By | March 22, 2010 67 Comments

Psychopaths, crime and choice

In 1978, Rodney Alcala of California approached Liane Leedom, who was 17 years old at the time. He struck up a conversation, showed her some of his photographs, and then asked to photograph her. Although he was later convicted of murdering four women and a girl, Rodney Alcala did not kill Liane Leedom.

In 1983, Brian Dugan of Illinois abducted and murdered a 10-year-old girl. The next year he raped and murdered a 27-year-old woman, and the following year he raped and murdered a 7-year-old girl.

Both of these men are psychopaths. They’re both facing the death penalty for their crimes. But last November, at Brian Dugan’s sentencing, defense attorneys argued that because the man had a personality disorder, because he was incapable of experiencing normal emotions like remorse, he should get life in prison, not death.

Kent Kiehl, Ph.D.

The star witness in the plea for leniency was a prominent psychopathy researcher, Kent Kiehl, Ph.D. of the University of New Mexico. Kiehl evaluated Dugan according to the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised—the murderer scored 37 out of 40.

Kiehl also scanned Dugan’s brain using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging). The technique measures blood flow within the brain, which is thought to reflect brain activity. It shows which area of a person’s brain “lights up” with different thoughts.

According to Miller-McCune Online Magazine,

The scans show that the psychopath’s brain does indeed look different from others. “This shouldn’t really surprise people,” Kiehl said. “When your behavior is very different, your brain is different.” He estimates that 15 to 20 percent of prisoners in minimum to medium security prisons qualify as psychopaths, while the figure might run as high as 30 percent for those in maximum security.

Kiehl thinks it’s absurd to execute convicted murderers who have malfunctioning brains. “It’s kind of like telling a patient who has dyslexia to go read Faulkner, or something really difficult,” he said. “They have no chance, but you’re going to punish them because they can’t read?”

Kiehl testified about Dugan’s fMRI scans in the sentencing hearing—the first time fMRI evidence was ever used in court. The psychologist was asked if Brian Dugan had a normal brain. He said no.

Mitigating factor

Psychopathy, the defense team said, was a mitigating factor, a reason why Dugan shouldn’t get the death penalty. But why wasn’t it an aggravating factor?

Yes, psychopaths do not feel normal emotions, and perhaps we should feel sorry for them because of it. But psychopaths know the rules of society. Even if they don’t feel any emotional inhibition about raping and killing, they know on an intellectual level that these behaviors are wrong and can get them arrested, tried and possibly sentenced to death.

Other experts espouse this point of view. Stephen J. Morse, a professor of law and neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania was also quoted in the Miller-McCune article:

All the law really requires, he says, is a general capacity to understand and follow rules. “The law doesn’t really ask a lot of us,” Morse said. “How hard is it to know that you shouldn’t kill people, you shouldn’t rape people, you shouldn’t burn buildings that aren’t yours, and you shouldn’t take what doesn’t belong to you?”

Neuroscientific expertise may also become a double-edged sword that could be used against defendants, he warns. “There are going to start to be prosecution experts who are going to come in and tell the jury why this doesn’t have the implications that the defense claims,” he said. “Rather than being mitigating, for example, evidence of brain abnormalities might be aggravating because they will indicate that the defendant is particularly dangerous.”

Capable of choices

Psychopaths do exercise choice.  They are capable of controlling their behavior when they want to. Rodney Alcala killed four women and a child, but he did not kill Liane Leedom. Perhaps he killed the others because he thought he could get away with the crimes. But he could have chosen not to kill them either.

A diagnosis of psychopathy shouldn’t be used to get people off. It should be used to convict them and send them away.

For further discussion of these issues, read:

A mind of crime—how brain-scanning technology is redefining criminal culpability, in Miller-McCune Online Magazine.

Science in court: Head case, in

Thank you to the Lovefraud reader BloggerT7165 for sending a link to this story.

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kim frederick

This was interesting. I read the first artical and it raised a few questions, for me.
I’m not in any way excusing the behavior of these monsters, but my first question is this:

What is it in the “normal brain that allows it to CHOSE right over wrong? Wouldn’t it have something to do with the ability to predict consequences, the ability to feel fear and anxiety, the ability to experience empathy, and consequently, remorse? Perhaps the ability to process dopamine?

Without all these systems in check, it seems to me, the pro’s of chosing to do right would be sorely lacking, and the pro’s of chosing to do wrong would weigh the scale in that direction…
So, maybe it isn’t so far fetched to say they really aren’t equiped to chose at all. By virtue of their brain dysfunction, they will always chose to do wrong, if it will benefit them in any way.

I’m not sure what the implications of that should be. I sure as hell don’t want waking around on the loose. I guess it’s a phylisophical question. What do you’ll think?

Ox Drover

Good questions.

I used to be very MUCH for the “death penalty” as I had more confidence in the justice system than I do now, in the RIGHT person being Convicted.

I am not doubting that THESE two individuals are guilty, just that in so many cazses there are convictions based on less than “perfect” evidence and DNA has freed more than one person from death row, and recently a man was freed of a rape conviction that he had already served 35 years for by DNA evidence.

Right now, 2 young men are in general population in Arkansas and one on death row for supposedly killing 3 pre-teens when they were teenagers. (The West-Memphis Three) In the 17 years since this “conviction” and sentencing to death of one of the 3 teenagers, it has pretty well come to the light that these 3 young men who were vilified as “satanists” at the time, were RAILROADED by the police, and are most likely INNOCENT. So I am no longer “for” the death penalty. I AM however, quite in favor of NATURAL LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE.

At least if there ever turns up evidence that someone is indeed innocent, it will not be after they are dead and buried.

As far as a person being a psychopath giving them a “pass” on responsibility—ABSOLUTELY NOT.

I do not have a lot of conidence in the evidence of the fMRI since it does not meet what I would call “conclusive” evidence that it actually measures anything relevant to the brain.

A group of research scientists did an fMRI on a DEAD FISH and got the SAME KIND of results that would have been expected in a “live human”—DUH!

