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Psychological Motivational Profile of a Serial Killer “Mercy-Hero” vs. Power/Control Type

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Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy Research, 2016, 3, 13-20 13
E-ISSN: 2313-1047/16 © 2016 Savvy Science Publisher
Psychological Motivational Profile of a Serial Killer “Mercy-Hero”
vs. Power/Control Type
Miguel Ángel Soria1,* and Nerea Ansa2
1Department of Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Barcelona, Spain
2University of Barcelona, Post-graduated in Criminal Profiling and Criminal Behaviour Analysis, Faculty of
Law, University of Barcelona, Spain
Abstract: On October 2010, the death of an elderly woman in a geriatric residence in the province of Girona (Catalonia),
launched a police investigation, which ended up with the confession of eleven murders committed by one employee,
Joan Vila Dilme (JVD). The killings were committed between August 2009 and October 2010; the eleven victims were
elderly people between 80 and 96 years old, who lived in the residence. The employee administered to the victims a
mixture of psychotropic drugs, insulin and caustic products. Different multidisciplinary teams evaluated, with forensic
assessment proposed, the offender mental state and his biographic and personality background focused on a clinical-
pathological vs. psychosocial-criminological perspective. Although he always claimed that his primary motive was to help
those people he loved to stop suffering. On June 2013 he was condemned to one hundred and twenty-seven and a half
years in prison, becoming the most prolific serial killer in Spain on the current century, and the fourth for sixty years
before. The goal of this article is to analyse in depth this particular case, which provoked a strong media effect,
highlighting the psychological factors regarding the offender motivation, his psychobiography background and his mental
state.
Keywords: Serial killer, mercy hero, personality, criminal motivation, elderly victims, forensic assessment.
1. INTRODUCTION
Serial killers have always fascinated and terrified
society. Despite the increased media and movies
attention to these cases, the scientific investigation is
still scarce. The sensationalist and stereotyped
perspective has built a serial killer profile based on the
superficial analysis of some of the most socially
relevant and shocking cases becoming the
entertainment industry products. However, since the
1950s, the scientific literature has been studying the
demographic, psychological and behavioural factors of
the serial killers through the analysis of their
background, motivations, and the nature of their
crimes. The profile of the serial killer is frequently
presented as a white male in his late 20s or 30s, who
suffered abuse as a child, killing strangers, and
characterized as a sexual sadist [1].
This article aims to analyse in depth the case of
eleven killings committed by a person who does not fit
the serial killer stereotype, both in psychological and
biographical factors, illustrating the psychological
assessment complexity in such cases and the need to
take into account the interaction of individual, relational,
social, cultural, and contextual factors.
*Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Social
Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Barcelona; Tel: 93-312-5802;
Fax: 93-402-1366; E-mail: masoria@ub.edu.
2. CASE HISTORY
The case presented took place in a geriatric
residence in Olot, the province of Girona (Catalonia).
Joan Vila Dilme murdered, between 29th of August
2009 and the 17th of October 2010, eleven elderly
people between 80 and 96 years old, nine women and
two men, all of them residents in the geriatric where he
worked (Table 1).
Table 1: Murders Committed by JVD Along 2009-2010
Period
Homicide date
Victim / age
29th August 2009
Woman. 87 years.
19th October 2009
Woman. 88 years.
14th February 2010
Woman. 89 years.
28th June 2010
Woman. 85 years.
18th August 2010
Woman. 80 years.
21st August 2010
Man. 84 years.
19th September 2010
Man. 94 years.
25th September 2010
Woman. 96 years.
12th October 2010
Woman. 87 years.
16th October 2010
Woman. 88 years.
17th October 2010
Woman. 85 years.
The trigger of these facts took place on October 17th
2010, after the death of an elderly resident woman,
whose autopsy revealed she did not die by natural
causes. She presented burns in the respiratory tract,
Dr. Miguel A. Soria Verde
14 Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy Research, 2016 Vol. 3, No. 1 Soria and Ansa
oesophagus and mouth. After some interrogations of
the geriatric staff, JVD confessed that he had forced
the old woman to ingest a cleanser through a syringe.
