On July 2018, Adam James committed suicide in prison. He was a sexually motivated serial killer. His looks had made him an object of mockery during his childhood, and even success in his career did not help in making any woman want to be in a relationship with him. He grew up with bitterness and blamed all the women in his life for his suffering. He, therefore, decided to find pleasure in punishing the women by torturing, raping and killing his victims.
Adam James was born in 1976 in a small village in Texas. Adam had a normal relationship with his birth parents. They loved and cared for him like they did his siblings. His brother and two sisters were very good looking, but Adam’s looks were the exact opposite. However, his parents did not treat him any different. All this changed when his parents got a divorce when he was just ten years old. His father took full custody of him and his younger sister May. A year later, his father remarried. His new stepmother had three children of her own. His stepmother mistreated him and called him names just because he was ugly. To avoid annoying his new wife, Adam’s father watched in silence as his son got scarred for life.
High school life is usually difficult for those who are unpopular. Adam was ridiculed and made fun of by boys his age. His seniors bullied him making it his worst nightmare. Life became a little bearable when Sheila, one of the popular girls started paying attention to him. They went out for movies, and she even asked him to accompany her to prom. However, on prom night, she showed up holding Adam’s half-brother’s hand. When he demanded an explanation, she laughed saying she had been making fun of him all this while. The trauma and the embarrassment he suffered that day reminded him that his looks were always going to be part of his life. His stepmother later confessed that she had known that Sheila and her son were mocking him. The bitterness made Adam try to commit suicide. His younger sister walked in just as he had finished taking an entire bottle of sleeping pills. He never forgave her for saving his life.
Counseling helped take away his suicidal thoughts. Instead of hurting himself because of the social rejection, he decided to punish his oppressors. In his eyes, all good looking women were trouble. His stepmother had made him hate himself and regret being born. The girl who mocked him and hurt his feelings by insulting his sincerity. His younger sister had prolonged his sufferings by saving his life. His mother had taken custody of his siblings instead of fighting for him. Looking at how all the women in his life and contributed to his suffering, regardless of whether this was done willingly or unwillingly, Adam was determined to take revenge.
He worked had to succeed in his career as an auditor in a governmental agency. He lived comfortably in the city and never lacked anything. He seemed friendly to all those who knew him. His warmth towards people was merely an act to hide what he felt about women and society in general.
Adam fits in the category of organized serial killers. This is illustrated by the fact that he is socially stable and intelligent (Silkes, 2018). Adam’s psychological development can be explained using Erik Erikson’s theory. Looking at the first stage of trust versus mistrust, Adam was able to trust people since he experienced love and care during his early childhood. This is why he did not suspect anything when Sheila approached him. The second psychosocial stage is autonomy versus shame and doubt. This is where the child gains independence by having choices. Adam was insulted and mistreated by his stepmother because of his looks; he became ashamed of himself. During the third stage of initiative versus guilt, Adam was able to become initiative. Forced by his circumstances and the societal rejection, he had to find a way to become successful so that people will not have other reasons to look down upon him. This creativity is demonstrated in his crime scenes which he was always able to recreate. The fourth psychosocial stage of industry versus inferiority explains Adam’s inferiority complex. The rejection he suffered made him want to take control of his victims to feel better about himself.Stage five which deals with identity versus confusion explains the life Adam lived and why he chose it. He was unable to find his true identity since what everybody said about him was different from what he wanted to think about himself. For this reason, he felt insecure, lost and did not know his place in this world. This is why he did not have a concrete plan for his future, which is indicated by the fact that he did not get married. The sixth stage involves intimacy versus isolation. Adam was unable to form relationships with people his age in high school and college. At home, he did not have a good relationship with his stepmother and her children. Women always rejected him. This made him feel alone and isolated. He was unable to form any relationships. When his neighbors displayed kindness, he smiled and pretended to enjoy their warmth but deep inside he felt that they were all hypocrites. The seventh stage of generativity versus stagnation explains Adam’s involvement in community activities. Even though a part of him wanted to prevent suspicion, he also wanted to take part in the activities as he had developed a sense of purpose. Although he felt disconnected from the people, he enjoyed the activities they took part in.The eighth stage is the integrity versus despair. Looking at the life he had lived, and what he was going through in prison, Adam felt that he had no hope for a better future. He knew that he would always be mistreated and looked down upon. It is this despair that pushed him to end his life (Sokol, 2009).
Adam managed to hide his crimes for about three years. During this period he pretended to be a law-abiding citizen who nobody could suspect. Everybody in his community respected him. When asked why he was not married, he always said that he had a wife and two children who lived in his hometown taking care of his sickly mother. As a respected civil servant, people bought his story without asking any more questions.
To hide his criminal activities, he committed more crimes. Anybody who suspected him or saw him kidnapping a woman was shot on the spot. As a rich man, he was able to bribe police officers who knew of his presence at some of the places where the girls went missing. Adam always ensured that he did not leave anything that can lead back to him on the crime scene.
