While not all criminals are psychopaths and not all psychopaths are criminals, certainly a good portion of criminals have personality disorders and a good portion of psychopaths commit crimes of one sort or another. But, first I want to talk about what crime is.
A crime is something that society has deemed illegal, as something you should not do because it is harmful to others or the community. Drug use is often included as a crime because it is believed to not only harm the individual, but to bring blight and crime to the neighborhood, but let's put drug use aside and talk about other crimes; drug dealing, burglary, robbery, fraud, arson, rape, and murder. These are crimes that when an individual commits such acts he has done so in a premeditated fashion, knew he was going to break the law, knew he was going to cause harm to another person, and, yet, went ahead and committed the act anyway. There are only two reasons for stepping over that line: desperation (benefit triumphs harm) and selfish desire for power and control (what I want is more important than your rights; my ego needs to fed). Desperation might be something like stealing food to feed your child or committing a theft to pay for medicine for your very ill wife. You know it is wrong but you believe committing the crime is the only way to save a life and the harm it does is minimal in comparison. A person who commits this kind of crime may not be a bad guy or have a personality disorder; he just can't think of any other way to deal with a bad situation. Sometimes a drug dealer could fit in this category if he cannot find a way to earn legitimate money and he lives in a houseful of starving siblings. If he shows up on the corner with a lot of bling and is driving a BMW, probably he is not dealing out of desperation.
And most crime is not committed out of desperation. It is committed out of selfishness. I am more important than you and I will get mine. Even shoplifting is an act of selfishness; thrill seeking or a ha-ha to big business or desiring instant gratification rather than working to earn money to then purchase what you want. When shoplifting isn't about stealing food for your family, it is about selfishness. The reason criminals are so often repeat offenders is because they LIKE committing crime. Since the majority aren't committing crimes out of desperation, they are doing it because it make them feel good, it makes them happy. And since they don't care too much that they are harming others, there is no reason for them to stop unless they feel the punishment isn't worth it. If they don't get caught or don't mind the time in jail, they will repeat offend until the punishment is severe enough to keep them off the streets forever or until they get tired of incarceration or until they become physically unable to commit crime.
So by the time you get to repeat offenders - especially violent repeat offenders - you are usually looking at psychopathy or another serious personality disorder. Serial rapists and serial killers are always psychopaths...you just can't commit that kind of heinous premeditated crime without being a psychopath.
Steven Avery, as I pointed out in the previous post, has all the traits of a psychopath. He has all the traits of a serial killer. His claims about desiring a quiet life with a good woman is a lie; he would find that boring; he needs to have a much higher level of power and control and excitement. The police were well aware of his criminal capabilities which is why he was on their radar. When the sexual assault was committed on the beach and the woman gave a description that matched Avery, it is no surprise they thought it was him.
The mistake the police made was immediately thinking it must be that guy: there is often not a shortage of violent sexual offenders in the radius of any town or city. Attacking a female jogger is a very common crime for a rapist or serial killer. In fact, the majority of serial sexual crimes involving strangers are just this sort; few actually involve kidnapping and imprisonment and torture. Hollywood tends to make people think all serial killers are deranged geniuses who plot intricate crimes but this is simply not true. Most serial killers just see an opportunity (read: woman walking or jogging alone) and jump out and brutalize her. Consequently, there isn't much that looks different from one of these crimes to the next. There is no "signature," some calling card that would point to a specific guy. Pretty much any violent sexual offender could have done the crime, so you need physical, circumstantial, or witness evidence to link him to the crime. Unfortunately, the police just went with a witness ID from the victim and used this to put Avery away. It was unfortunate for Avery that he looked enough like the guy who really did the crime to be misidentified. Since there was DNA left in the crime, if it happened today, Avery would not have been charged, but at that time, DNA was not so advanced. However, even today, the right guy might not have been charged either because the police might have no clue who he is; they might just have to put his DNA into the CODIS system and hope he was previously a felon and get a lucky hit.
Now, to the Halbach crime. I am not going to detail all of what makes Avery guilty. If you want to examine each issue in depth, here is a fabulous analysis of each and every segment of "Making a Murderer" by a non-profiler - broadcaster Dan O' Donnell.
What I want to do here is just point out the basic profiling and crime analysis issues relating to the Halbach crime.
1) Where victim's body is found
The body was found on Avery's property. This is why the police went to Avery and talked to him. He wasn't targeted. You have the corpse of a murdered individual on your property; you are going to become a person of interest.
2) Where the victims' vehicle is found.
That was on Avery's property as well. Again, police are not targeting Avery. They are doing their job which is to investigate where the vehicle was found and who could have put the vehicle at that location. Since it was hidden on Avery's property, he is going to become a person of interest.
3) The last place the victim was seen
That was on Avery's property. Anyone who lives on the Avery property is going to become a person of interest; this includes Steven Avery
4) The last person to have contact with the victim
That would be Steven Avery. The police are obviously going to investigate the last person who was in contact with the victim or was with the victim.
5) Where physical evidence of the crime exists
That would be in the Avery fire pit, in the Avery burn barrel, in Steven Avery's house, and in the victim's car on Avery's property. All the physical evidence implicates Steven Avery (his DNA in the car), the victim's body parts, DNA, and personal items in the firepit and barrel, and the key and his DNA in his house.
The only people that claim to have seen Teresa Halbach right before or after her disappearance are Bobby and Brendan Dassey. Bobby Dassey states he say Halbach photographing a car and then heading toward Steven Avery's house. Brendan Dassey states he saw Halbach tied up in Steven Avery's house, saw Steven Avery kill her and saw Steven Avery burn her. There are no witnesses saying they saw Teresa Halbach anywhere else or with anyone else.
So, it comes down to this. Overwhelming evidence that Steven Avery is guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach. Unless he was framed.
Framing Steven Avery would require:
Someone knowing or getting lucky that Halbach was coming out to Avery property that day.
Someone getting lucky that there are two witnesses to say she was with or near Steven Avery that day
Someone getting lucky that a witness can describe the crime in detail so that most of it matches the evidence
Someone has to kill Halbach for some reason and burn her body on the property right under the nose of Steven Avery (or bring her burned body parts (this did not happen) to the property and mix them in with the stuff Steven Avery had already burned.
Someone had to hide the victim's car on the Avery property
Someone had to hide the victim's car key in Steven Avery's house
Someone had to plant Steven Avery's DNA in the victim's car and on the key
So either law enforcement found out Halbach was going out to Steven Avery's house and just as she was leaving, they kidnapped her, killed her, burned her up, and spread all the evidence and DNA around Avery's property and house OR someone else saw the opportunity to kill Halbach, killed her, burned her up somewhere and spread her cremains and personal items around the Avery property and then law enforcement saw a great opportunity and jumped on board by planting Avery's DNA and the key.
Or maybe Steven Avery is just guilty as hell and all the evidence proves it.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
January 21, 2016