When this crime was revealed, another patient’s
relative called the police to know the actual causes of
her relative death, five days before. Being asked by the
police, JVD confessed that he was the author of this
death. Some hours later, in front of the trial judge, he
admitted to be guilty of another old woman’s death.
As a result of the above, the Court of Instruction
ordered to check all the deaths that happened at the
geriatric since December 2005, when JVD began to
work there. From the 59 deaths in that period, almost a
half, 27, passed away at JVD’s shifts (week-ends and
feast days). Forensic findings revealed intentional
death in eight corpses. After their exhumation, on
November 30 JVD confessed the murder of six from
eight old people and, spontaneously, of two women in
their eighties in 2009.
The aggressor knew the eleven victims due to his
work, explaining the emotional and expressive
components in the crimes; and also, the lack of a
rational or structured plan [2]. Although their advanced
age, the great majority of victims weren’t in terminal
condition. The method of killing in the first eight
murders was due to an insulin overdose and a mixture
of psychotropic drugs, being the medication and doses
used quite diverse and chaotic. The last three victims
died by the ingestion of caustics, in a quite similar way
but also more close in time.
3. PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS
3.1. Psychobiographic Development
Joan Vila Dilme (JVD) was born in 1965, in a small
countryside village (pop. 1000), raised by a middle
class family. He was an introverted child, with low self-
esteem and few affective bonds both with his peers
and his parents. His parents showed a high reticence
and negativism to show any sign of affection, avoiding
the emotional and interpersonal implication of a child-
parent relationship. They tended to overprotect their
son by keeping him at home and away from the other
children. JVD developed a fearful attachment with a
negative vision of himself and the referent figures,
generating high levels of anxiety and social avoidance
[3]. He spent most of his childhood in the house with
his mother, with whom JVD felt more comfortable and
understood despite the lack of affection and fondness
manifestations. In his own words, JVD explains that the
most disturbing factor and source of his discomfort,
was his excessive feminine conduct [4], provoking a
great isolation and social refusal from his equals [5].
However, the behavioural pattern of JVD followed the
masculine role, discordant with his feminine feelings
and identity. Besides, his parents did not want to
realize about their son psychological worries and
psychosexual dysfunctions, trying to maintain the social
appearance of a standard family. This psychosexual
ambivalence led him to a traumatic development of
self-identity and he even felt, from his early childhood,
like being a woman caught inside a man’s body.
During his early childhood, when JVD was 13
months, his younger sister died. Although this traumatic
experience was not consciously processed due to his
age, it marked his posterior psychosocial development
[6]. His mother also experienced this death as a key
factor in the family development, but never affronting it.
Furthermore, the death of JVD aunt, almost the only
source of emotional support, after a long and painful ill,
provoked the beginning of his high fear / attraction
feeling about death and suffering of his loved ones,
which gradually increased throughout his life. He felt a
compulsive need to take care of his old parents, as his
sister would have done but never reaching her level
due to his perception of strong limitations, sexual
inadequacy and for not being a real woman.
The social rejection feelings and the progress of
symbolic game maximized the development of a mighty
compensatory fantasy [7] where he could be like a
woman, with her own family and able to play the social
role that he wanted. He progressively adopted in his
mind a second life pattern, reinforced in his childhood
by games associated with femininity (dolls, cooking,
mummy’s roles), and in his adulthood by behaviours
such as dressing like a woman and adopting the social
feminine role in his interpersonal relationships.
However, his acute feelings of insecurity, lack of
emotional contact, and the absence of social support
[8] remained constant, structuring the parental home as
a shelter or safe place against social conflicts.
During his adolescence, the emotional, cognitive
and behavioural impairments were magnified as a
result of his inability to develop his feminine sexuality,
and at the same time to deal with the social rejection
that would imply. His copying strategies were
structured thorough an affective blockage, diminishing
his social skills [9], being influenced by the others
opinions, deliberately ignoring and disparaging his
own needs.
