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The Biopsychosocial Developmental Timeline Approach to the Study of Serial Homicide: An Incarcerated Serial Killer

Thu, Nov 16, 8:00 to 9:20am, Marriott, Franklin 11, 4th Floor


The utility of a neurocriminological approach superimposing biological, psychological, and psychosocial developmental timelines has previously been demonstrated in the case of serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer. Nonetheless, previous work using this novel approach is limited by the necessary use of published material—given that Dahmer is deceased. This study is the first to use an established paradigm to acquire meaningful and relevant data directly from an incarcerated serial killer, for the purpose of producing more accurate and comprehensive developmental timelines. The participant is an adult male convicted of eight homicides, currently serving multiple life sentences at a state prison in the western U.S. The participant was administered structured clinical interviews and self-report questionnaires as part of a larger neurocriminological testing protocol. He provided over 100 pages of hand-written material by mail, and participated in several telephone interviews and a testing session at the prison with the second author. Over 100 preliminary data points were coded chronologically into biological, psychological, and psychosocial, and homicide event timelines. Results indicated a developmental sequence of markers for biopsychosocial impairments which differed relative to homicide events from those in Dahmer’s case. Implications of these factors on the etiology of this individual’s homicidal behaviors are discussed, along with the methodological merits of this approach.


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