However, I do believe there are differences of some kind in the chemical and/or neural pathways of the psychopath’s brain than ours, but it does NOT preclude them from recognizing what society considers “right and wrong”—-else why would they attempt to “hide” what they have done, or to “lie” or “cover up”? They know that there are at least consequences if they get CAUGHT for doing a certain criminal act, and they don’t want to get caught.

Maybe the reason Alcala didn’t kill Liane was that he knew his mother had seen her and if Liane went missing from the neighborhood, his mother might have put 2 and 2 together and come up with 4!

kim frederick

Good points, Oxy. LOL about the dead fish…wasn’t aware of that.
Didn’t the first artical say somehing about this guy confessing to a third murder, but because two other men had already been found guilty, no one took it seriously?
Those men were found guilty because of faulse testimony by law enforcement…in addition, some procecutors rep might be on the line, it might cost some money to re-try them, etc. etc, etc. Our legal system, itself is over-run with psychopathy, and I think those responsible for out and out lying, should be stoned…I hate a crooked cop. And I mean that…talk about an abuse of power, and public trust. I say they should be stoned, because the system that supports them would probably never procecute…Too much attention…too embarrassing…PUKE!

Twice Betrayed

Regarding these people, it’s my opinion that’s the reason the laws were set up and enforced in the beginning. Look at the old west when the land was raw and nothing in force to see justice or at least to a degree was carried out. Once the government began to set up forces, laws and enforced them, things changed. We must have laws and see they are carried out to the maximum and IMO that includes the death penalty, if we are to protect ourselves against people who have no conscience, values, honor or integrity. My two cents.


Something else to consider when it comes to choice. A 2006 report to a state sentencing commission looked at the most recent research review of all studies on predicting recidivism. One of the things they found was:

…that appeared to have no impact or very little impact on sexual re-offending was:

Clinical presentations (denial, low victim empathy, low motivation for treatment)

This is just another piece that backs up what Donna said. It does not appear that psychopathic individuals are forced to harm others. Rather than can decide not to do so. Not being empathetic towards others may make it easier to harm others but it does not compel people to harm others.

Also if read the second article you will see this:

“It is a dangerous distortion of science that sets dangerous precedents for the field,”

and this – a recent scan, say some critics, wouldn’t necessarily indicate Dugan’s mental state when he committed his crimes.

As for the dead salmon here is a link to that article which was done to show the risks of people doing just what was done with fMRI use –

and another article that talks about How reliable are fMRI results

kim frederick

Thanks, Blogger. I will continue to read.

Ox Drover

I totally agree, Blogger, I think Psychopathic individuals have the same CHOICES we do.

I liken it to an alcoholic who is born with gene or genes that make them SOMEWHAT MORE SUCCEPTIBLE to becoming an “over consumer of booze” than maybe I might be, however, they have a CHOICE to drink or not to drink, the same way I do. Maybe to make the choice not to drink is more difficult because of their genes than it would be for me, but it is STILL A CHOICE.

My “drug of choice” is nicotine, and I consumed it for probably the same reason that an alcoholic consumes booze, it “feels good” and I get a reward for doing it and a “stick” for not continuuing to consume it, but I have made (finally) a CHOICE to quit harming myself by smoking . I could have and SHOULD have made that choice a long time ago. I rationalized why I didn’t do it probably the same way an alcoholic rationalizes why he/she didn’t quit drinking, and probably the way my P-son rationalizes doing the things he does, making the choices he does, knowing that they are wrong and knowing that he will probably get consequences for them.

In fact, in one letter to the Trojan Horse Psychopath, he was discussing getting caught smuggling in DVD porno and he said “I’ve been doing it for years, and I knew I’d eventually get caught, but, what the heck, it was fun while it lasted…” and in the same letter he said “It isn’t that I don’t know how to follow their stupid rules, it is just that I don’t want to. I’ll be good for a while until I get my ‘class and custody’ back, then I’ll see what I can find to have fun with.” (class and custody is the level of security within the prison, and the closeness of his confinement and the rules under which he is kept.

For getting caught with the DVD porn, he was “busted” down from minimal custody and trusty status to MAXIMUM CUSTODY and confinement 23 hours a day in a solitary cell (super max) as well as transferred from a minimum facility to a Super Max facility and all priviledges except breathing taken away for a year.

Nine times in his first 17 years of incarceration, he was busted from trusty status to solitary or super max, and transferred from one facility to another 5-6 times.

They know,, they DO have choices, they just enjoy what they do, or get REWARDED in some way for what they do.


OH GOOD!!!!!!!!

I’m glad, Oxy – jeez, *scratches head* these “scammiest of the scammy scammers!!” It does my heart good to hear about them getting busted and shoved into lock-down.

I don’t believe we need MORE prisions, however. What we need, and the point of Dr. Leedom’s post and this post about Alcala, is recognition: early interception and intervention of these psychos et al, before they have the opportunity to grow that void vortex within.

IMO, this would be more practical, but poses the most difficult type of resolution to the problem. People seem to just not care about psychopathy, sociopathy or personality disorders UNTIL:

1. They’ve lost a loved one to a disordered person; or
2. it’s THEIR loved one on trial in the “dock” and they are pleading for the AsSP’s life to be spared ” ‘cuz he DIN’T KNOW what he was DOIN’….”


It’s psychopathic-sociopathic-personality disorder – it’s NOT AMNESIA -for crying out loud…

They know full well that when they get up to the point where they can SEE that the LIFE and LIGHT is going out in their victims’ eyes, the PSYCHO “could have STOPPED,” and maybe only gotten charged with “infliction of grievous bodily harm” or “aggravated assault.” Neither of which incur the death penalty – – – they DID NOT WANT TO stop, then make em pay, I say!

And with that – ta ta!


thank you for this post. it is an important distinction – agravating or mitigating. and one i hadn’t quite put into words.

i may do something and feel much less guilt than another person doing the same thing. does that mean i am not as responsible as the other person? we both know it is wrong. if it FEEL less guilt, does that make me less responsible?

in what ways does NOT BEING ABLE TO FEEL GUILT change the picture? genuine question. what are the possible arguments.

if you don;t know something is wrong, you are still responsible to uphold the law of the society. in this situation it is a matter of life imprisonment or death. i don’t know how the death penalty is decided on. what are all the things taken into account?

personally, i would like to see sociopaths removed from the gene pool. there is only one way to do that. when they have committed crimes for which the death penalty is possible, their sociopathy should be given weight in the decision.

to kill one to save many can be a protective act of compassion.