Dr. Miguel A. Soria Verde
Psychological Motivational Profile of a Serial Killer “Mercy-Hero” Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy Research, 2016 Vol. 3, No. 1 15
His first homosexual love affair was based on a
mighty fantasy to get away from an undesired reality.
However, this relationship based on superficial and
sexual elements did not satisfy his emotional needs.
Later on, JVD engaged in a few more relationships like
his previous one, questioning himself about these kind
of relationships and finally rejecting them because he
did not understand a simple physical and sexual
contact without an emotional and affective bond.
At the age of 24, after an unstable personal and
professional period, he suffered from a panic attack
and it was the beginning of a long pharmacological and
psychological treatment. It lasted for more than twenty
years, until his detention for criminal conduct.
When JVD was forty, he started working in a
geriatric center, which increased his positive feelings
because he always liked being with old people. He
considered them able to give him affection and respect,
by contrast with children and adults. He worked there
for five months and could see the first cases of natural
death in his life. They weren’t unpleasant for him,
because he thought that medication helped terminally
ill patients to reduce their pain, driving them to a death
without suffering. He did his work fine, but he decided
to go to another geriatric center, nearer his home. For
the first time in his life he felt good. He carried out a job
he liked, he felt valued, so his self- esteem improved
and he created strong emotional bonds with the elderly
victims he took care of.
However, due to changes in the organization and
the staff of the geriatric center, there were two clearly
differentiated periods in JVD career. For the first six
months the center was run by a religious order, who
according to JVD’s perception, showed concern for
their residents’ physic and psychological welfare.
Afterwards, it became a public center, so the number of
patients increased and JVD noticed a change in elderly
people’s care. The work rhythm was faster, demanding
and strict, lacking real interest by doctors and medical
staff about the wellbeing of the elderly.
3.2. Mental State
3.2.1. Psychological and Psychiatric Background
JVD showed anxiety disorders from his childhood
(enuresis, onycophagy) starting psychological and
psychiatric treatment at the age of 23-24 for anxiety-
depressive disorders with panic attacks and obsessive
personality traits, in absence of aggressive behaviour.
In all his therapeutic relations he hid the central core of
his worries, his disturbances, his low self-esteem, his
own perception of inferiority, and his inappropriateness
with his sexual role and identity. Thus, JVD exhibited
poor adherence in all his therapeutic relationships and
low monitoring of the pharmacological treatment
regarding the more serious social impairments, with
constant and recurrent disturbances in the anxiety
sphere: anxiety, loss of control, insomnia, difficulties
with concentration, lack of vital energy, which he tried
to mitigate through compulsive compensatory
behaviours [10] such as, excessive consumption of
energy drinks, caffeine, food and shopping. His
psychopathologic diagnosis before the crimes showed
a few variations. The consistent data were anxiety-
depressive disorder with panic attacks, personality with
obsessive features and poor assimilated
homosexuality. The diagnosis of a psychotic disorder,
as well as the delusional and bipolar diagnosis was
discarded. Any personality disorder of psychopathic,
antisocial or narcissistic type wasn’t detected neither
the presence of sadistic traces.
3.2.2. Forensic Psychological Assessment
Since the arrest of JVD different professionals tried
to approach an explanation of his behaviour and
mental state in the period of the events. To this end,
psychologist and psychiatrist named by the accusation
and the defense of JVD carried out assessments and
psychological and psychiatric reports. After his
detention, JVD was evaluated several times in the
penitentiary psychiatric center where he was admitted
provisionally awaiting trial, in a clinical-pathological
perspective.
As with his previous therapists, JVD felt insecure,
uncomfortable and socially judged. Later, with the
expert psychologist named by the defense, with a
different perspective based on the psychosocial and
criminal process, JVD was more open and willing to
cooperate, being able of verbalizing and expressing the
different circumstances that have accompanied him in
his vital development and at the moment of the violent
acts. This attitude and disposition change of JVD
influenced the diagnosis results of the forensic
assessments, showing significant differences.
