The serial killer and sexuality


When he was first retained to assess Ray, his attorney, Bill, told me that his client was charged with rape and murder, but “there are more charges to come.” Ray is suspected of having committed several rapes and murders. Describing his client as cooperative and soft-spoken, he added, in a slightly foreboding tone, “Something is wrong.”

Indeed. Physical and DNA evidence unequivocally identified Ray as the perpetrator. In addition, there were eyewitness identifications. His modus operandi was to casually strike up a friendly conversation before erupting into a paroxysm of sexual violence, which included rape and strangulation. Several of the victims lost consciousness but survived. All definitely identify Ray.

Ray fit the FBI’s definition of a serial killer-rapist. He had several murder victims (probably more than three), all perpetrated over a long period of time and in varying locations. This was a capital case: if found guilty, he would face the death penalty. Ray’s attorney hoped a psychological evaluation would identify mitigating factors that might cause the district attorney’s office to take the death sentence off the table and accept a plea of ​​life without the possibility of parole.

When we met, Ray was polite and relaxed. He was of average height, with a dense and muscular body. With his easy smile and wispy voice, Ray projected a friendly demeanor. After spending some time getting to know each other, we looked at her personal story.

Sexual abuse and violence

Raised by his mother and two older sisters, his father was away but visited occasionally. Of the women who played a dominant role during his developmental years, Ray commented, “They didn’t see into me.” He was sexually abused by a babysitter, one of his sister’s older girlfriends. The abuse turned into an ongoing sexual relationship for four years. He opined that women were too sexual.

Ray was married with two children. He described his wife as enjoying rough sex, but so did he. In fact, he enjoyed provoking her to the point that she physically assaulted him, after which they had intense sex.

With a dose of Himalayan irony, Ray was oblivious to the parallels between the sex dance he orchestrated with his wife and his rapist-murderer behavior. His rapist-violence signature was the inversion of the sexual act he provoked with his wife.

an emotional void

I interviewed Ray’s mother and wife. His mother, detached and emotionally cold, was in complete denial of her son’s guilt. She wanted him out of prison for the upcoming holidays.

She revealed a deep dimension to her son’s story: Ray’s father visited regularly and took the sisters away, but he denied Ray’s paternity and completely ignored his son. With aching grief that belied her detached attitude, she described Ray as devastated by his insignificance and invisibility to his father.

Ray expressed his pain and resentment through acts of meanness and meanness towards his sisters.

Tanya, Ray’s wife, described her mother as overprotective, but tough and emotionally cold. She described Ray as having an emotional void and as a sexual enigma. He always watched porn, for example, but refused to let her watch with him. He demanded that she dress conservatively when they went out in public.

Emotional conflict, but free from psychotic thoughts

After conducting extensive interviews with Ray and performing psychological tests, the picture became clear. Ray was deeply psychologically arrested, a state captured by his wife’s description of him as emotionally hollow. He was teeming with contradictions: sexually preoccupied but moralistic towards his wife; rejecting any distress at his father’s rejection, but hostile and sadistic towards his sisters who were showered with paternal attentions; a perpetrator of sexual violence who perceived women as too sexual.

He was a man, I felt, with deep emotional conflicts and contradictions, pointing to disturbances in his identity and individuality. My clinical findings were confirmed by the psychological test results, which also revealed that Ray was free of psychotic thinking, another confirmation of my clinical observations.

Intellectual and neuropsychological testing identified mild self-regulation issues, but not to an extent that would explain Ray’s lethal violent behavior.

Expressions of sexually sadistic hatred

I summarized the results of my assessment to his attorney, Bill. I noted that he was deeply disturbed, but not psychotic. He has a distorted identity with an ability to compartmentalize emotions (e.g. woman as pure, women as sex objects). He expressed his hatred in a very destructive way, which was sexually sadistic in nature. His hatred was particularly projected onto women, fueled by a raging craving for them as representations of those given the attention and validation he had so painfully denied.

Ray’s distorted psychological development spawned what is known as a catathymic modus operandi. His sexual abuse was motivated by latent sexual torment and inadequacy. A buildup of tension inevitably leads to a sudden flash of explosive violence.

His wife described him as having an emotional void. This emptiness and desire created psychological pressure, similar to pressure created by a punctured window in a high-flying jet when decompression is followed by explosiveness. Likewise, with Ray, a buildup of pressure created by greedy emotionality, coupled with seething resentment, fueled his methodology for rape: a fury that turns into sexual violence and the torment of its victims. Only to be rebuilt; hence the serial character of its violence.

Strictly speaking, Ray fit the FBI profile of a serial killer. On the other hand, the physical evidence strongly suggested that Ray intended to rape and degrade his victims, but not to murder them. Many of his victims lived after passing out. The deaths seemed to be unintended consequences of his strangulations and, I might add, his fiery rage.

Ray is unlike most serial killers in his personality disturbance. He has a severe personality disorder (borderline, with sadistic traits), but he was not a psychopathic personality, like 85% of serial killers. He didn’t suffer from a lack of emotions like a psychopath; he was consumed and tormented by them.

Ray is currently on death row.


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