Recently a television group from London were in the US filming a documentary on psychopaths for television in the UK. I had been referred to them as the parent of a psychopath by Dr. Robert Hare’s Aftermath foundation and what they wanted from me was the information I had that, first of all, proved Patrick was/is a psychopath and about him sending someone to kill me. I dug through boxes of information, documents and letters from Patrick to Hamilton, letters to me and other documents such as his medical records showing he was diagnosed Anti-social personality disorder by the Texas Prison system.
The documentary makers were interested in what kind of young child he had been, and when I first saw signs (in retrospect at least) that I can say were probably earlier symptoms of psychopathy and at what age these events happened. Except for one incident of him lying in the face of evidence he had stolen something at age 11, and running away from home, he was pretty good until he hit about 15 or so. At that point he was continually engaged in criminal activity though we didn’t know it at the time. By 17 he was committing felonies.
Patrick ran away from home at age 17 in early 1989 and went back to Texas, jumping his probation for stealing a motorcycle and awaiting trial for robbing our friend’s business. After three months or so, he had been caught and extradited back to Florida for 6 or 8 weeks in jail there before being released on parole. I had gone to visit him once while he was there in jail and he had told me to “go fark” myself.
When he got out, he went back to Texas. The best my memory serves, he got out about June, 1989. In October, 1989, he was arrested in Texas for aggravated robbery, where he and some juveniles did a home invasion robbery invading a home business at gunpoint and stole all their computers and terrorized them by tying them up and leaving them. Unfortunately one of the juveniles left his motorcycle helmet at the scene of the crime with his name and address inside it. Because Patrick as the only “adult” in the group (he had turned 18 in March of 1989) he was being charged as an adult. I had neither seen nor heard from him from about June 1989 until I got this letter in October.
This letter is I think is a perfect example of a psychopathic attempt at manipulation. My comments about each thing he says are in bold and in parentheses.
Mom and Dad,
I suppose this letter is somewhat unexpected, (not unexpected at all, I figured he would write so maybe I would send commissary money)
but I felt like I ought to write it anyway. I’m sorry I hurt you two, and I really don’t have a valid excuse for the things I’ve done. (notice that he doesn’t list the things he had done or why those things hurt us. This shows that his words are not a true apology.)
As you’ve heard, I’m in jail for aggravated robbery and I don’t know whether or not you think I’m guilty, (of course he knows we think he is guilty) but I’m not, (this of course is an outright lie, because he definitely was guilty) and I’m doing my best to prove it.
I know I shouldn’t have left the way I did, (notice again how he fails to acknowledge his bad acts, like jumping probation and bail, and trivializes what he has done) but I guess I’m not as good at facing up to my actions as I ought to be. (boy that’s an understatement and another attempt to show what he thinks will be accepted as remorse) It’s been hard for me to realize just how much I really don’t know. (that is an outright lie because he still thinks he knows everything.)
I wish could undo the last few years of my life, but I can’t, I can just go forward from here. (again, not a legitimate apology, but another gloss over of what he did in the past, robberies, violence, etc) But even for all the trouble I’ve been, (more trivialization) I’ve still learned a lot (again trying to build himself up and that the pain he’s caused us has been a benefit to him) and I’m trying to succeed.
I hope you two aren’t still angry with me, but I wouldn’t blame you if you were. (Like if enough time goes by then the hurt goes away for betrayals) I still need some time for me to sort myself out, but I’m working on it.
My girlfriend is really helping me out a lot, she’s hanging tough and I wouldn’t even be sane if it weren’t for her. I’ve been going with her for almost seven months, and I hope we’re together forever. She understands that I’m trying to straighten my life out and she’s doing her best to help me. (Here he is trying to use someone else’s opinion to prove he’s trying to be good, so if I don’t believe him, I might believe her.)
I heard mom, that you’re in the hospital, and I wish there was something I could do, but I’m praying for you. (He has frequently used the “I’m praying for you” line when in fact, he is an agnostic at best, but more along the line of an atheist) I just wanted to write and let you know that I was okay, and to let you know that I’m doing my best to make a decent life for myself. (Again, this can be interpreted as “send commissary money”) I love you two, take care.
Your son, Patrick.
The interviewer with the film company read the letter and she said to me “If you didn’t know now what you do, that letter sounds so sincere, doesn’t it?”She was partly right, in a superficial way it might sound sincere, but when you look at a REAL apology is, you can see that this letter demonstrates none of the characteristics of a genuine apology. A genuine apology contains acknowledgment that the abuser understands that what he did was wrong and says for example “I’m sorry I hit you”, understands the consequences to you for what they did i.e. “I know your broken arm must hurt a lot”, understands the emotions you feel are and “I understand that you would have difficulty trusting me after what I did” , DEMONSTRATES true remorse for what they did by SHOWING that they will no longer consider repeating the bad acts and make amends “I will pay your rent and bills while you can’t work because I broke your arm,” and promises to never repeat the action.
Well, of course I had my doubts about his innocence, but when we moved back to Arkansas from Florida in December after I got this letter, I drove to Dallas to visit him in jail. He stayed in jail there for almost a year and a half before a trial, in which he was convicted of aggravated robbery. He gave us the wrong date for the trial so that we could not be present. He received a five year sentence and did two, before being released on parole. He also gave us the wrong date for his murder trial later
During all this time I did send commissary money and visited him several times in jail, making the 350 mile trip one way, and visited him once in prison when he was transferred. Of course during this time, he expressed his “sincere” (NOT!) desire to come home to live, go to college, and live a law abiding life. When his actual release date came around, he had been out about a week before we even found out, and he was living with my husband’s gullible niece after convincing her how “abusive” his parents were for turning him in to the police in Florida when he robbed their friend’s business.Between his release and his rearrest for Jessica’s murder five months later, he came home to Arkansas to visit one time, and said to me “You know why I didn’t come home (in a tone to indicate he was punishing me by not coming to live with us) it’s because I knew if I got into trouble you’d turn me in to the cops.”
Unknown to me at that time, he was breaking every rule of his parole, including having a gun which is a felony itself for a felon to have control of or own a gun. He had had no intention of “going straight” when he got out, and only weeks later after the visit he was arrested for Jessica’s murder.I can look back on those times and how even though I knew he was a thief, I kept hoping that he would eventually settle down and go straight. I just couldn’t bring myself to give up that hope for the son I loved so much. Even after he killed Jessica and I knew he was guilty of murder, I still maintained my firm denial that he would never change.
Of course people who repeatedly get into trouble over and over and don’t learn from their bad choices (these are not mistakes, but choices!) do not change because they fail to acknowledge truly that they are responsible for their actions. After he killed Jessica, Patrick still blamed me for him being in prison because I turned him in for robbery when he was still a juvenile and I had hoped that would “scare him straight.”He was right, though, if he had come home to live and had gotten into trouble I would have been the first one to call the police. Even with my false hope that he would change I would not cover up for him if I knew he was breaking the law. Even with that attitude it took me nearly two decades to finally give up the malignant hope because I wanted to believe his plea “I’m trying to succeed.”
I wanted to believe that so badly I ignored all the evidence to the contrary because it was so painful to acknowledge my son was truly an offender who was not going to “see the light”
This letter is, I think, a perfect example of a psychopathic attempt at manipulation.