The first forensic assessment took place between
December 2010 and January 2011, when JVD was
hospitalized in the penitentiary psychiatric unit for
autolytic risk. The methodology employed in the
forensic assessment was the semi-structured interview
for making DSM-IV Axis II diagnoses (SCID-II), the
Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI-II) in order to
provide information on personality traits and
Dr. Miguel A. Soria Verde
16 Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy Research, 2016 Vol. 3, No. 1 Soria and Ansa
psychopathology, the revised NEO Personality
Inventory (NEO PI-R) which evaluates adult personality
using five dimensions (emotional, interpersonal,
experiential, attitudinal, and motivational styles) and the
Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS III) designed
to measure intelligence and cognitive ability in adults
and older adolescents.
This psychological forensic report highlighted the
existence of psychically critic or traumatic experiences
in the development of JVD, adding that there is more
risk of psychological impairment when these
experiences occur during childhood or adolescence
and that can contribute to the development of a mental
disorder. Nevertheless, the impact of these
experiences in the psychological functioning of JVD is
not analysed, affirming that only the traumatic
experience, with no mental disorder, does not explain
the symptomatology and its influence in the individual’s
mental state at the moment of the crimes.
The functional level of JVD is within parameters of
normality, despite the alcohol abuse behaviour with no
dependence pattern. Referring to clinical
psychopathology, the depressive and anxious
symptomatology appeared at his 20s, in a low-
moderate level. During the period previous to the
killings, showed a diminished mood, sadness,
disinterest and reduced ability of enjoyment in the
absence of psychotic symptoms. The existence of a
recurrent major depressive disorder was concluded,
being the closest episode to the facts of moderate
character, preserving his cognitive and volitional
capacities. The psychological assessment report also
states that, although JVD showed no diagnostic criteria
for any personality disorder, he presented
desadaptative obsessive and psychopathic traits.
However, despite the psychic discomfort that could
cause to him or to others, his ability to understand and
manage their behaviour appropriately was not
impaired.
The explanation of JVD about the crimes was based
on the avoidance of the victim’s suffering helping them
to move to a better life. Although this justification was
assessed in terms of an overvalued or delusional idea,
this diagnosis was ruled out by the absence of
additional symptoms. It was not taken into account the
explanation of this reasoning as a result of
psychosocial factors and the structure of his
personality, apart from a supporting mental pathology.
Consequently, JVD was fully aware that the methods
used to "help to die" produced a slow, painful and
agonizing death to the victims, even when his assistant
clinical condition allowed access to non-invasive and
painless methods. These circumstances were
assessed as contradictory with the intention of helping
victims to end their suffering or any kind of active
euthanasia. Therefore they did not consider
appropriate to apply the concept of "Angel of Death" at
least in its entirety, claiming the existence of a desire of
power, enjoyment with other people's suffering and
sadistic components in their criminal behaviour.
Later, in 2013 the psychologists experts of the
defense, with whom JVD showed more open and
cooperative, evaluated him. Their assessment adopted
a multifactorial approach in the explanation of the
complexity of JVD criminal behaviour, beyond the
possible supportive psychopathology. The
methodology used was based on psychosocial and
psychopathologic interviews (both with JVD and his
parents), psychometric and projective tests, criminal
profiling and documental analysis. The psychometric
instruments used were the State-Trait Anxiety
Inventory (STAI) to evaluate anxiety affect, the State-
Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI-II) in order to
assess the intensity of anger as an emotional state and
the disposition to experience angry feelings as a
personality trait, and the Personality Assessment
Inventory (PAI) which evaluates psychopathological
syndromes and provides information for clinical
diagnosis, treatment planning, and screening for
psychopathology. The projective tests employed were
the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) to reveal the
underlying motives, concerns, needs for achievement,
power and intimacy and problem solving skills, and the
House-Tree-Person test (HTP) designed to measure
aspects of a person’s personality. These psychological
assessment tools were used as a support to
psychologists’ clinical judgement.