Ox Drover

If I thought for one moment that our “justice system” were even close to JUST I would personally tie the hangman’s knots to “hang’em high”–but better that 10 guilty go free than one innocent should perish” (can’t remember which smart guy said that) but he is so RIGHT! Unfortunately, too many of the lawyers are Ps and whether or not you get a “good” lawyer depends on what you can pay, and bribing the judges still works in some places. That stinking judge that just got out of prison in NY for taking bribes for divorce cases–HE GOT LESS THAN 36 MONTHS, and served a lot less than that! They let theh poor old guy out early too for “good behavior” in time for Christmas with this family! THAT AIN’T JUSTICE!

With 2 million men and women in jail or prison in our country right now (double what it was 10 years ago) that means that about 400,000 of our country’s psychopaths are behind bars.

I say, instead of building more jails and prisons, let the other 1.6 million out, and keep the psychopaths in for life. Since they commit about 80% of the violent crimes anyway, that would decease the crime rate, and since thjey tend to be the ones that go BACK to prison, that would let the gov’t hire more parole officers to keep up with the others, and more teachers to teach them, etc.

See, right there I have solved all the country’s problems with CRIME in ONE SWOOP and no one had to die.

Oh, well, when I am appointed dictator it may not be better but it will be DIFFERENT! Oxy for Dictator! Vote for me, and I will put a jackass in every barn and lock up all the psychopaths in Super max!


oxy – if brain scans will become definitive, court ordered /admissible in the future it might work.

no spaths and an ass? you have my vote.

wow, the world would look really different.

Ox Drover

Dear One-step,

Some people are pushing this fMRI as a viable “scan” but the thing is it is in my opinon a FRAUD—as they got the SAME “results” using a DEAD FISH instead of a live human in another experiment.

I wish there was a blood test or a brain scan that is difinitive, but my guess is because there are LEVELS of P-ness, there’s no way to “measure” the danger they are by our laws.

Is emotional abuse and soul rape the same as murder? Is being a mean boss but breaking no laws the same as working kids to death? Where do you draw the lines?

(the following paragraph is TONGUE-IN-CHEEK)
I think it would be a great idea if people who had genetic diseases were not allowed to have children. It would wipe out all genetic diseases, and we CAN test for most of these things, and you know, while we are at it let’s not let anyone who is retarded or has a low IQ have children either—sounds “good” but who is to draw the line and where? Nazi Germany bought into that kind of thinking about diseases and genetics and look what happened!

We know a lot of diseases are genetic or partly so, yet people still have kids, knowing they may give birth to a child who is destined to live a painful life and die a painful death. We know smoking is bad for you, but people will do it, we know drugs are bad for people and booze, but people still do it. Humans are not all that rational in the end and unfortunately, there are not “easy” or “black and white” answers to things.

Prohibition outlawed booze cause it was a “bad thing” and look what that did, caused the rise of the Mafia and organized crime which is still here long after prohibition is gone. We decided as a country and government that “drugs are bad” and prohibited THEM and look what we have accomplsihed, drugs are WIDELY AVAILABLE and WIDELY USED and the narco gangs are murdering our embassy workers in Mexico and Mexico’s government is completely unable to contain the narco gangs because the police and the government and the military have been SO corrupted by the huge amounts of money involved that crime WINS out!

Sure there are LOTS of things that are “bad fer ya” but just proscribing them as “illegal” and arresting people for doing them are NOT going to stop people. You think prostitution has been wiped out cause it is ILLEGAL? LOL

I wish the government would “get real” and realize there are some vices we can’t control or stop, so they might as well admit they can’t and focus on something they might be able to stop.


oxy – my bottom line would include markers about harm and recidivism (as we are also talking about people in the criminal ‘justice’ system) and potential for treatment.

and the debate is very important – the only way we would ever figure it out.

many people with mental diseases – many in my family have caused great distress – my mom’s dad tried to kill her mom – more than once. i know he was alcoholic and depressive. (he might have been a spath, i have NO idea) but would depressive be enough reason to knock out his gene line? what about other mental illnesses. the answer for me is no. (and please no one be offended by talking about mental illness, it’s an important part of looking at where lines are drawn. we know that people of all sorts, who deviate from any projected norm can end up on a list – i am an anxiety ridden, lesbian with fibro and a genetically defective heart, who has been depressive at times. i also have jewish and native blood. i would have made it on to many historical lists of people whose DNA should be eradicated from this earth)

and the answer is no, because there is POTENTIAL for treatment and a life doing no more harm than most people.

xx one step

Ox Drover

Dear Conomo,

I moved my answer over to this thread because I can more easily and quickly respond to your post on the thread about “consequences”–

Your admission that you use your parsley cigarettes and a plentiful amount of red wine to “cope” with your stresses clarified for several people that were confused by your serial one-line posts etc. I suspected at the time I read them what was going on and that you were NOT a troll but iinstead someone with a SUBSTANCE USE PROBLEM, which I clarified with you using as muchy TACT as I COULD MUSTER.

You came back in response to me, admitting that you had indeed used SUBSTANCES and that you were “turning over a new leaf” and that you were goikng to CLEANSE your body from all the “toxins” etc. and for a few days or so you posted in such an UPBEAT MANNER and seemed to be “getting it” and moving on….

Then, back to posting DURING the use of mind altering SUBSTANCES with though you might not have (at the time at least) thought your postings were rambling or didn’t make much sense or certainally weren’t uplifting it was pretty apparent to me that you were again using MIND ALTERING SUBSTANCES to cope with your stress.

YOUR STRESS WAS REAL….your pain was real, but I am here to say again, and will not change my stance on this, the use and over use of the mind altering substances to cope with stress is not a PRODUCTIVE OR HEALTHY WAY TO COPE, but only adds to the stress and the problems you already have.

