Doc Sees Propensity for Violence in Frontal Lobes
A neurologist who testified on behalf of a Tennessee woman convicted of killing a romantic rival says every killer he has ever examined shares three characteristics—and one of them is brain damage.
The expert opinion did not sway Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz, who refused to grant a new trial for death-row inmate Christa Gail Pike, the Knoxville News reports. Dr. Jonathan Henry Pincus had testified that Pike’s frontal lobes were not put together properly, interfering with her ability to discern right from wrong, the judge said in a Dec. 10 opinion. The damage occurred when Pike’s mother drank during pregnancy, in Pincus’ view.
He said Pike also had two other characteristics of killers: mental illness in the form of bipolar disorder and a childhood in which she was exposed to violence, the story says. Pike witnessed violence as she played at a slaughterhouse where her grandfather worked and by watching horror and pornography films, the story says. She may also have suffered from physical and sexual abuse, although witnesses differed on the allegation.
Leibowitz said much of the evidence offered by Pincus had been presented at Pike’s original trial in 1996, and she said his claim of brain damage had been disputed by a previous expert, according to the story.
Pincus has collaborated in several research papers profiling serial killers, according to a New Yorker article published Nov. 22, 2004.