Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Psychiatrist Dale Archer Suggests Jodi Arias Fits Sociopath Profile Except For No History Of Quirks

Posted by Peter Quennell

[The $200,000 home of the victim Travis Alexander at the eastern edge of Phoenix, Arizona]

Dale Archer assesses the admitted Arizona killer Jodi Arias against the checklist of sociopathic symptoms.

In his opinion (he has not had direct access to Jody Arias) she appears to accord to 6 of the 9 the symptoms below. He thinks she doesnt fit the key last one, no past history of anti-social or odd behavior going back prior to her affair with Travis Alexander, which he considers to rule out sociopathy.

We noted in the previous post that Jodi Arias had a turbulent family history and job history, and she made a good case on the stand that her boyfriend was debasing her. But absent actual signs of prior symptoms, Dr Archer doesn’t find that enough.

“¢ Failure to conform to societal norms: Jodi has no respect for the law or the rules of society. She not only viciously killed another person, she openly and unabashedly sneers at the prosecuting attorney and the courtroom proceedings.

“¢ Pathological lying: Ms. Arias has no problem lying. We’ve all seen it and know she’s good at it. Sociopaths lie easily and keep their cool because a lie is not considered wrong or immoral. It’s merely a way to get what they want. In the early stages of the investigation, Arias came up with three different lies for the police which explained what happened, changing her story as they disproved each.

“¢ Manipulation, deception, and cunning: Arias hacked into Alexander’s email and Facebook accounts. He found her hiding in his closet when he returned home from a date. She introduced him to sex, playing the submissive partner though she was actually dominant in order to control him. It is the prosecution’s speculation Arias eventually filmed and recorded Alexander in compromising situations to blackmail him if he tried to leave her.

“¢ Impulsiveness: A co-worker claimed Arias continuously called Alexander from work. If there was no answer, she would drop everything and leave to track down Alexander. She didn’t care if she lost her job, as long as she didn’t lose Alexander. Another point: while in the act of murdering him, Arias dropped a camera, and incredibly it snapped a picture of the murder taking place. Instead of taking the camera with her, along with the rope, the gun, her bloody clothes….. she impulsively threw it in the washing machine and ran it through a cycle. Miraculously, the images remained on the film.

“¢ Irritability and aggressiveness: Arias was becoming increasingly irritable and when Alexander started seeing another woman she turned up the heat. She stalked, vandalized, plotted and then murdered. Twice she slashed the tires on his car. She sent a threatening email to Alexander’s new love interest.

“¢ Reckless disregard for safety of self or others: We do not have record of Arias disregarding anyone else’s safety at this point other than Alexander- she killed him or herself; threatening suicide when Alexander would try to cut the ties. Ultimately the person she killed wasn’t herself, but Travis Alexander, the one person who consumed her thoughts, her life.

“¢ Persistent irresponsibility: In her 20s, Arias worked at several dead-end jobs and was in and out of relationships, but nothing stands out. No convictions, jail time or other legal issues.

“¢ Lack of remorse or guilt. In Arias’ mind, Alexander was not a person but her possession. He took her to interesting places, and she introduced him to sex. When he tried to pull away, she would reel him back with ever more outrageous sex practices. Eventually she killed him so no one else could have her possession. At the funeral, she did not shed one tear. Since the murder, the investigation, the arrest and the trial, not once has she said “I’m sorry.”

“¢ Before age 15 and continuing, a history of antisocial behavior. Here is the real problem with labeling Arias as a sociopath. This condition starts in the young teen years, if not before. It is a persistent and consistent behavior over the first three to four decades of the individual- some say for a lifetime. No one has come forward with any prior behavioral issues, legal issues, problems with work, family or friends. She was reportedly a very “good girl” in high school and very “normal.” At this time there are no known problems with previous boyfriends.

Jodi Arias has one or two more days on the witness stand, and then defense experts will try to account for her behavior and blackout at the time Travis died in a non-incriminating way. This trial is being shown live on American TV (the HLN channel).