I think I can safely say that there is no one here who will not be supportive and uplifting to you in your rawness and pain, or who wants you to leave here, but I do sincerely hope that you will find other ways to cope with your stress than parsley cigarettes and booze. I suggest that you find a 12 step program near you and get the support you need for that problem from the people who can help you in face to face, real life support for that problem, but STAY HERE for support for healing from the encounter with the psychopath.

I think if you go back and rre-read my posts from last night that you will find that I did not speak of anyone who had been here posting in several MONTHS, and the people that I did refer to were all banned by Donna for their aggressiveness to others here months ago.

The point of my posts was that even here at LF trolls DO come along, but not everyone here who causes upset, suspicion or even hurt is a troll. That is why I direct any problems I have with YOU to you, and any problems I have with Trolls to DONNA.


Dear Oxy,
Not for one minute did I think you were speaking in double speak I totally appreciated that you made mention of specifics when speaking of an unwanted troll.

As for parsley cigarettes they are not an everyday indulgence nor is wine. Thank you again for your suggestions. My first husband was full blown alcoholic and I am very aware of the programs out there. I don’t believe that is necessary while also know that binging will not take the problems away.

Ox Drover

Dear Conomo,

“Binging” as you refer to the behavior we have been speaking of and underscoring that you know about the programs out there and that you were married to an alcoholic, and your admission that “binging will not take the problems away” yet still seeming to think that the episodic drunk or getting high is somehow theraputic doesn’t register with me.

I think it was Einstein who said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

While I think that maybe short term “binging” might be a temporary solution to your stress problem, I think in the long term, the “binging” becomes a problem in itself. Not everyone who gets drunk becomes an alcoholic and allows booze to ruin their lives, and I have in my younger days “prayed over the porcelin god” and, GASP! ….Even smoked a parsley cigarette or two, but I do know that neither of those “stress relief” tactics solves a single problem. I still drink an occasional glass of wine, but I haven’t been drunk in decades.

Personally, I wish “parsley” cigarettes were legal, just as booze is. Frankly I would rather meet a guy on the highway who had smoked a big “cigarette” than one who had just finished off a 24 pack of beer—the one is doing 20 mph and the other is doing 95 mph. And, legalizing either of them isn’t goin to make more people smoke or drink them, just decrease the price and give some tax revenue.

It is your life and if you choose to “bing” or “get drunk” (my preferred term) or get “high” then you have the choice to do or not to do, but I’m not going to tell you that I think that IT IS A GOOD CHOICE IN MY OPINION, but it is your choice, your body, your problems, your solutions or escapes.

That’s what adulthood is all about, making our choices, and living with the consequences.

I sincerely hope that you will find your way on the road to healing and that your recovery from the trauma of the encounter with the psychopath(s) will be swift and sure. The purpose of LF in my opinion again, is to help and encourage one another in making HEALTHY CHOICES and to comfort one another when we make poor choices so that we will learn from those poor choices and make better ones next time.

Good luck on your journey, and God bless you ((I((hugs)))) Oxy


LOL Oxy You Are Great…..I agree 110% with everything you’ve said! I don’t do the great white telephone thing though.
I had an energy treatment last night and it brought back some semblance of me again. The healer had to jump back initially from the super sonic vibrations I was giving. She actually offered me a glass of wine to which I initially declined and then said no…this is a sociable and acceptable time to drink and then I told her of my worries about binge drinking lately. She said that was understandable under the circumstances. She also then told me about being stalked herself by not ONE but TWO men at the same time. One of them was an investigating officer for the stalking taking place of the ex husband….grr …anyways, I did only have that glass and did not open a bottle when I got home. I make my own premium wine. Thank you Oxy once again for the straight up talk, the concern, the support and encouragement. Blessings to you as well. xo


I want to clarify my posts to you….
About the same time you changed your name, your posts started making NO sense to me. I wasn’t aware that you were posting under another name and at some point I read that you were ‘former’ name. From there I tried to make sense of what you were going through and put it together on my own.
This is MY issue. I have a hard time following who’s who and it takes me a bit to figure it out. This was a result of my stroke. memory issues.. So I sat back and tried to figure it out…..without posting. I did see you announced your name change at one point, after I was confused by the postings and the ‘current’ postings didn’t seem to click with the former postings coherency…….and i really should write it down….becuase it leaves me as quick as I read it….then I can’t find the post again…..

My posts were not without thought, I was really trying to ‘know’ who you were.
But none of it made any sense to me…..

I pulled away, then I got irritated by someone asking to watch language (of which I’m a culprit)…and immediately you went into f-bomb mode in thenext post….my thoughts were this was antagonistic and I asked you WHY would you do this?

I was straight up in my feelings and I’m sorry the written word didn’t come through……at that point I decided one more post…..and then i’m done.
I wanted to give you the benefit of doubt, and I would never feel comfortable denying someone support who needed it here…..but I felt a total loss of connection and it was best for me to not post to you…..
I read your posts to me, but I didn’t want to get into anything or be fake to you…..and ‘go along’…..I felt I was being baited and I don’t fish.
I have to say, I found it upsetting to say the least. You played on my feelings as I went to bed…..thinking about if you were really someone who was crying out and I shut down….or a person with ill intent.
I’m not going to be played, and if I doubt, I back off…..
THIS is my reactions now based on my experiences with several S’s in my life.

I was attacked by you, incoherently at best…..but none the less attacked. I gave you my time under another name, when you made sense…..I got confused, asked for clarification, got babbly gook, watched another poster get f-bombed, then I got attacked with another poster…..
I was gone!
I was triggered by several things….and I did question your intentions…..after the f-bomb post.

So….I am willing to start anew…..but with caution….I hope you understand. THis is something no one can change, simply due to my life experiences….
I’m sure there is alot of folks on LF that don’t appreciate others postings…..that’s fine….read the ones we connect to and we can’t be overly judgmental of the others……just don’t respond…..this is a public forum….this is what happens.

