The following article about Raul Barrera, who evidently knifed his girlfriend to death two days ago because she wanted to leave him, was in this morning's NY Post:
It's hardly a surprise that a murderer is a sociopath. But even apart from that, Barrera's other behaviors provide a good lesson in how sociopaths behave.
He had evidently beaten Sarah Coit, his girlfriend and victim, before. The police had come after being called by other neighbors, but had not arrested him. From 2001 to 2004 he had a record of seven domestic violence incidents, with two other former girlfriends.
His former boss described Barrera, a P.R. man, as "very much a charmer." Sociopaths are often very charming, at least when they have motive to be.
The most revealing comments came from Jessica Blum, Coit's best friend: "He was controlling over her....He broke her computer when she wouldn't let him use it. He would take her Blackberry for a week at a time, saying she didn't need to use it."
According to the Post, Blum "also said Barrera would send Blackberry messages to Coit's friends from her phone, pretending to be her and cutting them off."
Even if Barrera hadn't killed Coit, that little snapshot of his behavior would be enough to identify him as a sociopath. Sociopaths have a desperate need to control others. Breaking someone's computer after being forbidden to use it is childish, impulsive, and selfish. Sociopaths are all three of those in the extreme. And justifying taking her Blackberry by saying she didn't need it is the type of facile rationalization which sociopaths use all the time.
The most telling behavior was the way Barrera texted Coit's friends, pretending to be her, and trying to cut them off. Going behind someone's back in such a slimy way is something a nonsociopath simply wouldn't do. Several of the sociopaths I've known did things like this. Some would eagerly tell people what others had said about them behind their backs; often what they said was true, but doing that still violates every unwritten rule of confidentiality. And others would just make stuff up, as Barrera did. Either way, sowing discord is a sociopathic specialty.
So, of course, is knifing people to death. What the linked article does not say is that Barrera hacked Coit up so badly that her head was almost severed from her body.
The whole thing is a little reminiscent of another murder that took place seventeen years ago.
Too bad Johnny Cochran isn't around to defend Barrera.