Are serial killers born or made?

Paul LaRosa is a “48 Hours” producer. “Serial Confessions” airs Saturday, June 24 at 10/9c on CBS.

Are serial killers like Todd Kohlhepp of South Carolina just born bad or did something happen when they were young?

In this case, Kohlhepp, a formerly successful realtor, has pleaded guilty to killing seven of his fellow citizens. Kohlhepp denies he’s a serial killer. In hours of police confessions, he tries to explain that he’s basically a good guy who does bad things to people who cross him.

“I’ve never done anything to anybody who didn’t have it coming,” confessed killer Todd Kohlhepp tells detectives.

But even he admits that by definition, he fits the bill and, in his case, he has a history of bad behavior dating back to when he was a child.

After reviewing court documents, CBS New consultant Kris Mohandie, a forensic psychologist, says Kohlhepp was troubled from the age of 15 months. According to documents, he was a terror as far back as nursery school. He hit other children and destroyed their projects.  He shot a dog with a BB gun and used bleach to kill a goldfish.

“As a young child,” Mohandie says, “he was already out of control, already into gratifying his power and dominance needs, already comfortable hurting other people.”

Todd’s mother, Regina Tague, remembers a smart boy who liked to read the encyclopedia and sit on her lap while she read the funny papers to him. “And he would laugh and he would get tickled. And he learned,” she said.

Regina Tague and her son, Todd Kohlhepp

Regina Tague

But Regina and Todd’s father divorced when Todd, an only child, was 2.  She remarried the following year. According to later psychological reports, Todd did not get along with his stepfather and grew increasingly hostile and abusive.

That might have been a turning point for Todd.

In “The Anatomy of Violence,” University of Pennsylvania criminologist Adrian Raine finds research to indicate…

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