If you are a fan of crime fiction, and TV shows like Criminal Minds and CSI, you have undoubtedly found yourself scratching your head at times going, “that’s why he murdered so many people?” The truth is there are endless reasons people have for killing another person. The only thing that matters to them is that it makes sense in their head at the time. There are your typical motives like money, love and betrayal, and maybe revenge. But most often the reasons don’t make sense to anyone but the murderer who thought them up.
Often there is some kind of psychological issue at work. Sometimes brainwashing is a huge factor. And sometimes there is a supernatural or religious reason that compels a person to kill. Imagine asking the murderer of one of your loved ones why they did it, and getting something like “Satan told me to do it” in return. The need for closure is an all-encompassing feeling, but sometimes the true motive is no more comforting than never knowing the real reason at all. Here are some of the most bizarre motives people have cited for committing murder.
He Wanted Avril Lavigne Tickets
In 2011, 39-year-old Robert Lyons murdered his 61-year-old mother (who he also lived with) because she refused to help him get tickets to an Avril Lavigne concert. Lyons suffered from bipolar disorder, but denied that it had anything to do with his rage over the tickets. He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison for bashing his mother in the head with a champagne bottle, stabbing her in the back so many times that the knife broke, and pouring household chemicals all over her body.
The Matrix Defense
The Matrix defense is actually a form of an insanity plea used during a murder trial. Defendants claim they were sucked into some kind of alternate reality (or matrix) and that caused them to kill their victim. Tonda Lynn Ansley of Hamilton, Ohio used this defense when she was charged with murder for shooting her landlady in the head. She told police she thought her landlady was part of a conspiracy to brainwash and kill her. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity. I guess the insanity defense just isn’t enough anymore, you have to be more specific.
To Please Slender Man
The creepy internet meme, Slender Man, has been making the rounds, and somehow the complicated legend has brainwashed people into committing murder. Recently two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin plotted to murder their classmate, lured her into the woods and stabbed her 19 times. Thankfully, the girl survived, and the two accused have been charged as adults for first degree attempted murder. The girls told the police they had been dreaming about Slender Man, and he could teleport and read their minds. They committed the crime to please the fictional character with no face and thought in doing so they would become his “proxies”.
Addicted To Shopping
Credit card fraud happens every day, but American serial killer Dana Sue Gray found a way to get around the pesky finding out the credit cards you stole have been cancelled thing. Gray was convicted of killing two elderly women (and attempting to kill another) in 1994, and in every case she stole her victim’s credit cards, and went on massive shopping sprees within hours of the crime. She claimed that she couldn’t control her spending, and suffered from an overwhelming need to shop. She avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty, and is currently incarcerated for life without parole.
Supply And Demand… Of Bodies?
You know that moment when you think you have come up with that ingenious business idea that will make you millions? William Burke and William Hare had that Aha! moment in Edinburgh in the 1828. When one of Hare’s tenant’s died owing him money, they decided to sell the man’s body to a Dr. Robert Knox, who was known for holding anatomy classes using real cadavers. They sold the first body for approximately $1,130US and the profit only went up after that. They would lure vagrants from the street into their home, liquor them up and then kill them in a variety of ways including suffocation, and painkiller overdose. Hare testified against his partner in crime to avoid prosecution, and Burke was executed by hanging in 1829.
“Black Rage” Defense
In 1993, Colin Ferguson boarded a train in Garden City, New York, and proceeded to walk down the aisle of his car and shoot his fellow passengers. Six of his victims died from their injuries and 19 more were wounded before he was stopped and pinned down by three other passengers. Ferguson’s defense was based on a psychological condition labeled “black rage” which meant he was driven temporarily insane by racial prejudice. Basically, he blamed racism for causing him to snap, when really, he was the racist one (he said one reason for the killing spree was “the false allegations against me by the filthy Caucasian racist female on the #1 line.) But Ferguson refused to go along with that defense and decided to fire his attorneys and represent himself, questioning his own victims on the stand. He was convicted and sentenced to 315 years in prison, without parole.
To Impress Jodie Foster
The famous assassination attempt on former US President, Ronald Regan, was a result of John Hinckley Jr. seeing the Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster film, Taxi Driver. After watching the movie, he became obsessed with Jodie Foster and tried multiple times to contact her, with no luck. His reasoning for attempting to kill the president was that his historical significance would then put him on the same level as her. Someone, we don’t think murder is the way to get a girl. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
To Be Seen As The Hero
Richard Angelo, nicknamed “The Angel of Death” worked as a nurse at the Good Samaritan Hospital on Long Island for a few years before he decided he wasn’t getting the credit he deserved. He started poisoning some of his patients with a paralyzing drug called Pavulon, which in some cases was fatal. Angelo’s plan was to be there when the patient went into cardiac arrest, so he could save them in front of all his colleagues, and be seen as a hero. He forgot the part about keeping patients alive being his job. He is currently 24 years into a 50 years to life sentence.