Research Shows That Crimes Of Passion Don’t Exist

lonnie-athens.jpgFew people believe there is no such thing as a crime of passion when hard research shows otherwise.

“I lost my mind and killed her?” Turns out this is something criminals tell juries and judges and lawyers but it is not what they tell Lonnie Athens.

Lonnie Athens is considered a maverick in the criminology field. I was introduced to him by HQ some years ago when knowing that I’m interested in violence, crime, sociopaths and so forth, he sent me Lonnie’s book(s). He sent me The Creation of Dangerous Violent Criminals first. Later he sent me his second book, Violent Criminal Acts and Actors Revisited

Violent Criminal Acts and Actors: A Symbolic Interactionist Study is based on  interviews he conducted in the late 1970’s so this research is not new. It’s not new but poor Lonnie just can’t seem to get the word out – crimes of passion (if they exist at all) are exceeding rare.

Lonnie discovered this when toured a bunch of prisons and interviewed a bunch of violent criminals. He was not a judge nor a jury and I guess he was also not a jackass because he was able to get these people to talk to him and I mean talk to him.

This was before they started to drag cameras into prisons to give violent criminals an audience and edit the footage into some entertainment piece in the Raw Lockup vein. Lonnie conducted hard research with little support and no fanfare.

Lonnie is smart and scrappy. He does not fit into the intellectual world all that well and he is definitely not a marketer. However, deviant criminals are drawn to him and he was able to get them to talk and when they did talk, guess what they said?

They said they knew exactly what they were doing. They said, this or this or this happened and they felt this and this so decided to do “that” where “that” is bash someone’s head in with a tire iron. They said,. “I decided to rape the fuckin’ bitch just ’cause she looked so good…”

One after another, after another, after another of the criminals he interviewed said essentially the same thing. They said they made a conscious decision to commit the act and even in the middle of an attack, when and if they decide to escalate the violence, this is also a conscious choice.

“I figured I might as well cut the bitch’s head off, since she screamed and all…”

As for the astrology, I have Mars conjunct Mercury in the 9th house and I want read (Mercury) and know the truth (9th house) about violence (Mars). I want to broadcast it as well, obviously.

If you are a women who run the man over with the car or heads over to his house in a supposed daze with a knife and a gun, you best not get me on your jury because when you say it was a crime of passion, I’m going to laugh.

28 thoughts on “Research Shows That Crimes Of Passion Don’t Exist”

  1. Wow, a lot of great resources as this, in part, is my field as well. About 25 percent of the suicide cases I work with also involve homicide. I have N Saturn in Scorpio the 8th house with receives trines from N Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in cancer and oppositions also.

    I am seeing heavy involvement with the nodal axis, especially the North Node, and also the moon and the forth house of these charts have so many problems. On all three examples, the charts (as a group) are different from the comparison group charts as a group.

    I also worked with sex offenders in a state hospital and they all knew what they were doing, and they all had multiple offenses to be there. There may have been passion involved in various ways, but not to be usable as an excuse.

  2. Now I have someone new to take a look at. As a teen I was introduced to Profiler John Douglas (would love to see and learn his chart)and I was hooked on the how’s and why’s of him. I had already, for some reason been fascinated by serial killers, psychopaths, the criminal mind and why they did what they did.
    I have seen the dark side of life through others, Mars conjunct Pluto and Venus in Scorpio and what else not sure.
    Thanks, Elsa

  3. When I was thinking crimes of passion I wasn’t thinking that they didn’t know what they were doing, but they were driven by emotion rather than other motives. So it would be “I was standing there seething and thought I could walk out the door or pick up this knife and drive it through his heart….I’m so pissed I’m stabbing him.” rather than those murders that are either witnesses to another crime or picked at random by some sociopath.

    A lot of the books I’ve read about serial killers said they commit murders almost as a pasttime rather than being caught in the moment. It hits a little closer to home with my words…I have a sharp tongue and when I was younger I would whip it out and slash away, but now I know what I could say and sometimes when I really want to unleash, I choose to swallow it back and walk away.

  4. So did he ever interview someone who didn’t do time for a criminal charge and did use some version of the “crime of passion” plea?

  5. s – the research he published was based on interviews with violent criminals in jail for their crimes. And the crime of passion thing was an aside… something that emerged in his findings.

    Parsing his findings… well that will be another blog.

  6. So I voted they don’t exist. But I admit, I was quite influenced by what you wrote, which is really striking to me.

  7. Interesting. But better you than me read those findings! My Neptune doesn’t like that sort of reading, so please read for me.

  8. “When I was thinking crimes of passion I wasn’t thinking that they didn’t know what they were doing, but they were driven by emotion rather than other motives.”

    I agree. And I welcome any further discussion on this, too; it’s very interesting to think about!

  9. Crimes of passion ussually involve revenge of some kind and are different to the “temper Tantrum” murders where the killer indescriminantly shoots into the crowd. Imagine a 2 year old with a gun who is throwing a hissy fit versus deep seated anger and betrayal behind plotting ways to kill someone to gain revenge. Of course not all crimes of passion have a “reasonable or logical” base for killing and cognitive elements for the person will usually be dysfunctional


  10. I’ve spent the past fifteen years, on and off, parsing the charts of violent individuals. Most significantly in about fifty percent of the cases, Moon, Mars and Uranus have energetic connections. The people who murder, especially serial killers have a significant Pluto/Moon or Pluto/Sun connection. Not to say that all people with these aspects are actually violent or will murder someone. The important component is free will. We all have choices. No one “has” to do anything (unless there is a mental illness that is untreated). My opinion is that the people who commit these crimes follow the “path of least resistance” in following the energetic connections in their charts. They choose not to do the hard work of overcoming the difficult parts of their personality.

