I recently heard about the many letters that convicted killer Scott Peterson has received from different women. Many who offered to marry him. Charlie Manson has had proposals in the past as well. The famous Night-stalker (Richard Ramirez), who killed 13 people and raped 30 women, had lines of women outside his jail. Finally after courting many from behind bars, he married a freelance magazine editor by the name of Doreen Lioy in 1996.
What is it that attracts women to these kind of men? Are they desperate to find love? Have they failed so many times, that this is their only recourse? Is it because they will get some form of publicity?
Experts have struggled for years to figure out what attracts women to this type of man. Sheila Isenberg, who wrote the book, “Women Who Love Men Who Kill”, says that they are driven by a celebrity obsessed society. They confuse fame with notoriety. They are so obsessed with what they see on television and read in the tabloids, that they don’t picture the real world as it is. It is sort of a microcosm of American society.
Jack Levin is a criminologist and director for the Brudnick Center on Violence at Northeastern University. He feels that it is America’s emphasis on stardom that is to blame, also. His thinking is that if a women corresponds with a star, they might get a signed picture at the most. However, if the correspond with a murderer, they might get gifts and even a marriage proposal.
Carol Ann Boone moved from the State of Washington to Florida so that she could marry Ted Bundy. Which she did in 1980. She even had a child by him. Once she was finally convinced that he was a true murderer, she took the child and moved away.
Many murderer groupies just want to be known for turning the bad boy into a good boy. Some women also believe that the killer was set up or that there were extenuating circumstances to the crime. They tend to shut their minds to the true reality of the crime. Some go as so far as to try to profit from the popularity of marriage, through movie and book contracts. This helps gives credit to the celebrity idea.
Each year Charlie Manson receives 3 to 4 free televisions as gifts from female admirers. It doesn’t matter that he is already married. The larger in magnitude the crime, the more female follower’s there are.
One young girl asked Scott Peterson if she could marry him before he even got to prisons Death Row. She called him on the phone while the trial was still in progress. One of the jurors in his case, was Richelle Nice. The mother of four, has written many letters to Peterson. She does it because of the turmoil that she claims she went through during the trial. She does it as a form of therapy. Nice says it was recommended by her therapist.
There are many women who don’t want to be known that they are sending letters. They don’t want the notoriety but, they do want the romance.
Many of the criminals are smooth talkers and can lure very impressionable women into believing that they are innocent.
The thing that is hard to understand, is that many of these women are very successful career minded individuals. They have outstanding jobs or they are from very good professions. Although they are so successful at their jobs, they feel that they need the recognition that they aren’t getting. So they turn to this for fulfillment. They become so fixated on this, that the criticism they receive doesn’t bother them.
There are some women who write letters from a Christan point of view. They write to get the criminal to repent and change his ways, because of the love that Jesus has for them. Many women feel that they are doing the work of the Lord. This is different than sending Love Letters to them.
There are many women who just like the romantic idea of communicating with a murderer. They believe it is above and beyond what an everyday romance is all about. It is challenging and exciting to them. It is like living their own romantic adventures in real life. They feel safe, because the murderer is already behind bars. So now they can live out their fantasy safely.
One sobering reality eventually comes. Once the inmate is executed, the dream comes to an end. However, there have been some women that start reaching out to others or simply waiting for the next famous murderer to come along.
The sad part of this is that it deals with another part of society that often goes overlooked. The part of “little girls lost.” Many have had brutal childhoods. Many didn’t have love and attention when they were small and it carries over into their adult life. This is a way to take some of it back and in a safe way. Their self-esteem is so low that this is a way to try and redeem it. It is so low, that they don’t even care what others think. It is their way of reaching out for help.
sources, Shelia Isenberg, “Women who Love Men Who Kill”