Many murders have been the result of a love affair gone wrong — people hiding big secrets and getting bloody revenge. We think of things like jealousy, money, hate and sometimes thrill-chasing when we think about motives for murder.
On Aug. 25, Oxygen will premiere a new eight-episode series “Killer Motive,” from the producers of NBC’s Dateline, and hosted by award-winning journalists Stephanie Gosk and Troy Roberts. Each hour-long episode will uncover dark and twisted motives, from vengeance to jealousy to greed that led to gruesome killings.
Gosk and Roberts will each host four episodes, in which they’ll focus on the reasons why a particular killing occurred and explore how investigators uncovered the motive in order to crack the case. From a staged suicide to a family massacre, Gosk and Roberts strive to understand each crime’s motive and to shed light on what drove the killers. They conduct on-the-ground inquiries, returning to the crime scenes and sitting down with victims’ friends and family, law enforcement, attorneys, psychologists, and even the killers themselves– to uncover the story of how justice was sought and ultimately attained. At the core of their investigative reporting is the pursuit of a deeper understanding of the relationships behind the horrific killings and of the psychology of the people who committed them.
Dr. Peter Morrall, a sociologist and author of "Madness and Murder," says that almost all motives for murder can be categorized into one of the "Four Ls" — Lust, Love, Loathing and Loot. And, of course, most murderers, no matter how depraved or misguided their actions, do often have a material or romantic motivation behind the crime that lands them behind bars.
However, there are some homicide cases that are so strange, with reasons so extraordinary, they can be hard to believe. Here are four bizarre murder motives that, even when explained, will still leave you wondering: Why?
1. Kevon Watkins: He Killed Over The Wi-Fi Password
Georgia teen Kevon Watkins last year took things too far in the midst of a heated argument over the household Wi-Fi password — and his sister wound up dead. Watkins was 16 when he changed his home Internet password "so he could play video games without others who wanted to use the Internet interrupting," according to a Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office release, and Oxygen.com reporting.
During an argument over the password change between Watkins and his mother, his sister, Alexus, stepped in to protect her mom and cool things down.
Kevon and Alexus tussled and fell to the floor, according to the DA’s office. Alexus was held in a chokehold for about 15 minutes, until a sheriff’s deputy arrived on scene and made him drop her.
Both Kevon and his family cried when he was sentenced to life in prison for felony murder. Before he was brought out of the courtroom, the only audible words that could be made out through Kevon’s sobs was the phrase "I'm sorry." Before the judge gave the teen the harsh sentence, she told him she was sorry that the adults in his life let him down and failed to give him the tools to deal with his anger.
"In this household, chaos was empowered," the judge said. "In this household, the ability to ignore and follow corrective discipline was empowered."
2. Brenda Spencer: “I Just Don’t Like Mondays”
Brenda Spencer was 16 years old when she decided to fire 36 rounds outside of Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego.
Spencer, armed with the rifle her father gifted her for Christmas, successfully shot eight children and three adults, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Two of the victims died from their wounds — Principal Burton Wragg and head custodian Michael Suchar — while the others recovered.
Spencer had a standoff with the SWAT in the family home across the street from the school for almost seven hours. She pleaded guilty in 1980 to two counts of murder and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
She told a Tribune reporter that she shot up the schoolyard because, “I just don’t like Mondays ... I did this because it’s a way to cheer up the day.”
3. Robert Lyons: Sour Over Avril Lavigne Tickets
Robert Lyons stabbed his mother to death in their Chicago home after a quarrel. He bludgeoned 61-year-old Linda Bolek, then stabbed her nine times in the back, before pouring household cleaners on her dead body, the Chicago Tribune reported.
What could the mother and son have been arguing about that would end in murder? Avril Lavigne concert tickets.
Lyons wanted Bolek to get him free skybox seats for an Avril Lavigne concert in 2008, and he was angry when she refused to call her friend for the favor. Lyons said that when he saw his mother pick up a kitchen knife, he “snapped” and attacked her.
Lyons has a history of mental illness, including bipolar disorder, and he claimed in court he had stopped taking his medications at the time of the murder. He was sentenced to 40 years for his murderous fit of rage.
4. Richard Angelo: The Nurse Who Wanted To Be A Hero
Richard Angelo just wanted to be seen as a hero, and in order to achieve that, he used his skills as a nurse to revive patients at a New York hospital — but not before injecting them with lethal doses of drugs first.
Angelo administered fatal amounts of muscle-paralyzing drugs into two Good Samaritan Hospital patients, sending them into respiratory arrest, the New York Times reported. He said he would then quickly try to revive the patients and save their lives, hoping he would appear as a first responder hero, but the patients ended up dying.
His dreams were crushed when he was arrested in November 1987, and was eventually found guilty of second-degree murder.
Two other patients that were injected also died under his care, and prosecutors called Angelo “a monster in nurse’s whites.” In 1990, the homicidal nurse was sentenced to 50 years to life for the four killings.
If you’re looking for more disturbing motives for murder, tune in on Sunday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. ET/PT when Oxygen premieres a new eight-episode series, “Killer Motive.”
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