Murder case reopens debate on teen killers

Barbara Hernandez endured abuse as a child. In 1988, at the age of 14, she met Jim Hyde—who was also abusive, and she was “like his slave.” In 1990, Hyde instructed Hernandez to lure a man to a house to be robbed and killed. Hernandez did it. She was arrested and convicted, and has been in jail ever since.

Reading this story, it’s obvious that Hernandez was abused by multiple sociopaths. But she’s been written up 17 times for misconduct in prison. Is her behavior a result of the abuse—or is she a sociopath herself? In a sad case like this one, it’s hard to know.

Sentenced to life at 16, woman hopes for freedom, on

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Your description of what is going on in his head is amazingly intuitive, IMO. You are right, he is “trying on” different masks. And also I agree that he is simply continuing the drama he was playing for his family except he is now playing the drama on a wider scale.

I think this is a good example of how psychopathy IS psychotic in it’s own way. It points to the fact that they simply cannot FEEL reality the way that normal people do, so they make up a new reality every day in the way that you or I might make up our faces or choose a different outfit. To them, this is as real as it gets.

It does sound like he hasn’t perfected the ability to create a believable mask yet. It might be because of his youth or it might be because he is further on the continuum where he is more detached from reality.

Either that or he doesn’t care what happens to him because his true goal was always to torment his mother and this is how he’s choosing to do it.

2nd trial day:
first general report…In our jury cases the chairman interrogates the accused, rather than the prosecution or defense. The two other judges may ask a clarifying question too.

The first questions are about his youth. Kim said he grew up in a middle class family without financial issues. He talked without hesitation. He has bad memories about kindergarten, he claimed he had been excluded by other children out of the group… (which imo is nonsense, since 3 to 5 year do not form a mental/emotional group yet, but are each of them individuals set together), and he claimed that the teachers hit him.

Question by the chairman; Did he experience trauma in his youth? Perhaps with his mother?
(Chairman referred to a conversation with a psychologist with this in which Kim claimed to have been the victim of sexual abuse by his mother at the age of 5)

Kim now says that might have been a fantasy. ‘I do not know whether that story is true. It’s not important anyway: the psychologist was insulting me.”

Chairman: During your teens was the relation between his parents and himself comparatively good?
Kim: “Wat is good and wat is bad? It was calm’. He says they loved him and he loved them, but he didn’t talk with them much anymore, not as when he was still a toddler. His father was somewhat of a role model, but when his father became ill it had a certain influence on his mentaltiy.

About his hobbies… he says they were karate, choreography, breakdance and cycling. Music school was not a hobby: he could do any genre with his sax; piano, guitar, drums and base he was good at as well.

But then he started to feel more unhappy. “I had astma and osteoporosis and saw no reason to live anymore. I thought I was worthless.’ But his friends couldn’t see he was depressed, because he acted the happy part.

‘And were you good at this: acting the part?” asked chairman Defoort.

Kim: ‘Actually I only needed to keep smiling. It wasn’t so hard.’

The relationship with his parents detoriated and he wanted to ignore them, and he got professional help in the meantime. He doesn’t remember standing in front of their beds, staring at them, in the nights anymore.

Chairman: “Did you hear voices then already?”
Kim: “A good question.” He thinks about it and says, “I had, like everyone, an auditory hallucination.” (note how he uses professional language, but doesn’t actually describe it.) Sometimes De Gelder places his hand against his left ear during the interrogation.

Kim claims the court psychiatrist told him he was highly intelligent (Mensa range). Chairman: the reports say you have a normal, average intelligence. (boasting again)

In the last years of his HS career Kim claims to have started to get paranoid thoughts. ‘I thought the government was watching me.”

When Defoort asked whether he heard voices in those days, Kim said, “that’s hard to say,” but confirmed he had paranoid thoughts. ‘I thought the government was watching me with different techniques, with nano technology.” But he didn’t mention this to the psychiatrists he was sent to then, because he did not wanted to be interned. Instead he got medication (referring to schizophrenia)

He confirms his parents gave him his own bedroom, but De Gelder blames them for not allowing him to study psychology or the law. “They were not convinced of his capacities,” and he was only allowed to study for nursing.