Arias somewhat withered under very tough questions from the jury. Would Knox? Plenty of still-unanswered questions for Knox here.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/13/13 at 05:14 AM in Various hypothesesThe psychologyThe legal followups


However she did so many Sociopathic-Things that her conduct underlines the futility of arguing about whether such people should be called Sociopaths or Psychopaths.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 03/13/13 at 04:38 PM | #

On the whole I agree!

But should we beware the siren cries of the Charming Psychopath - that term doesnt neccessarily mean they are charming to everybody per-se, merely that they can manage to charm a few naive dupes to try to get them off, as some of them do?

And should we keep an eye on them for life, as they wont ever be reformed and they may decide “that was fun” and kill again? Anders Breivek of course was rated “sane” by his jury in Norway though he checked high on the symptoms listed above and for that reason probably wont ever get out.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/13/13 at 05:00 PM | #

Very very interesting. This is a wonderful piece by Dr. Archer. Jodi Arias’s family ran a restaurant IIRC so she felt comfortable with the many waitress jobs.

Didn’t Steve Moore call the early signs of lawbreaking and lack of societal norms “leakage”?  Amanda Knox beat up a little boy to stop him bothering her sister, Deanna, IIRC. This was when Amanda was young. There are probably more mild incidents like this in Knox’s past that are being squelched.

Jodi’s slashing of Travis’s tires (not proven but suspected) and her harrassing him, stalking him, not respecting his boundaries were signs of an already violent desire to retaliate.

Amanda disgusted Meredith with her sex toys in full view, her lack of respect in toileting in shared bathroom. Meredith was patient and tolerant and did not call Amanda out immediately on how aggressively Knox was acting towards her, especially bringing strange men into the cottage to introduce real danger. Amanda may have been incensed from the beginning the minute she met Meredith that she wasn’t the only cool English speaker in the Italian girls’ house. Now she couldn’t impress them as much with her foreign glamor. Meredith held all the cards at this! and was more intelligent and better behaved, and physically beautiful. Whew, tough competition for Bambi. Now she had to be the wild one to impress Filomena and Laura. She didn’t know she’d travelled across the world only to find “mom” again, rules.

Maybe Amanda felt there was no one in the cottage she could control, so she found some guys to control. Hurts to no longer be the Alpha female outshining all the dummies.

Meredith was no fool, however, about Amanda’s lack of empathy and cooperation and I think there would have been a confrontation eventually. Amanda with her sociopathic sixth sense knew it so she became an agent provacateur to kickstart a fight since she’s naturally aggressive. She was smart enough to bring backup and to dull her conscience with drugs and alcohol, so she could lie to herself about it later.

Knox said about her trip to Gubbio that she was willing to skip class, she was cavalier about her “studies”. I think she was just burnt out from working those 3 jobs plus classes at UW, she did need a break but couldn’t let herself take one without feeling ashamed of dropping school or not working, so she was a poseur as a student in Perugia and had come there merely to play. That’s why seeing the studious Meredith brought up so much guilt and envy. She was jealous knowing Meredith didn’t have to work.

Like the Arias case where religion becomes competitive between friends, I think Amanda was not a true Catholic and had rejected Seattle Prep’s and Edda’s desire. Amanda used her choice for agnosticism or Wiccan as another factor of personal liberty and rebellion. Prison reading led her to existentialism perhaps only as an intellectual curiosity, I doubt she knows what she believes at this point. (Arias was into the law of attraction.) Then when Amanda saw Meredith was content with her Catholic mother and her Old Palace Christian school and was deeply attached to her family albeit a divorced one and that Meredith counselled Amanda to be loyal to boyfriends which irked her about David Johnsrud, it was the perfect storm of perceived rebukes and rejections. I think the cord of three strands that cannot be broken is: shared culture/ethnicity, shared religion, shared sexuality. 

Dr. Archer’s point that Jodi tried to ensnare Travis sexually and capture his sinful acts in photos to blackmail him with or enjoy the power to threaten him later, is quite sinister. With friends like this…

Jodi picked a time when Travis was alone in his house like Amanda picked a time when Meredith was alone in her house. How fast Jodi “got over” her horrific act and almost jumped back in bed with a new man. This smacks of Amanda’s giggles and kisses with Raf at Bubbles and talk of hot sex a few days after the murder. I’m moving on with my life, we heard that from Amanda, yet she claims to have lingered in town to aid the police, such was her kind regard and solicitation for justice for her friend. Many a killer inserts himself into the investigation. People vote with their feet. What their true interests are, they will go to that place. No tears at Travis’s funeral for Jodi, and Amanda was a complete no-show at Meredith’s.

