Do serial killers feel remorse? (3 serial killers who did)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Do serial killers feel remorse?” and study who serial killers are, how their brains work, and their traits and functionalities to help understand the answer. 

Do serial killers feel remorse?

No, serial killers almost always do not feel remorse. However, some serial killers might at some point in their lives feel remorse. The following are 3 serial killers who eventually felt remorse –  

  • Steven Dean Gordon.
  • Michael Ross.
  • Mack Ray Edwards.

These 3 serial killers who feel remorse will be discussed in further detail below after taking a deeper look at who a serial killer is.

Who is a serial killer? 

A serial murderer is someone who murders three or more people, generally for abnormal psychological enjoyment, over a period of more than a month and with a large gap between them. While the majority of authorities establish a three-murder threshold, others raise it to four or lower it to two.

The most common reason for serial killing is psychological fulfilment, and many serial killings involve sexual interaction with the victim, but serial murderers’ motives can also include rage, thrill-seeking, financial gain, and attention-seeking, according to the FBI.

In a similar way, the murders may be attempted or completed. The victims may share characteristics such as demographic profile, appearance, gender, or ethnicity.

The FBI frequently focuses on a certain pattern that serial killers follow. Based on this pattern, vital clues about the killer’s identity and intentions will be revealed.

Despite the fact that a serial killer is a different categorization from a mass murderer, spree killer, or contract killer, there are conceptual parallels between the three. 

There is some disagreement over the precise requirements for each group, particularly when it comes to the distinction between spree and serial killers.

Types Of Serial Killers.

Although it is hard to fully categorise and comprehend each serial murderer, it is possible to examine their tactics and habits in order to better characterise the sort of criminal they are. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has classified serial murderers into three categories based on how they commit their crimes. Knowing which group a serial killer belongs to can help investigators better understand their crimes and how to bring them to justice.

The Medical Killer.

Despite the fact that this sort of killer is extremely rare, certain people have used the medical field to carry out their evil crimes. Because it is not commonplace for individuals to pass away at a hospital, this sort of murderer believes they are shrouded. 

They are typically knowledgeable people who know how to cover their crimes with care and deception. If a person looks to have died of natural causes, there will be no reason to assume foul play and seek for the perpetrator. 

Only a few physicians in history have been able to kill scores of individuals before others notice.

The Organized Killer.

This is the most difficult sort of serial murderer to track down and apprehend. They are typically clever and extremely well organised, almost to the point of being fastidious. 

Every element of the crime is meticulously planned, and the assailant takes every measure to ensure that no damning evidence is left behind. This sort of psychopath is known to observe potential victims for several days in order to select someone they perceive to be a good target. 

Once the victim has been picked, the murderer would abduct them, frequently using a ruse to win sympathy, and transport them to a new place where the murder will be carried out. When someone is killed, the offender will generally take steps to ensure that the body is not discovered until they want it to be.

A criminal like this is generally quite proud of what they regard to be their “job” and pays close attention to news headlines about their crimes. One of their motivational motivations may be to elude the cops who are attempting to solve their crime.

The Disorganized Killer.

These people almost never plot their victims’ deaths in any way. The victims they kill are almost always in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

When the chance arises, this sort of serial murderer appears to strike at random. They make no attempt to hide their crime and move around often to avoid getting apprehended. 

Killers who are disorganised frequently have low IQs and are antisocial. They don’t have many close friends or family members, and they don’t like to stay in one area for lengthy periods of time. 

These assassins are more likely to have no remembrance of their crimes or to admit that they were driven by voices in their brains or some other fictitious source.

Who are these 3 serial killers that feel remorse?

Steven Dean Gordon.

Steven Dean Gordon stated on Dateline that he’d “screwed up.” He’s a serial murderer and a convicted sex offender. In 2013 and 2014, he and a collaborator, Frank Cano, murdered four people in California. 

He confessed and described what he’d done to the cops. According to some stories, a postcard from his niece ultimately convinced him that what he did was “beyond evil.”

Gordon cried throughout the victim impact comments and then added, “I am sorry for everything.” But those are empty words in comparison to what those ladies had to endure. I sincerely apologise. I realise it’s insignificant, but please accept my apologies.”

You might be sceptical that someone like him can feel regret, especially if he’s killed several times with a particularly cruel attitude. Perhaps he’s interpreting self-pity or attempting to manipulate you.

