High-flying banker turned sex-killer Rurik Jutting, now sits behind bars inside Hong Kong’s maximum security Stanley Prison. The trial and conviction of Jutting, now branded a psychopath, has raised questions about free will. Could it be possible that Jutting was biologically hardwired to commit some sort of horrific crime during his life? Writing in the South China Morning Post, one associate professor thinks research suggests that is possible.
The British expat recently received a life sentence for the brutal murder of two young girls that he picked up in Wan Chai, a notoriously seedy area of Hong Kong, which he happened to call home. The court found that the two Indonesian women, 23-year-old Summarti Ningsih and 26-year-old Seneng Mujiasih, had come to Hong Kong to provide for their impoverished families. Jutting reduced them to sex slaves before slicing their throats.
According to his IQ scores, Jutting is part of the top 2% of the most intelligent people on the planet. Before the murders, he quickly plummeted from his HK$2.5 million-a-year job at Bank of America Merrill Lynch into a deep k-hole of drug, alcohol and lifestyle addiction.
His gruesome crimes were the result of a three-day cocaine and alcohol-fueled bender. However, the defense counsel, Tim Owen QC, further explained how psychologically damaging events haunting the mind of this once promising banker had played a significant part in his downfall.
Paul Stapleton, associate professor at the Education University of Hong Kong, believes that cases like Jutting’s raise questions over how much control psychopaths have when it comes to their individual actions. The defense counsel used alleged sexual abuse and being witness to his father’s attempted suicide in order to try and diminish Jutting’s responsibility.
Research findings are beginning to uncover more evidence that certain inborn biological markers are associated with criminality, says Stapleton. Psychopaths claiming diminished responsibility because of genetic make-up is generally viewed with skepticism by courts. When subjected to 10 days of disgustingly brutal evidence, witnessing the self-recorded rantings of a naked, blood-soaked and knife-wielding Jutting, it’s easy to see how skepticism might creep in. However…
A man’s ring finger is more likely to be longer than his index finger, caused by differences in testosterone exposure levels in the womb. The more testosterone, the longer the ring finger. A growing body of research is now finding that the ring-index finger ratio is linked to male aggressiveness, impulsiveness and sensation seeking. And also that offenders in prison are more likely to have long ring fingers compared to index fingers than non-offenders, indicating an underlying genetic basis to criminality.
Stapleton further explains, in The Anatomy of Violence, neurocriminologist Adrian Raine, shows how psychopaths are quite literally hardwired differently. Abnormalities such as high volumes of prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for rational decision making, or abnormally-sized amygdala and hippocampus, linked to emotions and memories, are common in many offenders tested by Raine. Some of which experienced abuse, poor nutrition and generally damaged childhoods.
This kind of research raises some pretty uncomfortable questions regarding free will, It seems the mystery of psychopaths and their personal liability is ever slowly unraveling. In this case, the jury did not see the events that Rurik Jutting experienced in his childhood as any reason to grant diminished responsibility. It is extremely hard to imagine a world where psychopaths roam free and above the law because of their genetic make up.
Hold on… did anyone measure the length of his ring finger?
By Seamus Gibson
[Images via The Mirror]