Michelle Hudson, Dustin May, Liz Monroe, Prudence Sandoval, Richard Watts CJA/234
May 7, 2012
Biological Criminal Behavior (Ed Gein)
“Certain psychological problems have been known to be inheritable and if given the right circumstances, individuals with those genes could find themselves engaging in criminal activity” (Jones 2005.) In the case of Edward Gein, biological genes and the fact that his mother controlled his environment as a child did create the perfect circumstance for him to become a criminal. The evidence in modern day science explains that such criminal behavior is due to any number of mental illnesses which Gein did in fact suffer. He demonstrates textbook signs of a psychopathic individual. The following will review Edward Gein’s childhood and criminal history. Along with evidence showing Gein’s most likely genetic structure; which will explain his psychopathic tendencies, Gein’s criminal behavior is a result of a perfect circumstance and can be directly associated with this simple evaluation of his genetic makeup and his environment as a child. Edward “Ed” Theodore Gein was born on August 27, 1906 in La Crosse, Wisconsin but soon the family moved to a farm in Plainfield thus the reason he is known as the “Plainfield Ghoul”. Ed Gein is an American kidnapper and murderer that have influenced pop culture movies such as, Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs (“Bio.com”, 2012). In 1957, Gein was suspected for the disappearance of hardware store owner, Bernice Worden, because he was the last known customer to visit her place of business. When the police searched his home they discovered several human body parts, which led to the confession of killing two women; tavern owner, Mary Hogan in 1954, and Bernice in 1957. Bernice Worden’s body was found in Ed Gein’s shed and her body was apparently gutted like a deer. The heads of both Mary and Bernice were found in his home. Later, after the discovery of human body parts, Gein admitted to authorities that he had robbed the graves of recently buried women that resembled his mother. He claimed that he had wanted a sex change, and used the tanned skin to make a woman’s body suit, which he wore frequently. Human “masks”, and bowls made from human body parts were also found in his home. At first Gein was seen as unfit to stand trial, so he was banished to a mental hospital until 1968. That year, he was put on trial for the first-degree murder of only one woman, his most recent victim, because of cost. He was found guilty by the court, and given a life sentence, which he spent in the Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Through evaluation, it was discovered that Gein had a controlling mother, who was also a religious fanatic. She kept both of her sons in total seclusion from the outside world, and preached of sin often. She also claimed that women were evil. Gein developed a strange attachment to his mother; however, his brother did not. This strange relationship continued into adulthood up to her death. Gein also displayed poor social skills; however, he seemed to relate more easily to children until his death on July 26, 1984. Ed Gein’s crimes were bizarre; therefore, they were the likes of which had never been seen before and raised many questions as to what drove Gein to commit such heinous offenses. Some experts on crime suspect Ed Gein committed many of his acts because he suffered from a genetic predisposition that limited his ability to control his urges to torture, mutilate, and murder people (Bell and Bardsley, 2012). Gein’s genetic predisposition compounded with his own experiences as a child and young adult undoubtedly played a large role in his crimes. As science advances in the areas of genetic testing, many scientists are finding new genes that are explaining criminal behavior (Foranzo et. Al., 2010). These genes are linked to mental...