Nicole M. Abusharif, The So-Called 'Lesbian Love Triangle' Murderer
Was This Not Cold, Calculated Murder?
After being found guilty of murdering Becky Klein in 2007, Nicole M. Abusharif was sentenced to 50 years — akin to life imprisonment, yet technically not. Upon reading this story, I must admit a big question struck me: Why only 50 years? Regardless of any exact opinion, I have heard of much harsher sentences for similar murders. Here's what happened: Abusharif had suffocated Becky with a plastic bag, wrapped her up in duct tape and left her in the trunk of a car. It was also believed that Becky was murdered out of greed, as Nicole potentially stood to gain $400,000 in an insurance payout. In any case, the murder was deemed as not being "cold, calculated and premeditated."
Instead of the insurance money angle, the Jury likely believed it was about the secret affair between Nicole and another woman named Rose Sodaro. It does get a little odder, though. Apparently, not very long after Nicole had killed Becky, she went out bowling with Rose, and they even had sex that same night!
In other words, it doesn't sound like someone who just lashed out at her marriage partner of 7 years, and she regretted it after the fact. This was someone who could murder someone, compartmentalize that fact, and proceed as if everything was fine and normal. To a casual viewer (such as myself) this does seem like a true sociopath or psychopath. In fact, life oddly offers a parallel, as the Columbine shooters also went bowling on the day of their murderous acts (though, in their case, it was before the killing began, not afterward.)
Is It Unfair To Assume Nicole's A Sociopath, If Not Psychopath? Probably Not.
I expect people might debate me on this topic, especially when there's a perpetual debate on what terms like "sociopath and psychopath" truly entail. It seems every opinion will have opponents. Still, if you want even more evidence that Nicole Abusharif was a sociopathic killer (if not a full-blown psychopath), considering that she gave Rose the keys to the Mustang that contained Becky's body. In other words, she was probably attempting a half-assed frame job.
The defense did everything they could to claim reasonable doubt. For example, they claimed that Nicole's fingerprints on the duct tape and plastic bag weren't suspicious. Nicole could have touched those objects under normal circumstances, right? Well, the Jury didn't buy it, and neither do I.
They also claimed Nicole wasn't strong enough to put Becky in the trunk, due to work-related back injury. I would just say, "If there's a will, there's a way." One might even posit that, even if that were true, she could have even had help to do it. This video suggests she may have had at least one accomplice, though it doesn't explain why this murder was so badly planned (one person's "un-premeditated" is another's "badly planned").
Ultimately, few believed in Nicole's claims of "absolute innocence." There's another sign that something was wrong with Nicole more than with Becky. Someone acquainted with the couple said, "I've never ever seen Becky and Nicole argue." At the very least, this means it wasn't typically regarded as a volatile relationship, where a murder would have been easier to predict.
There's more to the insurance angle, though. Chicago's Daily Herald notes that "Abusharif admitted profiting in eight earlier insurance claims ranging from auto accidents to workers' compensation."
Not enough? She was prone to telling whopping lies, like that she was a "New York firefighter during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, or that she had cancer." On that note, if you know someone who falsely claims to have cancer, it's a pretty strong sign that they're sociopathic and potentially dangerous (I once semi-dated a woman who claimed to have cancer. After a while, no one seemed to believe it anymore, and she was also trying to start relationships with many men and turn them against each other, which is why I got away from her).
Empathy? Why Such Stories Matter
One needn't have studied the science of empathy at length to grasp it as a profound concept, and a reality. It appears to be one of the main traits which prevent us from becoming maniacs. This is not to say everyone lacking empathy becomes a murderer, but it sure seems to open the door. Even during times of peril, empathy can be found and is certainly needed. It's hardly odd to think empathy can reveal exactly what is at stake in the tragedies of war, for example. You feel the losses, at least for your own side.
However, just as the military encourages soldiers to switch off their empathy for the enemy, so functions the mind of a cold-blooded killer. Also, instead of loyalty to the country being the only thing that matters, this type of killer only cares about his or her self. Empathy demonstrates that ordinary people care about the suffering of others. Where this is lacking, indifference to suffering, and to loss of life reigns.
While those words definitely relate to the case of Nicole M. Abusharif, I think they apply quite generally as well. Such a crime is not terrible just because of what happens to an individual who was tortured and/or killed, but also because of what it does to us — the rest of society. Either we feel such crimes with too much intensity or, just as bad, we grow numb to them over time.
While it's easy to shun news and true crime for making life seem scary, the sad truth is we owe it to ourselves, intellectually, morally, honestly, to examine such stories. It is the price we should feel obligated to pay for living in this world. It's also perhaps a bit cowardly (albeit understandable) to look the other way. While I don't want to exaggerate the bravery of reading true crime writing and news (which can admittedly get trashy), it is not solely a negative and degrading experience to society as a whole, or even individually.
Nicole M. Abusharif's crimes remind us what abnormal and violent thinking and behavior look like, and there's plenty of evidence that ordinary people in such stories react to others' pain with empathy. Often it's obvious that violent behavior has consequences, but sometimes we probably should have that reminder, and reading about it provides a relatively safe way of doing so. Yes, we should not dwell on such characters as these, but we need the occasional reminder not to walk that darkened path ourselves.
Why Was Nicole So Sloppy?
Admittedly, I'm an armchair psychologist at best. Still, I have some suspicions of what makes sociopaths/psychopaths get sloppy with their crimes sometimes. Consider how children tend to reach stages of empathy.
We are sometimes very good at feeling empathy for animals because, in addition to our typically positive reaction to things like puppies and kitties, most are taught by their parents and teachers to love animals as well. Sure, we might hypocritically eat meat while lamenting abuse against cats and dogs, but there's at least a basic sense that cruelty is still bad. At the very least, even sociopaths tend to realize that animal cruelty leads to judgments by others and possible punishment.
In some cases, however, a person becomes so self-absorbed that they stop caring about the consequences of their actions. They think so highly of themselves that they grow cocky, thinking they're bound to get away with whatever scheme they cook up. In fact, this can still happen in the era of DNA testing. Pair this with someone who probably wasn't a super-genius and you have the perfect ingredients for a sloppily planned crime.
In this case, Nicole Abusharif was involved in a sexual relationship with the victim, which would immediately make her a suspect. She also did practically nothing to successfully conceal her con artist ways. Basically, she was all but asking to be caught, and she certainly was, and she probably has not learned anything from her crimes, and would most certainly do something similar again. I realize that's a judgment call on my part, but it's hard not to judge this person harshly.