Monday, July 19, 2010

Strange Tale Of Ex New York Times Reporter Who Christian Longo Impersonated On The Run

Posted by Peter Quennell

In follow-up to Lilly’s raw truth of a post on Christian Longo and the similarities with Amanda Knox.

Two things really stand out in this five-minute CBS interview - which sets things up nicely for a longer CBS 48 Hours report, by the way, it seems they don’t always get things wrong.

First, there is the fascination some people have for psychopathic narcissists who have killed. Especially those people who seem themselves not quite right and morally a bit untethered.

And second, there is the cold preening cynicism of the killer himself, who apparently even admitted to Finkel after the trial was all over that, yes, he did kill his wife and three little tots.

But he claims he did that to “save” them. Being bothered about it just isn’t his thing. In prison, Christian Longo’s highly attention-seeking antics, self-pity, and strong public denial continue.

Even Longo has his several white knights. “Such a nice guy.”  Yeah. Right.


What is it about these killers that attracts the “white knights”?

I think there is something in what you say, Peter, about the “white knights” themselves being somewhat morally untethered. Look at Heavey, who has abused his position so disgracefully to defend Knox. What for?

Why does someone who brutally murdered an innocent human being (in Longo’s case 4 people, 3 of them infants) need a white knight?

What about the victims?

Posted by lilly on 07/19/10 at 06:19 PM | #

Hi Lilly. “What is it about these killers that attracts the white knights?”

It’s a psychological syndrome. Not identical to the narcissistic personality disorder that you posted on, but not totally unrelated either. Increasingly documented and I linked to some studies in a comment.

We have often noted the flamboyant public personas of quite a few of those who are (or were) on the Amanda Knox bandwagon. Big media tends to attract such types. So do judgeships apparently. The internet clearly enables them .

Doug Preston’s intrusion into the Monster of Florence case looks pretty narcissistic - what was he DOING there teaching the Italian prosecitors and police their jobs?!

Read his Monster of Florence book, and you can’t miss the fanatical “I’m right” tone. Especially in the Afterword on Meredith’s case where he gets virtually nothing right and sounds quite unhinged.

Preston clearly attracted a lot of the others of a similar mindset in, and then they set about rewriting Mignini and Italian justice. Often in amazingly fanatical language.

PMF and TJMK seem to have opened a lot of eyes on a one-by-one basis with the stark realities of the case - the only reporter who keeps re-surfacing uncomprehending is the puppy-like Steve Shay.

So one day soon as the lights in the FOA camp go out, there might be some real peace of mind at last for Meredith’s family and her friends. What nightmares they have lived through.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/19/10 at 10:55 PM | #

Fortunately, those fan letters don´t give inmates their freedom back. Although I´m sure they make life in prison a lot more bearable.

Many, many woman, at least in the U.S. have chosen to marry men convicted to life in jail. Both the Menendez Brothers, who killed their parents got married while in jail. They will never be intimate with their wives. Erik Menendez has said that being married keeps him from going crazy.

I think publicity makes us feel that we actually know the inmates, or victims, for that matter, and that the white knights want that attention being returned to them. In a way, they want to be part of the story. Criminals indeed seem to have become reality stars.

Who wouldn´t rather die as a famous criminal than as a grey mouse that always behaved well…

Anyway, I´m sure that by the time she turns 45, the stream of fan mail will pretty much have dried up.

Posted by saskia on 07/20/10 at 03:59 AM | #

There is no doubt that Amanda Knox may be receiving some letters from her “fans” since being incarcerated. She is probably getting some unfriendly letters as well.

It’s interesting to note that, in the three years past, not one media photo has materialized authenticating either the amount of letters Amanda Knox has received or the amount of people who actually showed up to events for her support.

Three years ago, Edda Mellas claimed that “bags” of letters for Amanda were sent to their Seattle home right after Amanda was arrested. However, I’ve never seen any media photos published depicting these alleged volumes of letters.

Likewise, when the West Seattle Herald ran a story on January 2, 2010 about the “90 people” that attended the fund raiser for Knox’s appeal fund at The Comedy Underground, the accompanying photo showed only four people - Curt Knox, Edda Mellas and two other heads.

And when a story ran this past spring about Candace Dempsey’s book launch, where over “60” people were alleged to have “attended”, once again the accompanying photo showed only four people - Edda, Deanna, Paxton and somebody’s arm.

Posted by True North on 07/20/10 at 05:45 AM | #

@True North:

Excellent points. I agree that the Knox/Mellas noise machine is more than likely to exaggerate the “bags” of fan mail to the incarcerated Knox. It’s true that the fund-raising comedy show (how appropriate) in Seattle hardly attracted a large crowd of supporters.

It is sickening to think about the potential tug of war between Doug Preston and Candace Dempsey as ghost writers should a book be written by Knox in the future. Preston has shamelessly shilled his B-level book off of this tragedy, and Dempsey is nothing but a mouth piece for the Knox/Mellas clan.

