Forensic and Criminal Psychology
Summary of the Case
Between 1955 and 1976, Joachim Kroll terrorized western Germany by performing the most horrific evil crimes known to humanity. He claimed to have killed fourteen people, all of whom he sexually abused. A cannibal has brutally executed the victims. Parts of the victims' corpses were removed, giving the impression that the murderer intended to consume any remains. Kroll was the youngest of eight brothers when he was born in 1933. Individuals in his community thought he was a fearful boy (Sauerland and Otgaar, 2021). As a kid, he used to wet his bed often, which must have been embarrassing. Due to the Second World War's effects on Germany, his family struggled to live in hardship and malnutrition. Besides, his father was a military prisoner in Russia during the Second World War, depressing and infuriating for the family. Kroll felt sexually incompetent with girls his age, and as a result, he could not have substantive conversations with them (Sauerland and Otgaar, 2021). This is most definitely one of the reasons he turned to rape to fulfil his sexual desires. Kroll's mother died in 1955, and he committed his first murder the following year.
Sexual abuse and kills through suffocation, cannibalism molestation, and bludgeoning were among Kroll's brutal actions. Significant parts of the butt cheeks, legs, and stomach had been shaved off and removed for eating before the victims' bodies were found. Apart from one elderly lady, almost all of his victims were young ladies and girls. But for one, who was killed by Kroll when trying to harass his girlfriend sexually, all of them were women. Before being killed, each woman had been sexually abused and raped. Apart from the disreputable killing of people, Kroll caused physical harm (Sauerland and Otgaar, 2021). Many other men were implicated in and even arrested for Kroll's murders, and most of them ultimately ended up killing themselves as a result. According to law enforcement personnel, Kroll is responsible mainly because he could not resist bragging when being investigated by cops.
Marion Kettner, a four-year-old daughter, was Kroll's most recent victim. Police went door-to-door in pursuit of evidence after she suddenly mysteriously vanished from a nearby playground. The incident with Joachim was reported to Kroll's next-door neighbor (Dror and Murrie, 2018). Kroll had informed him that their residential building's upper-floor bathroom was clogged with waste, and a plumber quickly confirmed the witness assertion. Kroll was found cooking Marion's body pieces before the police came to investigate. He was quickly apprehended on the spot. He admitted to thirteen murders and one attempted murder, but he was only sentenced to nine years in jail while several of the others had already been acquitted (Dror and Murrie, 2018). Since completing nine life terms to complete simultaneously, Kroll died in prison in 1991 due to cardiac arrest.
Factors That May Have Impacted/Explained the Criminal Activity
Joachim Kroll's involvement in illegal activities believes to be primarily due to mental retardation. The mentally impaired criminal is depicted as possessing a limited intelligence, choosing small children as friends, behaving irrationally, incapable of understanding consequences, and having limited capacity to recall past events. Kroll suits this description because he loved interacting with girls, acted rashly, and could not remember how many people he had killed. Consequently, Kroll did not watch the television, indicating that his assassinations were not a futile attempt to gain publicity (Neal, 2018). However, he was still uncertain that his killings were being shown on the news and that law enforcement officials searched for him. Kroll was known as the city idiot, despite having an IQ of 76 and marginally retard. Joachim had a habit of wetting his mattress, which affected his self-esteem and making him feel wretched and pitiful.
Joachim Kroll's intense and pathological sexual impulses drove him to murder his victims to satisfy him. For example, he told investigators that he was unwilling to have romantic intercourse with logical females as a young child. Kroll blamed his bad conduct on seeing pigs killed in front of him on the farms where he was brought up, an experience he kept with him for the remainder of his life. He also said that the meal was too expensive to get where he lived, which justified the killings (Neal, 2018). Joachim said that he was hungry and also that the fluffy and fleshy meat of adolescent girls was the only thing that could please him. He admitted in great depth to law enforcement agents that the quickest meat he could locate was the remains of very young children.
Kroll admitted to developing a significant cannibalism condition and asked for a vaccine, hoping that it could put a stop to it. Kroll was thought to have a psychopathic mental illness. They were leading to his lack of conscience or regret and the reality that he was not psychotic. Psychiatrists sexually deprived him. Psychopaths are unaware of recognizing and correcting their errors. Kroll, a mentally impaired individual from northwest Germany, was an unusual case of a mentally disabled man who eluded police surveillance for almost twenty-one years (Lidén and Dror, 2021). Most low-IQ killers will carry out horrific crimes with the assistance of a more knowledgeable and skilled informant. Joachim Kroll, perhaps by chance, was willing to do much of this on his own. Police agents looked into a slew of serial killers that were clever enough to go unnoticed for 20 years.
According to behaviorism, habits are learned, gained during an experience with the surroundings through the conditioning phase, also known as behavioral psychology. Kroll attributed his obsessive feelings to events he saw as a child on the family farm. Kroll's surroundings affected his emotional health; he couldn't get a female companion to satisfy his romantic fantasies despite killing them (Venner et al., 2021). To stop the opposition, Kroll believed that the best approach he could attract women and have sex with them was murder them. The crime was the culmination of his behavioral and psychopathology development and progression when he committed a murder. His poor consciousness and dysfunction were undoubtedly influenced by his farm experiences and also the physical and emotional abuse as a boy. There is undeniable evidence of a connection between his childhood trauma and his adult criminal conduct.
