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Criminal behavior experts speak about fatal shooting of Australian in Duncan

Experts say the “thrill kill” of an East Central University student from Australia is a type of crime that is rare.
BY NASREEN IQBAL niqbal@opubco.com Modified: August 22, 2013 at 10:28 pm •  Published: August 23, 2013

/articleid/3875082/1/pictures/2187932">Photo - This combination made with booking photos provided by the Stephens County, Okla., Sheriffs Department, shows, from left, James Francis  Edwards Jr., 15, Michael Dewayne  Jones, 17, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, all of Duncan, Okla. The three teenagers have been charged in connection with the killing of 22-year-old Australian collegiate baseball player Christopher Lane, 22. Luna and Edwards were charged with first-degree murder and, under Oklahoma law, will be tried as adults. Jones was accused of using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. He is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court. (AP Photo/Stephens County Sheriffs Department) ORG XMIT: NY117
This combination made with booking photos provided by the Stephens County, Okla., Sheriffs Department, shows, from left, James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, all of Duncan, Okla. The three teenagers have been charged in connection with the killing of 22-year-old Australian collegiate baseball player Christopher Lane, 22. Luna and Edwards were charged with first-degree murder and, under Oklahoma law, will be tried as adults. Jones was accused of using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. He is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court. (AP Photo/Stephens County Sheriffs Department) ORG XMIT: NY117

“Neurology is not destiny,” he said. “There are a lot of people with a neurological trait of mental illness who are fine citizens. Similarly, there are a lot of people who grew up in challenging environments but who are wonderful people with normal, successful lives.”

However, there are some known character traits of people who said they killed simply for the thrill of it.

“These killers aren't insane,” he said. “They know that technically what they're doing is a crime. They know that society disapproves, they just don't care. These people tend to be cold individuals. They have a defective ability to empathize.”

Hartman said other traits include the need for more stimulation than the average person desires, narcissism, experiencing casual or inappropriate signs of aggression and a history of harming animals.

Ryan Brown, associate professor of psychology at the University of Oklahoma, said some seek status with violent crime.

Males between the ages of 15 and 24 commit the most violent crimes in the United States. Perpetrators sometimes talk about seeking honor and respect, and some obviously take these natural desires too far.

“You take the normal pressure men feel to prove themselves and put it on steroids,” he said.

“If all you have is very little and it can be taken away very quickly and law enforcement is not likely to do anything about it you are likely going to do something that says to others ‘don't mess with me' and to make the message even louder you are likely to do it to someone who possess a high level of status,” he said. “The desire to feel respected and valued is a primitive one but it's not a racial or ethnic one; it's a human one.”

Turvey stressed that it's too early, and too little is known to drawn definitive conclusions about this case.

“The fact of the matter is right now we don't know what led them to do this,” he said.


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Anybody who has a teenager knows that the excuse of boredom is nonsense. Teens give that excuse all the time because they don't want to say why they did what they did.”

Brent Turvey,
Oklahoma City University adjunct professor

of criminology and justice studies

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