The Violent Child - Peter Rodger's Blog

“About 1 in 4 Americans suffer from mental illness in any given year. It's time we remove the stigma of asking for help. To start, we are providing resources and asking you to share your story so that we may help one another.”
Peter Rodger, father of Elliot Rodger -- spree killer, murderer, mentally ill

Peter Rodger has created a blog asking other parents to share their stories of dealing with children with serious mental illness who commit heinous crimes. Sometimes these events can be stopped; as we know many others cannot, and a good bit of this has to do with a broken mental health system.

Here is a stunning contribution to Peter Roger’s Blog, Ask For Help Now
This could be very disturbing for some to read. Be forewarned.

I also have a killer son
submitted by Joyce Alexander

I am a retired mental health professional, but I understand the grief that is caused when one of our children becomes a killer. In my case, my son William Patrick Alexander,  in prison in Texas for the January 2oth, 1992 murder of Jessica Witt, his 17 year old Girlfriend,  is a psychopath (anti-social personality disorder) who has no conscience though he was raised in a family of Christian believers who tried to model and teach good behavior, kindness and love. My son is extremely smart, scoring “gifted” in the 99th percentile since first grade…yet the dropped out of high school to become a thief.

My son was raised in a middle class environment that valued education and hard work to go along with the brains God gave us. We didn’t coddle our children, but expected them to work part time even in High School, to save some of the money, and to do family chores. In short we tried to model and teach responsibility and good behavior.

When he first “rebelled” against authority we took him to a counselor, did our best to “reach” him…but he robbed our friend’s business, and when we realized what he had done, we turned him in to the police. He was arrested and let out on probation. Still more therapy and interventions, but he continued his life of crime, and by age 18 was in “big boy” prison for a home invasion.
After he did 2 years of his 5 year sentence we arranged for him to come live with us in our home and for him to go to college. He chose not to come home, but instead got one of my husband’s nieces to take him in in Texas, convincing her he only needed someone to “trust” him and that we didn’t.. He immediately started breaking parole and legal rules…securing a gun, laughing about how “stooopid” the cops and POs were. Back into illegal activities.

He came home for one visit after he got out and told me that “the reason I didn’t come home was I knew if I got into trouble you’d turn me in to the police” I answered “Yep, the rules have not changed in this house, we don’t break the law.”

Then he stole the credit card of his girlfriend’s grandfather and went on a spending spree…when she turned him in to the police, he decided to kill her. He told his “friends” (all former inmates he had met in jail or prison) how he planned the killing, then after he lured the young girl (Jessica Witt) to a rural area near Ft. Worth Texas, he shot her in cold blood…then took her purse and jewelry back to her room mate who reported her missing.

Though the police had plenty of evidence and witnesses to prove what he did, he still denied to us that he was guilty.

We continued to try to reach him while he served his 15 yrs to life sentence, visiting, writing and sending commissary money…but he only got a PhD in prison, going to solitary many times over those first 15 years for serious rules infractions.

I never tried to contact the victim’s family, but eventually I figured out that my son had no conscience. I Quit writing or visiting and quit sending money. His letters about “mom,I’m praying for you” were hollow and laughable. He had conned me for way too long.

Then he sent one of his former cell mates to rent a small house from me and infiltrate our family like a Trojan horse. the man was a three time convicted pedophile, the purpose of his infiltration was to kill me and make it look like I killed myself. After the man’s eventual arrest for trying to kill another of my sons, we found evidence of this plot in baskets full of letters from my son to this man.

Fortunately before the convict accomplished that task I had found his sex offender listing on the internet and ended  up fleeing my home and going into hiding until his arrest six  months later for trying to kill my oldest son..
He went to prison for a short stent for having a hand gun as a felon all other charges were dropped. Our prison system is a joke, and released him in a few months. I talked to his parole officer who didn’t know he was a sex offender.

