What do the mothers of heinous criminals do?

Generally, when someone commits a heinous crime (let’s say murder at a minimum), does their mother stick by them?

What on earth is the maximum you’re thinking of? :confused:

I’m sure Pol Pot had a mama too, you know.

You’d have to look at individual cases, since there’s no single “mother behavior” in any type of case. It is my impression that a lot of mothers do stick by their kids more often than you’d think.

Of course, if a jury can be convinced that there was reasonable doubt in the OJ Simpson case, I imagine it would be very easy for a mother to convince herself that the kid didn’t really do it, regardless of the evidence.

I would expect my wife to stick by my sons if they committed a crime. That would not mean pretending that they are not gulty, but we would not stop loving them.

I have two daughters, aged 27 and 25. To date they’ve both been (within reason) model citizens.

If I found out tomorrow that one or both of them was a serial axe murderer - well, they’re still my daughters and I’d stick by them. Even if I knew they were guilty.

That’s just the way parenthood goes sometimes.

What do the mothers of heinous criminals do?
To help them escape when they’re blue?
To excuse the son who ate his roommate
And daughter who blew up school
Your darlings must be innocent
And the prosecutor a fool
When they’re beset and besieged
The mothers self-deceive
How do they imply the victims are a sorry lot?
Oh, what do loyal mothers do that we do not?

With apologies to Camelot.

They normally say things like “he’s not a bad lad really, more a loveable rogue, and he’s just been misunderstood”

It’s an enduring cliche of 1960s London gangsters that they were always nice to their mums, despite the fact they’d spent the day nailing someone’s eyeballs to the floor.

I’ve spent a lot of time around prison inmates, and was married to one. (Drug offender, not Heinous Criminal!) Some of the guys I know did some messed up stuff. My husband, when using, was…unacceptable. But they still have good sides. Not all their behavior is awful. I found out that someone I’ve known for years did something unthinkable, and I still feel the same way toward them. They are still the same person they were before, this certain behavior aside. The bad thing is in addition to who they are, it doesn’t change them. Not saying that outrageous behavior is acceptable, it must be stopped. But the PERSON is acceptable.

They grieve.

As a prosecutor I saw several criminals’ moms back in the day, and most made excuses for Sonny or blamed others for his misfortunes. A minority conceded his guilt but stood by him; an even smaller minority were convinced of his guilt and wanted nothing more to do with him. Blood is thicker than water for most people, heinous crimes or no.

And we have a winner.

And I suspect many are guilt-ridden wondering if something they did (or didn’t do) contributed to the criminal behavior.

Yup. I suspect that is also a driver for the denial. If you can convince yourself that the kid is innocent (*innocent, I tells ya!) *then there is nothing to feel guilty about. Hence the approach taken by mums who do the loud-protestations-of-innocence-in-the-teeth-of-the-evidence thing.

But I suspect there is a further chicken-and-egg issue here. The sorts of mothers who never set boundaries, over-indulged their kids, and always excused bad behaviour and blamed everyone else except little Johnnie may well be the ones more likely to have kids who offend.

I should add that I doubt that there is a “typical” response from mothers in this situation, but I can well understand the above scenarios being common ones.

This reminds me-- I have always had a very hard time believing that Jeffrey Dahmer’s parents provided him with a perfectly happy, normal childhood.

I went to high school with a guy who was later executed by the state of Maryland. His mother (both parents, actually) never denied the seriousness of his crimes (he raped and killed a few women in two states), but they did work very hard to try to convince the governor not to execute their son.

I’ve learned to get suspicious when the relatives describe the suspect as “fun-loving”, which can include “likes to get drunk and push over people in wheelchairs”. Although I remember once, many years ago, when a mother was interviewed who flatly said “He’s a bad kid”.

Yes … this.

The trouble is, many times you can find sociopathic serial killers who had decent, even comfortable home lives.

Ted Bundy was raised early on by a single mom, but later had a stepfather who does not not fit a conventional abusive picture, and had enough advantages to graduate from college and get into law school. Randall Woodfield (the I-5 Killer, responsible for a string of rapes and murders in the Pacific Northwest in the '80s) came from a good middle-class home. And on and on…

The parents are often not to blame, at least not in ways we can detect, though the subset who are enablers and excusers are truly revolting.

There is such a thing as a bad seed.

One of my best childhood friends executed a completely innocent man begging for mercy in his own driveway to take his gambling winnings. My friend also confessed to being a serial killer but it has never been proven. His parents made up enough stories and lied on the stand to prevent his execution and get him life Angola instead. That worked. They stand behind him even though he will never get out but they can talk to him and even see him in person some time. Nobody thinks he is innocent except maybe about the serial killer part but that doesn’t matter for his life sentence without the possibility of parole.

My own mother has written to him and I would consider it myself. That is just what people, especially parents, do.