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What motivates serial killers like Lucy Letby?

When asked to comment about the Lucy Letby criminal case the following comes to mind. The overarching term when a child is killed (and dependent upon their age), by a parental figure can be referred to as neonaticide (newborn within 24 hours), infanticide (older than one day and younger than 12 months), and filicide (between one and 18 years). The difference here in Lucy Letby’s criminal case is that she was not a parental guardian to the lives of the babies she murdered. Therefore criminological and or psychological rationales commonly examined under the framework of a parent, specifically of a biological mother who kills her child, are in strong contrast to understanding explanations of why Lucy Letby committed such crimes. Furthermore, the number of victims killed over the lengthy time frame is also crucial to be considered as to understanding the “why.” However, learning about Lucy Letby’s life course, her pathway to her criminality for the abhorrent crimes she committed may not be logically understood; however, this is vital as to where examination should begin.

How to Be Happy Hour: Murder Shows

I’ll begin with sharing that I rarely watch girls and or women murder, or prison shows. As you are aware, I am personally and professionally immersed within this realm and have been for many years. However, here I had the opportunity to contribute a little of the “reality” piece, about females and murder, which may help us further understand human inquisitiveness, and or fascination for such murder shows. I always ask, “Why such fascination with females who kill?” Compare their publicity, media attention to that of male perpetrators! This was an amazing opportunity, most interesting and engaging podcast episode, hosted by psychologist Dr. Kimberley Ernest and joined by other great professionals. Hearing and learning from others, as to why and how murder shows personally draw us in, was extremely fascinating! Some would argue, “It is addictive behavior!”

Adultery, Murder and Mayhem: The scandalous crime unsolved for 30 years.

When asked to comment on cold cases, pertaining to women and violent crime, as a feminist criminologist, much has to first be considered. In this instance, consider a crime that historically dates back when women who killed were deemed outside of the theoretical construct of “normative femininity.” Understanding the why is crucial. For the purpose of this cold case such arguments included the jealously of a husband and his extramarital affair with his younger female lover, the victim. Also consider the access to the victim, the weapon used and the ferocity of engagement with the weapon into the victim’s body. One could argue was this because of a wife’s jealous rage or something I continue to question, was this staged to appear as such? However, more specifically, I focus on learning about the “who;” in this instance a woman’s life, from childhood to adulthood, prior to her crime. In this cold case, the accused is deemed as deceased and her body never found. It is asserted she had committed suicide not long after the murder. Police interviewed loved ones, and those related to the accused. However, the accused “had no voice.” Women commit murder for a number of reasons. Within westernized nations, women are more predisposed to suicide after killing their children (especially biological), then partners, siblings (sororicide, fratricide) and or parent/s (parricide). Furthermore, in consideration of this cold case, even less women commit suicide after killing a female friend, acquaintance or stranger.

Netflix's Evil Genius: Majorie Diehl Armstrong is More Complicated than the Documentary Shows

I recall the first time I received a letter from Marjorie, asking to visit her in SCI. Muncy, Pennsylvania. I had no preconceived ideas, or expectations of what would happen during my first visit with Marjorie. I was courteous and a little cautious when we met. She was articulate, with a no nonsense dialogue. Moving forward, Marjorie was often verbally loud during our conversations, and what she discussed would shift back and forth in context. If she didn’t like what we talked about, she would quickly make it known. There were times we shared laughter pertaining to her love of the outdoors to include her fishing mishaps. Knowing Marjorie for many years until her death, from prison visits, exchange of mail, interviewing her for my book, made me privy to glimpses of a deeply psychologically troubled and complex woman, who at times yearned for attention and to be heard, especially about her past criminal history. I wrote this commentary to acknowledge that beyond the woman who had committed such horrendous crimes, was once an intelligent young woman. Not to excuse her behavior, but something happened during the course of her life, to have her succumb to violent crimes and incarceration. She had asked me to represent her with media wanting to publish her story. She argued that people in the media were sensationalizing her life story, for their own professional accomplishment. I was one of few, who really knew Marjorie throughout her incarceration. This came specifically from our one-on-one prison interviews, and personal visits over the years. Do I believe Marjorie was always open and honest with me, absolutely not! In closing, I don’t in any manner condone her violent path. However, disconcerting are those who professionally benefit from an incarcerated woman’s story, by not providing her “larger life.”


Radio Guests: witf the Spark (Pennsylvania)

March 2024 We had the opportunity to have a conversation on national radio, “witf - the Spark,” and discuss the rationale and approach to producing a broadcast series within a women’s maximum security prison in Pennsylvania in the United States. Furthermore, we shared backgrounds about some of the women serving life sentences who participated in the podcast series.

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