Chairman’s joke: they say that if you don’t know what to study, that you should study law.

About his suicide attempt: he started to think of hanging himself in the shed, but feared the shed wouldn’t hold it. Eventually he lay down on the traintracks, but someone shouted at him not to do it, and the oncoming train was not coming anymore, so he ran away before police could get him and went to school. (train records showed indeed that on that day someone had been on the tracks, that the train had stopped far ahead in time, and that the person had never been identified)

Chairman Defoort proceeded on to Kim’s emotions and asked whether he was heterosexual, gay, or bi.

Kim, quickly: ‘Heterosexual’

Chairman: “And yet it says differently in the reports. You have declared yourself to be bi-sexual and at 19 year are supposed to have had a relationship about which you did not want to talk, because a lot had happened.”

Kim became angry with this. About his sexual orientation he quickly wanted to correct and nuance things. “I am heterosexual, but when a jailer wants to rape me I will try not to mind it. Maybe that’s why they call me bi-sexual.” His “relationship” was with a young woman he got to know on the internet. After a year he ended the chat sessions with the girl. He did not have intercourse with her. It was an internet relationship.

To the question of the motive, Kim remained silent at first to then say, “I wrote it down, but am not allowed to say it by my lawyer. So, I won’t. I’ll keep it for the end of the trial or perhaps for a NEXT trial.”

Chairman: “A NEXT trial?????” “Earlier on you said you were not allowed to give the real motive.”

“You could say I did not see a future anymore for the people of Belgium.” (mass euthanasia? trying the motive of a parent killing their children)

‘Maybe there was no motive?” the chairman insisted.

“There was a trigger at least,” sayd Kim annoyed. One of the triggers he cites were stricter weapon laws (a few years before Kim’s murders a young man bought a gun and went on a shooting spree in my city). But there were many triggers. (actually this stricter weapon law trigger makes little sense to me… while we are suspicious of politicians, we are not suspicious of government, nor does there live a need for the right to defend ourselves against government as in the US. I’m starting to get the impression Kim is saying things that fit Hollywood scenarios… But as you can already note: our criminal court cases are conducted in a very different manner than what you see on TV from fictional US court cases. )

Another trigger was the meddling of his parents. He wanted them to leave him alone, they kept trying to contact him or check up on him.

“If the world was tough with me, than I may be harsh on the world.”

When the chairman asked him what inspired him to do such murders and whether that might have been voices in his head, he said, “Where do artistis get their inspiration? Psychiatrist Deberdt suggested voices in the head and I thought it fun to say so.”

Chairman: “Who were your targets?”

Strangers is the answer. “you can’t kill people you know and love. I would have felt worse.” he also at some point says, “the police will immediately look for a motive”. So he took it out on strangers. (Scapegoating and blaming his parents, shaming them)

Chairman: “How were you gong to kill?”

Kim: “Without the use of weapons. Knives aren’t weapons. They’re kitchen utensils.”

Then they discuss his moving away from his parents, and how they had proposed to buy him a caravan so he could remain close. “They were pretty fortunate people,” commented the chairman. De Gelder, “They lost a great deal of it on the investigation for me. You smile, but I don’t find that funny.”

Then he resigned from work, which he supposedly had been doing to gather money to go to university (parents here get child-money until 24 if the child goes to university or college, without ever working), But he didn’t like the job, and then there was the global financial crisis (right, that’s exactly when you resign from a job).

Kim tried to create a false identity for him. He took pictures of himself in his disguide with glasses and tache de beaute: “for the identification shots to search him”. He also faked a university student card to enter the cinema for free. He bought bullet free vests for his plans. “I bought clothes to cover my naked body.”; “to protect myself when I went shopping.”
Chairman: “But you wore it on the day of your attack.”
Kim: “to protect myself. I’m not heavily built.”
The samurai sword was for esthetical purposes. “You can’t kill a human with a sword like that.” (What did the Samurai use it for then?). And he bought the axe to feel “more secure.” He reasoned that if there were many people and he lost his weapons, he then still had back-up to grab.”
Kim: “The neck artery is the most sensitive. People lose consciousness when you hit it.” He practiced but 2 times on the human silhouette he created.

