One of the great things about forensic psychology schools and studying in this area is that it allows you to look into the past at other crimes and see them in a new light. Advances in psychology can change the way that things might have played out long ago.
Serial killer Arnold Sodeman was hanged in 1936 for his crimes. Known as the Schoolgirl Strangler, Sodeman murdered four young girls by strangling them and then stuffing their stockings into their mouths. While his crimes are terrible, chances are he would have been found unfit to stand trial if he were arrested today. It seems that mental illness ran in the family. Many of Sodeman’s family members, including his father and grandfather, spent time and died in mental hospitals. His great grandfather died of brain inflammation. Sodeman himself also suffered a brain injury when he fell from a horse. In addition, he was witness to many instances of domestic violence when he was growing up.
In today’s world, forensic psychologists examining someone with the issues that Sodeman had would likely say that he wasn’t fit to stand trial. The laws at the time didn’t find him unfit to stand trial though. During his autopsy though, it showed that he had several abnormalities of the brain. He had lepto meningities, which could cause congestion of the brain. It is quite possible that he was unable to tell the difference between right and wrong at the time of the murders.
Sodeman had served time before for violent crimes, and if there were more actual forensic psychology schools at the time, and if there were people who would have been able to understand the serious issues going on inside Sodeman, perhaps they could have stopped him before his crimes escalated and four young girls lost their lives.
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