Worlds Most Notorious Serial Killer Criminology Essay

In this paper, I will reflect on one of the most enigmatic and teasing unresolved instances that resulted in the life imprisonment of either the universes most ill-famed consecutive slayer or the universe ‘s most ill-famed prevaricator ; Henry Lee Lucas. Lucas confessed to over 600 slayings, was convicted of eleven, stood test for four, and was merely proven guilty of three. However, during this procedure, Lucas was non assessed for mental upsets, skulking, or adjudicatory competence. The application of forensic psychological science may hold indefinitely reduced the sum of false confessions and changed the result of Lucas ‘ instance.

Liing, or the relation of prevarications or false statements ; untruthfulness, was the biggest issue faced by the jurisprudence enforcement involved in this instance. But why would a adult male, who has been in and out of prison for the bulk of his life, supply false voluntary confessions to over 600 slayings? Reports show that frequent prevaricators tend to be manipulative and cunning, non to advert excessively concerned with the feeling they make on others ( Kornet, 1997 ) . This is to state that Lucas may hold been lying in order to turn out something, or to derive celebrity. During his confessionals, Lucas began to recognize that he was the centre of attending and rapidly became a trade good, a condemnable famous person, person of importance ( Bobit, 2001 ) . It is besides proven that most prevaricators remain at least slightly conflicted about their behaviour ( Kornet, 1997 ) . As a consequence, this tendency ceased when Lucas faced the decease punishment which resulted in a battalion of recanted confessions to avoid this destiny.

Case/Topic Description

The instance of Henry Lee Lucas was one of use, confusion, and some unresolved enigmas. Lucas was a vagrant from Blacksburg, Virginia, who allegedly confessed to over 360 slayings, after being in and out of gaol his full life. This confession came after a 10 twelvemonth twine of consecutive slayings committed by Lucas and sometimes along with a comrade. On July 11th, 1983 Lucas was arrested for illegal ownership of a piece. The constabulary were relieved to hold him in detention even if it was for a minor misdemeanor because he was besides a suspect in two instances of losing adult females. “ Lucas claimed that the constabulary had treated him severely, depriving him, denying him coffin nails, keeping him in a substandard cell, and forbiding his contact with an lawyer ” ( Ramsland ) .A After digesting this intervention, he confessed to a 10 twelvemonth killing fling, during a conversation with a prison guard and ended his confession by saying no 1 would believe him ( Ramsland ) . This confession was the generation of a long and confusing instance in respect to the truth of this confession and the others shortly to come.

Lucas began his line of slayings early, allegedly perpetrating his first slaying at the age of 14, claiming that he killed a adolescent miss merely to cognize what sex with a homo was like. Lucas was in changeless problem with the jurisprudence for burglary, snatch, get awaying from prison by stealing a auto, and finally for slaying. The first confirmed slaying occurred on January 11, 1960. The victim: Lucas ‘ ain female parent. During a verbal affray with his female parent who was 74 at the clip, Lucas grabbed a knife and stabbed his female parent in the cervix. He was sentenced to twenty old ages in a South Michigan prison, and attempted to perpetrate suicide twice while incarcerated, which resulted in his transportation to a forensic psychiatric infirmary. He served ten old ages out of that 20 twelvemonth sentence.

Once he was released from prison, he traveled to Florida and met his comrade Ottis Toole, and together they began their cross-country killing fling. During their travels, Lucas and Toole were accompanied by Toole ‘s niece, Becky Powell. Although Powell was merely 12, Lucas began a romantic relationship with her and finally left Toole and traveled with her alone. On August 24, 1982, Powell began to turn tired of the life conditions every bit good as going highly place sick. She argued with Lucas about traveling place ; Lucas agreed but after another statement stabbed her in the thorax with a meat-carving knife and killing her. Lucas was besides a adept necrophilism ; holding a sexual attractive force for or sexual intercourse with a cadaver. Thus, after he murdered Becky Powell, he raped her cadaver, dismembered the organic structure into nine pieces and so proceeded to disperse her parts in a field.

About three hebdomads subsequently, Lucas went to the place of Kate Rich, whom he and Powell had antecedently lived with, and asked if she would wish to assist to look for Becky. During their hunt, Lucas killed Rich with a meatman knife, injuring her bosom, killing her immediately. He so raped the cadaver and so shoved the organic structure in a drainage pipe near the route. He retreated to Needles, California after the slaying, but returned to the site of the organic structure after hearing that he was a suspect in her disappearing. He participated in a polygraph trial. The polygraph besides known as “ the prevarication sensor ” is a scientific method to find misrepresentation ( Bartol & A ; Bartol, 2012 ) Lucas passed the polygraph and was non arrested. He returned to the drainage pipe, collected Rich ‘s remains and incinerated them in a range at the House of Prayer, the place of Lucas. After his confession, Lucas showed officers where the remains of both Powell and Rich could be found.

