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Case Study of a Turkish Serial Killer: Yavuz Yapicioglu

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By vasquesm
Words 2088
Pages 9
Mehmet Yılmaz
University of Social Science and Humanities
Warsaw-2012
Forensic Psychology Case study paper.

Turkey is not as familiar with the serial killer case as much as the United States Of America is, but still, there have been several reported cases of serial killers during the criminal history of the Turkish Republic. In this essay, I will report upon my findings and opinions concerning one of the most notorious Turkish serial killers, Yavuz Yapicioglu. The essay will begin by a brief life story and criminal records of Yavuz Yapicioglu. I will then try to take a deeper look at his personality and serial killer identity from a psychological perspective.

Yavuz Yapicioglu is a Turkish serial killer who murdered at least eighteen people between the period of 1994-2002 and assaulted many more. Even though criminal records tell us that he murdered eighteen people, his family and eye witnesses claimed he murdered between forty three to fifty people . What is more, his brother claims that Yapicioglu is not only a serial killer, but also a rapist. His brother believes that his sibling is responsible for raping and then murdering as many as two young university student girls, but police investigators do not have enough evidence to confirm it. Despite the fact that the true number of his victims remains unknown, his eighteen official criminal records are proof that he killed the most people in the entire criminal history of Turkey.

It is worth starting, at this point, with a brief life story of Yapicioglu based on his own statements. He was born in Adana Turkey at 1967. He has got nine other siblings. Based on his own statements, he grew up with no love. His father had an affair with another woman. Later on because of his father, he spend his youth with his step mom who he never loved. He was a successful student during secondary and high school. When he was in the 10th grade he argued with his family. He left his home and then dropped out of school. He got married but not long after this marriage ended up getting a divorce. Then he opened his own leather company, but his company had to file for bankruptcy.

In 1994, Yapicioglu committed his first murder in which he killed four innocent people. Everything started with a young lady saying good morning to him. Because of this reason, he started to argue with the young lady, then her boy friend, and then another friend got involved the argument. Yapicioglu killed these three young innocent people with a knife. His fourth victim in the following minutes was a car driver who resisted to give his car to Yapicioglu for escape. The guy shared the same end like three others, killed by knife. Not long after the murder, the police arrested him. After his arrest Yapicioglu found himself in court. By the end of the criminal trial, the judge dispatched his case to the mental hospital because of his unstable attitude to evaluate and determine whether he was competent to stand trial. He was evaluated several times and a council of psychologists and psychiatrists opined that he was not competent to stand trial and held the opinion that he had some psychopathology and needs to hospitalized. The judge of the court followed that suggestion and he decided to hospitalize him rather than put him into a prison. However, he continued his unstable and assailant behavior in hospital too. He chastised other patients and assaulted almoners, set his room up on fire and so on. The police could do nothing with him because he was not competent to stand trial. Afterwards he fled from the mental hospital and started to run away from the police. During this chasing he murdered many others, but every time when the police arrested him, he ended up in the mental hospital rather than prison. This continued for almost ten years until 2002. In December 2002, Yapicioglu murdered three people by using a screw driver. In the same night he went to a mosque for prayer with his bloody hands. The imam of the mosque asked him to leave the mosque and he also tried to kill the imam with the same crime weapon. Thanks to other people in the mosque he could not succeed at it, but he injured him gravely. After this, detectives arrested him immediately. This was Yapicioglus’s last crime. Two different councils re-evaluated him that time. He was evaluated numerous times over the next following months. In the end of the re-evaluation of both councils, the judge received two official reports and the situation became complicated because one of the council determined that he was probably malingering, still the other council opined that he was not competent to stand trial. The judge asked these two councils to compromise and write one report together. In the end, the two councils determined that he was malingering. Yapicioglu was sentenced on 2003 to forty four years in prison.

Here is the list of his murders during the span of ten years:
When he was walking on the street in Istanbul, he saw two females that were arguing. Suddenly he involved himself in the argument , murdering one of these women. The other was lucky enough to run away. He went to his hometown and there he killed three other people for no apparent reason. Detectives were chasing him so he decided to go to another city. On his way, the bus stopped at Ankara central bus station. He was hungry, but had no money to eat. He stopped a random man and asked for some money for food, but the man gave him no money. He followed this guy and killed him in an empty corner of the central bus station. After realizing that there was another man who saw him, he also murdered him in the same spot. In the year of 1998 he was in a touristic mosque. He bought an ice cream for a Belgian female tourist. That lady refused to eat the ice cream, so he cut the lady’s throat just there. Police arrested him immediately. He was also showing aggressive attitudes towards his own family as well. He set his brothers home on fire because his brother did not give him the money he asked. One day he tried to kill his father with a knife at his father’s flat. His father had a shot gun and did not think twice to use it. When he attacked his father, his father defend himself with that shot gun. After that incident he hid at his grandmother’s place. His grandmother had no idea about his personality and past. When they were talking her grandmother said something about her mother. That sentence made Yapicioglu angry and he killed his own grandmother by smashing her head. What is ironic here is his mother had a heart attack and died when she heard that her mother was killed by her son. Briefly, he was harmful to everyone close to him.

