Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Gerald Eugene Stano

Sad Beginnings

Murder One
Murder One

As Gerald grew up he developed many problems.   In Murder One, author Terry Ecker describes   Stano as emotionally distant. He frequently wet the bed, a habit that continued until he was about 10. 

It is interesting to note that Stano's early childhood behaviors are common in most serial killers.   According to Robert Ressler, an FBI profiler and author of several books, including Whoever Fights Monsters, potential killers became solidified in their loneliness from the age of 8 to 12.  "Such isolation is considered the single most important aspect of their psychological makeup," he writes. "Loneliness and isolation do not always mean that the potential killers are introverted and shy; some are, but others are gregarious with other men, and are good talkers. The outward orientation of the latter masks their inner isolation."  In addition, Ressler also notes that of all the serial killers he has ever studied, at least 60% of them had problems wetting the bed.

Robert K. Ressler
Robert K. Ressler

Flowers wrote that during his adolescence, Gerald had difficulty relating to the kids his own age and tended to hang out by himself.   He quickly became a target for bullies, and teenage girls usually made him the butt of their jokes.  During the late 1960s, Gerald was arrested for sounding a false fire alarm and shortly thereafter again for throwing large rocks at cars from atop a highway overpass.  The Stanos were warned that a third offense would land him in a juvenile detention center.  In an attempt to set him straight, they enrolled him in a military school. Nonetheless, the problems did not stop and Gerald began stealing money from fellow students. 

Gerald Eugene Stano in junior high school
Gerald Eugene Stano in junior high school

In 1967 the Stano's moved to Norristown, Pennsylvania.   Gerald's parents hoped that the change in environment might help curb his odd behavior.  Nothing changed and his attitude became worse.  According to Ecker, Gerald began skipping school on a regular basis and continued to steal money from his family and classmates.  On one occasion he stole a large sum of money from his father's wallet and paid members of the school track team to run behind him so he would finish first.  After flunking out and repeating at least three grades, Gerald finally received his high school diploma at 21.

Gerald Eugene Stano in high school
Gerald Eugene Stano in high school
 

Soon after graduation, Gerald moved into a motel and enrolled himself in computer school.  Surprisingly, and to the delight of his parents, he graduated with flying colors and shortly thereafter began working at a local hospital.  But it did not take long for him to revert back to his old ways.  Just weeks after being hired, he was fired for stealing money from employees' purses.  Gerald bounced from job to job for awhile and eventually moved back in with his parents.

 

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