What makes people love (alleged) killers?


(NewsNation) — Sometimes, people visit a crime scene to learn more about an investigation.

And then, there are people with other motives.

Exclusive video shot for NewsNation’s “Banfield” showed multiple people visiting to get a photo at the Moscow house where four University of Idaho students were killed. One witness told NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield that they’ve seen people filming TikTok dances in front of the house.

And now, a subReddit called “Brynation,” which consisted of supporters of suspect Bryan Kohberger, has been banned from the site. Kohberger, 28, is accused of killing Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle in their off-campus rental home in Moscow, Idaho, on Nov. 13, 2022.

He also has a Facebook group called “Justice for Bryan Kohberger” with thousands of members. The description to join reads, “It’s about whether or not you can prove you’re innocent. If you can’t prove you’re innocent, then you’re considered guilty. It’s been flipped: Now it’s guilty until proven innocent.”

Kohberger has also received love letters. A Facebook user named Brittney J. Hislope said she’s been writing and mailing him around a letter a day since his Dec. 30 arrest.

“On one hand, there’s healthy curiosity, but it can also become an obsession,” Scott Bonn, a criminologist and serial killer expert, said during an appearance on “Banfield.”

It’s called hybristophilia, and it’s essentially attraction and sexual interest in people who commit crimes.

Bonn, the author of “Why We Love Serial Killers,” said the phenomenon of people who “love” alleged killers is not new. He called serial killers like Ted Bundy the “ultimate fixer-upper,” which is why some people find themselves drawn to them romantically. 

“I wouldn’t say that these really extreme groupies are mentally ill, but I would say that there’s something missing there, something that draws them to this,” he said. He speculated that such people might have “an emotional deficit or a personality disorder where they have a hole inside of them.”

According to The Healthy Journal, another reason people are drawn to killers may be the attraction to danger. An A&E blog listed several other possible reasons, including an attraction to deviance, fame, feeling special, the desire for a “bad boy” in some females and simply the novelty of it.

To stop “crime tourism” at the Idaho home, it will be demolished and a memorial and garden will be established, according to a memo from the president of the university.

In preparation, a crime scene cleaning company was there last week to do “trauma remediation.” The process involves biohazard waste removal and decontamination.


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