In addition to being a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Norman Mailer was an attempted murderer who used a a penknife to stab his wife, Adele Morales, in 1960. This resulted in him being involuntarily committed to Bellevue Hospital for 17 days, and also three-years' probation. In other words, he had a criminal history. This may be why he empathized with Jack Henry Abbott. Mailer helped publish Abbott's 1981 memoir, In the Belly of the Beast, collected from their correspondences as Abbott served time. Though Abbott had been found guilty of forgery, bank robbery and murdering another inmate, Mailer thought he had potential as a great writer. As it turned out, In the Belly of the Beast would make Abbott a one-hit wonder. Not only was his followup sort of a flop, but Abbott foolishly threw it all away not long after being freed in June of 81.
[WARNING: In addition to this article being about a creepy, violent guy, it's a bit of a lengthy "super article." Hopefully you like it, and I hope it provides food for thought.]
Featured in an early episode of Forensic Files (Season 1, Ep 3: "The House That Roared"), Chris Campano will forever be known as a murderer (to the extent he'll be "forever known" at all). Like many murderers, he was apparently enraged when he killed his wife Caren in 1992. Their marriage was less than perfect, as she was regularly on his case about his drug addiction. While it's unclear what final argument activated his rage, it definitely made him homicidal. Caren had 15 skull fractures, three broken ribs, and he wrapped her up in a sheet and phone cord. She was found in March 1993, "near a motocross track in Oklahoma City."
Quite often when I read about serial killers, or violence in general, people wish to find a simple explanation for the behavior. In John Wayne Gacy's case, his abusive father was certainly an influence, but probably not the sole one. I can't help but notice how, officially anyway, he didn't become a serial killer until some time after he served in prison. Could that have been part of what sent him over the edge? It could be he had negative experiences with his fellow inmates, and that his overall experience in prison made him hate the human race more.
After being convicted of killing over 400 girls, Pedro Alonso López is undoubtedly one of the worst serial killers ever. So how come authorities ultimately let him go?
Sometimes called the world's first serial killer, Liu Pengli was a 2nd century BC Han prince, and the nephew of the Emperor Jing. Basically, he's early evidence for the theory that power corrupts. While there probably were other, non-royal serial killers in existence, they weren't quite a matter of established record, whereas it's said that this guy is.