However, Gordon was not simply apologising. He feels he should be put to death. Gordon hailed the jurors after he was sentenced to death. “You deserve to die if you kill four people like this in cold blood,” he remarked.

Michael Ross.

Similarly, serial murderer Michael Ross of Connecticut told journalist Martha Elliott for her book The Man in the Monster that raping and killing eight women and girls made him feel horrible. She spent a lot of time trying to figure out what he was saying. 

“I was intrigued by Michael’s split between himself and the monster, his mental sickness,” she explained. “I wanted to figure out how a country boy and Cornell graduate turned into a ruthless killer, as well as try to comprehend his psychopathology.”

It’s difficult to let go of wonderful emotions of power. Ross referred to his addiction as mental cancer, a part of his brain that needed to be removed, according to Elliott. Elliott saw Ross as a multi-faceted individual. 

“Perhaps the most important thing I learned from Michael Ross,” she adds, “is that even the worst of the worst is still a human being.” Ross, who had been sentenced to death, had exhausted his appeals and had decided to accept his sentence. 

He wished for the “monster” to perish. “We shall only be separated from one another in death,” he remarked. He also stated that he was acting in the best interests of the families.

Mack Ray Edwards.

Mack Ray Edwards was another serial murderer who pleaded to be stopped. In 1970, he and a companion broke into a residence in Sylmar, California, and kidnapped three girls. 

Two of them got away. The third kid remained missing, but Edwards approached the LAPD station, turned up a loaded pistol, and proclaimed his identity before the police could launch an inquiry. 

He admitted, “I have a guilt problem.” He recounted the kidnapping and supplied instructions to the location of the missing girl. She was not damaged in any way. And she was fortunate. Edwards was a serial murderer with a long list of victims.

Edwards said he has been murdering children since 1953. An 8-year-old girl had been his first victim. He killed two children in one day three years later. Because he worked for the transportation department, burying them where new roads were being built was a simple task.

He claimed he attempted to restrain himself, but the urges were too powerful. Edwards murdered two 16-year-old boys in 1968. Edwards murdered a 13-year-old the next year. When he realised he was doing it again, he determined to stop.

Edwards attempted suicide twice while awaiting his trial. He informed the jurors that he wanted to die. He obtained his goal, but because the appeals procedure was too slow for him, he ended up killing himself.

Conclusion – 

This blog post aimed to answer the question, “Do serial killers feel remorse?” and reviewed who serial killers are, how their brains work, their traits and functionalities to help determine if serial killers feel remorse. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

Serial killer. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2022, March 9). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_killer#:~:text=Psychopathic%20behavior%20that%20is%20consistent,for%20control%2C%20and%20predatory%20behavior.

How do serial killers kill without feeling guilty? Are there any common mental illnesses they have? Quora. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/How-do-serial-killers-kill-without-feeling-guilty-Are-there-any-common-mental-illnesses-they-have

Ramsland, K. Killer’s Remorse. (2017, April 15). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shadow-boxing/201704/killers-remorse

Parrington, J. What can neuroscience tell us about the mind of a serial killer? (2021, April 19).  Retrieved from https://blog.oup.com/2021/04/what-can-neuroscience-tell-us-about-the-mind-of-a-serial-killer/

Perry, J. M. Failures of empathy: The killer with no remorse (Psychopathy). (2014, October 24). Retrieved from https://sites.tufts.edu/emotiononthebrain/2014/10/24/failures-of-empathy-the-killer-with-no-remorse-psychopathy/

Tenpas, H. 12 Vicious Killers Who Showed Absolutely No Remorse At Trial. (2021, July 7). Retrieved from https://www.ranker.com/list/remorseless-killers/harrison-tenpas

Do you think there were any serial killers who genuinely felt remorse? If yes, which? Reddit. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/serialkillers/comments/h7r18p/do_you_think_there_were_any_serial_killers_who/

Merryweather, C. 10 Chilling Serial Killer Quotes That Show They Had No Remorse. (2018, September 27). Retrieved from https://listverse.com/2018/09/27/10-chilling-serial-killer-quotes-that-show-they-had-no-remorse/

Why Do People Kill? ACS Distance Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.acsedu.co.uk/Info/Psychology-and-Counselling/Applied-Psychology/Why-Do-People-Kill.aspx

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