Therefore, beyond the clinical diagnostic criteria, it
was contemplated the relevance of the interaction of
personality traits, psychobiography, the vital
development, his psychological resources to manage
the diverse life experiences and socio-labour
environment in development criminal action. The
results showed a person with stable cognitive functions
and middle intellectual level, reasoning and solving-
problem capacity. Nevertheless, concerning to his
personality he presented obsessive traits funnelled
through compulsive behaviours (alcohol consumption,
food, writings about schedules, work planning, etc.),
recurrent and intense anxiety-depressive states, with a
deep psychological insecurity and poor emotional
stability. He had a pessimistic and defeatist point of
Dr. Miguel A. Soria Verde
Psychological Motivational Profile of a Serial Killer “Mercy-Hero” Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy Research, 2016 Vol. 3, No. 1 17
view about future, few personal interests. He preferred
familiar stuff instead novelty.
Referring to clinical psychopathology, he suffered a
disorder on sexual identity, hidden and repressed,
which led him to a major chronic depression, being the
most relevant symptoms a persistent and profound
sadness with no apparent cause, feelings of apathy
and aboulia, a lack of energy and chronic fatigue, the
presence of thoughts about death, slowed thinking,
speaking and body movements, in conjunction with
anxiety, somatizations and obsessions related to
excessive health concerns [11]. He exhibited a
compulsive consumption of food, alcohol and drugs in
a variable level depending on his emotional and social
adjustment. He had a high vulnerability to his own and
the others suffering. He did not present a sadistic
profile.
In social relationships he felt deeply uncomfortable,
denying his feelings and emotions, maintaining high
interpersonal distance to protect himself
psychologically. His fears, insecurities and feelings of
uselessness made him unable to face assertively
stressing and conflictive social and emotional
circumstances. He experienced a high frustration with
the search for intimate or social relations, strengthening
their moral conception to follow the standard set by the
others despite his accused feeling of suffering.
To summarize, the main difference between the
psychological forensic assessments of the defense and
the accusation stem from the initial assessment aim.
On the one hand, the accusation report was based on
analysing the existence of a psychopathological
diagnosis which could explain JVD criminal behaviour,
and on the other hand the defense report was based
on the psychosocial and criminological aspects of JVD
behaviour such as, his coping strategies of his fears
and worries, his psychological needs and motivations
and his ability to deal with the personal conflicts
regarding his sexuality and his absence of significant
affective bonds. The divergence in the psychological
assessment aim leads to an absence of a
comprehensive and longitudinal behavioural analysis
by the accusation psychologists, becoming the key
point in the subsequent JVD motivational profile
analysis.
4. PSYCHOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIOURAL
MOTIVATIONAL PROFILE ANALYSIS
The previous forensic assessments show that the
isolated psychopathological analysis does not explain
JVD behaviour, since the clinical diagnosis by itself is
insufficient to explain his criminal pattern. However,
bearing in mind the development factors, psychological
functioning and behavioural manifestations that
contribute to analyse the complexity of the JVD criminal
conduct, it is possible to establish a comparison with
the criminal motivational profiles of the scientific
literature that may explain his behaviour.
The scientific literature on serial killers has
proposed different serial killers profiles according to the
psychological characteristics of the individual and
factors related to their criminal development activity.
Some authors consider the sexual motivation as the
primary in most serial killers. However, considering that
such behaviour adopts many forms, both at a cognitive
and behavioural level, the materialization of a sexual
motivation in the criminal action will be greatly
heterogeneous depending on the individual
characteristics of each person.
The results of the two forensic assessments
reflected mixed, and sometimes contradictory results.
On the one hand, JVD presented a power-control
motivation with sadistic traits, and on the other hand it
was established a compassion for the victims as the
motivational basis. These two approaches are part of
two criminal motivational profiles of serial killers:
power-control and mercy-hero (“angel of death”).
