[PROSECUTION WITNESS #5—Vladimir Vanakov]
James: Can you state your occupation for the record?
Vanakov: I’m a psychopathologist for the FBI.
James: And you have reviewed all evidence pertaining to this investigation, is that correct?
James: Thank you. In your professional opinion, is Mr. Ludarac a danger to himself or others?
Vanakov: While I have not interviewed Mr. Ludarac personally, based on what I have read from his life history and the interviews conducted under the state’s authority, yes, I think Jonathan Ludarac poses a threat to both others and himself.
James: On what information do you base this opinion?
Vanakov: Mr. Ludarac has had a violent past. While he was under the care of the St. Andrew Foster Home, Jonathan displayed clear signs of antisocial personality disorder. I believe Mr. Ludarac is highly manipulative and lacks a conscience.
James: Can you explain what antisocial personality disorder is?
Vanakov: It’s a condition that is recognized by the DSM*. as a valid mental condition. People with this disorder are often mislabeled as sociopaths or psychopaths, both of which are pejorative terms. The actual condition is characterized by a complete lack of regard for social norms. People with antisocial personality disorder are typically aggressive, conniving and impulsive.
James: On what do you base the theory that Jonathan has this condition?
Vanakov: While at St. Andrew’s, Jonathan convinced another boy to put a razor blade in someone’s cereal. He also convinced the same boy to suggest suicide to one of the girls in the home. She did, in fact, commit suicide shorty after. These actions display all the tell-tale signs of the condition: a lack of regard for the safety of the other children, clear aggression and impulsivity. The incidents do not seem to be pre-planned in anyway, but the most telling piece of evidence is that in both of these incidents, among many others I might add, Jonathan committed the act through another child.
James: What significance does that have?
Vanakov: What that means is that Jonathan knows the difference between right and wrong. He did not want to commit the actions himself because he did not want to be caught and suffer the consequences. In some of his counseling sessions, he even blames the other boy, Joey. He knew that what he was doing was wrong, but he did it anyway.
James: Was Jonathan ever treated for this condition?
Vanakov: No. In fact, many people with antisocial personality disorder go untreated for great lengths of time. It’s a very difficult condition to diagnose, and in a foster home, it is not at all surprising that Jonathan’s issue would go unchecked.
James: Wouldn’t someone have noticed that Jonathan had a mental disorder?
Vanakov: Not necessarily. Often times, people with antisocial personality disorder can be quite genial. They tend to be superficially charming. If they are charming, others are more likely to do what they want. This helps them manipulate others with greater ease.
James: Jonathan is married. Surely his wife would have noticed.
Vanakov: Wrong again. People with the condition think only of themselves. If it’s not in their interest to be violent or aggressive, they tend not to be. That’s why the prison system is often an effective deterrent. If person A has antisocial personality disorder, and that person wants to kill someone, he or she may realize that it is not in their best interest to go to prison which is what will happen if they do it and get caught, so they don’t, but not for what are traditionally moral reasons. That said, if they think they can get away with it, they will.
James: So, why would Jonathan Ludarac kill these four men?
Vanakov: Based on case history and some of the remarks made by Mr. Ludarac during his interrogations, it is clear that Jonathan believes the criminal justice system is ineffective and therefore invalid. This gives him, in his mind, license to do whatever he pleases. If they got away with it, so can he. If he believes these men are guilty, you have the perfect storm for a revenge attack.
James: Thank you, nothing further.
Harker: Dr., would you consider what happened to Lucy Ludarac to be a heinous act?
Harker: Is desire for revenge an indicator of antisocial personality disorder?
Vanakov: Not specifically no, but people who have it do tend to take revenge when they are wronged.
Harker: But revenge is not an indicator?
Vanakov: Not by itself, no.
Harker: Is revenge an indicator of a mental disorder at all?
Vanakov: No. Revenge is a fairly common human reaction.
Harker: So, really, you are basing this theory on remarks made by a sixteen-year-old nearly forty years ago.
Vanakov: The things Joey said about Jonathan, and the things that Jonathan said in similar interviews do display antisocial behavior.
Harker: If you had to guess, Doctor, about what percentage of sixteen-year-old males display antisocial behavior in some measure.
Vanakov: Most of them, but to me, Jonathan’s behavior seemed excessive for a sixteen-year-old male going through normal development.
Harker: Is there any indication that Mr. Ludarac displayed any sort of antisocial behavior after leaving the foster home?
Harker: So he does not appear to act out at his job?
Vanakov: No. Not that I am aware of.
Harker: Have Mr. Ludarac’s children ever stated that their father displayed any aggression toward them?
Vanakov: Aggression? No, not beyond the levels of the average parent.
Harker: Is that typical of people with antisocial personality disorder?
Vanakov: I wouldn’t say it’s typical, but like I said, it can be dormant, in a sense, for years.
Harker: Or he might not have the disorder. Is that also possible?
Vanakov: Without having interviewed him myself, I cannot say without a shadow of a doubt that he has the disorder, but I can say that there is some strong evidence that points to that conclusion.
Harker: Some evidence? That’s a pretty weak diagnosis, isn’t it doctor? Withdrawn, Your Honor. Nothing further.
*The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders
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The People v. Jonathan Ludarac (Abridged)Horror
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