Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Rise and Fall of Thomas Capano

Portrait of a Killer

So how does this relate to Capano?  On the stand, and in the way he treated his mistresses (and even his lawyers), he exhibited many of these traits.  He expected that people would acknowledge how unique and special he was, he believed that the laws did not apply to him, he showed disregard for the feelings of almost everyone, and he never missed an opportunity to demonstrate how much better he was than everyone else.

With Anne Marie, an insecure woman with an eating disorder who equally feared losing control, to have a man take over and run her life might have been something of a the beginning.  He would order food for her, tell her what to wear, where to be, and how to act.  (He did the same for MacIntyre.)  When Annie resisted and even tried to set limits, he reacted.  While his rage simmered, he persuaded another woman to buy him a gun, planned a night out, took Anne Marie to his home, and shot her.  Then he calmly went to her apartment to make it look as if she'd been there.  After that, he figured he could control his younger brother adequately to dump the body in the ocean and put an end to this woman who thought she could defy his wishes.

That Capano was so blind to the effect his cold arrogance had on others is not surprising considering how his own mother persisted in hearing nothing of the evidence and declaring that he was incapable of such an act.  Despite knowing from two of her other sons that Tom had indeed been capable of these things, she persisted in a state of denial.  Like mother, like son.

But why react so strongly?  Why not just go out and meet other women?  Capano certainly had other mistresses, some of whom would do anything for him.  Yet to a controlling narcissist, that's not the point.  The point is that Anne Marie tried to initiate a change on her own.  That's quite terrifying to a person who not only believes he's in charge but desperately needs to believe he's in charge.  She was undermining him, taking away his narcissistic foundation.  She was not to be to so easily brought back into line, so he would have the last word, as he told one reporter he always got.  If she thought she could just end it and walk away, he'd show her.  He killed her to reassert his power and reassure himself that no one decides how things will be except him.

For a narcissist, image is everything, and for a man of power, the power must be maintained at all costs.  Even the cost of another person's life.

But there would be a cost to him, too.


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