The life and the crimes of Jerome “Jerry” Brudos is one of the most haunting and most controversial psychopaths and murder in American history. Known for his crimes on young women while living with his wife and children, he was given the name “The Lust Killer” because of his fetish for women’s shoes as well as dressing in his victims’ clothing as trophies for his crimes. Apprehended and tried in 1969, he died in prison on 2006 (Biography 1). Biography Born on January 31, 1939, in Webster, South Dakota, Brudos had a troubled childhood which stemmed from his strained relationship with his mother.
He and his family moved around everal times while he was growing up, and spent time in Oregon, California, and South Dakota. He is the youngest member of the family. It was noted that the relationship with his overbearing mother, who have made a strong impact on Brudos’ development as a child, provided indications of abuse and neglect, as well as mental health disorders, which prompted him to the life of crime. One noted incidence is when he was five years old.
It was said that he had found a pair of women’s high- heeled shoes in a junkyard and this started his fascination with women’s footwear. When his mother found out that he was earing it, she quickly took it away and destroyed it (Biography 1). Thus, this started his spree of stealing women’s clothing and underwear from neighboring homes and has started the development of a dark fantasy life and violence against women (Biography 1). During his young adult years, he has had a history of violence against women.
One such incidence was when he was 17 years old, where he abducted and forced a woman to take her clothes off. He then took pictures of her naked body. For this crime, he spent time in Oregon State Hospital’s psychiatric ward, but he was still able to attend normal life in his chool during the day (Biography 1). Despite his violence and treatment of women, Brudos married at the age of 22 and moved to Portland, Oregon. He has had a common and pleasant domestic life and had 2 children.
But what lies underneath the pleasantness of domestic life lie the cruel and dark world of the psychopath. Psychological Disorder Edward J. Ingebretsen asserted that when Brudos was taken into the Oregon State Hospital’s psychiatric ward, he was being diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia. His sexual fantasies and fetishes, along with his violence against women, has made t very possible to link his crimes to his psychological disorder, which makes sense when it comes to his criminal history.
The first crime he did when he was 17 years old shows that there is a distinct relationship with how he was raised, how his brain processes information, how his schizophrenia (untreated) continues to create the criminal life for him, and how it made him become the psychopath he was the time he was apprehended (29). Moreover, by the time Brudos got married, he was already complaining of constant headaches and migraine, as well as frequent blackouts – particularly from the lack of medication nd other forms of interventions for his diagnosed schizophrenia (Bedrick 14).
This shows how his psychological disorder has made it possible for him to normalize his crimes, by being secretive to his wife and even keeping his victims’ bodies in a secret garage that he would not let his wife or his children come into. History of Crime From the first instance of violence against women at the age of 17, Brudos continued with his crimes when he grew older and thus became a murderer. Brudos is believed to have attacked a woman in 1967, and the following year he attacked another woman because he liked her shoes and followed her.
He strangled and raped her, and took some of her shoes with him. He was not caught in this crime and only admitted to it much later (Biography 1). On January 26, 1968, he took another victim. Linda Slawson was a young encyclopedia saleswoman who visited the Brudos home. Brudos then let her inside with the feigned interest of buying a set. He hit her in the head and then continued to strangle her to death. He kept her body and dressed it in various women’s undergarments. He removed her feet and put high- heeled shoes from his collection. He later threw her body (Biography1 ).
On November, he attacked, assaulted and murdered Jan Whitney. He first killed her and had sexual intercourse with her corpse. He brought her body in the workshop and dressed and photographed it. He also removed her breasts and kept it with him (Biography 1). He next assaulted a 19-year-old Oregon State University student Karen Sprinkler and took her home, raped her, and killed her. He also removed her breasts when she died. Another victim, Linda Salee, was abducted and raped and murdered at the same workshop. He dumped her body in the river.
The difference with Salee’s case is that her body was the first to be iscovered by the police. A strange knot on the nylon rope was used to tie her body to a car part to weigh her down. The following days, Sprinkler’s body was found and with the same knot was used to her body. An investigation soon followed in the University. The police found out that female students were called randomly by a man who claimed to be a Vietnam War veteran and was asking for a date. One student actually went out on a date and experienced the encounter wherein the man made references to the dead women.
The police set up an entrapment and Brudos was caught. Capture and Trial When Brudos was caught, the student identified him, and a search warrant was granted for his home. The police have found several incriminating evidence such as the nylon rope and the pictures of the dead victims. Brudos admitted to the first previous murders but plead not guilty by reason of insanity. However, he was found legally sane, but it was noted that Brudos knew his crimes but have no remorse for his actions.
He pled guilty to the murders of Salee, Sprinkler, and Whitney. He received three consecutive life sentences with the possibility of parole which was never granted. He died of liver cancer in rison on 2006 (Biography 1). Opinion: Does Nature or Nurture Create Criminals? In observing the case of Brudos, it should be noted that he is a psychopath, rather than a sociopath. He led a seemingly normal life, has had a family, and was charming and seems to be well- adjusted to life despite the history of attack and assault as a teenager.
Moreover, he was diagnosed and was being treated for schizophrenia when he was 17, although no records were provided whether he continued the treatment into his adulthood. Another important aspect of Brudos’ life is that he has an erratic relationship with his mother. These factors can ffect his psychology and development, which makes sense when it comes to the understanding of how nature or nurture contributes to the development of individuals into adulthood and how it affects their actions.
Moreover, the presence of nature on his brain development and genetics caused his schizophrenia, wherein the psychological disorder is defined as chemicals and malformations in the brain causes the hallucinations, changes in personality, and total blackout of a person if left untreated (Vita et al. 1280). His crimes could have been prevented if Brudos continued with long-term treatment and medication for his chizophrenia, along with treatments for his childhood trauma which have left him fascinated with women’s clothing and accessories, as well as violence (hatred) against women caused by his overbearing mother.
Is Brudos a Psychopath or a Sociopath? In Brudos’ case, the combination of genetic disturbances in his brain caused him his schizophrenia, together with probable childhood trauma (Adshead 342) from his experience when he was five years old. It should also be noted that his mother was contemptuous of him because she initially wanted a baby girl, and was disappointed that Brudos turned out as a boy Biography 1).
This combination of nature and nurture affected his life and development that it turned him into a psychopath – seemingly normal and has relationships with others, only that he manipulates them to get into his criminal activities and devious actions. Psychopaths are known to create relationships with other people to manipulate them (Mailbom 170) and in Brudos’ marriage, it is evident that he used and manipulated his wife by not letting her come inside the garage (where the victims’ bodies are at) and only lets her in when she asks him through the intercom he fitted (Biography 1).