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View Full Version : Why do women marry men on death row?


deb2world
06-11-2010, 06:23 PM
I was recently watch a documentary about the night stalker Richard Ramirez. They mentioned he had married a woman in prison.

from Wikipedia:

By the time of the trial, Ramírez had fans who were writing him letters and paying him visits. Freelance magazine editor Doreen Lioy wrote him nearly 75 letters after his capture. He proposed to her, and on October 3, 1996, they were married in California's San Quentin State Prison

As a writer this woman is more than likely intellegent.

Also one hears of otehr death row inmates who get married while on death row after murdering gobs of people, even young women after brutally raping them.

So I ask why would a woman marry a man on death row? What is the appeal? Could this be classified as a mental illness?

Joanie
06-11-2010, 06:43 PM
I think it has to do with a combination of factors.

First, it's totally safe for the woman. She doesn't have to worry about ever running into the man (unless it's some safe and supervised environment.

Second, she can keep her fantasy alive about being in love with this man and fantasizing that he loves her too.

In many ways, she gets all the benefits of marriage without any of the unpleasant after effects.

As a matter of fact, I don't understand why more women don't do it.

Oregon sunshine
06-11-2010, 07:04 PM
Er, um with all due respect, isn't sex one of the major benefits of marriage?

deb2world
06-11-2010, 07:04 PM
Joanie, I don't think it is that simple. These men brutally murderd people, they raped the women and children and there is no reforming them. The women are intelligent professional women (seems like alot of the time). The answer of romance is not enough, there has to be a con going on and an illness in these women, that is what I want to find out.

The Second Stone
06-11-2010, 07:11 PM
Joanie, I don't think it is that simple. These men brutally murderd people, they raped the women and children and there is no reforming them. The women are intelligent professional women (seems like alot of the time). The answer of romance is not enough, there has to be a con going on and an illness in these women, that is what I want to find out.

When you say that "they raped women and children", it seems that you are implying that it is okay to rape men. Richard Rameriz killed men too. Crimes against men are just as heinous as against women.

I've always thought it must be some kind of insurance scam in addition to the celebrity stalking psychos. There are a lot of insurance companies that sell small life insurance policies for your spouse, no exam required. A convict has a lousy life expectancy and if the policy does not prohibit dying in prison (why would it?) a half dozen of these can be quite profitable.

deb2world
06-11-2010, 07:19 PM
When you say that "they raped women and children", it seems that you are implying that it is okay to rape men. Richard Rameriz killed men too. Crimes against men are just as heinous as against women.
Your are right, sorry to have not mentioned that.

johnpost
06-11-2010, 07:35 PM
it is a marriage you know will end easily and maybe soon.

could be 15 minutes of fame depending on the spouse.

Der Trihs
06-11-2010, 07:43 PM
Women notoriously like "bad boys"; this is just that phenomenon taken to its unhealthy logical extreme.

Otara
06-11-2010, 08:17 PM
Lots of reasons.

http://www.prisonerlife.com/deathrow/deathrow16.cfm

Some of them become convinced he's innocent or deserves some kind of support and are also trying to get him released or commuted, ie fighting for a cause.

"Marriages between condemned men in America and women from Germany and the Scandinavian countries, where opposition to the U.S. death penalty is strong, seem to be particularly common."

Some of them its the rescuing him from his past thing "Describing him, she wrote: "He is not the person any more who he used to be while being on the streets. I got to know a very warmhearted, caring, honest....."

Some of them its the Heathcliff 'unrequited love' thing " "No glass, no people can destroy love", ie being kept apart is what makes it 'special'.


Otara

Little Nemo
06-11-2010, 08:48 PM
It might be a reverse cause and effect. People sometimes do something irrational and then try to convince themselves they had a rational belief for doing it. And the fact that they want to deny they're irrational makes them cling all the harder to their rational explanation.

At some level, these women must realize that a relationship with an insane murderer and rapist who's going to spend the rest of his life in prison is a bad idea. So they convince themselves they must really be deeply in love because why else would they be doing it?

lynne-42
06-11-2010, 09:05 PM
I believe that a lot of human actions are justified by the need to feel special, and to somehow lift out of normal mediocre lives. I think that many 'psychics' really want to believe in their gift, people who claim miracle cures - so it goes on. Pious fraud, people who are caught out making statues of Jesus or Mary weep tears seem to have convinced themselves that God wanted them to do it, so it was real and justified. Singers, actors, writers in their thousands, spending inordinate amounts of time and effort to just get their performances or ideas noticed (I fit into the writer category). Fame is more important a motivator, I believe, than fortune.

