone to self-harm, and suicidal tendencies.

Due to the impulsive aspect of this disorder, coupled with low self-esteem and anger issues, there is no mystery as to why so many prisoners have been characterized as having borderline personality disorder.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The narcissist. One of the most well-known, and reviled of the personality disorders. And why is that? Because – those who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder exhibit extreme entitlement, self-importance and self-admiration. Their constant impulse to exploit others for their own personal gain reveals another one of their traits – lack of empathy.

These self-absorbed, controlling types can easily fly off the handle into an intense rage if they feel slighted. This ‘narcissistic rage’ can often lead to catastrophic results, including a prison sentence for the narcissist.

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Photo courtesy of kare11.com.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

People who have developed avoidant personality disorder are debilitatingly shy – with the added bonus of possessing an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. Sadly, these people are extremely socially inept, and have a constant fear of being embarrassed or rejected.

The constant cycle of overly monitoring their own internal reactions to situations leads to more socially awkward encounters, which in turn – results in more negative internal feelings. A pervasive pessimistic outlook controls their life. This often results in self-sabotaging behavior, which may encompass criminal actions.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

The dreaded and destructive antisocial personality disorder. Found to be more common in men than in women, this disorder can lead to many societal problems. A person who suffers from this disorder has a complete disregard for social rules and obligations, and has no concern for the feelings of others. Many with antisocial personality disorder are described as callous, irritable and aggressive.

Their absence of any feeling of guilt can lead to obvious problems. People with antisocial personality disorder rarely learn any positive behaviors from past inappropriate actions, so they just continue to act in very asocial patterns throughout their lives.

One notable aspect of people with this disorder, is that they can often appear to have many positive relationships due to their superficial charm. Though they may have relationships, they are generally turbulent and short-lived. Because the other party eventually discovers that the outward charm is just that – completely external with no internal depth.

Antisocial personality disorder is the brain disorder that is the most closely aligned with criminal activity. Hence, people who suffer from this disorder are more likely than not to have a criminal record.

Dependent Personality Disorder

This disorder is marked by an obsessive need to be cared for, and looked after, by another. These people also have a complete lack of self-confidence, and they require a great deal of help in making simple everyday decisions.

People with this disorder feel helpless, and inadequate. They abdicate responsibility for their own life over to someone who they see as more powerful and competent. The disorder is characterized by having a naïve, and almost child-like outlook on life (but not in a positive manner.) Because, this naivety opens them up to abuse and exploitation.

Having a strong desire to please their ‘master,’ dependents may engage in criminal behavior in order to satisfy the needs of a highly dysfunctional relationship.

Although personality disorders are not the same as mental disorders, such as bipolar and schizophrenia, they still cause significant life impairment. It has been estimated that approximately 10% of the population suffers from some form of a personality disorder.

This number is up for debate, depending on where clinicians draw the line between “impairment” and “significant impairment.” But, regardless of the official diagnosis, it is probably prudent for people to seek professional help whenever a personality trait begins to impair your life.

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You can WIN 50 Fast-Paced THRILLERS! #Giveaway #BookSweeps

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Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you. I’ve teamed up with 50
fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of fast-paced thrillers to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner! Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering? You can win my novel
DEAD COLD, plus books from authors like Steve Hadden and Britney King.
Enter the giveaway by clicking here:
You have until December 11, 2017
Good luck, and enjoy!
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DEAD COLD

During my blog tour, this was one of the amazing book reviews that DEAD COLD received. I wanted to share it. Thank you Sevina Hawke’s Books 🙂

Sefina Hawke's Books

DeadCold

Title: DEAD COLD
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 326
Genre: Crime Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design—and execute.

On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time.

Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in reinforcements—the FBI.

Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to…

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Blog Tour – DEAD COLD

I had a great time on my blog tour with Pump Up Your Book! Here are a few stops that were exceptionally fun. Here on C.A. Milson’s blog you find out the story behind DEAD COLD and the Emily Stone Thriller Series.

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Dead Cold Blog Tour

About the Author

 Jennifer Chase

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

Her latest book is the crime thriller, Dead Cold.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

 DeadCold

Title: DEAD COLD
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 326
Genre: Crime Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops…

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DNA Justice in 2017: 3 Cold Case Murders Solved by Forensics

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Photo courtesy of nbcphiladelphia.com

Justice eluded these murder victims for many years. But, due to the hard work of detectives, and advancements in DNA analysis – the killers were identified. And justice was served.

The Killing of Wendy Jo Halison

It was 1968 on a quiet Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. A 22-year old art student named Wendy Jo Halison parked her car on a busy street. And then ran some errands. Halison finished shopping, got into her car and then filled up the gas tank.

The young woman was never seen alive again. A day after she went missing, Halison’s body was found stuffed into the trunk of her car.

