Luis Garavito is a notoriously known Colombian serial killer who is also nicknamed La Bestia- meaning The Beast. Luis was born on January 25, 1957 in Genova, Quindio Colombia. His criminal sentence is for 1,853 years but since he is imprisoned in Colombia he can only be sentenced for a maximum of 30 years. Luis was apprehended after an ongoing investigation in 1999 and sentenced on May 27, 2000 through November 3, 2001. Detectives and forensic scientists had his DNA at crime scenes and multiple dead bodies with the same style of killing. Once apprehended he confessed under pressure after a seventeen hour questioning. He then told police of a book full of tally marks, which signified his victims. He has 138 evidence confirmed victims and over 400 more claimed by him.

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Luis Garavito’s victim profile includes posing as a priest or a teacher and finding poor, homeless, or vulnerable boys between the ages of 6 and 16 years old. Luis’ method of capture includes him luring these boys in with candy, food, or side jobs. Once the boys gained his trust he lead them away from populated streets, bound them with rope, and repeatedly stabbed them with a knife or screwdriver. After they became weak from their wounds, Luis would rape and torture them with his own bare hands or other objects such as; glass bottles, sticks, and many other forms of mutilation. Finally, he leaves his signature mark by decapitating or cutting of the boys genitals and putting them in their own mouth. So what has caused Luis Garavito to become the monstrous beast that he is? I believe the fact that he was continuously raped and abused as a child could be a necessary cause, and two contributing factors are the Colombian culture and  his pre-existing psychological issues.

Luis’s childhood was disturbing and damaging to the development of his mind. Luis was the oldest of seven sons and grow up in a violent filled environment. His father was an alcoholic, so much so, it was reported that he had a physical and emotional relationship towards Luis and his other sons. It was also reported that Luis was raped by two male neighbors for close to ten years before he fled home. Your parents are your most important teachers, helping you mold your personality and perspective. They teach you patterns of behavior and thought,  many children get their self image and value from their parents. So while Luis is scared and hiding from his father during those moments of abuse, it is likely that he felt that one day he will be in the same position of power for it to end.

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Luis left home at age sixteen to live on the streets of Colombia, which also happened to not be a good environment for his development. Colombian culture is a dangerous one, because the country is ran by cartels and corrupt government officials, it makes for a chaotic and scary life on the streets. At the time of his runaway from home there was also a war going on, that being said, he witnessed a lot of corruption with people in power, and saw people in his towns dead because of drug deals gone wrong. Being abused was a necessary cause for Luis to become the monster he is because without this factor, he would not have had the lust for power over young boys like he did. Luis escaped his own torture and got great power from torturing others instead. I believe this cause to be closely related to Cohen’s Monster Culture Seven Theses. Theses one is; the monster’s body is a cultural body, “The monster is born only at this metamorphic crossroads, as an embodiment of a certain cultural moment– a time, a feeling, and a place. The monster’s body quite literally incorporates fear, desire, anxiety, and fantasy… The monster’s body is pure culture (Cohen). Luis’ fears and anxieties as a child slowly developed into a kind of desire to gain control in a life where he never really had any. Robert Wessler said in ‘Whoever Fights Monsters,’ “Let me state unequivocally that there is no such thing as the person who at age thirty-five suddenly changes from being perfectly normal and erupts into totally evil, disruptive, murderous behavior.  The behaviors that are precursors to murder have been present and developing in that person’s life for a long, long time – since childhood.” Living in an environment like this one, Luis became vulnerable to developing psychological issues

Luis Garavito was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder after he was arrested. However, prior to that sources say that police reports say he was under psychiatric care for five years due to him attempting suicide. After his arrest and confession Luis told police that everytime he commited a murder he was possessed by a malignant spirit.  In general, by the 1950’s the “psychopath was characterized by stunted psychological development that produced sexually chaotic behavior, including excessive masturbation and homosexuality, and by morally deficient behavior ranging from petty crimes to excessive violence” (Genter, 2010 p. 140). The difference of the psychopath from the ordinary criminal was due to the lack of guilt and failure to have a definable reason for committing crimes. As one would think, most serial killers are not technically insane.  Insanity, in and of itself, is a legally specific term that addresses only the question of whether or not the killer knew at the time of the murder that the act wrong—most serial killers know that their actions are wrong. The majority of serial killers, around two-thirds, however are clinically diagnosed using the DSM-IV and are said to be suffering from a Personality Disorder Cluster Type B, which is typically antisocial, borderline, histrionic, or narcissistic behavior. Additionally, people diagnosed with this type of personality disorder are emotionally unstable, prone to a grandiose view of themselves and their abilities, lack empathy and any sense of shame and are usually superficially charming, exploitive, and manipulative.  With a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, it is found that rates for reconviction, attempted or completed murder, manslaughter, assault, robbery or rape were 3.7 times higher for people with this diagnosis than those without (Gilbert & Daffern, 2011). The abusive and neglectful experiences that the serial killer experienced while growing up contributes to their need to control their victim and their sadistic association between sex and violence. Luis had not reached emotional maturity and was unable deal with violent and sadistic fantasies in an appropriate way. “Through the course of his formative psychosexual development, the individual comes to be sexually gratified by deviant means,” states Simon (p. 6). This proves that his psychological state and his diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder have greatly affected him in an unforgivable way. Luis-Garavito-YT

Luis Garavito’s upbringing was a rough one, and the abuse and rape he experienced at the hands of his father and two neighbors was a necessary and direct cause for him feeling like he needed to torture in order to escape his own torment. The culture Luis grew up in was dangerous and notorious for violence, war, and death. Developing in this atmosphere stunted his ability to handle situations, and bad fantasies. The abuse and violent surroundings in turn caused him to develop a lot of psychological damage and a personality disorder which then contributed to him becoming a massive serial killer. Luis Garavito’s need for power and torture was sadly created because he became a product of his environment

 

Works Cited

Simon, R. I.  (2000). Serial killers, evil and us. National Forum, 80(4), 23-29.

Tudor, A. (1997).  Why horror? The peculiar pleasures of a popular genre.  Cultural

Studies, 11(3), 443-463.

Genter, R. (2010).  We all go a little mad sometimes:  Alfred Hitchcock, American

psychoanalysis, and the construction of the Cold War psychopath.  Canadian

Review of American Studies, 4(2), 133-162

Gilbert, F., & Daffern, M.  (2011). Illuminating the relationship between personality

disorder and violence:  Contributions of the General Aggression Model.

Psychology of Violence.  1(3), 230-244.