I see many similarities between the Scott Peterson case and the Knox case - the maelstrom of publicity, the perp did not have a significant history of violence, casual acquaintances and neighbors thought the perps were great people; the perp’s families insist on their innocence, yet the lies and inappropriate behavior of the accused fit together in a puzzle to ultimately convince the jury of their guilt.

The difference is that no one questions the jury’s decision in the Scott Peterson case, whereas in the Knox case, there is the fervent miniscule number of groupies, and of course, the hired PR machine of Marriot for the defense. And let’s not forget, in the US, Scott Peterson is on death row.

Posted by giustizia on 07/20/10 at 07:12 AM | #

Hi Saskia.  Great insight here: “I think publicity makes us feel that we actually know the inmates, or victims, for that matter, and that the white knights want that attention being returned to them. In a way, they want to be part of the story.”

In the economic development work that I do I meet a lot of top people and a lot more down at the grassroots.

At top levels, one never meets raging narcissists - they simply cant make it to those levels with their offputting demeanors and rigid grasps of wrong facts. Narcissist are pretty well always losers. Doug Preston does well in fiction where his personality doesnt matter, but in his one venture into reality reporting (Monster of Florence) he sure comes across as not only a narcissist but a real loser. 

At grassroots, these days one encounters a lot of people without too much sense of purpose or connectedness. Most of the wealth of the US is in fact generated on the east and west coasts with just a few bright spots in the center like Chicago and Austin Texas. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year of tax revenues are transferred from the coastal states via the Treasury to the inland states.

In a real sense the system here has put them all on welfare instead of being helped to grow the economies of their areas. Getting them in groups to do meaningful things usually transforms them. Maybe that should be a constitutional amendment.

I dont get the impression that average New Yorkers are the prototypical Knox groupie. There is some anomie, I guess, but most people seem connected. New York is an extremely happy place - lots of strong eye contact and a great deal of smiling. Nuts live here for sure but I doubt they are nuts for Knox. 

Our real problem here is those in big media who do pander to the white knight/Knox groupie mentality.  Perhaps it is only those types that watch their shows?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/20/10 at 03:52 PM | #


Peter,  Your comment is encouraging, “getting them in groups to do meaningful things usually transforms them”. Yes, a great solution. The Hyundai plant in my state has brought new hope to thousands.

I agree “New York is an extremely happy place—lots of strong eye contact….”  It’s a national treasure.

Your posts and Lilly’s about Longo have been intense. Poor Finkel to be seduced by madness, the charms of a con man. I’ve been researching Longo & Finkel (had a bad dream about Longo).

David Buss, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, studied the urge to kill phenomena after a man burst into rage at his wife when she criticized him at a party. The man became violent with her, Buss tried to restrain him. It calmed down briefly. The fracas re-erupted and the man put his fist through a mirror. The two spouses never spoke again and filed for divorce. Buss launched major research and wrote a book.

Buss found that most killings are committed “across a narrow range of archetypal situations where mating and reproductive interests are at stake, for instance a killer taking out a romantic rival, a lover who jilted him (so no one else can have her) or avenging a PUBLIC SLIGHT THAT DEROGATED HIS STATUS.” (by Stephen Phillips, 13 May 2005 “Hardwired to Kill” in “Times Higher Education”)

Public slight reminds me of AK and the girl talk at the cottage.

Finkel’s strange fixation with Longo was the most perplexing thing. Finkel got pulled into a dangerous personality grip due to flattery. He wanted to unmask a fraud as part of his own healing journey. He now has a book out called “True Story”. Longo wants to donate his body parts after execution, and is trying to lobby for other cons to donate theirs. 

By the time Longo was finished manipulating Finkel for years, with so many half-truths mixed in with stark intelligence, Finkel began to question the very nature of Truth. (if you do, take a break for some joy!)

Why would Knox groupies want to defend her? Maybe they identify with evil doing in some way, or lawlessness. Sick and disgusting. Who can respect those who marry inmates or love “the bad boy”, they are bad themselves to even want such a liason.

Then again, people are easily deceived. They may truly think AK is innocent. A bit of charm, beauty, smiles, and positive action—many a serial killer had these. It takes maturity to not be so easily accepting. Most people desire to trust. The con knows every button to push, he’s instinctual and completely ruthless. Naive people are his prey.

Posted by Hopeful on 07/21/10 at 09:08 PM | #

It’s sad that Knox did what she did. I was watching the American Masters special tonight on Merle Haggard, and they showed him singing a song he wrote about a convicted killer in prison. It was sad. Prison is not something I’d wish on my worst enemy.

I appreciate everyone’s comments about how Know came “untethered” because of a difficult upbringing, and then being sent to Italy without enough money, no job, no work permit, and very little school supervision. It’s just so sad that Meredith died unnecessarily.

And now Knox’s life, which might have turned out strange and sort of meaningless, but not criminal, is ruined as well. I swear, sometimes this case really gets to me. I guess it doesn’t mix well with Merle. 😊

Posted by Earthling on 07/22/10 at 07:47 AM | #
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