Serial killers: the unarguable scourge of society, predators with the sole purpose and motivation of inflicting pain and violence. But have you ever considered some of the serial killers who got themselves caught because of kindness? It's easy, justifiable even, to think of these monsters as inhuman and incapable of displaying the common kindness to which the average person wouldn't give a second thought.
And why would a psychopath offer something as crazy as kindness, anyway? By definition, psychopathy means a complete lack of guilt, remorse, or empathy - you know, qualities that really get in the way of murdering people. But as it is and always will be, there are exceptions to this and every rule, and this list demonstrates even serial murderers have their spots of humanity. Unfortunately for these sinister souls, being kind and letting their victims go universally resulted in them getting caught and/or testified against. I mean, jeez, that's what you get for trying to be nice, right?
- Photo: user uploaded image
Jeffrey Dahmer, the Milwaukee Cannibal himself, extended a disastrous showing of kindness to his intended victim and meal Tracy Edwards. Dahmer had lured Mr. Edwards to his apartment with ambitions of a murder chased with copulation, dismemberment, and some light snacking. It was a process that was rote for Jeffrey Dahmer - a con he'd pulled 17 times before on unfortunate young men. But Tracy Edwards would be different.
Perhaps emboldened by his previously successful kills, Dahmer let Edwards hang out for a while after subduing him with handcuffs and a large knife. In order to calm his captive, he offered him a beer and the two watched The Exorcist III (which Edwards would later testify Dahmer enjoyed quite a bit). The slumber party nature of this forced get-together caused Dahmer to drop his guard enough for Edwards to be able to hit him in the head and escape. A panicked Edwards would later flag down the police, who, when led back to Dahmer's apartment, would discover a refrigerator full of unusual culinary creations.
- Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use
Predating necrophilia-loving cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer by about a decade, London had its own murderous cannibal in Dennis Nilsen. Nilsen's MO was very similar to Dahmer's: he'd lure young men back to his home for booze and sex, drug them, kill them, have more sex with them, and of course, eat them. He would eventually be caught - after killing an estimated 16 men - when a plumber noticed his pipes were clogged with human flesh.
While Nilsen was ultimately undone by the by-products of his macabre meal-prep, it was his inexplicable kindness to a few of his surviving victims that helped convict him. Carl Stotter's testimony, in particular, painted a portrait of a psychopath who had a momentary lapse in evil, sparing him his life.
Carl Stotter had joined Nilsen at his home for a drink after a night out. Once Stotter passed out, Nilsen attempted to strangle him, but Stotter woke up during the process. Struggling to breathe, the disoriented man thought Nilsen was coming to his aid as he carried him to the bathroom, but Nilsen was actually just preparing to submerge him in the tub -which he did - until he thought Stotter was dead. But after carrying the presumed dead man to his couch, Nilsen's dog Bleep began licking Stotter's face, indicating he was still alive. Nilsen was apparently so moved by this, he spooned with Stotter until he regained consciousness and allowed him to go home, telling Stotter that what passed between them was a "thin strand of love and humanity."
- Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use
Elmer Wayne Henley was an accomplice of the infamous Houston serial killer Dean Corll. The elder Corll, along with teenagers Henley and David Brooks, would persuade young boys to come to his apartment under the guise of beer, marijuana, and good times. Once in his home, Corll and his adolescent accomplices would handcuff their teenage victims and fasten them to a "torture board," where they would be repeatedly raped, abused, and eventually killed.
Henley and Brooks would later claim they were in it for the money, with Corll offering them $200 for each boy they brought home. This set-up proved motivating for the two young men, as they provided Corll with 29 victims between 1972-73. But it was when Henley came to Corll with a potential victim in Tim Kerley, along with female friend Rhonda Williams, that Corll had a bit of a fatal meltdown.
Furious with Henley, Corll insisted he had ruined everything by bringing a young woman home, he threatened to kill him if he didn't murder Williams while he worked on Kerley. Henley complied at first, but Williams managed to appeal to his humanity while he was ripping off her clothes, pleading with him to stop. Something clicked with Henley, and amid shouts of "You've gone far enough, Dean!" Henley shot and killed Dean Corll, afterward calling the police and confessing to their sadistic spree.
Bobby Joe Long Got Tricked Into Thinking His Victim Might Become His GirlfriendPhoto: Wikimedia Commons
Bobby Joe Long is a serial killer and sexual sadist who operated in the Fort Lauderdale and Tampa areas of Florida. Suspected of raping over 50 women and killing 10, Long made what would be one of his final abductions in November of 1984, kidnapping a 17-year-old Lisa Noland on her way home from work.
A blindfolded and bound Noland was taken by Long back to his apartment where she was repeatedly assaulted. Terrified, but determined to survive, Noland noted from under her blindfold the color of Long's car and a portion of its license plate. She counted the number of stairs in his apartment and even thought to spread her fingerprints all over his home. Along with her valuable observations, Noland also had the tact to begin building trust with Long.
After 26 hours of captivity, Noland ultimately appealed to Long by apologizing for the women of his past who had hurt him, even offering to take care of him and be his girlfriend. Her reverse psychology worked, and Long, in a moment of impossible sympathy, brought her home. Noland would help lead police to her captor shortly thereafter, her testimony ensuring a conviction and two death sentences for Bobby Joe Long.