On 20th September 2016, Adam was arrested for the murder of Jane Paul 23, and Suzie Daniel 19. Body parts of these two victims were found and some old cars at Adam’s junkyard which he ran as a part-time job. The victims were found by a 20-year-old homeless man who wanted to steal some spare parts to sell. On seeing the bodies, the boy ran away screaming, and the passers-by came to see what was going on. The passers-by called the police. Forensic analysis was used to identify the victims and their cause of death.Thorough investigations were conducted to determine who killed the two women. Police records showed that the victims’ body shapes and sizes marched those of several missing women in the estate and neighboring towns. Adam’s junkyard became a total mess as the police dug looking for more bodies. Human bones and some other decaying bodies were discovered. The police then got a warrant to search his house where they found seven women locked in cages. When Adam realized that the women had been found, he still could not watch them leave. He torched his house with the officers and victims inside. Luckily for them, they all escaped with minor burns. Upon his arrest, Adam knew that he had no escape. He confessed to the kidnapping of several women, one of whom was his sister. He also gave up the names of the officers who asked him for bribe whenever he was a suspect in a case. Adam was sentenced to 150 years in prison, three in solitary confinement.
Almost all serial killers have certain reasons why they choose their victims as well as where. Some victims are randomly chosen while others are chosen based on a certain pattern or characteristics (Crane 2017). Adam’s victims are pretty women between the ages of 15-30years. They are slim and tall. Color is not a consideration though high cheekbones make the women appear more attractive in his eyes. The color of the hair does not matter so long as the hair is long. He picks his victims from dark alleys in his neighborhoods. He also picks prostitutes and strippers who match his taste. For the prostitutes and strippers, he picks them in a taxi on their way home pretending to be a taxi driver. Sometimes he attends the alcoholics anonymous meetings where he picks lonely depressed women seeking help and new hope in the meetings.
When he picks his victims, normally on Fridays and Tuesdays, he drugs them and takes them to his home. When they regain consciousness, he makes sexual advances at them, but his looks make them turn him down. The rejection awakens an emotional part of him and his desire to be wanted increases. He gives them another chance to kiss him and have sex with him. If the woman still says no, she is taken to a room in the basement and locked in a cage. In the cages, the women are forced to stay naked as their clothes are burned to ashes. With no clothes, the hopes of escaping diminish and the woman cries herself to sleep. Food is supplied once a day, and the victim stays in the cage until the day he decides to punish her. It was later discovered that Adam’s victims looked like Sheila.
The ritual and signature in a serial killer’s crime scene are fantasy-driven. In serial sexual homicides, there is a repetitive behavior observed in several cases. Unnecessary activities are done by the serial killer like taking something of little value from the victim and torturing them have been associated with the perpetrator’s sexual fantasies. The murders, on the other hand, are related to the arousal pattern of the sexual offenders (Schlesinger et al.).
Adam’s case is no different. Before sexually violating his victims, he takes nude photos with them which he later hangs on his bedroom wall. He makes his victims walk on all fours calling his name. They are supposed to beg for his attention as they sing songs praising him. His emotional needs cannot be satisfied by the admiration of one woman. Each time, he takes two women from their cages, and in a secluded room, he forces them to fight for their lives. They are supposed to strangle each other until one dies. He promises that if one kills the other as a sign of her love for him, her life will be spared. If any two chosen women refused to strangle each other or follow in of his owners, he shoots them right away.
The one who strangles her colleague and remains alive does not know that more pain and suffering await her. She is brutally raped before Adam burns her private parts with an iron bar. The victim is then stabbed to death. Adam writes the victim’s name on the wall using her blood. He then licks some of the blood which he finds to be a source of his strength. He likes keeping the bras of his victims as souvenirs to remind himself of his conquest. This indicates that he is in the category of power/control serial killer (Bonn, 2018).
The arrest of Adam came as a surprise to his neighbors. At first, they thought it was a mistake. However, those who witnessed what happened on the day he was arrested knew that it was all true. Those whose daughters had suffered in the hands of this serial killer demanded justice. They believed that only his punishment would allow their daughters to rest in peace. His parents, except for his stepmother tried to defend him thinking that he was framed. It is only after his confession that they realized that he was guilty. They pleaded with the victims’ families to forgive their son, but when they realized that he had done the same to his sister as punishment for saving his life, they were convinced that their son was not mentally stable.
The police said that Adam was a sexually motivated serial killer who had a high record of killings. They had been looking for him for very long, and they were happy that the mystery man was finally behind bars. In prison, Adam was sexually molested by his inmates. He used to get regular beatings as well as have his food eaten by other. Life in prison reminded him of his childhood and adolescence when others mistreated him. He could not imagine living like that for the rest of his life. He snatched a guard’s gun and shot himself to end his life. Suicide is common for more than 5 percent of serial killers especially those from dysfunctional homes (Lester &White, 2012). Looking at Adam’s life with his family and how he died, it is correct to conclude that these statistics are true.
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