Self-delusion, when fame is a reward, is a common trait. Just watch the interviews at the audition stage of <insert country here>'s Got Talent and you will have all the evidence you want.

Seeing something positive in a vicious criminal and making a public show of it would make you special and attract attention. If that is your motivation, then someone on death row is the most dramatic form of that action that you can take. And the one with the least long term impact. They're not going to get out and really move in on your life.

Just throwing it into the mix of possible reasons.

aruvqan
06-11-2010, 10:25 PM
I believe that a lot of human actions are justified by the need to feel special, and to somehow lift out of normal mediocre lives. I think that many 'psychics' really want to believe in their gift, people who claim miracle cures - so it goes on. Pious fraud, people who are caught out making statues of Jesus or Mary weep tears seem to have convinced themselves that God wanted them to do it, so it was real and justified. Singers, actors, writers in their thousands, spending inordinate amounts of time and effort to just get their performances or ideas noticed (I fit into the writer category). Fame is more important a motivator, I believe, than fortune.

Self-delusion, when fame is a reward, is a common trait. Just watch the interviews at the audition stage of <insert country here>'s Got Talent and you will have all the evidence you want.

Seeing something positive in a vicious criminal and making a public show of it would make you special and attract attention. If that is your motivation, then someone on death row is the most dramatic form of that action that you can take. And the one with the least long term impact. They're not going to get out and really move in on your life.

Just throwing it into the mix of possible reasons.

Has anybody who got married to a lifer/death row ended up with said prisoner getting released through one of those innocence project efforts? Did they stay married or get divorced?

Triskadecamus
06-11-2010, 10:51 PM
Women like men who can kill lots of other people, and leave more resources for their progeny, thus increasing the probability that their own genes will continue into other generations. Very violent men obviously can kill lots of other people and are therefore excellent prospects as mates. Being on death row is a genuine bonus, because after killing a bunch of people, the prospective mate is going to die, and leave the women free to have other spouses, with different genetic patterns to add to her own, thus further increasing the probability of greater numbers of future generations carrying her own genetic code.

Simple, huh?

Tris

Elendil's Heir
06-11-2010, 11:15 PM
IMHO many of them are (a) various varieties of losers, who feel a special bond with losers like themselves, (b) think only they can reform the convict, (c) enjoy a vicarious kind of thrill from close contact with a murderer or other Bad Customer, and/or (d) genuinely believe the guy is innocent and want to help him or be supportive of him. Not a recipe for a healthy relationship, by and large.

Yarster
06-11-2010, 11:44 PM
I think lynne-42 nailed it.

You are an ordinary bland woman, presumably with no marriage prospects.

You know that doing something controversial gets attention.

You know that marrying serial killer/mass murder X will get you that attention and is very safe since he's never getting out.

You may get life insurance benefits or other rights to his story when he is executed which provides an added monetary incentive...or at least a guest appearance on Oprah for the weirdo factor.

Really, haven't we all been at a party where there is that person who is socially inept in a disturbing way? Despite the fact that this person is clearly a no one, they feel the need to try to "one up" everyone they talk to and need something to brag about? "Oh, you just got back from a trip to Spain? Well big whoop, because I was married to Ted Bundy!"

astro
06-12-2010, 12:20 AM
See
My Mother Married Her Prison Pen Pal (http://www.doublex.com/section/life/my-mother-married-her-prison-pen-pal)

Noel Prosequi
06-12-2010, 01:55 AM
The pathology that drives celebrity stalkers seems to contain a huge component of "only I, of all the fans in the world, really know (celebrity) for his true self". The illusion that because a celebrity comes over to our house every night (via television) means that we know him can be powerful. Of course, all that is happening is that the stalker is projecting whatever qualities they want to find in a normal relationship onto a blank slate.

Most celebrities reject stalkers like that, so the fantasy is not sustainable.

But if you convince yourself that you feel that way about someone very few other people can love, you are a real chance of getting actual contact. There is a streak of contrarianism in this - everyone hates him, so I'll love him. And you will never have enough contact of the real life sort (dates, cohabitation, etc) to allow the prisoner's facade to slip.

You get all the social benefits of sympathy that come from apparent self-sacrifice and doomed romance. It gives you something to work for. It gives meaning to an otherwise sad life. You get attention. You get to play the martyr. You get to gush sincerity. You get to appear heartbreakingly virtuous. No-one is rude enough to mock you to your face. And if they do, you get to play Hurt Feelings even more.

