The Urge to Hurt

A chilling cry of warning from death row


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My name is Michael Ross. I am a condemned man on death row. When most people think of death row inmates, I' m the one they think of. I'm the worst of the worst, a serial killer responsible for the rape and murder of eight women in three states who has assaulted several others and stalked and frightened many more. I have never denied what I did and have fully confessed to my crimes. The only issue in my case was, and still is, my mental condition. For years I have been trying to prove that I am suffering from a mental illness that drove me to rape and kill, and that this mental illness made me physically unable to control my actions. I have met with little success.

So here I sit on death row, waiting for the judicial system to complete the tedious process that will likely result in my execution. Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can envision the hundreds of people who are likely to gather outside the prison gates on that night. I can see them waving placards, drinking and rejoicing, and I can hear their cheers as my death is finally announced.

Who is Michael Ross? And what could possibly motivate a clearly intelligent individual, a Cornell University graduate, to commit such horrendous crimes?

As you might expect, I have been examined by many psychiatric experts since my arrest in 1984. All of them, including the state' s own expert psychiatric witness, diagnosed me as suffering from a paraphiliac mental disorder called 'sexual sadism,' which, in the experts' words, resulted in my compulsion 'to perpetrate violent sexual activity in a repetitive way.' These experts also agreed that my criminal conduct was the direct result of uncontrollable sexual impulses caused by my mental illness. The state' s only hope of obtaining a conviction was to inflame the jury' s emotions so that they would ignore any evidence of psychological impairment. In my particular case, that was quite easy to do, and the state succeeded in obtaining convictions and multiple death sentences.

What exactly is a paraphiliac mental disorder?



It is very difficult to explain and understand -- especially for the layperson (which, unfortunately for me, describes most jury members). I' m not even sure that I fully understand this disease, and I have been trying to understand what has been going on in my head for a very long time now. Basically, I was plagued by repetitive thoughts, urges, and fantasies of the degradation, rape, and murder of women. These unwanted thoughts filled my mind when I was awake, and they were in my dreams when I slept. Imagine trying to control such urges day by day, hour by hour. Also try to imagine the hatred, loathing, and abhorrence that I developed toward myself when I ultimately failed. The best way to understand this problem is to remember a time when you had a catchy tune stuck in your mind. Even if you like the melody, the constant repetition becomes more than merely annoying. The harder you try to push that melody out of your mind, the louder and more persistent it becomes, driving you almost mad. Now replace that sweet little melody with noxious thoughts of physically and mentally degrading a woman, of raping her and strangling her. Now you can begin to understand what I had running wild in my head. And I think you can begin to understand me when I say that it is not something I wanted.

The urge to hurt women could come over me at any time, at any place. Powerful, sometimes irresistible desires would well up for no apparent reason and with no warning. Even after my arrest -- while I was facing capital charges -- these urges continued. I remember one day being transported back to the county jail from a court appearance just prior to my trial. I was in the back of a sheriff' s van in full restraints -- handcuffs, leg irons, belly chain -- when we passed a young woman walking along the road. I cannot begin to describe the intensity of feeling that enveloped me that day. I wanted . no, I had to get out of that van and go after her. The situation was ludicrous. (And later, back in my cell, I masturbated to a fantasy of what would have happened had I gotten hold of her.)

Dee Houldsworth
1/19/2013 12:59:48 AM

It is far more common than you can imagine that many, many others have the urge to hurt.maim or kill another. It is part of an anxiety disorder that relates to a mental illness ( psycopathology) The fundamental key is that as a human being living in a society, you CANNOT do as you please. You cannot steal/rob//rape/attack/hurt/shoot/kill another. You have the brain capability as every other, to choose whether or not to ACT on your feelings, this sets you apart from thousands and millions of others in a western society, they control their feelings and thoughts as society dictates you should. Whether you accept/repent/acknowledge or not, really doesn't matter. There are and has been for decades GP's/ therapy/medication/support/information/guidance/hospitalization for treatment and stability and prevention of mental disorders. Again you chose not to use the service. As a murderer and rapist you must face the punishment set by the judicial system, mental health is not an excuse. You chose to ignore you're inate cognitive functions as a human being and fulfilled your desire instead. Self Control is definitely much harder, but also was definitely an option.. Female UK















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