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How serial killers start out.

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1 How serial killers start out. on Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:52 pm


Examples That Make the Headlines: Notorious Killers
History is replete with serial killers whose violent tendencies were first directed at animals. Albert DeSalvo, the “Boston Strangler” who killed 13 women, trapped dogs and cats and shot arrows at them through boxes in his youth.(6) Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer had impaled dogs' heads, frogs, and cats on sticks.(7) Dennis Rader, the so-called “BTK” killer who terrorized people in Kansas, wrote in a chronological account of his childhood that he hanged a dog and a cat.(Cool During the trial of convicted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, a psychology professor testified that the teenager who killed 10 people with a rifle had “pelted—and probably killed—numerous cats with marbles from a slingshot when he was about 14.”(9)

The deadly violence that has shattered schools in recent years has, in most cases, begun with cruelty to animals. High-school killers such as 15-year-old Kip Kinkel in Springfield, Oregon, and Luke Woodham, 16, in Pearl, Mississippi, tortured animals before starting their shooting sprees.(10) Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who shot and killed 12 classmates before turning their guns on themselves, spoke of mutilating animals to their classmates.(11)

“There is a common theme to all of the shootings of recent years,” says Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, director of the Child Study Center at New York University. “You have a child who has symptoms of aggression toward his peers, an interest in fire, cruelty to animals, social isolation, and many warning signs that the school has ignored.”(12)

Sadly, many of these criminals' childhood violence went unexamined—until it was directed toward humans.

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