4.1. Power-Control Profile
The serial killer profile motivated by the need for
power and control is based on the offender search to
subdue, dominate and humiliate victims, as well as the
psychosexual pleasure provided by his capacity to
decide about the life and death of the victims.
Therefore it affects the different stages of the criminal
act.
Usually, in the pre-criminal phase power-control
serial killers present a highly organized and planned
criminal structure through powerful fantasies in order to
ensure in time their desire for power and control [12].
Behaviour during the criminal action is directed
toward that sense of power. To fulfil their primary
psychological need, the method of killing seeks
physical contact (strangulation, stabbing), performing
humiliating acts, sexual activity and aggressive and
demeaning language, in order to turn the victim into an
object. Post-criminal conducts may include staging,
moving the body of the victim to a place, or in a certain
position, which increase his humiliation, injury and
post-mortem sexual behaviours are associated with the
psychological need for power and control [13].
Dr. Miguel A. Soria Verde
18 Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy Research, 2016 Vol. 3, No. 1 Soria and Ansa
Generally, this motivational profile presents sadistic
traits, since the decision to cause pain and suffering on
the victim increases their sense of power and
consequently, their satisfaction and gratification by
observing their conduct and its effects. In
consequence, these serial killers exhibit well-structured
physical violence in their criminal behaviour, such as
small lacerations, burns, violent sexual activity and use
of various objects to cause them suffering, but always
trying to lengthen in time this criminal process [14].
Additionally, power-control serial killers exhibit post-
mortem behaviours such as evisceration, amputation
and necrophiliac acts, but always more associated to
extend their domain after the victim death than to the
sadistic impulse since it is not possible to observe the
pain and suffering inflicted when the victim is dead.
4.2. Mercy-Hero Profile
The “angel of death” or mercy-hero profile has been
little discussed in the scientific literature, and
sometimes has been classified into one of the pre-
existing typologies. Generally, this serial killer profile
has been related with clinical or healthcare
environments where high responsibility doctors or
hospital staff acted as if they were an omnipotent figure
deciding on the life and death of their patients.
However, this interpretation leads to a profile that
would be more associated with individuals driven by a
motivation of power and control than with feelings of
compassion, linked with the profile presented here [15].
The mercy-hero profile is characterized by
individuals with low self esteem, whose defense
mechanisms are based on emotional apathy, social
withdrawal, trying to distance themselves and not
getting involved, alternating with periods of great
physical and psychological agitation and emotional
manifestation [16]. It is JVD own perception of the
others suffering and pain (not the social one) that
guides his criminal action, feeling the moral imperative
to act accordingly. The method of killing is the
administration of drugs that are being routinely used in
hospitals, and without a special need of physical
contact with the victim at that time. Commonly, after the
administration of these substances there is no
contemplation of victim physical death, thus leaving the
crime scene once the aggression has been done. Post-
mortem behaviours are distinguished by a high
emotional level and a personification of the victim,
occasionally staging the crime scene by placing the
body in a more "comfortable" way and with the best
possible appearance.
4.3. JVD Criminal-Motivational Profile
In order to establish the criminal motivational profile
of JVD, it should be taken into account his
psychobiographical development and the different
criminal behaviours.
The eleven murders did not follow a pattern of
organized and planned behaviours. The killings were
developed from JVD self-perception of the environment
and his personal consideration of the medical condition
of the victims. So his actions were compulsive, there
was no progression in the sophistication of the Modus
Operandi used, and there was a persisting absence of
physical contact in the method of killing. The presence
of a high empathic expression and peri-mortem care is
remarkably during all murders, establishing verbal
contact with the victims, giving them pills carefully,
keeping them warm and leaving them comfortably.
Later on he leaves the crime scene and does not watch
the physical death.
After the victims’ death, JVD showed an affective
continuity with them and a personification of the
victims, arranging them, cleaning them, and changing
their clothes. JVD took leave of them with a huge
personal agony by not being able to see them again,
and with great physical contact, in the absence of
aggressive or violent behaviours and without feelings of
guilt afterwards (Table 2).