Wild Beast Theory
As per the global beast theory, criminals' actions are animalistic. Kroll's acts were inhumane, and he would murder, sexually harass, and cannibalize his victims. He was going to save some of them to consume later. Kroll offered descriptions of how he saw pigs being killed in his presence. His horrific personality was undoubtedly animalistic, and it inspired his views. He aspired to satisfy his murderous, psychopathic, and animalistic needs. He has little intention to gain notoriety or outwit law enforcement officers (Venner et al., 2021). He could not break free from his thinking processes, given his mental state. A horrifically inhumane, violent, or sadistic entity is one description of the beast. Kroll was so good at it that he earned the nicknames "hunter" and "man-eater."
Social Cognitive Theory
The social cognitive theory provides a framework for examining how individuals form and is shaped by their environment. The approach offers insight into learned behavior and simulated processes and the importance of self-efficacy in behavior change. According to the hypothesis, people are seen as productive agents and affect their cultures, according to the theory (Venner et al., 2021). Since committing his first murder, Kroll gained first-hand knowledge about how to satiate his impulses. This fuelled his deviant actions and gave him a way to continue to satisfy his needs in the years ahead.
The psychoanalytic philosophy is based around the idea that mystical powers dominated by the conscious and rational discourse motivate people more than anything else. The psychoanalytic philosophy focuses on a person's unconscious and early life memories (Dror and Murrie, 2018). When Kroll had the urge to harass and murder an individual sexually, he picked his goal and secretly watched them determine the best time and place to do so. He had aggressive and sexual impulses that he could not manage because his consciousness was too frail.
Irresistible Impulse Test
The irresistible impulse theory argues that, while being capable of distinguishing between right and wrong at the time of the act, the man suffered from a psychiatric illness or deficiency that made him unable to control his behavior (Neal, 2018). This is how Kroll has been presented and how he has expressed himself. He performed his crimes because he was compelled to do so. Although he was aware that what he was doing was incorrect, he could not comprehend the magnitude of the mistake or control his feelings, as previously mentioned.
Critical Appraisal of the Theories Outlined
A criticism of the criminal ideas presented may be accomplished by incorporating the concepts of Mens Rea. Mens Rea necessitates a guilty conscience or wrongdoing knowledge to perform an unlawful act or misbehave. The psychoanalytic hypothesis of illegal activity attributes deviant and immoral behavior to rationality, which induces emotions of guilt and the need for immediate gratification (Neal, 2018). Kroll never appeared to have a strong sense of moral values, nor did he seem to feel any remorse. To avoid detection, Kroll changed his murder plan. According to the world beast hypothesis, Kroll's actions do not explain the actions of an animalistic murderer. Unlike animalistic murderers that bind their targets without tricking them into secluded locations, he tricked them before murdering them.
As he performed his criminal actions, Kroll could not distinguish between right and wrong, according to the unstoppable impulse evaluation. And after committing a crime, it is difficult for them to grasp the gravity of the situation. Furthermore, it is believed that local television stations broadcast his murders, although he did not know he was the guy sought by police departments (Lidén and Dror, 2021). According to the social cognitive and behaviorism hypotheses, individuals' attitudes are learned by interacting with their surroundings and inherited or genetic factors that influence their behavior. According to the social cognitive and behaviorism theories, none of Kroll's family or associates became serial murderers that may have motivated him to commit murder (Scarpazza et al., 2021). Kroll's level of intellect may have contributed to his lack of discipline in the face of murder. He had a poor intelligence quotient, which hampered his education and, as a result, led to his aggressive and illegal activities.
Kroll may be described as an insane killer with a ferocious series. When Kroll was apprehended, authorities discovered that he was neither an extreme nor a prolific serial murderer. He did not suit the profile of a typical serial murderer. Years had passed since the killings, showing Kroll's ability to restrain his conduct. The serial killer was so brutal to track down that Kroll committed his crimes in unpredictability over a year and in different parts of Germany. Torturing, knifing, and suffocating his victims often provided law enforcement officials with a portfolio of men, none of whom matched Joachim Kroll's characterization. Kroll expertly slit the bodies of the individuals he killed, leaving the remains untouched. As a result, it indicated that he was cooking food from a small animal. Kroll was brutalizing his targets and eating their parts of the body, something the police were uninformed of at the time. Despite having low self-esteem, Kroll could be defined as rowdy, violent, or having irrational temper tantrums. He decided what he wanted and completed the activities required to complete his task.
Dror, I. E., & Murrie, D. C. (2018). A hierarchy of expert performance applied to forensic psychological assessments. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 27(1), 11.
Lidén, M., & Dror, I. E. (2021). Expert Reliability in Legal Proceedings: “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe, With Which Expert Should We Go?” 27Science & Justice, 27(1), pp. 37-46.
Neal, T. (2018). Forensic psychology and correctional psychology: Distinct but related subfields of psychological science and practice. 27American Psychologist, 27(5), 651.
Sauerland, M., & Otgaar, H. (2021). Teaching psychology students to change (or correct) controversial beliefs about memory works. Memory, 1-10.
Scarpazza, C., Miolla, A., Zampieri, I., Melis, G., Sartori, G., Ferracuti, S., & Pietrini, P. (2021). Translational Application of a Neuro-Scientific Multi-Modal Approach Into Forensic Psychiatric Evaluation: Why and How?. 27Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2712, 70.
Venner, S., Sivasubramaniam, D., Luebbers, S., & Shepherd, S. M. (2021). Cross-cultural reliability and rater bias in forensic risk assessment: a review of the literature. 27Psychology, Crime & Law, 27(2), 105-121.
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