‘I’ve interviewed 50 serial killers – they all ask me bizarre question’

A woman who's interviewed more than 50 of America's most sadistic murderers says they all have one thing in common.

Forensic psychologist Laura Brand – the so-called “Siren of San Quentin” – is a leading authority on serial killers.

She says that, oddly, almost all of them ask her for the same thing during their first meeting.

“Every time I go into the prison they all ask me for a Coke and a Hershey's dark chocolate every single one which I think is so strange,” Laura explained.

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During the interviews she’s typically “one-on-one” with the prisoners.

“You’re locked in a cage with them uncuffed – but there are guards outside that you can wave down if you need them,” she told Soft White Underbelly.

Laura has chatted with dozens of convicted killers such as Bobby Joe Long, Gregory Miley, and Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris – the notorious Toolbox Killers.

During their five-month reign of terror, Bittaker and Norris raped and murdered five young girls, subjecting them all to horrific tortures.

“The only time I’ve had nightmares is with Bittaker and Norris because I’ve gone so deep with their case," she said.

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Laura has given many of her interviewees her home phone number, adding: “They call my phone probably from starting at 7am until 9pm sometimes 12am…

She added: “I love what I do but, you know, it's like any kind of job you have those days where you're just exhausted. Even if you love what you do you still have those moments of just burnout.”

Around 80% of serial killers’ crimes are sexually motivated, according to Laura.

“And then I see thrill on top of the sexual motivation a lot," she continued. "Typically there's rape present or some type of sexual act.

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“A lot of serial killers are married, or have girlfriends, but the kind of sex they're looking for is…deviant. They won't share that with a loved one, or partner, so they go out and get a surrogate to do these deviant sexual acts with.”

Very often, Laura says, the seeds of these mens’ sick behaviour are planted in early childhood: "I see a lot of trauma … a lot of neglect with a lot of them.

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“Last week, I was talking to two serial killers, and one of them was abandoned at 18 months and he survived for six months with these dogs in a back alley. He wasn't able to talk until he was six…

“Another one was telling me how his mother shot him up with heroin at 13 years old”.

“I talk to them a lot about sexual images they first saw as a child, and a lot of the sexual images they first saw their first experience was of a woman in bondage or something of violent nature.”

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Early exposure to porn is definitely a factor in turning someone into a serial killer, Laura says.

She explained: “I think Ted Bundy was the first one who pointed it out about the porn but I've noticed that especially especially recently too because now they have a ton of access to all types of porn on the internet and any type of violent porn they want.”

With an entire new generation of young men exposed to unprecedented levels of often very violent pornography through the internet, Laura is unlikely to run out of research subjects any time soon.

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