Criminology/Murderer term paper 42262

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Richard Speck: An Overview of a Mass-Murderer Introduction

The following essay will highlight the life and crimes of Richard Franklin Speck, a man convicted of the mass murder of eight student nurses in the Chicago area in 1966. This essay will outline the general biographical sketch of Speck, as well as the general happenings of his crimes.

These killings were premeditated, systematic, and indicative of several theories of criminology which will also be discussed in reference to these horrendous acts committed by Spick, within the framework of this essay. Finally, the essay will conclude with an overview of the ramifications of the theory of criminology behind the mass murder, Richard Spick, as well as some speculative remarks regarding the inner and unconscious motives of the perpetrator.

Biographical Sketch

Richard Speck was born (December 6, 1941�December 5, 1991) in Kirkwood, Illinois. He was one of seven children of Benjamin and Mary Speck. Raised in a strict religious environment, Richard�s mother re-married a man named Carl Lindburg, who was highly abusive, and an alcoholic. Following in this bad example, Richard himself began to abuse alcohol by the age of twelve years, and was a poor student in school. Some claimed that he had sustained multiple head injuries as a child, and was using the alcohol to dull the pain.

By the ninth grade, Richard had dropped out of school and was subsequently arrested, but not charged for several petty crimes. He also committed one burglary and even a stabbing. Prone to Richard Speck: An Overview of a Mass-Murderer violent behavior, Richard was also a suspect in the rape of Virgil Harris, as well as the beating death of Mary Kay Pierce, but was also never charged. Finally, in 1966, Speck was a suspect in the disappearance of three women in Indiana, as well as four other female murders in Michigan, but once again, was never proven guilty for any of the murders. (Breo, 1993)

Speck married a 15-year-old woman named Shirley Malone, and fathered one child. His violent nature continued in this relationship, as he was charged with the regular abuse of both his wife and her mother, including spousal rape at knife point. After several other run-ins with the law, as well as one short arrest, Speck was in South Chicago trying to get work at a barge. On July 13, 1966, and after several drinks at a local bar, Speck walked to the nurse's townhouse nearby and proceeded to murder the eight nurses inside, sparing only one that was able to escape. Speck was

arrested and found guilty, and served a life-sentence in prison until his death from a heart-attack at 49 years of age. Curiously, Speck died with hormone-injected breasts, living the life of a transsexual/homosexual in prison. (Breo, 1993)

Applied Theories of Criminology Richard Speck is the typical mass murderer, whereby the murder slays three or more victims over a short period of time, and usually within a single location. The murders of the Illinois nurses represents what criminologists call a �murder spree.� This type of criminology grouping differs from a serial killer, in that a mass murder kills all his/her victims in one location, and within a few hours of each other, whereas a serial killer can stalk different victims over years, or even decades. (Siegel, 2003.)

Richard Speck: An Overview of a Mass-Murderer During the trials, Speck�s defenders also tried to use the criminology defense of the XYY Theory to explain his atrocious acts. Women have a "XX" pattern and a typical male has an "XY" pattern. Criminologists of the early 60�s discovered that men with a chromosome pattern of "XYY" were more likely to be more aggressive, hostile, and more prone to violent and deviant.

They also saw that this chromosome grouping was more prevalent in prisons than in the general male population. It was thought, and highly publicized, that Speck had the extra "Y" chromosome, although years later, it was proven that he did not, and that it was also irrelevant to the crime. (Fornek, 2006)Perhaps a more relevant criminology application to the Speck murders is that of rational therapy, or �self-talk.� This theory posits that mass murders are able to commit these atrocious acts due to the fact that all emotions are caused by the way we rationalize events. Studies have shown that self-talk has been the underlying factor in the crimes of such mass murderers such as Charles Manson and Richard Speck, in that their �inner-speech� allows them to justify the murders in their own mind. (Navarre, 1979)

Another theory of criminology that can be applied to the Speck murders is that of the �Madonna-Prostitute Paradigm.� Speck�s pre-trial psychiatrist, Dr. Marvin Ziporyn, believed that Speck was suffering from not only depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, but that he was moving from a place of a �Madonna-Prostitute� attitude towards women. In this sense, the offender views women as saintly until they feel betrayed by the woman (for any reason), after Richard Speck: An Overview of a Mass-Murderer which hostility develops. Speck falls under this category due to his revelations to Dr. Ziporyn, whereby he admitted to deeply loving women, but being angered by their behavior.In that light, we can also view Speck as a classic sociopath, turned gender-ambiguous. The DSM-IV (Diagnostic Criteria), used by the psychiatric community to evaluate and diagnose personality disorders and mental illnesses, states that a sociopath displays no systems of being psychotic, but internally they see their victims as objects to exert control over. Classically, sociopaths do not have what is commonly referred to as a �conscience� and do not value human life as being precious. Sociopaths do not feel remorse or empathy for what they have done.

Speck�s feminization gives us an insight into the unconscious motives behind his gender-biased murders, and fully adheres to the class criminological theory of sociopath behavior. (American

Psychiatric Association, 1994)

Richard Speck: An Overview of a Mass-Murderer Concluding Remarks and Speculations Speck�s final deification of women can be seen in his final days in prison, where he snuck in illegal hormone therapy drugs to enhance his own breasts, and wore women�s underwear. Here we see his final �Madonnafication� of his own self, and yet, he is still highly abusive of women, even when he himself represents that woman. (Fornek, 2006)

One could view that Speck�s evident enjoyment of taking on a female role within an all-male environment of prison, and his admissions in a 1980�s video, whereby he overtly brags about his numerous male sexual partners, shows that underneath the murderer-impulse lies a deep envy of the female. It may even stand to reason that Speck lived his life as a closet homosexual within the 1960�s, and expressed his inner anger through the murder of women. Breo (1993) states that Speck may have felt envy towards a woman�s role of power within sexual opportunities, or of their position as �the sought-after sex.�

Richard Speck: An Overview of a Mass-Murderer ReferencesDiagnostic Criteria Manual. American Psychiatric Association. 1994.Breo, Daniel L.; William J. Martin (1993). Crime Of The Century; Richard Speck And The Murder Of Eight Student Nurses. New York, NY: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-56025-5.Fornek, Scott. "Was He Evil, Crazy - Or Brain-damaged?" Chicago Sun-Times. July 11, 2006.

Nash, Jay Robert. Bloodletters And Badmen. New York: M. Evans And Co., 1973.

Navarre R., Zastrow, C. �Self-Talk-A New Criminology Theory. The International Journal Of Comparative And Applied Criminal Justice. Volume 3. 1979. Pages: 167-176.

Siegel, Larry J. (2003). Criminology, 8th edition. Thomson-Wadsworth.

Richard Speck: An Overview of a Mass-Murderer


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