Inside the Mind of a Killer: Dr. Mendoza Interviewed

Experts say Kerby Revelus doesn’t easily fit any criminal profile and it’s unlikely there were any warning signs

 

By NANCY REARDON
THE PATRIOT LEDGER

MILTON – No one will ever know for certain why Kerby Revelus suddenly snapped and turned violent on his own
family, brutally slaying two sisters and injuring a third. Criminology and psychology experts iterviewed this week said the violence of Revelus’ acts doesn’t easily fit any criminal profile. They also said it’s unlikely there were any telling warning signs of the violent eruption that occurred . Rarely do experts see obvious indications that a person is about to snap, said Dr. Robert Mendoza, a psychologist at Boston Forensic Associates in Dedham. “I’ve worked with a number of serial murderers and people who have committed very violent crimes, and if they walked into any traditional medical clinic, the odds of them being identified as having an issue would be very, very small,” Mendoza said. Still, experts did identify several’ risk factors that applied to Revelus, including his gender and age, and they noted his criminal history and the significance of his relations with his victims.

Ninety percent of all murders and 98 percent of all serial murderers are male, according Jack Levin, a criminology professor and co-director of the Brudnick Center for Violence at Northeastem University. Revelus, 23, was in the most violence-prone gender/age group: males between 18 and 24. He also had a criminal record, and any arrest history indicates elevated risk of violence, Mendoza said. In 2005, Revelus was arrested for carrying a loaded gun into a Randolph liquor store. While on probabation, police caught him riding in a car .in Boston with two men who were in possession of illegal firearm. He spent five months in jail and got out in August, the Norfolk County district
attorney’s office said.

In 2004, Revelus was arrested on assault charges after an argument with his sister, Jessica Revelus of Hyde Park. Milton Police records indicated that she dropped the charges.

Mendoza said that it is not unusual for violence to occur within a family, and he noted that most killers know their victims. Similar things could be said of Ryan Bois, a 22-year-old convicted last month of raping and and murdering his 6-year-old cousin in Weymouth. But both Mendoza and Levin cautioned against comparisons between Revelus and Bois. The sexual component of Bois’ crime and the fact that it was not a multiple-victim homicide put him in a different category, psychologically speaking, they said. Multiple-victim homicides within a family are most often committed by middle-aged men against a wife and/or children, Levin said. Often, he said, revenge is the motive: the man is trying to get even with his wife by killing her, their children and sometimes even himself. “Most of the family annihilations involve a husband or father who lost his job or suffered a nasty separation or divorce,” Levin said.

He theorized that Revelus could have felt like an outsider in his family or felt other pressures, like competition. “There are some cases of adolescent boys in their late teens or early 20s who’ve been pressured or suffered extreme mental illness and decided to kill their own family out of a need for revenge,” he said. Neighbors and teens who knew Revelus described him this week as a quiet man who appeared troubled after his release from jail. He was seen walking alone and talking to himself. Although many signs of severe mental illness – like schizophrenia – appear in late adolescence, whether Revelus was mentally ill is not known. Regardless, he may not have fully realized what he was doing last weekend, Mendoza said. ”There’s a disconnect between judgment and emotion” Mendoza said. “And when that happens, it’s almost impossible to prevent anything from happening.”

Nancy Reardon may be
reached at nreardon@ledger.com.