What goes through the mind of a murdered when they kill?
Even trained soldiers have to psych themselves up to go into battle, and that’s their job. But when you hear of regular people who just flip out and kill, you are left flipping confused. When Bradford Bishop murdered his family and disappeared almost 40 years ago, he left the small town they lived in, in absolute shock. What could make a seemingly normal, happy family man snap and kill his mother, wife and sons? Till this day, his motives are not known, as he has never been caught.
Psychologists say that potential serial killers exhibit certain traits, and maybe their crimes can be prevented if these traits are detected early. While alcohol abuse and suffering sexual abuse will definitely mess anyone up, claiming that those who prefer their own company, may be psychos is a bit of a stretch. Some of us are simply introverts, and in many cases, the ‘out-going, jovial’ character has turned out to be a stone-cold killer.
It looks like science doesn’t have the answer to this question just yet. Society tends to link most of our problems to stress; at work, school or home. But the unhinging of the mind can come in many different ways. The following are ten seemingly ordinary folks who just lost it and committed heinous murders.
10. Derrick Bird
On the morning of June 2, 2010, Derrick Bird drove his cab to his twin brother’s house and shot him eleven times in the head. This was the first murder in what turned out to be one of the UK’s worst criminal acts.
Driving to the family solicitor’s home, he shot him twice with a shotgun, then drove into the town of Whitehaven. Driving around, he targeted and shot at four fellow taxi drivers. One was killed but the others survived. At this point, the police gave chase but Bird managed to lose them. He drove around the nearby towns of Gosforth and Seascale, randomly taking shots at people. He killed nine more people before he ran out of gas and bullet by midday. He parked his car and walked off into the woods where he shot himself.
Over the course of 10 hours, Bird killed 12 people and injured 11. No motive was ever established, but speculations range from dispute over a family inheritance to trying to avoid ongoing tax investigation.
9. Rogerio Damascena
The December 2010 wedding between 25-year-old Renata Alexandre Costa Coelho and 29-year-old Rogerio Damascena went without a hitch. There were around 200 people in attendance at the reception in Camaragibe, Brazil, when it took a very shocking turn.
Around 2:30 AM, with the party on its last legs, the new husband announced that he had a surprise for the guests. Stepping out for a few minutes, he returned with a revolver, hugged and kissed his new wife then shot her in the head. The sales manager then turned to his best friend and best man and shot him dead, too. He then turned the gun on himself, completing the murder-suicide rampage. No motive was ever established.
8. Joseph Jesse Aldridge
The tiny community of Tyrone, Missouri (population 50) was rocked by the random killing of seven people in February 2015. Local resident, 36-year-old Joseph Aldridge drove his truck around town, stopping at four different homes and murdering its occupants. Aldridge also happened to be related to four of the victims; his two cousins and their wives.
His motives for this act of violence are unclear, as he soon turned the gun on himself. It is believed that he “lost it” when he came home that day and found his mother dead from natural causes. Others claim the incident was triggered by a long-standing family feud.
7. Ljubisa Bogdanovic
Velika Ivanca is a small town outside Belgrade, Serbia, that experienced an unprecedented attack in April 2013. With no provocation, ex-soldier Ljubisa Bogdanovi went on a rampage and killed 13 people.
Starting at 5:00 AM from his own home, he killed his mother and son. Shooting his wife, Javorka, in the head, Bogdanovic went from house to house, shooting and killing his neighbors and relatives in their sleep.
When a police team cornered him, Bogdanovic shot himself and he later died in hospital. The murders seem to have no motive as Bogdanovic was well liked in the community. His daughters even spoke to him the day before and they said there was nothing amiss, describing him as a calm and decent person.
6. Kenneth Tornes
The Jackson, Mississippi fireman was once described by a coworker as “a perfect gentleman”, The only thing that seemed to upset Tornes was his bosses, whom he felt were overly critical of him.
On the morning of April 25, 1996, matters came to a head, and Torney snapped. Shooting his wife at the home they shared, Tornes headed to his workplace with an assault rifle in tow. He proceeded to make his way through the facility shooting only the managers and supervisors he had grudges against. Sparing his colleagues, he ended up killing two fire captains and two district chiefs. He managed to wound two more supervisors on his selective spree.
The ensuing police chase lasted for 16 kilometers when a brief shootout occurred at a shopping mall parking lot. Tornes wounded an officer, before he was wounded and finally arrested. While waiting for his death sentence to be carried out, Tornes passed away from natural causes.
5. Mark Orrin Barton
White collar workers can also snap and turn murderous, like in the case of day trader Mark Barton. Holding down two jobs at two Atlanta trading firms, Barton seemed the picture of happiness, with his wife and 2 kids. But in 1996, he incurred a trading loss of $105,000 that led to revocation of his trading privileges. Soon after, Barton snapped and was suddenly under the impression that “some people sought his destruction.”
