I Did It – No You Didn’t – Yes I Did – No

"Lincoln? Yup - killed him too."

Not counting admissions forced by overly-aggressive interrogations  – nor by people who are certified mentally ill – false  confessions are one of the toughest problems police face when solving a murder – especially a high-profile murder.

Charles Lindbergh was an American hero in the early 1930’s. When his son was kidnapped, over 200 people “confessed” to the crime. In the 1960’s, over 100 men claimed to Boston police they were the “Boston Strangler.”

The ‘False Confession King’ (by far) is Henry Lee Lucas.  This serial killer “confessed” to over 600 murders!  Although he made up most of them, Lucas killed enough people to be sentenced to death. Since no prosecutor could prove exactly which murders he committed, his sentence was commuted to ‘life in prison’ by then-Texas Governor George W. Bush.

Why do people confess to horrific crimes when they had nothing to do with them?  One theory is some people need to aggrandize their small, mediocre lives.  They want to be a part of something bigger.  Police know when they set up “tip lines,” most people who call have nothing more to contribute than their “theories” on the crime.

Here’s some advice from police:  “Either murder somebody or just stay home and shut the fuck up.”

Good Book:  “50-Great Myths of Popular Psychology”; Lilienfeld et al.

One Response to “I Did It – No You Didn’t – Yes I Did – No”

  1. Bill says:

    No doubt some of these people are seeking attention, but just what exactly makes a life small and mediocre?

    Existential perversion and/or boredom is another motive..

    Many of us do things strange, offbeat, and out of character just for the hell of it. Why tip over a cow, for example? For most of us it is something small; these “confessors” simply do things on larger scale.

Leave a Reply