Of course none of this occurs at the conscious level - none of these women is as calculating as that. I doubt they have enough insight for that sort of cunning - if they did, they wouldn't be doing this. It all happens at the instinctive level, but these are the drivers nevertheless, IMHO.


Even well-educated women who you think would be on their guard can fall for this. In my jurisdiction we have recently had two female prison psychologists dismissed for "falling in love" with a bad boy prisoner.


The prisoners have a lot to gain. It is not only death row prisoners who attract these women. Prisoners often try to use these relationships to prove that they are rehabilitated because they have the love of a good woman, so they play it up. Here (http://www.couriermail.com.au/extras/oq/book10finch.html) is a particularly nasty example.

Captain Midnight
06-12-2010, 03:44 AM
Both of the Menendez brothers were married in prison, and although they are not on death row, both are serving life without parole which means they are never getting out. Lyle the older brother has been married twice, the first wife divorced him when she found out that he was "cheating" on another woman by correspondence.

Erik, the younger brother, married a woman named Tammy Saccoman. Tammy, who is almost 10 years older than Erik, was very interested in the trial and felt sorry for him and started writing. The correspondence turned into visits and then they fell in love with each other and were married. However, the state disallows men on life terms or death row from conjugical visits.

Tammy states that she realizes that people do not understand why she did what she did, and she also knows that because of this marriage, she is sacrificing a sexual relationship with another man. (the lady by the way isn't bad looking.) Tammy's first husband killed himself and they have a daughter, who comes with Tammy to the prison every weekend to see the incarcerated step-father. Tammy and Erik even wrote a book entitled, "They said we wouldn't make it." Tammy and Erik (by phone) were on Larry King Live several years ago talking about the book, their relationship and life in the Big House. I am sure it can be found online like on YouTube or somewhere.

Is this woman crazy? I don't think so, she fell in love with someone and decided to make sacrifices to keep the relationship going. Erik has said that this person is the ONLY thing that keeps him going in his dreary existance. So, what works, works.

Lamia
06-12-2010, 09:28 AM
The pathology that drives celebrity stalkers seems to contain a huge component of "only I, of all the fans in the world, really know (celebrity) for his true self". The illusion that because a celebrity comes over to our house every night (via television) means that we know him can be powerful. Of course, all that is happening is that the stalker is projecting whatever qualities they want to find in a normal relationship onto a blank slate.

Most celebrities reject stalkers like that, so the fantasy is not sustainable.

But if you convince yourself that you feel that way about someone very few other people can love, you are a real chance of getting actual contact. There is a streak of contrarianism in this - everyone hates him, so I'll love him. And you will never have enough contact of the real life sort (dates, cohabitation, etc) to allow the prisoner's facade to slip.This is what I wanted to say! :)

When it comes to women who marry high-profile criminals, I'm sure some of them are just a variety of celebrity stalker. They're just "lucky" enough to have fixated on a famous person who actually has something to gain by encouraging them, rather than a popular entertainer who will find their attentions at best annoying.

One does also occasionally hear of celebrity stalkers who are even crazier than the average stalker, people who aren't letting their fantasies get the better of them but who are genuinely delusional. David Letterman's stalker Margaret Ray (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Mary_Ray) was schizophrenic and may really have believed that she and Letterman were married. I can imagine that a similar person who fixated on a convicted killer instead might sincerely believe not only that they were in love with each other, but have confidence that the killer was innocent because the Voice of God told her so or because he was the victim of a government conspiracy or something.

Aside from the "I can save him!" types, I wonder if there aren't also some women who marry convicts because they have an unhealthy desire for control over their partners. This might be a sort of female equivalent of men who get mail-order brides from impoverished countries. Although contact with a convicted husband would be limited, the wife will know he can't really "get away" either, he won't be meeting other women, and he'll be dependent upon her for all kinds of things.

MPB in Salt Lake
06-12-2010, 01:16 PM
Tammy and Erik even wrote a book entitled, "They said we wouldn't make it."

I don't know why, but I have been sniggering about this for the past 20 min..........:D

Hari Seldon
06-12-2010, 01:47 PM
Someone said that such marriages are likely to be short. I wonder what percent of people who are condemned are actually executed. Outside of a couple states like Florida and Texas, I wonder if it is as high as 1%.