Lucas had besides confessed to killing a adult female known merely as “ Orange Socks ” ; nevertheless, prosecuting officers noticed that during Lucas ‘ confession “ aˆ¦Lucas sometimes contradicted himself and suffered from cardinal oversights in memory.A The sheriff even had to review his memory at times during the interview, which suggested that Lucas merely “ read ” the sheriff ‘s desire for information and gave him what he wanted ” ( Ramsland ) .A Lucas besides was proven to be nowhere near the offense scene, which took topographic point in Williamson, Texas, when the Lucas Report was released saying that Lucas was working in Jacksonville, Florida on the twenty-four hours of this incident ( Mattox, 1986 ) . After this eccentric confession the defence stated that Lucas was insane, diagnosed with schizophrenic disorder and had an IQ of merely 84. The prosecution so stated that he so was non insane, and was recorded stating that he had committed 360 slayings ( Ramsland ) . Ultimately, Lucas was convicted and sentenced to decease by the jury.

It seems that throughout Lucas ‘ luxuriant confessional, constabularies were so dedicated to shuting unfastened instances that they would believe any potentially false confession that Lucas would supply. All of Lucas ‘ confessions were voluntary ; “ a self-incriminating statement made without any external force per unit area from jurisprudence enforcementaˆ¦sometimes in an attempt to have acknowledgment or celebrity ” ( Bartol & A ; Bartol 2012 ) . Lucas besides confessed to offenses that had already been solved. For illustration, Lucas confessed to a slaying in Little Rock, Arkansas that had already been solved, and in West Virginia, Lucas confessed to the violent death of a police officer whose decease was determined to hold been a self-destruction ( Ramsland ) . This suggests that he may hold been squealing to derive attending.

After squealing to 360 slayings, Lucas was finally convicted of merely 11 slayings ; nevertheless, some criminologists believe he was responsible for 40 to 50 slayings ( Ramsland ) . Lucas remained on decease row until a file was created to unclutter his name from the “ Orange Socks ” slaying. Lucas stood test in 1996 and while on the informant base stated that he had given a false confession and was able to let go of relevant information because he read the instance file ( Ramsland ) . After all of this grounds came to visible radiation, the then-Governor of Texas George W. Bush, decided to alter Lucas ‘ decease sentence to a life sentence. Due to the nature of Henry Lee Lucas ‘ instance, it may ne’er be known precisely how many slayings he and Ottis Toole committed. There may be grounds that he committed other slayings but Judgess will non accept his confessions due to his incompatibility, go forthing many instances unfinished and ne’er making a test. Lucas died in prison of natural causes in March 2001.

Forensic Psychology Focus

Forensic psychological science is the term used to depict the brotherhood between the survey of human behaviour and the encephalon and its application to the jurisprudence and justness systems. This brotherhood in bend aids make the jurisprudence enforcement system more consistent and effectual while supplying information that may non be readily available to jurisprudence enforcement officers entirely. There are five subareas of forensic psychological science that include: constabulary psychological science, legal psychological science, psychological science of offense and delinquency, victimology and victim services, and correctional psychological science. For the intent of this paper, I will concentrate on the countries that may hold affected the result of Lucas ‘ instance.

Police psychological science is made up of two constituents ; constabularies and fact-finding psychological science. Overall, the focal point of this subarea is non merely to test constabulary officers for fitness-for-duty, but besides to educate officers about how to cover with the general populace and how to keep an effectual and positive relationship with them. Police psychologists work to guarantee that inordinate force, constabulary corruptness, and coerced confession incidents lessening, so that the people do non lose religion in their jurisprudence enforcement squad. Military officers besides need to be educated about how to observe a possible implicit in mental unwellness, because about 10 % of constabulary interactions involve people who are mentally disordered ( Bartol & A ; Bartol, 2011 ) . An of import duty of constabulary officers is besides to carry on questions. They need to guarantee that the confessions they receive are non false, and have non been coerced. “ aˆ¦research shows that among captives who were convicted and later proven guiltless by DNA grounds, more than 20 per centum had given false confessions to patrol ” ( Kassin, Fein & A ; Markus, 2011 ) . As stated above both current and possible officers are screened and undergo appraisals to guarantee that their mental province and working environment are stable and that the officers are able to keep their place. Guidance services are provided to the officers and their households when they are faced with critical incidents, external emphasis and personal stressors.