Kim said that after the first murder (of Elza Van Raemdonck (72)) he felt bad. ‘Killing people is not fun or pleasant. It is hurtful, not only to the people in the courtroom. I find it difficult too. I hope that the civil parties can release their mysery and anger towards me.” He then described in detail how he killed Elza on 16 january 2009 in her house in Vrasene. He had to search for words more than earlier on.

Chairman Defoort asked Kim whether he realized that killing people was not something one was allowed to do.

Kim: “I did not realize that.” After hesitation. “I did realize it, but it depends on what you mean with realizing. I saw no other choice. I was driven to that choice, possibly from the outside.” & “I did not think of the consequences of my actions.” He then sums up his lists of possible targets: people on the street, daycare centres, kidergartens, shopping malls, doctor practices, hospitals, senior homes and care centres … (basically the physical weakest targets). He denied having once entered a senior home at night at Vrasene where he asked them to take his blood pressure.

He chose the house of Elza by feeling. He did plan to limit his targets to be in a 15 km radius, a distance he could measure with his own eyes. How long he needed to bike on that with his bycicle depended on how fast he pedaled. He did some reconnaisane in the Galgstraat (where Elza lived) first, and then waited until his parents stopped driving by his apartment. En route to the Galgstraat the knife dropped. He improved the manner in which to transport the knife afterwards.

He doesn’t remember what happened after that first murder. This refers to a murder attempt on a family Van der Westerlaeken on 14 january 2009. That one failed. He also sometimes asks whether some of his declarations are on tape, because he sometimes denies earlier declarations, or doesn’t remember them anymore. He claims he hasn’t rehearsed to tell this story, which he wants to tell as accurately as he can for Elza’s family. He says that if he had had a chance to read his dossier again, he could have relived it again to recount it well. He doesn’t remember everything that well anymore now. “It’s hard for me too.”
CHairman: actually you should remember the details very well.

He rang the doorbell, Elza opened it and he attacked her… stabbing her 17 times (according to autopsy report) He then checked the house for witnesses, and cleaned his knife with the clothes she was wearing. He left immediately in a panic, changed clothes at home an dyed his hair again. After that he went to a comedy act, but didn’t have much fun. He kept a log of his actions and searched the internet for baby daycare centres as his next possible targets.

Chairman: “You were busy preparing yourself.”

Kim: “I had no other choice. What else should I have done?”

Chairman: “You could have searched for a job.”

Kim: “But because of the crisis I couldn’t find a good job.” He gets angry and says, “I try to remain as rational as possible and stay cool. I do have to sit here while someone insults me.”

His first target en route on the day of the daycare murers was a different centre. But he couldn’t see an entrance door. There were several factors he watched for, and that’s why he dismissed the first target and rode on.

The session took a break around 1, on Kim’s request because of his ever-lasting “isolation” he wasn’t used to staning for a long time. The case continued in the afternoon, where he spoke about the murders in the day-care centre ‘Fabeltjesland’ (translated: fantasyland)

He starts of with declaring that video games weren’t his inspiration (note: anybody who knows about video games of entering a daycare centre to kill babies?)

Kim said he entered Fabeltjesland and followed the noise (as he had planned), but changed his mind at the reception. He wanted to get out, but the door couldn’t be opened from the inside out. So he addressed the childnurse he heard in the hallway. “I tried to keep her talking until I could ask her to let me go outside.’ The only thing he could think of next to get out of the situation was to get the knife and threaten the nurse with it. She panicked, pulled him in the kitchen and he stabbed her in the neck. ‘I paniqued and that’s why I started to stab around me wildly.”

Chairman confronts him with the findings of the investigation he pursued the first nurse and then stabbed her several times.

