Portrait of a Serial Rapist

ByABC News
December 5, 2002, 6:50 PM

Dec. 5 -- Matias Reyes, the convicted murderer who has come forward after 13 years to say that he committed the notorious 1989 rape of a jogger in New York's Central Park, has said he is sorry for his crimes but a psychologist who examined him says he doesn't buy it.

"It would be hard for me to believe this fellow is remorseful," the psychologist, N.G. Berrill, told Primetime. As the court-appointed mental health expert for Reyes' defense in 1991, Berrill spent hours examining him in a series of jailhouse interviews.

Reyes was sentenced to 33 1/3 years in prison after pleading guilty in 1991 to a string of three rapes and one rape-murder on Manhattan's Upper East Side, near Central Park. But investigators did not connect him to the Central Park rape until he came forward earlier this year. Five black and Hispanic teenagers were convicted of the Central Park crime after telling police they raped her during a "wilding" rampage, but Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau is now calling for their convictions to be vacated.

The Mind of a Serial Rapist

Berrill believes that Reyes' personality fits a profile that has a tendency for violence. "I think he's not dissimilar to a lot of predators ... or psychopaths," he said. "They enjoy the hunt. They enjoy preying on others. They enjoy the kill or the sexual violence."

In an exclusive interview with Primetime broadcast in September, Reyes said he came forward because he found religion in prison. He apologized to all his victims, and said he deserved the punishment he had received.

But Berrill is skeptical of Reyes' contrition. "Antisocial individuals become masters of reading other people. That's why they are such good predators," he said, adding, "Unlike you or I, they don't suffer, or they're not burdened by, a conscience."

Wanted to Be a Superhero

During the 1991 evaluation sessions, Reyes told Berrill he had a desire to be a "superhero," and that he was the "president" or "king" of his social group.