Power, thrill common factors in serial killer motives, says Forensic Psychologist

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – As details unravel in these gruesome crimes tied to Todd Kohlhepp, many are asking how one man could be responsible?

The motives behind serial killers are wide spread, but experts believe there are common factors into what makes them tick.

“The most common unfortunately is thrill, excitement, lust, some power and some sexuality,” Dr. Deborah Leporowski explained. “Sexual deviancy might be coupled with these crimes.”

Forensic psychologist Deborah Leporowski has spent over 24 years evaluating criminals with sexually violent offences. She’s also interviewed and studied serial killers before.

She says young sexual offenders rarely lead to continual violent behavior.

“It is such a low rate that it is hard for us to even calculate,” she said. “The overwhelming majority of juvenile offenders believe it or not, do not re offend.”

But in accused serial killer Todd Kohlhepp’s case, he was 15 when he was convicted of kidnapping. The registered sex offender was also accused of a sexual assault. Dr. Leporowski believes his age and the violence of the crime very well could have led to the multiple murders he’s accused of now.

Looking at some of the initial details of the investigation, she says the shallow graves and public nature of the Superbike murders he confessed to committing, Kohlhepp may have wanted to get caught, which is similar behavior to many notorious serial killers.

“He may have had the sense that time is running out and he is about to be taken in, calmly and without violence and clearly did not want to be killed,” Dr. Leporowski said.

Another factor, is his use of control after he was put in custody. The Sheriff says Kohlhepp made 3 requests before he confessed to his crimes. Dr. Leporowski says repeat offenders do this to get what they want.

“That keeps them in control,” she said. “They are in control with the interview, they are in control of having something that someone wants, so it makes sense.”

Sheriff Chuck Wright says so far, the accused serial killer has shown remorse and remained calm and cooperative. As for whether or not he truly feels guilty for the crimes, experts believe only time will tell.

“I think it remains to be seen if it is genuine remorse or it is trying to save himself,” Dr. Leporowski added.

The forensic psychologist says so far from what she’s seen in the investigation, she doesn’t believe Kohlhepp’s sanity will be evaluated in court.

She believes because he held a job and maintained a fairly normal life, he is sane enough to stand trial.

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