As for insurance, I cannot imagine an insurance company would write a policy on a condemned man (certainly not in Texas).

Perhaps some of them want the status of married without the bother of sex.

BigT
06-12-2010, 02:23 PM
Someone said that such marriages are likely to be short. I wonder what percent of people who are condemned are actually executed. Outside of a couple states like Florida and Texas, I wonder if it is as high as 1%.

As for insurance, I cannot imagine an insurance company would write a policy on a condemned man (certainly not in Texas).

Perhaps some of them want the status of married without the bother of sex.

What good is a death penalty that doesn't get enforced? We are talking about people who have already been convicted, right? I'm pretty sure they don't overturn even a majority of cases by appeal, let alone 99%.

Hypnagogic Jerk
06-12-2010, 06:23 PM
What good is a death penalty that doesn't get enforced?
Apparently, some US states do not have a "life without the possibility of parole" sentence, or they do but the condemned has a chance to be paroled anyway. So they find condemning them to death to be an effective way to keep them behind bars forever.

dangermom
06-12-2010, 06:42 PM
One does also occasionally hear of celebrity stalkers who are even crazier than the average stalker, people who aren't letting their fantasies get the better of them but who are genuinely delusional. AFAIK that is not at all uncommon. I know a woman who is convinced that she wrote most of Bryan Adams' songs and that they are close friends. She goes to as many of his concerts as she can and talks about how she used to work in Hollywood and wrote lots of famous songs, but she's completely fixated on Bryan Adams. That's on her good days--on bad days, she talks about how the Mafia is after her. I would not be at all surprised if Gavin deBecker has a file on her.

Dereknocue67
06-13-2010, 04:12 AM
The reason? It's simple.

Some women just want to nag a man to death.

Superhal
06-13-2010, 04:57 AM
I'm surprised this isn't mentioned yet, but there's a known psychological mechanism where women try to "rescue" a "bad boy." I'm not sure if it's a recognized psychological disorder, and I don't remember the term for it, but anecdotally, all my female friends have experienced it at some point in their lives. Obviously, men on death row are the worst of the "bad boys." Also, this is the explanation about why some women stay in relationships with abusers or addicts...some sort of belief that their love will cause the man to change or improve.

Lamia
06-13-2010, 08:55 AM
I'm surprised this isn't mentioned yet, but there's a known psychological mechanism where women try to "rescue" a "bad boy."This type of woman actually was mentioned by several posters already, although I don't know what you mean by "psychological mechanism".

LSLGuy
06-13-2010, 09:17 AM
My firm makes, among other things, software for tracking crazies for private security companies. It's an outgrowth of software for police intel divisions to track "persons of interest".

Pretty much every brand name famous person in show biz, big biz, or politics hires one of a handful of security companies to watch over them. The uber wealthy-and-famous often have their own such company.

These companies' services are sort of a combo of physical security, bodyguards, concierge to government (e.g. get out of jail, get a visa, squash a news story, etc.), and most significantly for this thread, private detective / intelligence agency services.

Suffice it to say that if you have instant national name recognition, you have dozens, if not hundreds, of crazies who email or fax you daily or at least weekly. And the security firm is tracking all that, building out a dossier on each nutcase, and watching them carefully for signs that the long rambling emails are starting to get more agitated.

The volume flat amazed me when we moved into this line of work.

And a surprising percentage of nutcases have sex deeply woven into their weirdness. Regardless of the genders of the nut & the celeb or the apparent homo / hetero leanings of either. For entertainers who's stock in trade includes being attractive this sorta goes with the territory. But for an overweight balding senator or CEO to be getting weird sexually explicit email daily from some 30 year old guy who claims to be hetero & really does have a wife & a kid? That's some freaky shit.


The point of this semi-digression is there is a rich vein of very confused people out there. Any bad guy who achieves even local temporary celeb status is gonna get a few hits from the sediment at the bottom of the mental health pool.

Hypnagogic Jerk
06-13-2010, 09:58 AM
But for an overweight balding senator or CEO to be getting weird sexually explicit email daily from some 30 year old guy who claims to be hetero & really does have a wife & a kid? That's some freaky shit.
For some reason, this caused me to google "John McCain porn" and see what I'd get. The most interesting thing I found was this (http://www.tmz.com/2010/04/03/senator-john-mccain-twitter-picture-guys-with-iphone/) (SFW, link to TMZ website).

Slithy Tove
06-13-2010, 10:06 AM
"Just build the danged fence...with glory holes"

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