On the fact-finding side of constabulary psychological science, research workers use their psychological cognition to implicate their suspect, infer why the offense was committed and do interconnectednesss between the offense and other built-in information. These psychologists use tactics such as profiling, modus operandi ( MO ) , offense scene constructs, and mapping to calculate out every bit much information about a condemnable as possible. Professional polygraphists are besides included in this subdivision of constabulary psychological science and utilize the polygraph or “ lie sensor ” to seek and observe misrepresentation. However, there are restrictions to many of the tactics used within this subdivision of constabulary psychological science. In respects to profiling and function, the two chief defects are that human behaviour forms are non ever consistent in every state of affairs ; the other is that the manner of the discourtesy and the offense grounds are non ever related to psychological features ( Bartol & A ; Bartol, 2011 ) . Besides, the polygraph has been a questionable beginning of prevarication sensing since its debut in the 1920s. This is because a polygraph machine does non really detect lies or misrepresentation but alternatively records the organic structure ‘s response to guilt, shame and anxiousness ( Bartol & A ; Bartol, 2011 ) .

Legal psychological science is the relationship between psychological science and the judicial procedure. Within this field, legal psychologists are besides referred to as test advisers. The judicial procedure consists of four phases, which are the pretrial, test, temperament and appellant phases. During the pretrial phase, psychologists by and large conduct appraisals to prove for competence to stand test and other mental wellness showings. After the arraignment, the procedure continues on to the test phase. Psychologists assist in jury choice, in a procedure called voir dire, where they give suggestions about which possible jurymans may outdo represent an accurate jury of equals. Legal advisers besides participate in adept testimony, supplying information to instances that may non be general cognition. Expert testimony could hold been provided in respects to schizophrenia, personality upsets, IQ degrees and the psychological science behind lying. The temperament phase includes the formal sentencing which determines the destiny of the suspect. In this instance, Lucas took advantage of the appellate phase, which involves the suspect trying to dispute their sentence for a overplus of grounds.

The country of correctional psychological science would hold ensured that Lucas was non sing sick intervention while incarcerated and may hold been able to find a possible mental unwellness in Lucas ‘ history. A correctional psychologist would hold conducted appraisals in order to happen a possible job and so a solution in order to potentially rehabilitate Lucas. Initially, Lucas was given capital penalty ; therefore a correctional psychologist may hold been assigned to measure Lucas for competence to be executed.

The Role of the Forensic Psychologist

In respect to the Lucas instance, his confessions came at a coincidental and convenient clip for jurisprudence enforcement in his country. However, a assortment of these confessions have been proven to be false. The application of constabulary psychological science in Lucas ‘s instance could hold non merely affected the result of his sentence, but besides saved face for the jurisprudence enforcement involved. Military officers of the jurisprudence can hold an extended impact on the confessions and captivity of suspected individuals. As a consequence, when campaigners for the constabulary force are being screened and assessed for fitness-of-duty, constabulary psychologists are recruited to test out those that may increase the rate of inordinate force, coercion, and constabularies corruptness within the force.

Lucas claimed that while in gaol he was allegedly mistreated by the constabulary and that this mistreatment is what finally led to his twine of confessions. A psychological appraisal and a fitness-for-duty rating, conducted by a constabulary psychologist, may hold flagged some of these officers as unfit to run into occupation outlooks, particularly if these officers displayed behaviours that generated serious inquiries about their ability to transport out public safety responsibilities ( Bartol & A ; Bartol, 2011 ) . Although all of Lucas ‘ confessions were voluntary, the huge bulk of them were still false. He claims that after he started squealing, the officers began to give him particular intervention and he besides received corsets of executing after the Orange Socks decease sentence ( Bobit, 2001 ) . An experient inquisitor should hold spoken with Lucas every bit shortly as he confessed to the first slaying so that he or she would be able to determine the cogency of these assorted confessions provided by Lucas. An experient inquisitor would hold besides been utilizing adept and legal methods and techniques alternatively of feeding Lucas the information that he needed to concoct these silvertips and elaborate confessions. Lucas should hold besides been informed of his Miranda rights, basically allowing him the right to stay soundless so as non to imply himself and the right to hold an lawyer nowadays during these questions.

