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Why Do People Marry Murderers?

by Leonora Watkins 15 days ago in fact or fiction

What makes someone marry a monster?

Murderers are evil, dangerous individuals. They take innocent people's lives and often show no genuine remorse for their actions.

So what is it that makes people fall in love with them? What can this particular person see that the rest of society can’t? And why does this happen so often?

Boone and Bundy

Carole Ann Boone married Ted Bundy, one of America's most notorious serial killers, rapists, kidnappers, and necrophiles. They married during his trial in Florida. Boone even went as far as having a child with him.

Lioy and Ramirez

Doreen Lioy married "The Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez in 1996. Ramirez was responsible for the death of 14 people and the rape and torture of at least 25 more. He was a murderer, a rapist, and a pedophile. Yet Lioy was apparently so in love with him she said she would commit suicide when he was eventually executed. Ramirez died of liver failure and Lioy passed away in 2013 of B-cell lymphoma.

Laisure and Atkins

Susan Denise Atkins, aka Sadie Mae Glutz, was a member of Charles Manson’s “family.” She was part of a group of people who committed 9 murders in the summer of 1969. She never showed any remorse for her actions saying that “killing felt good.” When sentenced she said, “you’d best lock your doors and watch your own kids.” Despite never being released from prison, Atkins was married twice. Her first husband was eccentric billionaire Donald Lee Laisure. Atkins had the marriage annulled when, according to sources close to her, she found out that he wasn't as wealthy as he had claimed. He had also allegedly been married 35 times. Her second was Harvard law student James Whitehouse who she stayed married to until she died in 2009.

So what’s the motivation behind this behavior? Why would someone want to start a romantic relationship with a cold-blooded killer?

Attention and Fame

One of the simplest explanations is the pursuit of fame. This person wants to be noticed and remembered. What better way to achieve this than marry a murderer? People are guaranteed to pay attention when you do something like that. This is incredibly self-serving behavior. It also shows a great deal of callousness and a complete lack of empathy for the victims of their “lover’s” crimes.

For someone like this, the more horrific the crimes, the better. Even if the murderer gets executed, the spouse will remain famous and the subject of a lot of attention.


Despite evidence to the contrary and sometimes even confessions. Some people are still utterly convinced these murderers are innocent. That they’re nothing more than victims of the justice system.


An element of danger can be appealing to some. But the love of "bad boys/girls" can even extend to murderers. They are violent, unstable people. But conversely, this could be one of the safest relationships possible. All communications are monitored, and if visits are allowed, they are done so under close supervision. And since only 4 states allow conjugal visits (none for death row inmates) there is only a very low chance of physical intimacy.

This is one of the most extreme ways of pushing the boundaries of society without actually breaking the law. It’s living vicariously through the murderer.

They Believe They Can Change The Murderer

Some people are under the misguided impression that their love is strong enough to change the murderer. That their influence is so strong and so positive it could turn them into a decent human being. They genuinely believe that there is a loving, tender side to them. And only their love can bring that side of them out. As a consequence of this belief, they will do pretty much anything the murderer asks of them.

They Are Desperately Lonely

Someone in prison is never going to be too busy to write back. And they might be a violent monster, but some people are so lonely that they don’t care. Their desperate need for interaction overrides all other moral misgivings.

Childhood Abuse

Childhood abuse is common amongst those who get romantically involved with murderers. Some abuse victims gravitate towards aggressive people. This isn’t because they want to be abused again. It’s because it is familiar to them, it's what they have known from a very young age. But now there is less danger to them, due to strict prison rules they stand very little chance of being physically assaulted.


Hybristophilia is a paraphilia which is a sexual deviation or perversion. Part of this deviation means that a person will become aroused by another individual who has committed a violent offense.

Everyone’s Reasons Will Be Different

Every individual will have unique reasons for becoming involved with a killer. But whatever these reasons may be, their lack of empathy for the killer's victims is worrying. Each of these people should be closely monitored to ensure that they have no intention of continuing the killer’s “legacy.”

fact or fiction
Leonora Watkins
Leonora Watkins
Read next: Chad Alan Lee
Leonora Watkins

A qualified counsellor and an even more qualified queer. I specialise in victims of rape and sexual assault. I also have a degree in behaviour analysis.

See all posts by Leonora Watkins

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