Police determined that she was the victim of a sexual assault. Evidence was gathered. And, based on the strangulation that caused her death, law enforcement was convinced the murder was done by someone who knew her well.

So, the men in her life were all questioned. And released. No one was arrested for Halison’s murder.

The case went cold.

Then, after nearly 48 years, a break in the case finally emerged.

After the LAPD revisited the file, detectives discovered semen on Halison’s clothing. They ran a DNA test. And then drew blood from the four main suspects – the men who knew her well prior to the killing. All four men were cleared.

Detectives then expanded their search to national databases. They found the killer – Edwin Dean Richardson. A man who had a criminal record dating back to his childhood. Thirteen years after Halison’s death, Richardson was arrested in Ohio for the murder of another woman.

After digging deeper, it appeared that Richardson may have been a serial killer, who targeted young, attractive brunettes.

By the time the LAPD had enough evidence to indict the killer, Richardson had already been dead about four years.

Oregon Murder

On March 9, 1979, Janie Landers disappeared. At the time, she was an 18-year old resident at the Fairview Training Center for the developmentally disabled in Salem, Oregon. Five days later, her mutilated and severely stabbed body was found in a nearby remote field.

Petite, and functioning at the level of an 8-year old child, Landers was last seen entering a stranger’s car. All the leads wound up being dead ends. No one was ever arrested.

Landers’ younger sister consistently pushed for the case to be revisited. And, over the course of the next 30 years, the case was revisited on several occasions. But, the murder was never solved.

Then, in March 2015, the case was given to a detective in the Major Crimes unit of the state police. It was his very first cold case. After he and some colleagues examined photos of the victim’s wounds, they determined that the suspect may have injured themselves while stabbing Landers.

Detectives then examined the shirt worn by the victim. Fortunately, the shirt was stored properly, so the DNA evidence remained viable. They ran the DNA analysis findings through the FBI’s database. The killer was found – Gerald Dunlap.

Dunlap worked in the laundry room at Fairview at the time of the killing. Investigators uncovered that the facility where Landers was a resident had been closed in 2000 due to allegations of rampant abuse. They also discovered that the killer had been convicted of rape in 1961, and sexual abuse of a family member in 1996.

Although they found the killer. It was too late. In 2002, Dunlap died in prison.

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Photo courtesy of nbcnews.com

The Murder of Righteous Brothers’ Former Wife Karen Sue Klaas

On January 30, 1976, Karen Sue Klaas was found barely alive at her home in Hermosa Beach, California. Klaas was sexually assaulted, and strangled with her own pantyhose. She was in a coma for the next five days, and then passed away in the hospital.

Klaas was a 32-year old mother. And the former wife of singer Bill Medley, who  was part of the famed duo – the Righteous Brothers. Although the police had several leads during the initial investigation. No suspect was ever arrested. The case went cold for over 40 years.

The man who was eventually determined to be the killer, had been one of the initial suspects. His name is Kenneth Troyer, and he had allegedly committed two sexual assaults in the area near Klaas’ home.

Troyer, however, was able to allude justice for her death. But, several years after the murder, Troyer was convicted of armed robbery. After being sent to maximum security prison in the Central Coast of California, he escaped.

Troyer headed south, and was on the lam in Orange County before being shot dead by police.

Almost 41 years after Klaas’ death, police were still determined to see if Troyer was, in fact, the killer. So, they used a rather controversial technique called “familial DNA.” Essentially, the technique is used to find “close to perfect” matches among relatives of a convict.

One of Troyer’s relatives had been locked up years prior, and at that time – DNA evidence was extracted from the relative. Police matched the Klaas crime scene DNA to the DNA from Troyer’s relative. It was a match. Troyer was the killer.

The Klaas murder was the longest open murder case in the history of Hermosa Beach. Finally, Klaas’ relatives found a little justice.

It’s truly amazing how dedicated these police departments and family members were in their pursuit of justice. Do you know of any fascinating solved cold cases that should be included on this list?

Click on more articles that might be of interest:

 

The Future of Forensics: 5 Cutting Edge Techniques

8 Key Traits of Highly Effective Detectives

10 Common Traits of Career Criminals

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Holiday Mayhem: 5 Thanksgiving Crime Mysteries

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Photo courtesy of baytowncrimestoppers.com.

The true purpose of Thanksgiving is to show gratitude for the wonderful things in your life. And to celebrate that appreciation with your loved ones.

Unfortunately though, for some, the holiday does not represent gratitude. But rather, the day has become synonymous with grief and terror.

Here are 5 horrific Thanksgiving crimes that have yet to be solved.

Exploding Briefcase

It was Thanksgiving 1985 in Lake Worth, Texas. A few members of the Blount family were returning home after a quick drive to the convenience store. When they arrived, 15-year old Angela Blount discovered a briefcase on the front porch of the family’s residence.