I think Travis was a rat in many ways and a guy from a messed up background who would probably have crashed later in life whether he’d loved Jodi Arias or not, but despite his baggage Jodi was quite envious of him. Maybe just because he was a male. Plus he seemed to have structure in his life, many friends, a strong religion. He was Anglo which she was jealous of. She had some Mexican ancestry which she wanted to mask by dying her hair blonde (speculating here). She betrayed her own self and her own values by converting to Mormonism (talk about codependent!) just for Travis, then despised him for not living up to its tenets, in fact she was trying to sabotage his faith. She might have wanted to “dirty” him like she felt she had been dirtied by men. She might have converted thinking the pure behavior standards of Mormonism would protect her in the Travis relationship in the bedroom, certainly make her a better chance at his marriage partner.

If Travis Alexander did truly have an interest in pedophilia, for which we have only Jodi’s word and she has reason to lie, then she must have felt even more disgusted with herself for admiring him, bedding him and worse yet she may have felt extremely guilty for stirring up his sexuality which might later hurt children. Maybe that was the straw that broke the camel’s back despite all the other shameful ways he had treated her. She had no self-respect and had twisted herself into a pretzel to secure Travis’s attention. When he dumped her for a new, cleaner model and better woman of the Mormon variety after Jodi had converted for him,  broken herself down for him, she became enraged from built up resentments, and from being thwarted in her hopes for a future income and being Mrs. Alexander with the house and kids.

Her alleged theft of her grandparent’s gun was a sign that she had already “snapped” and was determined to have her revenge.

Cardiol’s comment is true that it doesn’t matter about the exact label used or even the presence of early signs of sociopath behavior if the later signs are all in place including major crimes. I think it’s also said that many sociopaths are rule followers and although unconventional and basically not loving or concerned about other people, still pretend to be and manage out of self-interest to stay out of prison and to achieve various successes in life.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/13/13 at 06:56 PM | #

Jodie Arias is a multi personality. She has the same mind set as Susan Smith who wanted to “Marry Up” that was her modus operendi just like Arias since Smith wanted to have a better life with a more successful man. Arias went after Alexander for the same reason. If you consider her series of dead end jobs such being a waitress etc; with no future it does not take much of an effort to conclude her motive. I am reminded of the other waitresses who stated that Arias would leave work to track down Alexander even if it meant that she lose her job. Alexander was Jodie Arias’s meal ticket to a better life. I am really surprised that the prosecution have not gone after a comparison bullet. The Grandfather must have test fired the weapon at some point. As to Knox she is also a psychopath with the same mind set. They rally can’t see anyone else but themselves and consider everyone else to be placed upon the planet to provide them with whatever they need

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 03/14/13 at 12:15 AM | #

She killed someone interested in pedophilia , an evil man , so she can´t have been that much of a sociopath after all. Psychiatrists are an evil in themselves and their psychopath/sociopath checklists are dumb and ineffective , as far as I am concerned.

Posted by aethelred23 on 03/14/13 at 02:14 AM | #

Travis Alexander was not a pedophile or interested in pedophilia. This is a lie perpetrated by Jody Arias in order to gain sympathy. This has been proven time out of mind because of a multitude of evidence to the contrary not only provided by the people who knew him very well but by all the police investigation which confiscated all his computers twitter accounts email etc: Also to say that all Psychiatrists are evil is quite a sweeping statement is it not? This sounds like buying into the Knox P/R campaign and believing it to be true is not so much of a stretch.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 03/14/13 at 03:55 AM | #

Psychiatrists have humiliated me and quite a lot of my friends with medication whose side effects were devastating , my face went stiff, I couldn´t breathe and my head began moving of its own accord! I felt tortured and humiliated. Even innocent children are put on this. Would you put your own children on this ?
I have never supported Knox nor anyone else responsible for Meredith´s cruel murder.

