Over the course of our podcast, we have come across murderer after murderer diagnosed with schizophrenia--Adrian Robinson (ep5), Robert Moorman (ep9), Coral Watts (ep10), and Jeffrey Franklin (ep15). I wondered about the correlation between mental illness and violent behavior. Does schizophrenia always lead to violence and homicide? This task grew to an overwhelming one because it is a huge topic, and I wanted a short, sweet answer.
The answer is not at all short or sweet; nonetheless, here is a very basic, very short answer to my question: Does schizophrenia always lead to violence and homicide?
According to my research, homicidal schizophrenics are rare: "violent behaviour is comparatively rare. Most people with schizophrenia are never violent and indeed do not display any dangerous behaviour" (Schizophrenia). However, the tendency for someone with schizophrenia to exhibit violent behaviors expands by 15% when he or she is abusing drugs and/or alcohol.
Generally, the risk for a person with schizophrenia to become violent or homicidal is tripled by substance abuse. When the schizophrenic abuses drugs and/or alcohol, he or she is open to psychosis, which can have bloody results. All of the schizophrenic murderers we profiled abused drugs and/or alcohol. Adrian Robinson's ex-wife, former roommate, and his family stated that Robinson was not even the same person when he abused drugs. Robert Moorman drank heavily before murdering his mother; he bought a bottle of liquor from the liquor store, and, at the time of his arrest, police noticed that most of it was gone. Coral Watts did marijuana and speed (though some believe that his schizophrenia diagnosis was not legit--he is considered a master manipulator and an organized killer who knows how to fool medical professionals). Lastly, Jeffrey Franklin abused his prescription Ritalin; in addition, he did cocaine, Xanax, Klonopin, LSD, and other drugs, and he had been on a three day binge when he massacred his parents and critically injured three of his siblings.
The details and information available about schizophrenia and murder is not only interesting and illuminating, but also very sad. Some who suffer from schizophrenia use drugs and alcohol to self medicate in an effort to silence the voices in their heads, not realizing that their substance abuse feeds the mental illness and can sometimes have chilling results.
“Schizophrenia and Dangerous Behaviour.” Living With Schizophrenia, www.livingwithschizophreniauk.org/information-sheets/schizophrenia-and-dangerous-behaviour/.