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Inside The Mind Of A Man Who Killed His Family

"On November 8, 1985, 18-year-old Tom Odle brutally murdered his parents and three siblings in the small southern Illinois town of Mount Vernon, sending shockwaves throughout the nation," Southern Illinois University Press recalls.

"The murder of the Odle family remains one of the most horrific family mass murders in U.S. history. Odle was sentenced to death and, after 17 years on Death Row, expected a lethal injection to end his life. However, Illinois governor George Ryan's moratorium on the death penalty in 2000, and later commutation of all death sentences in 2003, changed Odle's sentence to natural life.

"The commutation of his death sentence was an epiphany for Odle. Prior to the commutation of his death sentence, Odle lived in denial, repressing any feelings about his family and his horrible crime. Following the commutation and the removal of the weight of eventual execution associated with his death sentence, he was confronted with an unfamiliar reality: a future.

"As a result, he realized that he needed to understand why he murdered his family. He reached out to Dr. Robert Hanlon, a neuropsychologist who had examined him in the past. Hanlon engaged Odle in a therapeutic process of introspection and self-reflection, which became the basis of their collaboration for Survived by One: The Life and Mind of a Family Mass Murderer.

"Hanlon tells a gripping story of Odle's life as an abused child, the life experiences that formed his personality, and his tragic homicidal escalation to mass murder, seamlessly weaving into the narrative Odle's unadorned reflections of his childhood, finding a new family on Death Row, and his belief in the powers of redemption."


*

"Dr. Robert E. Hanlon, author of Survived by One: The Life and Mind of a Family Mass Murderer, published by Southern Illinois University Press, will speak in Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library on April 30 at 6 p.m.

"Mass murders, including family mass murders and public mass murders in schools, shopping centers, theaters, etc. are commonly committed by mentally disordered young men.

"Hanlon, a neuropsychologist specializing in the forensic evaluation of murderers, will discuss recent findings regarding the psychological factors that contribute to homicidal aggression and murder.

"Based on his research and experience in evaluating hundreds of violent criminals, including Odle, Hanlon will speak about how brain abnormalities and mental disorders, compounded by substance abuse, lead to the growing problem of mass murder in American culture."

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on April 17, 2014


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