Multiple Personality Disorder

Multiple Personality Disorder

Multiple Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a fascinating dissociative disorder when a person has at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities. Legal and mental health professionals are divided whether it exists, and if it does, is the person responsible for the crimes committed. It's also possible the disorder is a form of another illness, such as schizophrenia, or simply the people who claim to have it are good at acting and manipulating.

Multiple Personality Disorder and criminal cases

There is no direct link between criminal behavior and multiple personality disorder. Having DID doesn't automatically mean a person is more prone to commit crimes, but when they do, the outcome is fascinating from the criminal science point of view. In criminal cases, the question whether the defendant is trying to deceive the jury is always left hanging in the air.

Thomas Dee Huskey aka “Zoo Man”

From 1991 to 1992, a convicted rapist Thomas Huskey, who got his nickname Zoo Man from prostitutes whom he took to the Knoxville Zoo to have sex, lured 4 girls to a remote area and strangled them to death. Huskey swore another man killed the women: a different personality, who called himself Kyle, but lived inside his body.

Accused serial killer Thomas Huskey
Accused serial killer Thomas Huskey

Huskey's psychiatrist Dr. Robert Sadoff argued his client had multiple personalities and therefore, wasn't responsible for killing the girls. Huskey himself claimed that he had no memory related to any of the murders, but one of his personalities, Kyle, confessed that he had committed the murders. The main reason to believe Huskey might not have been guilty was the fact that Kyle was left-handed while Thomas Huskey was right-handed. Huskey had a low IQ, suggesting that he would have been incapable of concocting such a clever scheme.

Knox County district attorney general pushed for the death penalty, but the jury couldn't reach a verdict. The murder charges were finally dismissed in 2005 when prosecutors simply gave up. Huskey did get a 64-year sentence for raping four other women before the murders. He has a chance for a parole hearing in April 2015.

Billy Milligan

Billy Milligan was in the middle of a highly publicized court case in Ohio in the late 1970s. During the time span of 12 days, in 1977, 3 women were kidnaped and raped. One of the victims claimed he had a German accent, despite the perpetrator being a 22-year-old American Billy Milligan.

Billy Milligan Multiple Personality Disorder
After raping three women, Billy Milligan was diagnosed with multiple personalities

His psychiatrist diagnosed him with DID and 24 different personalities. The Defense attorney said it wasn't Billy who had committed the crimes. Instead, a Yugoslavian man named Ragen and Adalana – a 19-year-old lesbian who craved for affection. Seemingly unbelievable, but the jury bought the theory and Billy was the first American who was found not guilty due to DID.

Billy and his bizarre disorder made him somewhat famous, there is a book about him, The Minds of Billy Milligan, and a documentary made, part of it is on Youtube.

Other notable cases of Multiple Personality Disorder

Famous examples of people with DID, who didn't commit any crimes, but for one reason or other are well known or talked about.

Robert Oxnam

The former president of the Asian Society, Robert Oxnam, had always struggled with his mental health. After being diagnosed with alcoholism, his psychiatrist realized the distinguished American scholar had multiple personalities, at least 11 separate identities. For an example, a young and angry boy named Tommy, who was living in a castle.

While Mr. Oxnam didn't commit any crimes, he did write a book about his experiences with the disorder: A Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder.

Kim Noble

Kim Noble multiple personality disorder
Kim Noble wrote a book about her struggles with the illness

After being featured on Oprah, Kim Noble became one of the most famous and talked about individuals suffering from the disorder. The count of 50-year-old Kim's personalities is uncertain – according to her, she has over 100. These personalities are all distinct, with their own names, ages, and quirks of temperament. Some are children, some are male.

And just like many others with the diagnose, she too wrote a book about, which became an instant hit.

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