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Frank Timmons was born in 1964 in a large metropolitan city. His parents Billy and Loretta both had jobs. Billy was a car lot attendant and mother was a maid. His parents ended up getting a divorce. His father Billy kept a strict household but even though it was strict it was still peaceful. His other siblings say that Billy was verbally abusive. His mother passed away when Frank was only 12 years old. Loretta didn’t play an active role in the younger children’s lives. She left it up to the older siblings. Mostly, Margaret Frank’s older sister. Questions were raised about her stability and they also believed that she can also commit acts of sexual abuse. She had a difficult time keeping up with relationships and employment and may have followed in her father’s footsteps with the verbal abuse. When Frank was in high school he played on the football team but he didn’t graduate because he didn’t have enough credits. Reports indicate that it was because he was trying to make money for his family. Most of the income was from DES and food stamps. Even though Frank was well liked he built a reputation for excessive roughness with other teams. It was when he was in his senior year that he and his brother were arrested for rape but no charges were brought against them. But a few years later he was charged with trespassing and a DUI the very next year. When he was in his late 20s he was charged with abducting, brutally raping and bludgeoning a woman. He claimed that the woman have oral sex with him of her own free will. That the rape and assault was committed by two other men. Frank was sentenced to a total of 36 years for the abduction and for a robbery. But he was released after 13 years because he was a model inmate. When he was paroled he moved into a house with a four-mile crime area with his wife Jenny Nelson.
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Just after a year of being on parole, the serial murder crimes began. In his first crime he forced 3 teenage girls behind a church and molested two of them. Just a month later it is to be believed that he committed his first murder. In 11 months he committed several robberies, sexual assaults and 8 additional murders. His friends and family defended him and his wife has been running a website maintaining his innocence. Even though the police had evidence against him. Surviving witnesses described a “light skinned black man,” wearing different disguises and even attempting to impersonate a homeless man or a drug addict. Shell casings found all came from the same gun. With the murders the killer would often shoot the victim in the head. Even assaulting victims as young as 12. These all occurred within a 4-mile radius. Since he was on parole, parole officers were able to see a sketch and see that it looked like Frank Timmons. When the parole officers searched the house they found a ski mask and toy handgun. With this information the police were able to obtain a warrant for his house and when they searched his house they found other items linked to the Serial Murder. Even though the crimes appear to have no motive, his targets were all women. Timmons was also arrested in connection to an attack two sisters which was tied to the Serial Murder investigation. Police linked him to the attack with his DNA that was found at the crime scene.
There are some biological factors that may have influenced Frank Timmons violent/ criminal behavior. No self-regulation ability (C. Bartol & A. Bartol, 2017, p. 53) It is possible that his mother may have carried the gene that is associated with aggressive behavior. (Stevens, 1994). He also had many psychopathic tendencies. Take his poor behavior with other teams when he was playing sports in high school. Or even his way to charm people. He charmed everyone when he was prison and became a model prisoner. That also shows how he can be manipulative.
One developmental factor that impacted Timmons was how his parents treated him. His father was so strict and verbally abusive towards him. His mother died when Timmons was only 12 but before she died she was barely there. She didn’t give him love and affection the way mothers usually give their children. The way his parents treated him was disgusting and almost neglect. Oh, and his sister Margaret treated him that their father but worse. She treated him like garbage and allegedly molested him. Which could be what pushed him over the edge. Growing up in that type of environment can cause anybody to develop problems. It also goes to show why he had lack of empathy in his crimes.
There are so many different factors that come into play with Timmons case. There is the abuse that he received from his father and his sister. He lived in poverty and because of that he failed academically because he was trying to make money to help his family out. His addiction to alcohol and the fact that he raped a women in high school and got away with it. It showed him that he can get away with committing crime. He also didn’t have friends or someone to help him get through everything when he was younger. If he had somebody it could have changed everything.
Getting into the mind of a criminal comes with a lot of theories. Not all cases are the same and that is no different in Timmons case. The hypothesis is that Timmons learned his aggressive behavior from his father. Raping and murdering young girls, making them feel powerless, using them as an outlet for his sister molesting him. In Timmons case the first theory I thought of was Differential association which is criminal behavior that is learned points to the violent behavior acquired from his father and his sister Margaret (C. Bartol & A. Bartol, 2017, p. 5). Another one is the callous-unemotional trait theory for his behavior as a juvenile and an adult. He had lack of concern with opposing teams with his roughness. When he first raped a young woman with his brother and having no consequences to his actions because the charges were dropped. That shows that he has no concern or empathy for others. Total disregard for human life. (C. Bartol & A. Bartol, 2017, p. 160). As for the criminal aspect I would say it would have to be the rapes that turned into murders. That was actually displaced aggression. (C. Bartol & A. Bartol, 2017, p. 366). Timmons didn’t just rape and murder these women. He stripped them of everything. He toke all the anger he had inside of him and toke it out on them. It was violent and full of emotion. Just based on that it shows just how much he wanted to get back at his parents and his sister for the way they treated him.
- Bartol, C. R. & Bartol, A. M. (2017). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach (11th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.
- SNHU. (n.d.) Case study two Frank Timmons. Retrieved from http://snhumedia.snhu.edu/files/course_repository/undergraduate/psy/psy310/psy310_serial_murderer.pdf
- Stevens, J. (1994). The Biology of Violence. BioScience, 44(5), 291-294. doi:10.2307/1312377
- Tracy, N. (2016). Psychopathy: Definition, symptoms, signs and causes – psychopath personality disorders. Retrieved from https://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/psychopath/psychopathy-definition-symptoms-signs-and-causes/
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