From the day he was born, Patrick McCullough faced hardships and reacted with untempered anger. His mother, a soon-to-be-divorced military wife, was late to realize that he was deaf and never learned how to handle his outbursts. Eventually, she abandoned him by petitioning for him to be a ward of the state.Read more...
From the day he was born, Patrick McCullough faced hardships and reacted with untempered anger. His mother, a soon-to-be-divorced military wife, was late to realize that he was deaf and never learned how to handle his outbursts. Eventually, she abandoned him by petitioning for him to be a ward of the state. Stints in mental institutions and dismissals from several schools punctuated the rest of McCullough s early years. Despite this severe childhood, no one could have predicted the outcome of his life described in "Deadly Charm: The Story of a Deaf Serial Killer."
Authors McCay and Marie Vernon present a compelling story about McCullough, a strikingly handsome man with a winning personality. His charm was endearing, but his incendiary temper resulted in increasing aggression and abuse. Eventually, he was convicted for the murder of two men. Yet, McCullough ingratiated himself with the court and served only seven years in prison. Once free again, he resumed his pattern of sweetness and mayhem. He beguiled sympathetic women whom he then abused and stalked. Finally, his rage culminated in a crescendo of destruction. "Deadly Charm" depicts a deaf serial killer driven by frustration and violence and leaves much to consider. Did McCullough s deafness exacerbate his lethally violent nature? Perhaps his vicious impulses could have been constrained if his time in mental institutions had been more productive than his time in prison.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 47.
- Review Date: 2010-03-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Florida-based forensic psychologist McCay Vernon and journalist Marie Vernon (coauthors of Deadly Lust) present a striking portrait of Patrick McCullough, “[s]o far as can be determined... the first and only deaf man ever to be identified as a serial killer.” McCay Vernon's personal encounters with him both in and out of prison add an authoritative tone to this psychological probe of a man with a volcanic anger and an inability to accept rejection. Despite his IQ of 120, McCullough's relatively late diagnosis of deafness impeded his development of language skills and “trapped [him] in a silent world.” Already unmanageable as a three-year-old, McCullough went on to spend time in mental institutions and seven years in prison for two murders committed in the 1980s. His tragic life ended in 2001 with a bloody murder-suicide. But the authors argue, unlike most serial killers, McCullough did not kill for sexual pleasure but because of his rage (caused possibly by neurological damage) and inability to accept rejection. Drawing on a range of sources from court records to interviews with McCullough's friends, the authors provide a disturbing portrait of an atypical serial murderer. (May 31)