So, Angela decided to open the bag, which exploded. Angela died immediately, along with her father and cousin. The crime went unsolved for a decade. Then, a man named Michael Tony was arrested and convicted for the triple murder of the Blount family.

Years later, Toney’s conviction was overturned. Toney’s exoneration was a result of the prosecution’s withholding of crucial evidence that casted serious doubt on his guilt.

Officials have speculated that the killings were a case of mistaken identity, and that the briefcase was intended for their neighbors. This theory, however, never gained traction. And, no further evidence was ever produced in the case.

To date, no one has been held accountable for the crime.

Eureka Vanishing

It was 1997, and a seemingly quiet Thanksgiving in Eureka, California. A college student named Karen Marie Mitchell was home for the holiday to see her family and earn a couple of bucks at a part-time job.

After leaving work, Karen stopped by her aunt’s shoe store for a quick visit. They chatted for a bit, and then Karen headed home to prepare for the family’s Thanksgiving feast.

Sadly, Karen was never seen again.

Suspects were identified. The first person of interest was brought in, and admitted to several killings, but denied any involvement in Karen’s disappearance. Police eventually released him, as it became apparent they had the wrong guy.

Then, the next suspect was questioned. It was Robert Durst, the infamous killer that was profiled on HBO’s The Jinx. Eyewitnesses verified that Durst had visited the aunt’s shoe store on several prior occasions. And that he was in Eureka on the day of the vanishing. Unfortunately, however, the evidence tying Durst to Karen’s disappearance was weak. So, he was never held accountable for the crime.

Karen’s whereabouts remain a mystery.

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Photo courtesy of thegreatcourses.com.

A Century of Mystery

On Thanksgiving Day in 1919, a Schenectady, New York wildlife agent named John H. Woodruff left his home early in the day to conduct his daily patrol. Off into the wilderness he went, never to return home.

Two years later, Woodruff’s mutilated body was found buried in shallow grave near a forest waterway. His skull was broken in half, which indicated Woodruff had taken a blow to the  head from a rather large object.

Mrs. Woodruff claimed that her husband had received a threatening letter a few months prior to his disappearance, but that she had since discarded the note. Witnesses claim to have spotted Woodruff arguing, on the day in question, with another man. And that the two of them went off into the woods together.

None of these leads resulted in any real evidence. Not a single suspect was ever identified, and the case was never solved.

Thanksgiving John Doe

On Thanksgiving Day in 1997,  a woman was taking a stroll through the scenic landscape of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The woman was an avid bird watcher, and had spent the better part of Thanksgiving viewing these creatures in the forest near her boyfriend’s house.

Suddenly, she spotted (what she thought was) a heron. Her heart raced with excitement, as she proceeded to get a closer look. The woman’s excitement turned to horror upon realizing that what she spotted was not a heron, but rather – a pair of sneakers. And that the sneakers were attached to the decomposing body of a young man, who was wedged between rocks on the shore of the Neshaminy Creek.

The man was dressed in nice Tommy Hilfiger clothing, but he had no wallet or any sort of identification.  It’s twenty years later, and his identity and cause of death remain a mystery.

The Mystery of D.B Cooper

On Thanksgiving Eve in 1971, a man named Dan Cooper boarded a Northwest Airlines flight from Portland to Seattle. Around mid-flight, Cooper approached a flight attendant to reveal he had a bomb in his carry-on luggage. And it wasn’t a bluff.

According to the flight crew, Cooper (who the media dubbed D.B. Cooper) was exceptionally polite to everyone on board, and never showed signs of aggression during his hijacking. The pilot complied with his request to land in Seattle. And, upon landing, he asked for $200,000 in cash, and two parachutes. His demands were met by both the airline and FBI.

Once Cooper received his cash and parachutes, he released the unharmed passengers. But, the flight crew stayed onboard, and were instructed to fly directly to Mexico City. A short while into the flight to Mexico, Cooper advised the attendants to move to the cockpit, for their own safety. He then proceeded to open a cabin door, and jump out of the plane with cash in hand, and a parachute on his back.

Years later, a small portion of the stolen money was found in a forest located near Portland. But, although some of the cash was located – Cooper has never been found. In fact, no one even knows his true identity. In 2009, the FBI officially closed its file on this unsolved mystery.

These spine tingling true life mysteries confirm that we must always remain vigilant and aware of our surroundings. Are there any unsolved Thanksgiving crimes from your neck of the woods?

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Click on more articles that might be of interest:

The Future of Forensics: 5 Cutting Edge Techniques

 

8 Key Traits of Highly Effective Detectives

 

10 Common Traits of Career Criminals

 

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Silent Partner  Body of the Crime Screenwriting

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The Reality of Forensics: 6 Myths Debunked

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Photo courtesy of care2.com.