I beleive laughter is a great healer…..I’m sorry if you don’t appreciate some humor here…..I speak for myself….I don’t wish to not include someone, and even through our sillyness, there is connection and it always turns out to be a lesson involved…..
We have to remember, we are online. WE build connections through our journeys and what we choose to share…….this is the whole reason I don’t think it’s a good point to meet everyone here….because I think it could be a disaster…..different personalies, and hurt feelings in person..major trigger points……’s easier to heal hurt feelings online, because we have to contain ourselves and self reflect while we sustain from posting pondering the thought…

RE: self medicating…..I think I’ve said enough on this….I think it’s irresponsible and I’ve spent most of my life hearing how/what ailments it cures…..well, my experience is ……parsley cigs don’t heal….they hurt! Because the peeps using them avoid.
Drinking…whatever, I’ve been known to enjoy a glass of wine here and there…..but like anything in life…..moderation is key and having the wisdom to NOT do certain things under the influence can greatly benefit US and OTHERS.

If you want to do whatever self Medicating….do it….I can’t stop you…..nor will I try……but please have enough respect for those of us here to not post and confuse us during this time…..I think this may be the root of the issue.

I mean you no ill will…..and I hope you take my directness as just something to think about….I am not the almighty know all….jsut my opinion on things….
For those healing from an experience of a Sociopath….we are on the same team!!! It does no good to work against each other.

Nuff said……

Conomo, My thoughts and feelingsa re exactly the same as Erin apologies if I have hurt your feelings. But I have to agree with whats been said, re drinking alcohol, and funny ciggies.They only confuse, and eventually you become totally incoherant. like the song by the bee Gees, “Words are all we have,”- on a website like this words ARe all we have to connect with, We dont have the benefit of facial expressions, body language, all the usual social markers we use every day.
Also I do admit to having a vey low tolerance of drunks,-I was married to an alcoholic for 19 years As for the F word, I havea low tolerance to that too,partly due to the fact my teenager used to shout it at me,{and worse!} I still think its overused, and self indulgent in the main.Its like anything, if used to excess, it loses its value.Please keep coming here, we are all on the same path! learning to overcome our former life with a spath.Good Luck, and {{HUGS!!}, MamaGem.XX

Ox Drover

Dear Conomo,

Glad you didn’t take offense at the things I said. I do pretty well say what I think, and sometimes that’s blunt, but I do not ever have an intention to be snippy or nasty or hurt anyone’s feelings. (and in spite of that I still do hurt feelings here from time to time!)

I’ve made some pretty STOOPID decisions and justified them to myself and tried to justify them to others, but in the end, the decisions were STILL STOOPID and not healthy.

I realize we all learn more from our OWN mistakes and stoopid decisions than from others saying “that’s a STOOPID decision” but I guess hope springs eternal and I hope that someone might learn from MY stoopid decisions without having to remake every one. After I finally escaped from my sperm-donor Psychopath alive (barely) I spent almost a year “binging” (that’s “drunk” to those of you who don’t know the newer term of binging) I was 19 and severely wounded. Some how I managed to stagger through those “hippie” years without either becoming a drunk, drug addict or criminal or getting killed—Hey, I did California in the 60s kiddies! Unlike a lot of that generation at that time and place, I did have a job and a work ethic and some good adult friends who sort of kept an eye on me in spite of myself.

Learning to fix our stress and our problems without resorting to violating the 11th commandment—“thou shalt NOT FOOL THYSELF” has been a long time a-coming for me, but I’m working on keeping it together now day by day, and making better decisions. My hope and my prayers are that we can all keep moving in the right direction as much as possible with good choices and decisions and healthy decisions and choices that facilitate us being THE BEST THAT WE CAN BE!


Thank you for taking the time to clarify your thoughts and feelings..I said I don’t want to get into a p*ng match notr do I want to flog a dead horse. I have enough battles and demons to fight.
I have owned my “incoherent” times which I believe have been on two occasions—one as ptsd–one as conomo. I believe I have been coherent most times under both names. I think I have also explained my use of my substance of choice. I don’t remember you ever posting to me during coherent times and that’s ok. We both know not all personalities will click.
My main concern was Conomo being referred to as a troll in double speak during the party last night. This lead another poster to self doubt her welcome here. I guess you can bring that back to my behaviour in the first place if you wanted. I know how I thought that ptsd’s validity was being questioned when Mike arrived(not AMike) and thought it would be helpful to let you know that it is best to share those concerns private or of course with Donna as it is not conducive to healing when a new raw, unsure poster comes along.
I believe we are all on the same journey also and wish you all well in that. The posts I saw last night did not seem team like , they seemed clicky and sneaky to me for a second time here.


A new clean slate…as the LF community enters Spring together… we can go forward together learning and growing as we go…communicating as honestly, openly and SOBER as possible.

Refresher taken from Donnas Guidelines for Posting:

As we post, there is an important fact that we must all keep in mind. Here it is: Linguists estimate that 65 percent to 90 percent of the meaning in human communication is transmitted via nonverbal cues—tone of voice, facial expression, body language. None of these cues, of course, are available over a computer. That means when we post written comments on the Lovefraud blog, 65 percent to 90 percent of our meaning may be missing.

So what happens? Without the benefit of those nonverbal cues, people interpret a post to mean what they want it to mean.

Sociopaths take advantage of this phenomenon all the time. When sociopaths are sending flowery e-mails that are full of lies, we interpret the e-mails as truth, because we want them to be true. We believe what we want to believe.

Assume honorable intentions

Here on Lovefraud, this can go either way, depending on the reader’s frame of mind. If a reader is looking for consolation, he or she may interpret another poster’s advice as supportive. If a reader is on edge—a common occurrence with victims of sociopaths—he or she may interpret another poster’s advice as being critical.

I ask everyone to assume that all of us are posting with the best, most honorable intentions, and that we are here to support each other. If at any time you feel that a blogger is not posting with honorable intentions, please let me know.

We are a group of opinionated people, and there are going to be times when we disagree. That’s fine. I think an animated discussion of different points of view is healthy. However, all discussions should be respectful, and no one should be personally attacked.

Posting guidelines for the Lovefraud Blog

1. The goal of the Lovefraud Blog is to provide information about sociopaths and their effects on victims, and to help victims recover from entanglements with sociopaths. Please post all comments with the intention of promoting healing, and read comments with the intention of finding the healing message.