Posted by aethelred23 on 03/14/13 at 04:14 AM | #

@Grahame, I hope with all my heart you are right and that Travis was no pedophile, that it’s just another lie by a shameless Jodi. If on the other hand he was a pedophile, I would agree with aethelred23 that Arias had done the world a favor and saved countless children, their spouses, and their families from ruined lives causing generations of misery.

@aethelred23, the sociopath checklists are far from having all the answers, I totally agree. Science of the mind is still in its infancy and may always remain a mystery. I suppose the sociopath/psychopathic checklists do outline a general profile and serve some purpose, but they are not conclusive and leave much to be desired. A black silhouette is so different from a photograph, yet shows some likeness in outline. It’s like saying a river is in a certain state or in Africa, versus having a real map showing the exact latitude and longitude of it. It narrows things down a bit, but allows for so much variation that in some cases it’s useless.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/14/13 at 04:26 AM | #


Thank You, Peter, for this very interesting post !

Having followed this trial closely, I do not believe any of the allegations that Travis Alexander was a pedophile. 

My reasons for believing this are as follows:

First, the only person to say that Travis was a “pedophile” was Jodi Arias.  Jodi has lied repeatedly and has even admitted that she lied, so she has no credibility in my opinion.

Second, there was an issue that came up a couple of years ago [appx. 2010 when Jodi was in jail] when Jodi claimed to have “letters” written by Travis regarding his alleged pedophilia.  But these letters were “transmittals” of the “copies”  of these alleged letters - NOT originals.  It was reported that her mother tried to sell these letters to a popular tabloid, but this “sale” did not go through—because there were no original letters.

Third, Jodi testified that she told one of the mental health professionals while in jail about this alleged “pedophilia” - this professional has not testified yet.

And Jodi also testified that she told an ex-boyfriend about these letters regarding the “pedophilia” - this ex-boyfriend has not testified yet either, but it is “rumored” he may testify on rebuttal. 

We shall see ...

Posted by MissMarple on 03/14/13 at 09:39 AM | #

It is without a doubt that any defense will try to vilify the victim, be it Meredith or Travis Alexander.

Never the less the idea of destroying the persons character who has been murdered in the most vile way and has no means of defense to me is totally and utterly wrong.

There must be a special place in hell for lawyers who defend killers no matter the why’s or wherefores of their reasons why (at least and more specifically in both these cases) and others I could mention too many without number. However…...

Finally May God bless all those who post here. There is a sickness in this world of ours that needs be eradicated. A world where killers go free to just a technicality.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 03/15/13 at 02:57 AM | #

@Grahame Rhodes

We can´t really be sure whether this woman lied as usual about her victim´s alleged pedophilia of if it was actually the truth , I doubt this is something Travis Alexander would have boasted about in his diaries for posterity to find. It may all be a clever trick to stir up sympathy , of course.  And as far as Meredith is concerned I don´t think that anyone would even dream of slandering her character .

My wrath against psychiatry can be easily explained by the fact that this institution has let me down. Perhaps I was given the wrong medication but my life hasn´t been the same since then. Over the course of the last four years I have been on various antipsychotics which caused spasms, convulsions and crippled my mind and I think I simply didn´t belong there in the first place.

A psychiatric ward is a nasty place , especially the closed section, which receives suicides, dangerously intoxicated alcoholics etc. A tiny woman was there against her will and struggled to be released , she was held down by two large, bullish nurses and strapped to a bed .You can´t deny that psychiatry uses force.

Posted by aethelred23 on 03/15/13 at 06:35 AM | #

And what I´d like to add: Jodi Arias will probably receive the death penalty very soon ,so she will atone for her crime with her own life , a punishment Knox will never have to face.

Posted by aethelred23 on 03/15/13 at 06:57 AM | #

Hi Grahame and aethelred23.

She could be sentenced to death but it would take only one juror voting against it to make prison or even release. Reading Hopeful’s long comment carefully, which I think pretty well nails all her dimensions, I dont quite see her deserving any ultimate penalty.

The Knox forces have had a long and tawdry history, going back to 2008, of demonizing Meredith and her family. They often do it now in a more subtly disparaging way, but they still do it quite regulalrly.

