by Patrick H. Moore

There is no doubt that a certain type of true crime fan seems to take positive pleasure in hating highly attractive female murderesses such as Karla Homolka and Jodi Arias. As opposed to Homolka, who has singularly few supporters (and those she does have typically simply believe she should be left alone), Arias has her share of supporters and quasi-supporters who feel that she was – to whatever degree – “used and abused” by Travis Alexander prior to committing her awful crime.

jodAs a relative latecomer to the world of “true crime”, I am singularly uninformed as to the “fine details” of the Arias case and whether her conviction should have been for second degree murder (crime of passion) as opposed to premeditated first degree murder.

I’m on much solider footing vis-à-vis the Karla Homolka-Paul Bernardo case. What Karla did was clearly execrable, and the intense hatred she triggers on the part of huge numbers of those familiar with her case stems largely from, I believe, several factors.

The “haters” are deeply offended by the fact Karla is thought by many to have thoroughly enjoyed the atrocities she and Bernardo visited upon their poor victims.

jod5The “haters” believe she had absolutely no excuse for what she did; i.e., she was not an abused child and her childhood, although a bit “off”, still fell into the broad range of what constitutes a “normal upbringing. As an aside, the hatred of Homolka is so all-consuming that I’ve recently read several comments by people who take positive delight in the fact that Homokla, who has had three children and must be in her 40s, is reportedly “getting plainer by the day.” In short, the “haters” rejoice in the fact that she is allegedly “over the hill” and will soon by “on the other side of the mountain”.

  • In fairness to the Homolka haters, although she still might still be despised, the fury she arouses in the “haters” would probably be nowhere close to the fever pitch at which it has crested and remained, was it not for the fact she got what is perceived as the “ultimate sweetheart plea deal”, a mere 12 years, due to the fact she was the Crown’s star witness against Paul Bernardo. The fact that without her testimony, the Canadian prosecutors would have been unable to convict Bernardo for the murders of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French simply does not seem to register with these folks.
  • jod8After she got out of prison, Karla had the audacity to get married and have three children. The “despisers” take great pleasure in reveling in the fact that one day her kids are bound to put the pieces together and discover their mother is Karla Homolka, the notorious rapist and murderer.
  • A further trigger for the hatred appears to be the fact Homolka is still apparently an extrovert who posts online quite regularly and is considered to be obnoxious and opinionated.

An oddity within this nexus of vitriol is the fact a good many “bashers” are firmly convinced that Bernardo would not have murdered Mahaffy and French was it not for the evil Karla egging him on: “Let’s do it, Paul. Let’s kill the little bitches. It’ll be fun.”


The Bottom Line

jod18Neither Karla Homolka nor Jodi Arias would be reviled by perhaps hundreds of thousands of crime fans, were it not for the fact that they were both extremely desirable women at the time of their crimes.Edgar Allan Poe once stated that there is no more popular topic for a poem than the tragic death of a beautiful woman. If I might de-center Poe’s theory a bit and update it to our era, the theory would go something like this: There is no more popular crime than the hideous murder of attractive young people perpetrated by a beautiful and highly desirable young woman.

To put it bluntly, a murderess must be young, beautiful and sexually desirable to generate enough “heat” to be hated. I can almost guarantee that Roxanne Jeskey of Bangor, Maine has few if any “haters”, even though the brutal manner in which she murdered her husband Richard is perhaps the most shocking crime I’ve ever read about and included such exotic tortures an anal incision and genital mutilation.

jes6The reason few if any crime fans bother to hate Roxanne, who was just sentenced to 50 years in prison despite pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, is because she is middle-aged, quite plain and has brain damage. There’s nothing sexy about Roxanne; thus she simply does not register on the “hatred scale.”

So why must a murderess be sexy in order to engender real hatred? Perhaps it is that to be hated, a murderess must be interesting, and in our perhaps superficial modern society, a woman – at least in the realm of true crime – is simply not very interesting unless she is beautiful.


A Good-Looking Guy Makes the Crime All the More Interesting

jod16In the case of Jodi Arias, the fact Travis Alexander, whatever his pros and cons may have been, was quite a good-looking guy undoubtedly adds “heat” to the mix. If he had been a 300 pound male librarian with dandruff and adenoids, there would be few, if any, “Justice for Travis” websites. The fact that he clearly reveled in anal sex adds additional flavor to our “witches brew”.

jod14By the same taken, if Paul Bernardo had been “ugly as a mud fence”, I would bet that although the case might have originally been very much in the public eye, the interest would have faded far more quickly. Furthermore, the female followers of the case would be far less prone to favor Paul over Karla if he had been a 300 pound child molester and murderer rather than a rather handsome child molester and murderer.

jod10Thus, for a lurid murder(s) to generate huge interest, the murderess must not only be beautiful but her significant other, whether her partner-in-crime, as in the case of Karla, or her victim, as in the case of Arias, must at the very least be good-looking (Travis Alexander) or strikingly handsome (Paul Bernardo).

jesIt would be be simplistic and hypocritical on my part to put down the followers of these cases, no matter which side they’re on, based on my “necessity of physical beauty” hypothesis, for the simple reason that I too am more or less obsessed by these appalling criminals and their lurid crimes. We probably need Dr. Starks to check in on this matter and I probably need a little psychotherapy while I’m at it. After sufficient treatment, I will perhaps be able to slough off my fascination with beautiful murderesses and give equal time to the Roxanne Jeskeys of the world.