My son killed that young lady with a gun, but the weapon of choice isn’t the issue. The issue is that PEOPLE will find a way to do what they want. Banning guns and baseball bats and knives isn’t the answer.
Mental health care isn’t even the answer…because you can’t force mental health down someone’s throat against their will, and unfortunately too many “mentally ill” are not “ill” at all but narcissistic and with out conscience. Eighty percent of violent crime is committed by this type of person, and recent research is showing that a great deal of this behavior is GENETIC. Brain scans performed on violent criminals show that the majority of them have visible differences in not only the anatomy of their brains, but in their functioning as well. My biological father (that my son h as never met) was also very narcissistic and violent, but because he was very wealthy he got by with it. And, he was a bit more streetwise than my son in accomplishing his violent crimes, including two murders that I know of.

There is significant research going on about violent criminals, their recidivism rates compared to other criminals, the genetic and environmental influences. But unfortunately, there is NO TREATMENT that is successful with these individuals.

Read Dr. Robert Hare’s classic book “Without conscience”. Dr. Hare is one of the earlier researchers into psychopathy. His book is almost a portrait for my son.

I have also established a web site to help families of the offenders, and victims of the offenders cope with the pain of having an offender (violent or not) in the family. It isn’t an easy task. It took me almost 20 years to come to grips with the fact that my son is a full fledged monster, though he only killed one person (so far) but I have NO doubt that if he ever gets out he will kill again, starting with his “abusive” mother who fights his parole every time he comes up for consideration. His sense of entitlement to everything my family has worked for for four generations is unreal.

Charity Lee, whose son Paris,  killed and sexually assaulted her 4 year old daughter Ella and is in a Texas prison, is one person I know who is both the mother of a victim AND the mother of the killer. Paris killed Ella to HURT HIS MOTHER. Her son is a psychopath, and she knows that when he gets out (he will) she and her recently born son will be in danger from Paris…yet she goes and visits him regularly.
From accounts I have read about Paris Lee, there were signs before the murder that he was “off” and sullen, a loner and dressed in gothic clothing etc. but he was “only 13 years old” when he deliberately killed his sister then called 911. Charity’s mother also had killed her father, and tried for the crime and acquitted so there is some genetic evidence going on there.

I knew my son was a thief, but I never imagined he was a KILLER, in cold blood, premeditated, without remorse, actually PROUD of what he did to the “snitch biatch” Jessica Witt.

Not only did Patrick’s bullet kill Jessica, it killed her family as well and our family also. I got into contact with Jessica’s family this past year while I prepared a parole protest packet, and I think it has helped us both in finding as much “closure” as you can find in such a situation. Jessica’s family knows that Patrick’s “defense” of his abusive childhood was not valid. Patrick had everything going for him, and he threw it away.
So the brains of these people are “different” but does that make them not responsible for their behavior, like someone who doesn’t KNOW right from wrong because of mental illness or retardation? Nope, just as an alcoholic has a tendency to drink that is genetic, no one pours it down their throat, and they are responsible for the crimes they commit drunk or drugged. They have a CHOICE in how they behave. My son had a CHOICE and he CHOSE to do what he did, not because society failed him, but because he chose to engage in conduct he KNEW was wrong but DID NOT CARE.

Like your son, my son is also filled with rage at not getting what he wants without doing the things to obtain what he wants, like go to school and work for things. To delay gratification is not in his character. He feels ENTITLED to the best, and because he feels that way, all our attempts to instill a work ethic, a desire for education and success, he feels that we have “betrayed” him. To him, what he does to others and to us is no consequence, but if we set limits on his behavior, then we are “abusing and abandoning him.”

grieve for the pain of every family who has a child who becomes a criminal no matter what the circumstances are, but I don’t blame myself for not stopping Patrick from killing Jessica. He was out of my control since the age of 15. Prison has not even stopped his crimes and he continues to violate prison rules, just waiting for the day they will throw him out on the street because the prisons are over crowded.

I pray that he never draws a breath of free air. He has thrown away the right to live in a free society.”