Curt Knox and Edda Mellas have both been part of it and neither have ever tried to restrain it. Taken in conjunction with Curt Knox’s possible role in making Amanda peculiar in childhood, a possible contributing factor in Meredith’s death, and he in particular does not look like nice people.
Such disparaging of a victim and their family is a rare thing here in the US, and it would never happen here if Meredith’s family could hit back at their attackers on national TV. Obviously Meredith herself can’t.

The situation in psychiatric hospitals aethelred23 describes was once prevalent in the US too. The it all changed overnight and various large psychiatric institutions are empty or nearly so. From the Wikipedia page on involuntary commitment:

“In 1975, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that involuntary hospitalization and/or treatment violates an individual’s civil rights in O’Connor v. Donaldson. “

That page also compares other countries. Since 1975 court orders have been required if anyone is to be detained for more than 72 hours. It’s not difficult to encounter mentally unwell people here (some with guns) and prisons are said to contain a number.

At the same time, there are astonishing advances right now in understanding the brain as Hopeful mentions, and increasingly in doing interventions that are humane and effective.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/15/13 at 04:57 PM | #


Videotape of Jodi Arias was released this morning showing her doing “head stands” in the police interrogation room just prior to her arrest.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it ?  Knox doing cartwheels and acrobatic moves in the police station.

Oh—and she sings, too !

Here is the link :

Wow ... two peas in a pod !

Posted by MissMarple on 03/15/13 at 08:18 PM | #

Hi MissMarple

Wow. Let’s hope that Knox isnt watching. Though her circle doesnt seem to realize it, as none of them speak good Italian, her attempts at persuading anyone in mid-2009 on the stand were not exactly successfully. This was not well reported in the US but we carried accurate descriptions.

The writer Nina Burleight told me that she was in court and became persuaded of Knox’s guilt from that chilling experience alone. Pity that didnt make it into her rancid book, along with all the Kool-Aid.

If you include the population of Italy, which could watch court proceedings and read documents and GOOD reporting in the original, I’d say those who believe Knox and Sollecito guilty outnumber those who dont by 500 to 1. There are tens of millions in Italy who believe in their guilt.

A tiny faction, mostly outside Italy and all ill-informed, dont.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/15/13 at 10:26 PM | #

I am pretty sure Jody displayed quirks earlier in life…maybe she was just very good at acting well adjusted.

Aethelred, It apparent how you have suffered, first by your own discomfort, then by the careless prescribing of meds. I hope you are feeling better…Bettina

Ps…thanks TJMK for all the great articles.

Posted by Bettina on 03/20/13 at 09:10 PM | #

So it´s not going to take long time now and the Hellman-Zanetti verdict migt be challenged by Italy`s Supreme Court .
Jugde Hellman actually uttered a bizarre thing about his decision to free Knox and Sollecito:“The Kerchers have all my human compassion. Yet we cannot impose so severe a penalty upon two youngsters simply to ease these parents` suffering”.
It´s a statement remarkable in its brutal callousness towards the Kerchers` pain. Someone should have reprimanded him .So the Kerchers were to blame for the 2009 Massei verdict ?

I have had a long four-year-old love/hate relationship with psychiatry and hospitals which culminated into hatred in May 2011 when I was given said overdose of neuroleptic medication . There used indeed to be a time when I felt happy in the clinic but that is over now.
As far as the FOA are concerned, I don´t remember them ever mentioning psychiatry or attacking psychiatry as a science but if they have it must be due to the fact that they are anti-authoritarians. Some of them have a serious grudge against authority , I´d say. David C.Anderson , the doctor who attacked Peter Quennell about his unconditional “trust in Authority ( didn´t he capitalise that word ? ), Candace Dempsey repeatedly mentioning police violence on her blog, a shady poster calling himself CD Host vociferously supporting Knox and even claiming her ordeal in prison was far worse than what Meredith endured ! All his vitriol stemmed from the fact that he had been imprisoned ( unjustly in his own estimation ) over some offence commtted during his youth. Nearly all of the FOA have had some brush with the police and law enforcement over their past four years of backing Knox ( scary coincidence ? )

Posted by aethelred23 on 03/21/13 at 10:44 PM | #
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