He claims he was defending himself against someone who came at him with a Swiffer (a mop), disarmed her and then stabbed her. But if he had wanted to kill her, he would have acted diffrently. (An intern nurse survived the assault and protected the children).
He then found himself in the room with the children and stabbed and killed two babies that were in his way (yup babies lying in a crib definitely stand in your way).

De Gelder gets very annoyed with the interrogationi at this point, because the chairman confronts his statements with previous statements as well as the findings of the investigation. At some point, De Gelder wanted to stop the interrogation. “Can I tell it myself or will you chew it for me?”

Chairman: “How did you feel at the time?”

Kim: “Must I sum up body functions now?”

Defoort: ‘Emotions perhaps?’

Kim: “Can you sum up emotions? I have many emotions. Does it make me sad? Yes, it makes me sad. I didn’t want to be there anymore and I panicked.” “I had no intention to kill the children. It was an automatism.’ He talked about finding a physical way out. “Everybody who stood in my way I stabbed I couldn’t think anymore.”

The chairman pointed out that he attacked a child in a park, and that this child was nowhere in his way.

Kim: “Do you know what panick is? If you had been in the same situation, maybe you would have done the exact same thing.”

The chairman confronts him about the fact he tried to gain entry into a blocked room where a nurse had hid with a child. Kim doesn’t remember it. He cites witness reports where witnesses described him as icy calm and cool that day, certainly not behaving as someone in panic. Kim claims to remember it differently.

He seeks support with his elbow, breathes heavily, and insists he was panicking, but the chairman continues to cite references and cruel details, sometimes in his own declarations, that oppose such a claim. “When I panick, I know what to do. I always remain rational. Like here today.” Eventually Kim says he doesn’t always believe what the police reports say. He now says his claims to assassinate the king was a boast, and apologizes for it.

When he was arrested he decided to be calm and cooperate. Chairman confronts him with the fact he gave the police a wrong name and adress. “Had he hoped to get away with it in this way?”
“No, not at all. I wanted to prevent them from treating me more harshly. They hit my head against a wall. I fell on the floor and became apathic.” He was then taken to the hospital and was in a state of mutism (being mute). “Before the cameras they were friendly to me. But they dragged me to the interrogation room. I refuse to comment any further,” Kim said irritated.

Chairman: “They had to drag you because of your own behaviour.”

Kim: “I wanted to defend myself as best as I could because police and prosecution were writing stuff down that was untrue. I wanted a lawyet with me during my interrogations.”

Chairman: “What was your intention with your attitude? Did you intend to assess the situation?” He reads from earlier declarations by Kim. “I faked the mutism,” and “I am good at manipulation.”
Kim: “I neither deny nor confirm that declaration.” Kim does admit he lied in his first declarations, because, “I didn’t want to talk about it.”

Kim claims to be getting medication against psychosis and sleeping pills, because anti-depressants are too expensive.

The chairman confronted De Gelder about his claims about voices in his head. “That was to keep the situation under control. My lawyer wanted to have me interned, that’s why I kept it up.” (it’s the lawyer’s fault again)

Chairman tells him he shouldn’t be blaming his lawyer.

Kim: “I can’t choose my own lawyer.”

On the question why he didn’t cooperate with the reconstruction, he said, “I can’t stand security measures all that well.”

Chairman cited a conversation Kim had with another prisoner where he admitted he had faked the psychosis. Answer: “A lot of stuff is said about me to humiliate me and get me into isolation.”

Chairman: “in one interrogation you claimed you thought you suffered from having multiple personalities.”
Kim: I don’t remember what I meant by that.

Regarding his lieing and manipulating: Kim ‘Like the lawyer next to me said (referring to Jef Vermassen’s statements of Friday), I wanted to undergo a lie detector test to see whether I could lie.”

‘I haven’t solved all of my mental issues yet. That’s why this trial is good for me too, to process this all.” He seems more and more tired.

He admit he hasn’t always been honest to the psychiatrists. About his motive he doesn’t want to say anything yet.
CHairman: “It might serve you better to put your cards on the table.”
De Gelder: ‘People change in their life. Let the civil parties do their story first, so I can listen. I told my lawyer at the start that I have regrets and also am sorry.”