2. Keep in mind that Lovefraud readers are extremely diverse. Our readers are men and women from all over the world, representing different races, ethnicities, religious and spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof), education levels, economic circumstances, political views and sexual orientations. Please be respectful and tolerant of all.

3. If you find a comment objectionable, please do not respond to it. Notify the blog owner, Donna Andersen. If you suspect that someone is a predator, alert me immediately. Send e-mail to [email protected].

4. Please refrain from using offensive language—such as George Carlin’s seven dirty words. However, feel free to imply your feelings with those wonderful characters **#$$#!!!!

5. Each article posted by the Lovefraud Blog authors starts a conversation. Please post comments related to the conversation, unless, of course, another reader has posted a comment asking for support. Then, feel free to offer it.

6. We cannot name people believed to be sociopaths without documentation. If you want to describe your personal story, please do not include names or other identifying information. If your story is already in the media, however, you may post links to it.

7. Please do not post copyrighted material such as articles from other websites, book excerpts, song lyrics or poems. This is a violation of copyright law, even if you cite the original author. To draw attention to information outside of Lovefraud, you may summarize it in your own words and post a link.

8. Please do not copy any article from Lovefraud or the Lovefraud Blog and post it on another website. This is a violation of Lovefraud’s copyright. But feel free to post links to Lovefraud content on other websites.

I thank all Lovefraud readers. Your contributions and insights about the terrible problem of sociopaths in our society, and your willingness to help others, makes the effort of maintaining Lovefraud worthwhile.


Very Nice LTL 🙂 I will do my best!


I’d like to share something I learned from my session last night that may help some when they are stuck ruminating about their sociopath and feeling immobilized by it(the FOG). It has sure helped me today and hope I continue to remember to use it.

She said whenever I start to think things over(and over and over….)to send all that energy down my right arm to my hand and then hand it off or send it back to it’s rightful owner—the person who caused it. My question to her was what happens to the person getting it back? Duh. She gave me an incredulous look. I had to laugh and blurt out “who the ##$! cares!

I had to modify it a bit and pretend I was actually catapulting or “shooting” it back at him and slightly reveling in the fact that he might actually be feeling these things too. Whatever happens to him, the end result is that it takes me right back into the now and I have been able to refocus on what the important task at hand is. I think it’s kinda fun and it seems to be working.

kim frederick

Conomo, I love it…I can imagine shooting sparks, or maybe just dark clouds out my fingers 🙂


Another good thing is to do a meditation where you move energy through your chakras all the way up through the top of your head and imagine a fountain of protective white light pouring out and surrounding you.

keep that light around yourself always….

And then, fire at will…..!


Silvermoon, I’ve found meditation hard unless I’ve been in yoga class and the instructor is real good at taking you into it. I like your process of focusing on an end though. Since I’ve been having uncharacteristic headaches…I think your approach may be doable.

Kim I’m thinking explosions! 🙂


This is only my opinion, but, on the initial subject of whether they have CHOICE…the P’s, they know EXACTLY what they are doing, and the longer they do it (and the older they get) they become more smitten and revengeful about WINNING…I asked the P-Monster “How many more lives will you destroy before this is all said and done?” He looked at me with the eyes of a satan-like being and responded, with glee and superiority, “Hundreds…hundreds more”. He reaps great joy from creating chaos, crisis and insurmountable Katrina-sized messes, leaving others to clean them up, (blaming everyone else) and as we all know, they can fool the very best doctors, psychologists, law enforcement and judges. P-Monster knew exactly what he was up to…he said to me after he had gone thru about $500,000 of my money (lied his whole way thru), “I never married you because I loved you, I married you to use the legal umbrella of marriage to steal from you”. SO he clearly knew he was out of the bounds of society, and would blame it all on a “marriage gone bad” however, his predatory and financial abuse began before we were married. He had his fingers in my finances before we tied the knot…I just didn’t know it. He had access to credit reports thru his employment, he ran a bureau on me illegally and had everything needed to line his pockets and ruin me. He did similar damage to wife #1 but she managed to get out before he bankrupted her. She (and his followers) had the opportunity to warn me of the danger, but they were only too happy to “pawn” the problem-child (in a grown persons body) on an unsuspecting person. (ME!) I am now trying to figure out a way out of the enormous mess (all the attorneys tell me it makes their head spin!!!) and it is overwhelming but the similar experiences and posts make me feel less alone. I am sure $500,000 is a drop in the bucket to what others have lost, but he will not stop with the financial destruction. I have no funds to procure a divorce attorney so he just keeps on making things worse, and he has NO intention whatsoever of paying any bill for the remainder of his life. He plans to find another unsuspecting sucker to sponge off until her money runs out. In the fantasy world he exists in, there are no taxes, no debts, no wives, no children, (his employer didn’t know he had a family!) no responsibilities, no contracts, no obligations, and, of course, HE breaks no laws (everyone ELSE belongs in jail) and if his car breaks or he has a flat tire, he goes into a ballistic rage about how EVERYONE is out to get him. The P’s can and do make the choice, they just believe they are immune to the consequences of their choices, that they are extra-special, above the law and above everyone else (Can’t YOU see the jewel-encased crown on their head?). They are entitled to do whatever they want without consequence. Hurting others is the only pleasure in an empty trip thru life on a make-believe majic carpet ride. Every once in a while, one of those magic carpet riders will “crash & burn”; but not often enough! My experience thus far is that the domestic relations laws and judges do nothing to stop sociopathic parents from destroying family after family after family (economically, mentally, physically, etc.) I am hoping that my child and I will only be “temporarily handicapped” and can someday lead a peaceful, normal and happy life, P-Monster FREE! (I’m spraying my “P-Monster Deterrent Spray” (imaginary) as I write!

Ox Drover

Dear Got2getfree,

Glad you are here and sorry tht you more than “qualify” to join our “club”—but there is comfort here if no other way than to know you are NOT ALONE in your devestation.

I’m wishing you the best of everything and keep on reading, learning and healing! God bless!



Ox Drover

Thanks to the LF reader who sent this link, I was wondering yesterday what was going on with this guy.

