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The Biopsychosocial Developmental Timeline Approach to the Study of Serial Homicide: A Comparative Study of Two Incarcerated Multiple Killers

Thu, Nov 15, 9:30 to 10:50am, Marriott, L405, Lobby Level

Abstract

The utility of a neurocriminological approach superimposing biological, psychological, and psychosocial developmental timelines has previously been demonstrated in separate case studies of two serial murders: A comprehensive review of published material related to deceased serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and “in vivo” data collection from an incarcerated serial killer. Nonetheless, previous work using this novel approach has not involved inter-individual comparisons. This study is the first to use an established paradigm to acquire meaningful and relevant data directly from two incarcerated multiple killers, for the purpose of (1) producing more accurate and comprehensive developmental timelines, and (2) comparing differential influences of biological, psychological, and psychosocial factors upon homicidal behavior. The participants are two adult males convicted of multiple homicides, currently serving multiple life sentences at a state prison in the western U.S. Participants were administered structured clinical interviews and self-report questionnaires as part of a larger neurocriminological testing protocol. Participants provided over 100 pages of hand-written material by mail, and each participated in several telephone interviews and testing sessions at the prison with the first author. Over 100 preliminary data points were coded chronologically into biological, psychological, and psychosocial, and homicide event timelines for each participant. Results indicated developmental sequences of markers for biopsychosocial impairments which differed relative to homicide events among the two multiple killers. Implications of these factors on the etiology of these individuals’ homicidal behaviors are discussed, along with the methodological merits of this approach.

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