Pop culture has a fascination with the world of forensic science. Whether it’s a television show, movie or novel. The public’s thirst for crime drama is unquenchable. And that’s because, crime has an inherent conflict on multiple levels, which equals great drama!

The problem is, much of what is portrayed on the screen is not accurate.

So, in honor of the women and men who dedicate their lives to forensics—here are 6 myths exposed.

#1           Crime Scenes

Myth:  A single forensics investigator collects and analyzes all the evidence from a crime scene.

Reality: Crime scene investigations are conducted by a team of forensic experts. Each investigator is well-versed in their particular discipline, and that’s what they focus on. It could be DNA analysis, ballistics, fingerprints or some other specialization.

So, in short—the proper processing of a crime scene requires several forensic experts. Both from a collection and analysis standpoint.

To that end, once the investigators collect all the evidence present at a crime scene, the evidence is sent off-site to a lab (or labs) for analysis. At that time, highly trained scientists dissect and analyze the evidence that pertains to their discipline. From beginning to end, the process is tedious and time-consuming.

#2           Crime Investigation

Myth: Detectives analyze crime scene evidence.

Reality: This is an interesting one. The answer is both yes—and no.  Of course, detectives piece together evidence as part of their investigation into criminal activity. But, they rarely (if ever) have a role in analyzing the actual evidence collected at crime scenes

At the crime scene, detectives are obviously present. But, as stated above, specific forensic personnel are present to collect the evidence.

Once the evidence has been collected, detectives work alongside the forensic investigators, who generally enter the process after the evidence has been sent to the lab for analysis. The detective relies on the expertise of the investigator to provide them with the salient details of the evidence analysis.

Basically, the detective handling the case defers the evidence work to the experts. And how about the detective’s role? Well, they only have the monumental task of putting together the intricate puzzle of the crime elements from opportunity to motive to evidence.

#3           Forensic Psychology

Myth: Forensic science and forensic psychology are one in the same.

Reality: Well, they both have forensic in their description. And they’re both based on science. So, they must the same.

Right?

No, not exactly.

It’s true that both spheres use science to solve crimes, but that’s where the similarities end. The main difference is this: forensics is a “hard science,” in that the conclusions are based on laboratory investigations of tangible items. Think blood, bullets and fingerprints. Whereas, forensic psychology is applying psychological knowledge to the context of a legal situation. Essentially, forensic psychologists use their education and experience, and apply that understanding to issues related to the law.

So, for instance, a forensic psychologist won’t use a microscope to make a concrete determination as to whose hair fibers were left a crime scene. But, they will use their expertise to help law enforcement understand the motive behind a killer charged with First Degree Murder.

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Photo courtesy of centreofexcellence.com.

 #4           Criminal Evidence

Myth: Every single crime scene is processed for evidence.

Reality: The fact is—processing crime scenes is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. That’s why most crime scenes are not scoured for evidence. Law enforcement agencies have tight budgets, and limited resources. And sometimes, certain crimes do not make the cut for being processed.

Criminal justice agencies would love to process every single crime scene. Why wouldn’t they? More evidence would certainly bolster the investigation and eventual prosecution. However, due to the immense amount of resources exerted in the proper processing of crime scenes, many police departments either abbreviate the processing, or eliminate it altogether.

For example: large, urban police departments generally won’t process a burglary scene unless it meets a certain monetary threshold—like $5,000.

#5           Analysis of DNA

Myth: Modern DNA analysis can identify a person within minutes.

Reality: Even in ‘simple’ cases, DNA analysis takes at least several hours. And, at that point, the DNA processing is still not complete. In order for a thorough DNA analysis conclusion to be made, it generally takes 30 or more days.

So, although, the initial analysis could match someone within a few hours, such analysis is not going to be enough to convict someone.

The FBI’s Combined DNA Index System has over 8 million records, but the index does not store personal information. Thus, in order to confirm the identity of someone, the forensic investigator must scour a plethora of other databases, including convicted perps, missing persons and unsolved crimes. If that isn’t hard enough. The search has to be done sometimes at the local, state and federal levels.

#6           Criminal Profiling

Myth: A forensic psychologist exists only to conduct criminal profiling.

Reality: Criminal profiling is a fascinating, and deeply complex, discipline. But, it’s just one of many responsibilities of a forensic psychologist.

The myriad of items that forensic psychologists are tasked with include designing crime prevention programs for adults and juveniles. Advising police departments on cutting-edge criminal psychology theories, and the prevailing views on various mental illnesses. And consulting – on an array of psychological issues – with attorneys, judges and other criminal (and civil) court personnel.

Although pop culture often stretches the truth for dramatic purposes, many highly-regarded TV shows and movies use forensic consultants to ensure accuracy. In my opinion, the realism adds to the drama, as opposed to detracting from it.

Do you know of any more forensic science myths that should be demystified?

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