1. Joel Rifkin's Early Life
Joel David Rifkin is one of the most prolific serial killers of the modern time, who murdered 17 women before he was arrested. Rifkin was born in 1959 and was adopted by Bernard and Jeanne Rifkin of New York when he was hardly four weeks old. Later, the family relocated to Long Island, where Joel David Rifkin enrolled in elementary school. Young Rifkin had a difficult time trying to fit with his peers and was often the target of school bullying. He was not part of a sports team in school or the neighborhood. Although he had an IQ of 128, he struggled academically and later was diagnosed with dyslexia. As a teen, Rifkin was still struggling to fit with his peers and tried to join track team with the hope of making friends, but he suffered ridicule from his friends and was nicknamed the lard ass. His father was so embarrassed with his sons grades because he was a board member in the same. When Rifkin was excluded from the end year wrap party, he was utterly devastated. In the same year, his parents gave him a car, and he used it to troll the prostitutes within Hampstead and Manhattan. In 1977, Rifkin graduated near the bottom of his class (Calvi, 2011).
2. Adulthood Life
According to Calvi (2011), Rifkin entered Nassau Community College, but he was bored and restless completing only a single course in the whole academic year of 1977-1978. He transferred to the state university at Brockport in 1978, but his lackluster in academic performance saw him drop out in 1980. His parents secured his admission again at Nassau Community College. However, he dropped out in 1984 and the whole of the 1980s, Rifkin worked in a string of odd jobs within Long Island, hardly maintaining any of the jobs. He maintained poor hygiene, and his ineptitude and chronic absenteeism made it impossible for any advancement in any job. Joel Rifkin left his parents on several occasions renting small apartments, but would always join his parents when he was out the job. All his money ended in the streets and was robbed by prostitutes and pimps several times. In one occasion he was duped twice by one hooker using the same ruse to flee with his money before having sex.
3. His Victims
Rifkin had a history of morbid fantasies and by 1989 he claimed that his mental images of violence were becoming more intense. This was the time his mother left the state, and Joel Rifkin was alone in the house. That night he drove through Manhattan looking for a hooker and identified a young lady called Susie who was a drug addict. As they drove back to Long Island she demanded several stops to buy crack cocaine and even after sex she asked Rifkin to take her out to look for drugs. Rifkin instead took a souvenir howitzer shell and started beating her unconscious, and later admitted that he only stopped when he got tired. He finally strangled her to death and placed her body in the trash bag. Rifkin cleaned the blood and any other signs of a fight in the house and slept like nothing had happened. When he woke up, he dragged the body to the basement and using a knife he dismembered the body. Using pliers, he pulled out her teeth and stuck her severed head into a can. He stashed the other body parts in plastic trash and disposed of them. The second victim was also a prostitute, and he followed a similar pattern to kill her. Rifkin would kill a total of 17 women mostly prostitutes in his murdering spree (Calvi, 2011).
In 1993, Rifkin was living alone in a rented room when he killed another hooker, Tiffany Bresciani and drove with her body to his mothers house. Rifkin moved the corpse to the garage, leaving it on a wheelbarrow for days. As he was going to dump the body, the police noticed the rear license plate on his car was missing. The police tried to stop him, but he panicked and sped off prompting the chase. He crashed into an electricity pole, and police found the decomposing body of Bresciani and he was taken into custody (Biography n.d).
4. Trial and Conviction
According to Biography.com, Rifkin was questioned by the homicide detectives in June 1993, and he described all the seventeen murders referring them as events. He listed all his victims by numbers because he had forgotten some of the names of his victims. He appeared before Judge Kingston and pleaded not guilty to all charges. In July 1993, he pleaded not guilty again and in November 1993, he was offered a deal of 46 years to life if he pleaded guilty to all 17 murders, but he refused hoping he would be acquitted on grounds of insanity. The trial began in April 1994, and the Psychiatrist Kirwin described Rifkin as the most pathological she had seen in her whole career. Dr. Dietz, a prosecution witness, said Rifkin was sick but not insane, and therefore, he knew what he was doing. Throughout his trial, Rifkin was dosing and by 1996, he was facing at least 183 years for seven murders, and there were other ten outstanding murders. In 2002, the Supreme Court in New York found Rifkin guilty of 16 murders and was sentenced to 203 years. Rifkin is serving his term at Clinton New York correctional facility, and will not be eligible for parole until 2197.
Smith (2009), argues that from a sociological perspective, Rifkins case is a public issue and not a personal trouble, because his actions affected a group of people and not just an individual. Secondly, when he was sentenced, he became part of the prison's population which receives public funding and therefore has a potential of affecting social welfare in the society. The prison system is maintained by taxes paid by the whole society. From this point of view, Rifkin is part of the public issue.
Biography.com Editors (n.d). Joel rifkin biography. The biography.com website. Retrieved from
http://www.biography.com/people/joel-rifkin-11930477. 12 June, 20].
Calvi, M. (4 Jan. 2011). Exclusive: Inside the mind of a serial killer joel rifkin offers cbs 2 his
opinions on gilgo beach bodies. CBS New York. Retrieved from http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/01/04/exclusive-inside-the-mind-of-a-serial-killer/
Smith, M. K. (2009). C. Wright Mills: power, craftsmanship, and personal troubles and private
issues the encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved from http://infed.org/mobi/c-wright-mills-power-craftsmanship-and-private-troubles-and-public-issues/. 12 June, 2016.
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