He once again insists he doesn’t want to talk about emotions: I would like to skip the question how I feel. And I don’t want to show any either. I’m willing to addres it later on.” (note: doesn’t that sound like he’s stalling to mirror properly? Hence, I like it very much that he got to be interrogated first, as is usual) He describes himself as calm, friendly and reserved. “I hear people cough in court, but that is how people used to describe me.” About empathy he sais, “I try to make sure that what people say to me doesn’t hurt me.” (What the heck has that to do with empathy?)
He doesn’t think of himself as narcistic. “I never thought I was important, which caused me to have suicide thoughts. I have many talents, yets, But that’s just something other people confirm.” About his manipulativeness: “I am as manipulative as all the lawyers in here.” He does admit he has some features of a psychopath.

CHairman: “How do you see your future?” ‘
Kim: “Shoul I really tell this now? At the first and second day I wanted to say a speech. I can only hope for a positive future. If I will ever be free again, that I can just be amidst the people, and that the civil parties… well they can never forgive me it naturally.”

Chairman: “Do you understand now that it is an impossible thought to have a conversaton with you?
Kim: “No, sir the chairman.”

Next, the jury can ask questions. One jury member remarks he regrets that Kim didn’t answer how he felt after the raid on the daycare centre. Kim rather wishes not to answer to this.

Lawyer Jef Vermassen, who represents 3 dead victims, has a question. He cites a passage of the interrogation and says, “Can he even empathize with those victims?”
Kim “I can answer that immediately. I absolutely want to help with a possible recovery, but before that can happen there must be peace between myself and the victims.”

A lawyer asks him, whether he thinks he thinks of himself as able to stand trial? Does he know the difference between right and wrong?”
Kim: “I refer to my lawyer for the answer.”

Civil party lawyer Walter Daemen refers to a letter of Kim in which he states he wishes to do everything he can to help the victims. “Would it then not be logical to clarify your motive?”
Kim “My lawyer must answer this,” he repeats.His lawyer Jaak Haentjens signals he can answer himself without a problem. But De Gelder wants to confer together with his lawyer about an answer. “It’s a long story, I need time for that. It’s been enough for now.”

Chairman proposes for the court to take a short break so that Kim can confer with his lawyer. His lawyer says, “The danger exists that people will say I whispered his answers to him.” Kim too signals he doesn’t want to be interrogated anymore.
His lawyer, Haentjes, says, “As long as we look at him as a normal human, you won’t get normal answers.” (the lawyers wishes to use this as an argument to make people think from a psychotic pov, but so far most of his answers fit the psychopathic pov)

Still they take a break of 10 mins, and afterwards the list of witnesses is read aloud. Chairman says he will allow counselors and jury to ask questions directly to the witnesses. Normally those questions have to be asked via himself. Someone who still has to testift normally is not allowed to sit in court, even though it cannot nullify the verdict. The chairman repeats his question whether there is anyone who objects against the presence of Kim’s parents in the courtroom.

Lawyer Haentjes regrets all the commotion about it.

Chairman: I cannot refuse a request to have a witness leave the courtroom before they gave testimony. I want everything to occur following the procedures.

Jef Vermassen says that Kim’s father sometimes sits in court with a smile and some people find that intimidating. Therefore they request to not allow his parents in the courtroom.

Chairman: “I will apply the law strictly. The witnesses may not enter the courtroom nor the relaisroom before they gave testimony, civil parties excluded. Once Kim De Gelder’s parents have given their testimony there is no legal reason to deny them access to court.”

And that is the report of the 2nd day (some stuff may not be in the order as it occurred today, because I had to combine several reports into one)

Adelade, your article happened at just the right time for me. Although I am no longer with the spath, my life revolves around fear based thinking. My biggest problem is my two daughters; I am so afraid of having them mad at me, that I tolerate behavior that I should not tolerate, and I know that. Yet, if one of them is angry with me, my life seems to be unbearable and I will do ANYTHING to make them happy again. They are very aware of this and therefore they know that no matter what, mama will do whatever to make things good again. I really do not know how to stop this; I have been to counselling, and it has not helped. But your article gives me hope that one day I can stop this behavior and stop being the hamster on a wheel person I am right now. Thanks again.