He’s been in CUSTODY since 1979–30-31 years! And now there will be another 15 years of appeals again, how much time has been WASTED on legal RANGLES, how much money? This guy is 66 yrs old, so 15 years from now when his last appeal is over, and his death date is set they will go to court and won’t be able to execute him because he has senile dementia and can’t understand why they are killing him!

That poor mother will never get justice and complete closure for herself or her daughter. I can only say that I am so glad Liane Leedom’s mother is not in that court crying for justice for Liane, who dodged that bullet by only millimeters.




Once convicted… em in! IMMEDIATELY!

Ox Drover

Dear EB,

I used to be a “hang em high and let the crows pic k their eyes out” let the bodies rot! However, after spending 20+ years having contact with the CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM (boy is that an OXY MORON!) There are way too many people who have been wrongly convicted for me to continue to support the death penalty—that said!~

I highly support LIFE WITHOUT ANY SORT OF PAROLE AND ONLY ONE REASONABLE APPEAL for any conviction unless there is NEW EVIDENCE of a compelling nature.

This CRAP about the “technical” over turns because someone’s lawyer’s mother didn’t breast feed him is BULL FLOP! The ENDLESS appeals is HORRIBLE!

Saw a man in for 35 years for a rape he didn’t commit final;ly FREED the other day, if he had been executed, they couldn’t have freed him. He at least got back a small portion of his life and his honor.

So my position now, after many years of offering to pull the trigger at executions, or the switch, or the trap door, I am solidly on the side of LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE and really make it stick. Also I vote that murder of any kind that is premeditated is L W/O Parole.


Oh Ox, I so agree with you. There are plenty of cases that don’t add up to a decision which can’t be reversed.

I’m thinking a lot about that these days. When you don’t know exactly what IS true, its always a possibility – best to be right- but what is right can be very political. very. and politics are not just.

Parole has been locked down federally and in many states.

And as even EB pointed out, the guys we want to count on bring ego to the job and don’t dig – not like she does! And there are SPATHS in that community too.

Its enough to twist a gut and colic over. Really.

There are times and cases where what is true and how things look are very, very different and in those, just as we do in a SPATH relationship, we have to work for bringing truth out.

I see that to be a mission in everything now.
Its not about bogeymen hiding behind trees, its about what is true from the simplest to the most complex things.

I wish the political and legal and justice professionals were so obviously committed to the same thing that there would be very little homework for the rest of us. But it is not so. And no matter what we do or don’t, we are required to THINK and there is no getting around that we may have to repeat it over and over as the landscape around the truth changes.

Like in the case of that man who was in jail for 35 years. And there are many throughout history. Some of those individuals have in fact, changed the course of history. One that comes to mind is Nelson Mandela. There are many, many more.

Execution is only an option when there is proof without ANY doubt. I’m and advocate of it from the point of view that its a practical solution. If we won’t house and feed the other mentally Ill in this country, why would that population get different treatment.

But it is no small thing to take a man’s life. And if you do, you can’t give it back.

Tough question. Very tough. If it takes many years to get the answer, then so be it.

Ox Drover

Being brought up in a Scots-Irish-redneck community of “God, country, Mom and Apple pie” where an “eye for an eye” is justice and hanging or executing a murderer is acceptable and desirable—-I never really thought about it too much, but in the last few years, after realizing that “justice” depends on how much money you have to pay the “right” attorney with, and nothing to do with the TRUTH of what happened (OJ Simpson’s wife Nichole’s murder is one great example) and that juries while at best are great folks, none the less are human, and cops CAN be wrong. Some times on purpose.

Eye witness testimony is a VERY poor indicator of justice too.

All these things make me feel that death for a criminal is neither fair or just to anyone one the way our system is administered.

Also, I am learning as I am getting older (if not wiser) that I can frequently be WRONG and others can be too. I am no longer so sure I have any of the right questions, much less the right answers.

While I would actually advocate for the death penalty in my own son, in which there is NO DOUBT at all that he is guilty of murder, most cases are not quite so open and shut.

Some are, but life without parole leaves an opening for DNA or other evidence to let someone out if it turns out they are innocent. The death sentence does not. Right now there is a young man on Arkansas’ death row that I think, and many others think, was railroaded into the death row on almost NO evidence and upon community hysteria 17 years ago. There is a great deal of work going on to free him and his two friends who are in gen pop at the prison. Look up “west Memphis Three” for the story.


After many years on the LEFT Coast, my hang’em first notions were softened considerably. And I can’t help but be struck by that story.

It must be constantly asked- what don’t I know FOR SURE? And until the answer is nothing, you don’t know for sure.

You are spot on, unless it is absolutely true, it isn’t and we have seen way too many examples of how money, hysteria and other agndas influence the way things like this turn out.

Ox Drover

NEWSFLASH: Tomorrow’s 48 HOURS MYSTERY will be about Rodney Alcala and the 40 years of murder and rape. The late Harold Dow’s final report is on CBS Saturday September 25th 10 pm E and Pacific time, and probably my guess is 9 central. Check your local TV schedule.

This guy was the one that took the photos of our Dr. Liane Leedom, which happened between two of his murders. Even years later, I cannot imagine how Liane feels to have dodged a bullet that closely.


interesting article, great posts-

I’m struck by an image in my head of a psychopath in without parole….staring out through the bars of his/her prison cell, dreaming of murder….much like a wild animal caged in, pacing…instinct intact, pining for freedom to act spontaneously

the brain of sociopaths and psychopaths is certainly different and slightly more dangerous than someone with dyslexia… different…incureable…innate… Evil…always waiting to manifest and express itself…I wonder why we wait for them to kill when we already know by looking at their brains what they are capable of…..we already know what they are born to manifest..


bp – your description is chilling and accurate. i would suggest the cell is also woven of everyday life.

i might use the word ‘compulsively’, instead of spontaneously…the freedom to act on his/ her drives unfettered, as i think wild animals come almost soley from a place of instinct and spaths know what they are doing – self aware, but uncaring.

Ox Drover

Dear BP,

There is no way to predict behavior or choices BEFORE one had done them. There is no scan that can say “this person is a psychopath” and “that person is not.” EVEN if a person is a psychopath, they may not be a killer or a criminal.

