“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.”
Oklahoma City University adjunct professor