Herein we must distinguish carefully between serial, mass, and spree killer. The fact is, however, there is no specific definition of murderers that include every aspect. To explicate this point, I use several definitions of serial murderers by different authors. In pursuit of these different definitions I will discuss cases of Yapicioglu according to these aspects. Let's start with the definition of Douglas Burgess, Burgess, and Ressler (1992); In the Crime Classification Manual they define serial homicide as ‘‘...three or more separate events in three or more separate locations with an emotional cooling off period in between homicides’’ in Douglas et al. in Ferguson et al. 2003. We see that this definition is more focus on the time frame in which homicide occurs. According to this, it would be false to call Yapicioglu a serial killer because as I mention above, his homicides occur spontaneously. We cannot observe any pattern of emotional cooling off. Just instant homicides without any background.

If we take a look at a another definition, which includes specific motives, we see Blanchard’s definition that is “Male serial killers almost universally include a sexual assault as an integral part of their ritualized murder patterns’’ (Blanchard, in Ferguson et al. 2003). In this case, Yapicioglu’s case is little bit complex to discuss because as his brother claimed he is the one who is responsible for the unsolved rape and murder cases. Let’s assume that Yapicioglu is the murderer of these unsolved cases as his brother claimed. We can see bonds between his failed sexual relationship with his ex wife and these rapes. In that case, Yapicioglu could support this definition, but not fully. Blanchards definition also pays attention to ritualized murder patterns that are completely uncertain in Yapicioglu’s cases.

According to Egger, serial murderers spend a great deal of time fantasizing for their eventual crime (Egger, in Ferguson et al. 2003). I think this definition is crucial for Yapicioglu. Even Turkish criminology literature mentions Yapicioglu as a serial killer with regard to Egger’s definition. Yapicioglu may not be a serial killer as the records claim. Again, as mentioned Yapicioglu acted with his sudden killing instinct. It may be due to his very low anger management and psychopathic personality, but still as Egger discussed, a fantasizing process is missing in his case.

Unlike the other definitions of serial killers Hickey, asserts that serial murderers are by and large acting out of a need to reassert themselves against a society in which they feel powerless. It is not necessarily true that all serial murderers are motivated by a need to reduce negative affect. (Hickey, in Ferguson et al. 2003). This definition may make sense for Yapicioglu, because based on his own statements, we see he led a life full of unfortunate events such as growing up in a broken family and with a step mother who he never liked, leaving the home and dropping out of school, an unsuccessful marriage and then business bankruptcy and so on. All of these failures may have an impact on shaping his psychopathic personality.

As an argument to Hickey’s description Fox and Levin noted that serial murderers may neither be mentally deranged nor products of an abusive childhood (Fox and Levin, in Ferguson et al. 2003). Theory behind this understanding is that a murderers psychological disturbance may be the cause of their apprehension, rather than their pattern of homicides. This theory suggests that serial killer phenomenon should be understood as a system for obtaining pleasure to focus on violence toward others who the perpetrator has dehumanized. Actually there is a lot to say about Yapicioglu’s mental health. First of all, his behaviors show that there is no healthy mental processing behind them, there is no doubt to that. However, when it comes to psychopathology it is hard to say. Even he could mislead the professional criminal psychiatrists about his sanity several times. Despite the fact that at his last trial psychiatrists council reported that he has no psychopathology. He was hospitalized several times for paranoid schizophrenia, but later he confessed that he was just pretending. In my opinion, he was a psychopath who has a high level of intelligent.

To sum up, Yavuz Yapicioglu is known as the most famous Turkish serial killer. However, I would not agree to call him a serial killer based on the facts that I mentioned above. In fact, he murdered many innocent people brutally and probably this is the only similarity of him with serial killers. There is no bond between his murders. Based on his crimes it is not possible to profile him as a serial killer. He killed all of these people because of his psychopathic attitudes. Definitely, I can say that he has no empathy, he has very high ego which are the basic characteristics of a sociopath or psychopath. Additionally, if it is true that he had no psychopathology and he was just pretending as a schizophrenic, successfully convincing all of these psychiatrist over ten years, he had a hidden evil intelligence. Lastly, I would like to say that because of an error in the criminal law, lots of innocent people lost their lives. Decisions about these kind of critical cases must be more deterrent so we can live in a peaceful and safe society.

REFERENCES

Christopher Ferguson, Diana White, Stacey Cheery, Marta Lorenz and Zhara Bhimani, “Defining and Classifying Serial Murder in Context of Perpetrator Motivaiton,” Journal of Criminal Justice 31 (2003): 287-293.…...

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