17 Responses to A Murderess Must Be Beautiful to Inflame the Passions of the True Crime Fan

  1. Diana says:

    What amazes me It’s the factthat juries are loathe to give the death penalty to an attractive woman. If a man had committed the heinous cringe that Jodi Arias did, a jury would convict in a hot flash for the death penalty. Jodi Arias orchestrated a media circus with her the star performer! If I we in the jury I would have not only seen through her dark roots, but I would have stood fast keep her locked in a room, until death with nothing but a mirror to keep her company. That is where she belongs, away from society so that we can all breathe a sigh of relief that she will never live next door to us.

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      This just depends on whether you believe in the death penalty. If, however, her being attractive is what’s keeping her alive, I guess she’s lucky in that sense.

      • Starks Shrink says:

        If juries were loathe to give attractive women the death penalty, why then in nearly every case, does the defense practically disguise otherwise attractive women as mousy librarians? The public usually has more vitriol for the attractive, who are accused, than the unattractive.

        Patrick, I’m going to write a whole post on this topic for you for later this week.

        • PatrickHMoore says:

          Excactly! The public hates the attractive ones. Doctor, I very much look forward to your post on this topic. My “baby post” was something I dashed off to raise the question. Thanks muchly!

          • Starks Shrink says:

            It’s an interesting topic with many conflicting studies of varying merit. I have been on a writing hiatus for too long now.

          • PatrickHMoore says:

            That is true, Doctor, and I lose sleep wondering when we will see more of your fine work. But you’re a busy man with lots of obligations.

    • liselasalle says:

      Actually, there is hispanic man who stabbed his girlfriend to death (38 times) and he received 12 years. It was considered a crime of passion. So Arias did not get any favors.
      Another man was received 8 years for stabbing his former wife to death after a contentious divorce.

      If she was not attractive, the DA office would have accepted her plea and she would be out in five years.

      The death penalty was not instituted for first time offender or for crimes of passion.

  2. Worried Canadian says:

    Karla Homolka continues to demonstrate what an evil (albeit moronic) person she is by birthing 3 children. She intentionally produced three more victims. This “woman” cannot stop making horrible decisions. The children shouldn’t exist to begin with – their mother should be in prison alongside Paul Bernardo.

    • Rick says:

      Patrick — The comment by the Worried Canadian appears to validate your thesis (as well as that of the good doctor) that people utterly despise it when attractive people perpetrate horrible crimes, especially when the victim is attractive. On the other hand, when a Roxanne Jeskey commits a heinous crime, people could give a s&#t. The juxtaposition in your post of the pictures of “beautiful” Karla, Jody, and Paul on the one hand, with Roxanne on the other made me LMFAO. It also makes me realize how superficial people are in making judgments of others based on physical appearances.

      Could this visceral reaction be based on the perception that “beautiful” people seem to get all of the breaks in this life and when they cross the line with criminal behavior HOW DARE they fritter away their preferential position in society? Or could it simply be Schadenfreude, in which people derive pleasure from the misfortune of attractive criminals? This is probably something that Dr. Starks could more effectively develop than this mere tax lawyer.

  3. Worried Canadian says:

    Actually, I don’t consider Karla Homolka attractive at all. Not at all.That is a moot point anyway – who cares?!? She tortured raped & murdered three girls! No one is treating her harshly because she’s “attractive” – it is because she only served 12 years in an adult daycare (Joliette Prison) when we all know she is guilty as hell and should be in prison right alongside Paul Bernardo. Canadians are outraged that a violent serial killer walks free. She should be chased out of every community she tries to hide in! Take for example the case of Mark & Michelle Dutroux from Belgium – the serial killer/child trafficking rapist duo. Much like Karla Michelle Dutroux was the 1st one in the door to
    cop a plea deal with prosecutors. Belgian citizens were so outraged upon her release that they collectively rioted & almost overthrew their government. Ms. Dutroux begged Catholic nuns to take her in & even they refused! Like Ms. Dutroux, Karla Homolka has demonstrated repeatedly that she is unfit to live freely in society. She is a social pariah because she raped & murdered kids, get it?

  4. I think the key component you have overlooked is that as well as being beautiful, she must also be innocent. As with Amanda Knox.

  5. Hmmm says:

    Homolka was attractive in her youth. I don’t find Arias attractive at all. Her and Casey Anthony look like horses.

    Either way, I think you are partially wrong. THE MEDIA eats up these stories because the women are considered “attractive” so they get more exposure, but let me say that I think the majority of people do not hate someone more because of their looks, but more because of the fact that the horrific details of the murders they committed are readily available and the details ARE horrific. I would feel the same way towards anyone who committed the type of crimes Arias and Homolka committed.

    • Rick says:

      Hmmm – I believe that you’re only “partially right” (to borrow your language). The reasons why physically attractive killers seem to get more media attention for their horrific crimes are that: (1) sex sells; and (2) it’s a profound conundrum as to how someone who is so attractive on the outside could possibly have such a depraved heart. One exception to the second factor is Charles Manson, who was/is not attractive but the first factor was at play because he surrounded himself with a bevy of wholesome-looking, nubile teenage girls.

  6. Randy lopez says:

    I think the hotness factor is more in play than necessarily the attractive factor! These are bad girls that get idolized for their naughtyness,but since they went too far with it, they must be punished!

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