BUT…once they have killed/raped/robbed, then they have a HISTORY OF BAD BEHAVIOR to use as a guide to FUTURE BEHAVIOR. Not ALL people with a history of bad behavior will continue the bad behavior, but the majority WILL continue bad behavior. Only 40% of those out on parole will NOT commit another crime before their parole is ended.

So if we look at the rates–let’s say we put 100 rapists in prison for 10 year sentences (about typical time) and let them out in 6 years on parole…so all 100 are on the street now on parole for 4 years—-60 of them will commit another felony within that 4 years. So, then 40 are still out at the end of the 10 years—

So what have we GAINED as a society by letting these 100 rapists out of prison (at all) much less letting them out 4 years before the end of their sentences? We have gained 60+ more crimes, 60 more arrests, 60 more trials to send them back, and how many more lives RUINED by violence committed by these men?

The problem is that it is difficult to PROVE “crimes PREVENTED” by keeping people in prison, and much easier to prove “crimes committed” by people let out.

BP, I think in a way a high level P in prison is in the “happy hunting grounds” for conning and P-games that they like to play of one-up-man-ship over each other and the guards. They get to plan and play con-man games all day and all night. WHAT FUN!


If there are brain scans, and brain patterns, FMRI showing bits lit up and not lit up then perhaps it IS predictable
That for the first time brain-scanning technology is redefining criminal culpability…compare the psychoapth brain with the normal brain…and YOU HAVE evidence of a brain that is likely to commit crimes…and then it’s our responsibility to build in structures to ensure these “brain types” are monitored….


brain scans could be the new fingerprint

Ox Drover

The problem is BP, that 1) the “brain scans” are NOT RELIABLE A PREDICTORS OF ANYTHING, and 2) in a free society you can’t put people in prison for THOUGHT CRIMES.

The reason “lie detectors” are not allowed in court as evidence is that they are NOT RELIABLE.

Believe me, BP I have had some THOUGHTS that if they could have been read if and thoughts were felonies, I would have been locked up for life—but I had a CHOICE on whether to bring these thoughts to actions and I CHOSE NOT to act on these thoughts. Therefore I did not become a criminal. No matter what my THOUGHTS WERE, OR MY DESIRES WERE…but my actions were LEGAL.

I WISH the fMRI were reliable I wish that lie detectors were reliable, but unfortunately they are neither accurate nor reliable.

Read the study that BloggerT linked to about the fMRI being done on the DEAD FISH being not different from one done on LIVE HUMANS.

There are people USING THESE SCANS FOR RESEARCH and they are trying to find out if they are or can be reliable, but so far, they are not showing up as either. But even if they were “reliable” until someone has committed a crime, until someone has ACTED on his/her bad impulses (and we all have those), a free country doesn’t imprison them.

The McCarthy era in our country persecuted people for “thought crimes” (thinking positively about the communists) and that was scary enough. Hitler imprisoned people for their supposed thought crimes against the Nazis, and even the US put Japanese people in camps during WWII because they MIGHT HAVE HAD pro Japanese feelings.

People who have actually committed crimes of violence (rape, assault, murder) show that at least in the past they have not exercised impulse control to control their thoughts vs actions and are at STATISTICALLY more RISK for repeating this kind of behavior than others.

Now, our criminal justice system can come in to play with sentencing and monitoring and not violate any one’s rights.

Don’t know if you are an ISAAC ASIMOV fan or not, (an early scifi writer) but he wrote a short story about the “thought” police called “All the troubles in the world” being prevented BEFORE they happened by a large computer and the cops prevented crimes before they happened. If not, read that story I think you would enjoy the irony of it as we question how we can prevent psychopaths from hurting others. Keep in mind too, that not all psychopaths are violent or criminal.

It would be wonderful if we could weed them out of our society, but unfortunately, except in scifi, we can’t. (((hugs))))


I would love to have a brain scan..see what’s in there and take out what is f–ked up, reorganize the good part’s, sort throught some noise maker’s, turn down the volume and breathe easy..mite be eaisier to get a lobotomy and just be done with it tho..

Ox Drover

Henry, darlink, if you lifted off the top of your skull so you could see inside, you are just like every other man and there’s a big sign in there that says “I want sex” and in some cases it also says “and beer!” LOL Nah, not so, you are SPECIAL but I just couldn’t resist the chance to poke at ya! Did you guys get any rain? We got about 1 to 1 and a half inches here and boy did we need it.

Weather cooled off and was/is wonderful will have to sleep with a light blanket tonight and the “winder-lights open!” Perfect sleeping weather! Me and the Bud dog side by side–bet he’ll even crawl under the kivers too! And keep me toes-ies warm!


droxer On top of everything else your a mind reader..No rain here but cool front is on the way..just talked to J in kansas and he’s wearing a coat, says the north wind is headed our way – woo hoo – cant wait for a freeze to kill the skeeters but that will be awhile…


It’s interesting to watch tv dramas thorough the lens of understanding the sociopath. These stories are everywhere, making me doubt the 4% of population theory. Although this is not the education thread, it would be informative to view theses storylines or headlines through this lens. 90 degrees yesterday, leaves are turning today.


I am TOTALLY with you on the 4% population estimate. I think it is on a scale, and that the number is actually much higher. Maybe it USED to be 4% but considering the kinds of incidents, the demographic has increased OR it was never properly calculated to begin with. WHO said 4%? How did they derive that statistic? There are a LOT of people with no heart, no empathy, no conscience. My husband is NOT a criminal ONLY b/c he is able to choose. He doesn’t want to go to jail. That is the ONLY reason he hasn’t done certain things that he admits he would do if he could be certain to NOT go to jail. I think there are a LOT of Spaths like him, able to control and choose, but for a reason OTHER than conscience.

OX Drover!
I love that you let the dog sleep on your bed! Makes me giggle thinking about a three dog night! And now, b/c I am of ‘that age”, I’m humming songs. What a great concert that was. Back in the day when rock concerts were so cool. Gosh, except for my spath and my childhood, I’ve had a fantastic life….

Ox Drover

48 HOURS MYSTERY ON CBS, about the Rodney Acala rapist murder that took the photos of Liane!

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