Sociopath Murderers I Have Known That Were Not Famous
I've personally met two sociopath teenage killers in my whole life. And I suppose that is enough.
Actually, I can't say that I "knew" either of them. Quite probably, even those people closest to them didn't really KNOW them, including the parents who who raised them from birth.
Mine was a distant and passing acquaintance with each, perhaps involving only a word or two of verbal exchange at the most.
One was named Tommy, and I might not have remembered him if it hadn't been for the fact that he shot his parents to death during the semester we both were in the same college art class.
I do remember that there seemed to be something a little different about him.
He wasn't an art major. Later we found out that he was studying something leading to psychology or psychiatry-- which seems a bit ironic, since he was later deemed to be criminally insane. Tommy was a bit smaller than the average college student and seemed a little nervous and unsure of himself. He may have been a Sophomore, though he seemed more like a high-schooler.
The instructor, in our life drawing class, was always suggesting that he "draw bigger". We all used large newsprint pads, at least two feet wide, to do quick studies of five minute poses o f nude models, but Tommy usually came up with an image that was about three inches high and looked like a stick figure.
I think he spent the early weeks of the class sitting far back in the room where he would be unnoticed. He wore glasses and the teacher suggested that he move up closer to the front, thinking, maybe, he could see better.
The instructor's encouragement seemed to embarrass him, and suggestions that he should "look at your subject when you draw" seemed to be the most difficult thing of all. He had a hard time looking at the nude model.
OK, some of us probably thought to ourselves, he can't really draw-- so maybe he just signed up for the class so he could come in and look at naked people, even though he could hardly even do that.
After the Christmas break-- we realized that he was the one the newspapers were writing about.
He had meticulously -- well, maybe not that meticulously --planned the death of his parents and tried to make it look like a shooting murder/suicide by locking their bedroom door from the inside with a string he had rigged to pull from outside.
A canny detective noticed some details that almost immediately cast suspicion on the son.
First, the boy didn't seem upset about the deaths. Gloves and a spent cartridge were found in his room. A scribbled note was found listing a sequence of things to do, including knocking over lamps in the room to make it look like a struggle had taken place, and putting the gun in his dead mother's hand.
He confessed rather quickly when questioned. He was sent to a mental hospital, but in 3 years he was deemed ready to stand trial. Sentenced to death, the conviction was appealed. He was then taken off death row, retried and re-sentenced to 2nd degree murder with a 5 to life term.
There may have been a possibility of parole. I was unable to find out if he was ever released. This was more than 45 years ago.
Friends of the Family
The second case was actually a little closer to home, since the murdered couple were close friends of my parents. I knew them as the Brewers. She was a petite attractive women who was well-liked and pleasant. When I think of her I always think of her as smiling and laughing. Her husband was also a sociable person, outgoing, self-confident, and slightly overbearing.
I knew they had a son who was considered a bit of a "problem child", but we rarely heard much about him. This was probably because he was often in "special schools" or camps, or maybe even juvenile detention. I think he was a couple of years older than I.
The Brewers were a part of a large circle of friends which included my parents and many couples who had known each other since high school days. I had heard rumors of Terry being in trouble, but only remember being around him one time. We had gone down to Palm Desert to a summer wedding celebration.
My parents and their circle of friends were staying in a hotel that had a small swimming pool in a lath- shaded patio. Most of the youngsters especially the girls, were chatting and relaxing in the pool that morning, keeping cool in the desert summer. The Brewers were there.
When Terry appeared at the pool, some of the girls who had met him before seemed a little concerned. It didn't take long until he was teasing, taunting and splashing water on everyone. The girls didn't want to get their hair wet before getting ready for the wedding. I got out and left, but we all soon heard his dad chewing him out and ranting loudly about his anti-social behavior. Terry didn't care. He thought it was funny.
Some of the adults thought his dad was a little hard on him, and that his angry reactions only made the kid more resentful and rebellious. I guess no one really knew the whole story of what they were dealing with.
In later days, while Terry was in a detention facility, his parents got my parents interested in a neighborhood square-dancing group, where they all saw each other every week and enjoyed each others company.
Terry was incarcerated in a juvenile "boys school" in 1957, for burglarizing a house and stealing a car . He escaped from his mom and dad after they had picked him up on on a 10-hour pass.
Stopping at a restaurant for dinner before taking him back, Terry ran off and headed for the home of a family friend. His plan was to break in and steal money and a pistol from the friends gun collection.
This happened not long after we first had a TV in our home, when we heard the news reports about the police looking for the murderer of a little girl. The suspect, who had stolen a car and some guns and was on the run--- they knew who he was, and we knew that it was the son of my parents' friends.
A Brief Period of Freedom
Eighteen years later, two months after his release from prison, Terry shot his father and mother to death. He stole a neighbor's car and was later arrested after a bank robbery where he had held the manager hostage.
In 1976 he was back in prison requesting he be sent to the Gas Chamber. (California did not have a death penalty at that time). I don't know if he is still alive.
I guess it was an Oprah program about a young man who shot up his family, killing his mom and brother and wounding his dad, that brought up these memories in me.
I really have not spent a lot of time thinking about these events over the years, but I did find some of the details online. My stories are true, though I changed names and won't post the links to the details.
I don't know if either of them was ever paroled, but I know I never want to see either of them again. I won't even try to guess what the causes and implications are. It would be unsubstantiated speculation about some deep and complex situations.
Is there a moral or a lesson?
I don't know. Both of these young men seemed unable to have any empathy, emotion or concern for others .
I just really don't know. Maybe no one does.