Your Questions Answered About Black Widow Case

SHIRLEY, San Antonio, Texas: Dr. Knoll, is Stacey Castor a schizoid personality with no conscience or what would be the diagnosis for someone to commit such horrible crimes and then try to pin it on her daughter?

My congratulations to the fantastic prosecutor who relentlessly sought justice for her two dead husbands and her beautiful daughter.

KNOLL: For the purposes of answering your question, let us assume that, unequivocally, what you say is true: that the jury found correctly that she murdered her husband (and perhaps another husband), then tried to frame her daughter for these crimes, and then tried to stage her daughter's murder to appear as a suicide.

Recalling my previous answer to another question re: psychopathy, let us also assume that Ms. Castor had strong psychopathic traits (in reality, I cannot really say this with certainty because: 1) I was not allowed to evaluate her, and 2) to my knowledge, she has never been "scored" via the psychopathy checklist). If all these assumptions were true, then the answer to your question of why is rather straightforward, though unnerving: In the mind of Stacey Castor, her continued freedom and, most importantly, her desire to evade detection and avoid conviction were more important to her than her own daughter's life. In other words, she was simply willing to kill her daughter to avoid responsibility for her crimes.

Now, still assuming all this is true for the purposes of discussion, what does this require in the mind of Ms. Castor? It requires, at the very least, the psychopathic traits of lack of remorse or sense of guilt, ability to be deceitful and lie with ease, the possession of a callous lack of empathy, irresponsibility and a failure to accept responsibility for one's own actions, and perhaps a very shallow experience of emotional connectedness to significant others in relationships.

Classically, psychopaths tend to view others not as human beings with all the respect for the individual that this entails but rather as "objects" to be used for their own gain, and when need be, tossed away like a used kleenex. Regarding your mention of schizoid, I doubt this would fit. One of the primary traits of the schizoid personality is a life-long pattern of detachment from forming social relationships, and the desire to spend most of his/her time in solitary activities. In other words, someone who just has little to no interest in forming social relationships -- a kind of odd, lone wolf type of person.

Finally, I would support you in your praise of the legal professionals in this case. The attorneys on both sides of this case did a tremendous job. While our justice system is not without its flaws, rest assured that there are dedicated legal professionals, such as District Attorney Fitzpatrick, who work their backsides off and dedicate their lives to the singular cause of pursing justice.

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