Serial Killers Have Women Calling
I wrote a post early on talking about the “serial killer groupie.” While searching around the internet today I found this article from The Daily Bullentin. It’s an interesting read.
Serial killers have women calling
|Brad Pitt or Matthew McConaughey, they’re not.But that doesn’t stop hordes of women from sending fan mail and marriage proposals to convicted serial killers.
That’s right. Some apparently think serial killers need love, too.
Richard Ramirez, better known as the Night Stalker, was convicted in 1985 of 13 murders in the Los Angeles area and 30 counts of rape, burglary and attempted murder.
Yet, dozens of women flocked to his side after he was arrested. Lines formed outside the prison. Letters flooded in.
After courting a number of women from behind bars he married Doreen Lioy, a freelance magazine editor, in 1996.
Experts have struggled for years to understand why women are drawn to men who commit heinous crimes.
“They’re looking for fame, in a nutshell,” said Sheila Isenberg, author of Women Who Love Men Who Kill.
“They confuse notoriety and fame. The reason they’re so keen to latch onto these guys is because we live in a celebrity obsessed culture.”
Jack Levin, a criminologist and director of the Brudnick Center on Violence at Northeastern University in Boston, agrees that society’s emphasis on stardom is partly to blame.
“If they correspond with (celebrities), the most they could hope for would be simply one of those computerized photographs with a signature,” Levin said. “If they correspond with Richard Ramirez or Ken Bianchi (one of the Hillside Stranglers), they may get gifts, they may get proposals of marriage.”
Carol Ann Boone moved from Washington state to Florida so she could be near Ted Bundy, who was convicted of killing about 30 women across the country.
She married the handsome serial killer in 1980 and had his child. When she later became convinced Bundy was guilty of his crimes, she moved away with their child.
Some serial killer groupies just want to turn a bad boy into a good boy, experts say. Many do not believe the killer is capable of committing the horrific acts he is accused of.
“Most women believed that the man may have committed the crime but there were extenuating or mitigating circumstances,” Isenberg said. “When the woman accepts the reality, she usually leaves him.”
Isenberg interviewed three dozen serial killer groupies for her book. She plans to interview another three dozen for the sequel she is working on, More Women Who Love Men Who Kill.
A common thread she recognized in these women was that they were abused physically or emotionally by family members or boyfriends early in life. That may have led them to convicted killers, who can provide attention and a seemingly safe relationship.
After all, the man is locked up. It’s up to the woman to decide when to visit or whether to accept phone calls from him.
“These are women who are looking for romance with a capital R,” Isenberg said. “You’re not going to get it from a garden variety boyfriend who has a job and other hobbies. The guy behind bars is completely focused on you.”
The more notorious and highly publicized the case, the more women come calling, said Lt. Eric Messick, spokesman for San Quentin.
Adoring letters and calls from women seeking killers’ contact information flood San Quentin daily. A large number of them are from Germany and Britain. Messick speculated that the women sympathize with the condemned men because those nations have no death penalty.
He said 95 percent of correspondence to the convicted comes from women.
“It is a phenomenon that exists with the infamous male criminal,” Messick said. “Usually, its a Death Row guy.”
About five Death Row inmates at San Quentin get married each year, he said. There are 621 people on Death Row. California, however, does not allow conjugal visits for Death Row inmates.
Those who receive the most attention are Ramirez, Charles Manson and Scott Peterson.
Women still throw themselves at Ramirez, even though he is married. Manson – who held sway over a group of men and women followers, who murdered actress Sharon Tate and others on his command – receives several televisions from admirers every year.
Even before he arrived, dozens of calls came in from women wanting to get in touch with Peterson, who was convicted of killing his wife and unborn child.
One girl called Messick to ask how old you had to be to get married in California, and whether Death Row inmates can get married. When he said they could, she asked for Peterson’s information.
Serial killer groupies are often criticized for seeking out the condemned, even though many are intelligent, career-minded women.
Levin points to the killer’s smooth, charming veneer.
“They’re extremely manipulative, much more crafty than they are crazy,” he said. “And they use the same skills that they use to lure their vulnerable victims. Now, they use those skills to lure these women into believing they’re innocent.”