  11. I thought most crimes of “passion” involved alcohol in some way. Or at least murders and suicides. It is true that I was told this by a doctor/professor who worked at Toronto’s Center of Mental Health and Addiction but I’ve lived in rough neighbourhoods where incidents of violence were frequently alcohol/drug related so it’s hard not to believe.

    I wonder if Neptune isn’t related to crimes and criminals as it blurs all kinds of boundaries, including ethical ones or ones relating to self restraint.

  12. Well, I was one of the ones who said, no, I don’t believe in crimes of passion. And I still think that within any other motive to kill, hurt or rape, there lies an emotional motive too. Hissy fit or plotted scheme, they are just different choices to react to the same rage. Although I will say a two year old doesn’t have much choice since he is pre-verbal and hasn’t learned other strategies.

    Here is what I have hanging in my office that illustrates my belief about what is regularly accepted as a crime passion (rape, stalking, domestic violence, men who murder their kids to get back at their wives over custody issues since they were so “distraught”, men who “snap” and set dogs on their girlfriends, men who kill a pet because the dog’s owner left them in “despair”:

    This was the best picture I could find, let’s hope my tags work! —> [url=] Abusive Reaction to Stress Cycle[/url]

    The person goes from feeling helpless to feeling more in control when they blame others for their feelings and start to fantasize and plot. They feel better once they have acted. Then they feel guilty and resolve to be “good”, thus clearing their conscience. Until the next time they feel a certain way. 5-7 o’clock on the poster read “Fantasizing (I know what I’ll do!), Planning (I know how I’ll do it!) and Deciding (Now is the Time to do it!).”

    I think alcohol and drugs are so involved in violent crime because a lot of people are trying to NOT feel a certain way too. Also when inhibitions are removed, it’s easier and faster to go from 5 o’clock to 8 o’clock.

  13. well, i wasn’t talking in a legal sense of justifying them as moments of not being responsible for one’s actions. i have great difficulty considering anyone “not responsible” for their actions. even someone with a medical diagnosis of insanity is responsible at least to get treatment… though that can be a very difficult decision to convince them of when caught up in it… similar to an addict, in some ways.

    but i wouldn’t discount the fact that most forms of violence are fueled by some sort of strong emotion (even if it’s a plutonian obsession with power over others)… that’s the point i intended to make. guess i misinterpreted your question.

  14. One of my suicide/murder case studies is the man who defended his shooting spree by blaming it on having consumed too many Twinkys, therefore too much sugar, and so forth. Y’all remember that case? It’s an interesting case which demonstrates the fact that Jupiter and Venus don’t do all that well in combination. In his chart they are in a four minute orb from one another.

    Talk about lame excuses!

  15. Whattabout if we call them ‘crimes of impulse’?

    I’ve certainly been overwhelmed by impulses, and I do believe sometimes the impulse has more sway than the concious decision. I believe its a minority of cases, an extreme minority even. But I don’t believe there’s no such thing as the moment the tide turns and WHAM someone else is dead on the floor.

  16. I think it depends how long the feeling persists, how long it takes to commit the crime, or how elaborate the planning has to be. Clever planning is usually a recognition that society will punish or bust this type of behavior. Prolonged passion or disorienting insanity can botch or change the outcome of a crime like in Crime and Punishment. Assault can be a crime of passion, it depends what level of crime. For instance, hitting somebody when you’re mad or calling them a name is a certain type of crime. I always think of how detailed serial killers lairs are and how intricate their planning. Why would they feel the need for such intricate schemes? For the fun of it or to avoid death or punishment?

  17. The lust for power is also a passion I think. Where do you draw the line between a crime of passion (emotion) and a crime of rational premeditation?

  18. The definitions are so broad, and feeling-based motivation or arousal is no excuse for criminal behavior. But nonetheless, there are crimes driven by “passion,” and which would not have been committed otherwise.

  19. The 1996 movie, “Primal Fear” with Edward Norton and Richard Gere comes to mind as I read this post. It’s a well acted and interesting film about a “crime of passion”, our legal system and how we often want to be fooled.
    By the way, this movie came out on the heels of OJ Simpson’s trial.

  20. I do believe they exist, but are a very small percentage. Don’t have any research to support it, just my gut reaction. Sometimes people snap, but most of the people who have committed especially violent crimes, majority I don’t think it was a one-time “passion” thing. By the time they hit prison, I’ll bet a lot of people have committed several acts as well, not a single one.

  21. I have never, in my wildest dreams, believed for a second that there is such a thing as a crime of passion. Human beings decide and act… they don’t react. At least that’s how my human being-ness has always played out.

  22. Brings me back to my jury duty days. ***Shivers***
    I do believe people snap. But I also believe that people who do snap, see it coming from many miles away. Maybe not in the moment, but in the form of regular thoughts like “someday I’m just going to ____” <- insert heinous act there). If they never made the effort to learn how to //not snap//, then I consider that "pre-meditated." Keyword: MURDER. End of story.

  23. Not sure why criminals especially who have been locked up for a while would tell the real truth since there’s no incentive and humans in general tend to rationalise actions in their minds plus I know I’ve acted in some ways I never would have if I’d have had some cool down time so am really not sure if this is actually true

      1. It sounds like you might have some interest is this. Athens’s books date to 1980 so they’re around 40 years old depending on what you read. These are slim volumes. I don’t think there is anything like them. The man isn’t trying too hard, that’s for sure. The mostly are mostly data. He offers him interpretation but the reader can draw their own conclusion.

        To be clear, I wrote about the books because they were a cool find. They are way, way off the beaten path. 🙂

        Good luck.

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