On the morning of July 29, Barton bludgeoned his wife and two children to death with a hammer, typed a long rambling suicide note before heading to the office. Arriving at his first job at Momentum Securities, Barton asked to speak with his manager. But when the manager failed to arrive, Barton whipped out two pistols and killed four people in the office.
He then proceeded to his second office, located just across the street. Barton asked to see the manager and even spent time chatting with some colleagues while waiting. He soon drew his weapons and killed five people here. Though he fled the scene, he was soon cornered by the police. By shooting himself, his rampage finally came to an end. Investigations found that Barton had been a suspect in the 1993 bludgeoning murders of his first wife and mother-in-law.
4. Josh Powell
When Susan Powell disappeared in December 2009, her husband, Josh came under scrutiny, as they had been having marital problems. The case against him was further strengthened when the only explanation he could offer was that he returned home after a camping trip with the boys to find her gone. With the sub-zero temperatures in December, his story wasn’t believed. But as Susan’s body was never found, he was never formally charged. He did lose custody of the children and was ordered to only have supervised visits.
In 2012, during one such visit, Powell snatched his kids from the case worker and locked her out of his house. He then hacked at the neck and heads of his sons before setting the home ablaze. Since he had doused roughly 10 gallons of gasoline all around, the flames caught on and killed him and the kids within minutes. Till date, the disappearance of Susan Powell remains a mystery.
3. Lowell Lee Andrews
To prove that this isn’t a modern phenomenon, here is a case from 1958. Whilst home for Thanksgiving, 22 year old Andrews decided to he wanted to see a movie at the theater. After shaving, Lowell put on a suit and sauntered downstairs. On his way out, he picked up his .22-caliber rifle and a revolver.
Stepping into the living room where everyone else was watching TV, Andrews proceeded to shoot dead his parents and sister. He then left a window open to make it look like a robbery, and drove off to see his movie. On his way, he dumped the weapons in the fast flowing Kansas River. After the movie and back home at the crime scene, he called the police and used the movie as his alibi.
But his total detachment from the scene made him a suspect and the police called in the family’s Baptist minister to have a word with him. He finally confessed to the crime, but the only explanation he could offer was “I just don’t know why I did it” His lawyers attempted an insanity plea, but that failed and he was commended to hang, which was carried out on November 30, 1962.
2. Andrea Yates
Yates lived with her husband and four kids in Houston, when she suffered her first recorded mental breakdown in 1999. She attempted to commit suicide with a pill overdose, but was found in time by her husband. Within a month, she had attempted suicide two more times and was diagnosed with postpartum depression and psychosis. One psychiatrist urged the couple not to have any more children, to prevent a re-occurrence of the depressive episodes.
The couple had one more child seven weeks after her discharge from hospital. At this point, Yates had stopped taking her meds but things seemed to be fine. When her father died in 2001, she attempted suicide again and her family was advised never to leave her unsupervised. Her husband disregarded this advice on June 20, 2001, when he went to work, leaving Yates with the kids. She filled the tub and proceeded to hold each of her kids, aged six months to seven years, under the water till they drowned. Then she called the police and turned herself in.
Her first trial lasted three weeks and she was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. The case remains highly controversial as some psychologists claim she was mentally unstable at the time and so shouldn’t be punished so harshly. Others are of the opinion that she is simply a cold and calculating woman who knew exactly what she was doing.
1. Christopher Pittman
Let’s round up this list with one case that MAY shed a little light on why incidents of ‘sudden murders’ occur. A sudden murder is a term coined to describe a murder committed for no apparent motive and the perpetrator appears sane before and after the crime.
By age 12, Pittman had been abandoned by his mother twice, and suffered abuse at the hands of his father. This trauma led to him developing mental health issues, including depression and having suicidal tendencies. At a home for troubled youth, he was placed on the anti-depressant, Paxil.
After a stint at the facility, he was sent to live with his grandparents, his primary physician was also changed. The new doctor took him off Paxil, and replaced it with Zoloft. This single decision would eventually be blamed for the following events.
In the evening of November 28, 2001, Pittman was reprimanded for misbehaving. A few hours later, while his grandparents slept, he shot them both dead. Setting fire to the home, the 12 year old jumped in his grandfather’s vehicle and drove off. His poor driving soon led to him crashing the car and getting arrested by the police. He soon confessed to killing his grandparents, but showed no remorse. His defense team claimed the Zoloft, was unsuitable and the dosage was also too strong for a 12 year old.
His team cited side effects of Zoloft like abnormal dreams, paranoid reactions, aggressive behavior etc,, as evidence. The judge dismissed these claims and sentenced Pittman to 30 years in prison.