Table 2: Comparison between Psychological
Motivational Profiles and JVD Behaviour
JVD behaviours
Power-
Control
Mercy-
Hero
Peri-criminal
No death observation
X
No physical contact in method of
killing
X
Empathic expression
X
Peri-mortem cares
X
Sexualized Contact
X
X
Post-criminal
Affective continuity
X
Victim personification
X
Post-mortem cares
X
Physical contact
X
X
Absence of paraphilia
X
Absence of guilt / remorse
X
X
Dr. Miguel A. Soria Verde
Psychological Motivational Profile of a Serial Killer “Mercy-Hero” Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy Research, 2016 Vol. 3, No. 1 19
This behavioural pattern does not show
components of sadism: lack of need to observe the
suffering and physical death, absence of paraphilia,
absence of psychopathy and narcissism, and no
feelings associated with social omnipotence.
CONCLUSIONS
Historically, some violent offenders have
experienced dysfunctional and/or abusive childhoods,
with poor relations and emotional bonds, social
isolation and depressive symptoms [17]. Although we
cannot say whether these ones or others are the
specific reasons for JVD’s criminal behaviour, they
influenced on the imperfect matching of his personality,
with continued frustrations, social rejections, and
emotional isolation as well.
It stands as a prominent factor his inability to
establish and maintain satisfactory affective bonds and
a deficit management once established. His
dysfunctional psychosexual development associated
with his failure on sexual identity, influenced
significantly his social life and psychological
adjustment. He felt confused, disoriented and
misunderstood, conforming a personality structure with
large deficits in social competence because of his
childish and immature vision of interpersonal
relationships, absence of satisfactory intimate partners,
construction of compensatory fantasies and inability to
face suffering and social conflict.
His arrival at the geriatric center in Olot was a
turning point, which provoked a change in its internal
psychological state. He developed a more feminized
role, taking care of elderly people and procuring their
wellbeing. He began to feel loved and valued by a
working environment that became a social one. He
perceived himself as useful and necessary, not felling
judged, and he began to feel better about himself. The
elderly people he took care of, and the geriatric center
became the fundamental and unique axis of his life.
At that time it was generated a compensatory
relationship of his emotional deprivation, fading fears,
worries and inner suffering. These parameters
conceived as primary in an intimacy relationship were
transferred to the working environment: need for
physical contact, a sense of positive external
assessment as a human being, a high perception of
internal ability to give and receive affection. He saw
reflected in the elderly victims his own pain and
suffering, feeling the imperative need to avoid that pain
and progressing mentally from the need to shorten it up
to the urgent and peremptorily induction of death.
After analysing JVD criminal behaviour and its
progression, we noticed that his psychological
motivational profile does not correspond with those of
serial killers based on power and control to satisfy their
internal psychological needs. JVD would approach
much more to a mercy-hero profile because of his
compassion feelings for the victims, derived from his
psychological vulnerability, consequence of a poor
psychobiographical development.
While the absence of feelings of guilt and / or
repentance could be considered indicative of a sadistic
profile, these JVD’s feelings are derived from a
distortion in his moral values. Consequently, although
JVD can objectively distinguish between good and bad,
there was no attribution or consistent relationship
between these values and the criminal actions
developed.
Regarding the different forensic assessment
approaches we conclude that the psychological
forensic assessment proposed by the accusation,
based exclusively on a clinical-pathological
assessment does not explain or justify the JVD criminal
behaviour, proposing a power/control criminal
motivation inferred solely from a psychopathological
diagnosis. Conversely, the psychological forensic
assessment presented by the defense based on a
multifactorial assessment, provides a deeper analysis
of JVD development, behaviour and personality, which
led to a scientific understanding of JVD criminal
motivation matching with a mercy-hero psychological
motivational profile.
JVD is currently serving his sentence and under
therapeutic treatment.
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Received on 08-05-2016 Accepted on 24-05-2016 Published on 31-07-2016
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12974/2313-1047.2016.03.01.2
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Dr. Miguel A. Soria Verde
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