More about Kim De Gelder’s trial:

Tuesday – a technical day about the murder on Elza… police witnesses on what they find there. Again Kim evades questions on this as well as his attempt to research a senior home (by going there and asking htem to take his blood pressure) and his attempt to kill a family (before Elza)… but they luckily weren’t home at the time. Kim is angered by questions about these and attempts to lash out and insult either the lawyers, prosecution or chairman on these occasions.

For example when asked how he feels when he sees the pictures of the crime scene at Elza’s house, he says.. “It makes me smile just like the prosecutor is smiling” (who wasn’t smiling).

When the chairman posed questions to him, Kim answered angrily – “I’m fed up with your behaviour. Ask the questions to my lawyer.”

Yesterday Elza’s family went on the witness stand. Since Elza’s murder hadn’t been solved until a week after, when they apprehended Kim just after his attack on the daycare center, her husband had originally been the suspect since there had been no signs of breaking in. And when eventually one of her 6 daughters asked whether Elza had said anything or whether she put up a fight, Kim finally gave a statement of what happened. He stabbed her, she fell, he fell too, stabbed her more… “She fought back against the movements I was making. Sorry, she fought me.” (Note how his first expression involves an act of dissocation). On the question whether she said or shouted something, he said, “She said ‘Ouch'”. He also wanted to apologize to the chairman for his angry response and his insults to him the day before on one of his questions.

Today: the findings of the policemen who first arrived on the daycare scene – chaos, a dead baby lying on the floor in a pool of blood, an older woman hunched on her knees, bend over, her false teeth hanging out (another dead victim). They showed the pictures of the scene. How they learned that one baby that had been rushed to hospital died there. And that most children and adults there were heavily injured.

Kim wanted to know how many victims he had made.

Next they talked about his apprehending him. A neighbourhood cop noticed him on his bike and asked him where he was going, and who he was. He gave no name, claimed to be from another village and was going shopping in another village. But the cop noticed he was driving and pointing the wrong way for his story. So, he asked him to stand against the wall for a police search, noticed he wore something hard under his coat (a bulletproof vest) and found an axe and a knife in his backpack, along with papers describing target 1,2,3… and the number of children and adults expected to be present, as well as blood.

Asked about Kim’s behaviour during the arrest and interrogation: he only stared in the distance, never made eye contact, just smiled. But when they left him in the interrogation room by himself and watched him through surveillance in the room, he would move normally.

Police on the stand denied that they ever manhandled him. Kim then made a statement: he apologized for his earlier accusations, he wanted to apologize to the police all over the world.

His lawyer tried to point out that while Kim had prepared the raid well, he had not prepared his escape well – he was still in his bloody clothes, riding in the wrong direction, his hair still dyed orange… He tries to use this to advocate the man should be interned, rather than imprisoned.

Chairman replies: have you ever heard of a criminal taking a shower, getting the dye out of his hair and changing his clothes AT THE CRIME SCENE?

Personally: totally fits spath behaviour – well prepared on doing the crime, badly prepared on an exit and escape… they just wing that. Fits their impulsiveness and bad consequence thinking. So, he chose a disguise (orange hair) that made him stand out, rather than blend in. That’s exactly like the crappy and grotesque lies that are so obvious which spaths say. Like the captain of the cruise ship when he said he “fell” in the rescue boat. Yes, it proves he’s not normal, since spaths aren’t normal, but it doesn’t make him crazy in a way that he didn’t know what he was doing, nor that he was doing was wrong.

Jef Vermassed argued similar points as I do here. When the defense lawyer pointed out the “stare in the distance”, Jef said to the police officer, “That must have been the first time you arrested a mass murderer who has little or no emotions.” Defense then said that was just Jef’s opinion and of no importance. Chairman eventually told the both of them to sit down and shut up.

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