The chief issue in the instance of Henry Lee Lucas was that the constabulary were non certain if these confessions were true or merely a fraud. A newsman named Hugh Aynesworth interviewed Lucas for an article and Lucas stated that he had merely murdered three people ; Becky Powell, Katherine Rich, and his female parent, and that all other confessions were bogus ( Bobit, 2001 ) . These falsified confessions were Lucas ‘ retaliation tactics for being treated so severely in gaol ( Bobit, 2001 ) . If a constabulary psychologist was efficaciously utilized from the beginning of this instance, none of these false confessions would hold been accepted without a thorough probe. This is where the fact-finding side of constabulary psychological science could hold been utilized. The officers in this instance were able to set up a modus operandi ( MO ) for Lucas, which allegedly changed in respect to how he really killed these people, but seemed to ever stop in practising necrophilism. However, if these officers had utilised geographical function, which is mapping the geographical locations and motions of a individual consecutive slayer ( Bartol & A ; Bartol, 2011 ) , they would hold realized that there was no manner that a individual homo being could hold committed this many slayings. This is merely because these slayings were sometimes 1000s of stat mis off from his location both before and after the offense took topographic point. However, when the Lucas Report was released it included a elaborate chronology of Lucas ‘ whereabouts from August 22, 1975 to June 11, 1983, which served to unclutter up some of these confessions ( Mattox, 1986 ) .

Lucas went on test for four slayings ; Becky Powell, Katherine Rich, his female parent, and Orange Socks ; nevertheless, had a legal psychologist been involved in the tests, the result may hold been really different. In all four of these tests, there was no cogent evidence of any mental position or adjudicatory competence appraisals being completed for Lucas which would hold made a immense difference in the results of these instances. If these appraisals had been conducted, they may hold been able to find if Lucas should hold been diagnosed with schizophrenic disorder, antisocial personality upset, or mental illness. Lucas ‘ defence did province that he was diagnosed with schizophrenic disorder, which is characterized by two or more of the followers: psychotic beliefs, hallucinations, disorganized address, grossly disorganized or catatonic behaviour, or negative symptoms ( Butcher, Mineka & A ; Hooley, 2011 ) . Even though the opposing defence stated that this was non true, some of Lucas ‘ behaviours seemed representative of these symptoms. For illustration, a spiritual psychotic belief that he held was that he claimed to believe in Satan and was involved with a demonic cult called the Hands of Death, which practiced human forfeit by the word of Satan, which seemed to warrant his big list of slayings ( Ramsland ) .

A legal psychologist could hold besides provided expert testimony after the mental position appraisals were completed. Lucas may hold been diagnosed with antisocial personality upset, which is characterized by assorted behaviours such as: repeated crime, craftiness, impulsivity, and deficiency of compunction ( Butcher, et al. , 2011 ) . When Lucas stood test for the slaying of his female parent in March 1960, he was said to hold lacked compunction or emotion ( Bobit, 2001 ) . If this was the instance, so a legal psychologist could hold provided adept cognition about this upset which may non hold been accessible to the parties involved. More significantly in this instance, a legal psychologist could besides measure for skulking, which is when an single shams symptoms of a mental upset in order to prorogue a test or to have a lighter sentence ( Bartol & A ; Bartol, 2011 ) . Using the Constructed Interview of Reported Symptoms, the legal psychologist may hold been able to find whether Lucas had a mental upset, if he was forging, or if he was being fallacious for other intents. For illustration, Lucas stated that he kept squealing to avoid decease row because he understood that one time the confessions stopped he would instantly be sent to decease row ( Bobit, 2001 ) .

During the arraignment of four of his tests, Lucas entered a supplication of guilty, with the exclusion of the Orange Socks slaying. He faced the decease punishment for this slaying, and hence recanted his confession about the slaying. The legal psychologist could hold worked with Lucas ‘ defence squad to supply decease punishment extenuation so that Lucas could avoid capital penalty. The psychologist could besides hold collaborated with the opposing squad to place worsening factors to rise the earnestness of his offenses and aid assistance in the decease punishment determination ( Bartol & A ; Bartol, 2011 ) . However, on June 26th, 1998 with the facts reported in the Lucas Report considered, and a deficiency of grounds associating Lucas to the slaying of Orange Socks, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush altered Lucas ‘ sentence from decease to life in prison ( Bobit, 2001 ) .


Forensic psychological science is indispensable to the productiveness of the legal system and helps to take the dichotomous nature associated with legal proceedings. All of the subdivisions of forensic psychological science are interconnected in that if our constabulary are decently trained and screened, the incidents of corruptness or mistreatment will diminish which may hold a positive correlativity with the frequence of false confessions, and unlawful captivity decreasing, every bit good. The engagement of forensic psychologists in the tribunal room provides an country of expertness that may turn out good to any tribunal proceeding, particularly condemnable instances affecting force and slaying. It is still unknown precisely how many people Henry Lee Lucas murdered. However, if forensic psychological science had been applied from the beginning when he was jailed for his minor misdemeanor, these eccentric confessions may hold ne’er been expressed and he would hold merely stood test for the three slayings that he was proven to perpetrate and served the appropriate sentences.

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