Criminal Justice

In this paper, it will be about Michelle Kehoe, a woman who killed her one son and tried to kill the other. Talk about her life,relationships, and case in detail. Talk about some of the motives behind it and why she did it. It is a pretty easy paper as all you are doing is talking about what happened with her. Also, if you can add in five sources, i’ll definitely throw in a tip for your services. Thank you 🙂


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Michelle Kehoe Case

Michelle Kehoe was in 2009 convicted of first-degree murder, attempted murder, child endangerment resulting in severe injuries charges, and sentenced to life imprisonment for killing her 2-year-old son and attempting to kill her other 7-year-old son as well. In 2019, she tried to appeal the case based on ineffective assistance claims; however, her application denial was affirmed (Press). The case’s background facts show that Kehoe drove her sons in a nearby pond, slit her two son’s throats, orchestrated the scene to seem like a stranger man attacked them, and later slit her throat as well. Michelle and her older son were alive; however, the younger son died. The older son later testified and confirmed that his mother had taken them in deserted woods and ‘cut them’ (Michelle Lynn Kehoe v. State of Iowa). This essay briefly summarizes the background case facts, establishes the motives of Kehoe’s filicide behavior being a sense of altruism, and argues that the motivations of Kehoe’s filicide behavior can be explained through psychological theories of crime

According to Dodson & Cabage (2015), the killing of children by their parents or guardians is filicide. Filicide could be categorized as infanticide or neonaticide, depending on the age of the victim. The authors contend that filicide is a common problem in the USA, with white offenders accounting for a larger number (Dodson and Cabage). Michelle Kehoe’s confession showed that she had been planning the incident to kill her sons for quite a while. This is because she confessed that the note she wrote incriminating a strange man was written a month ago but re-written that morning of the incident, and the duct tape she used was purchased “a couple of months ago” (Michelle Lynn Kehoe v. State of Iowa). A psychiatrist stated that Michelle suffered from severe depression, personality, compulsive disorder, and delusion. She had suffered childhood trauma, including physical and mental abuse. She was sexually abused by her stepfather and betrayed by her mother by not protecting her from the molestation; instead, she was abandoned. Despite being described as a loving wife and good mother by her husband, she felt something was wrong with her. The depression and mental illness she carried from her childhood to adulthood and motherhood were never adequately addressed medically. This shows that Michelle had a loving relationship with her sons and husbands; however, her low self-schema and childhood trauma instigated her mental problems and prompted her to kill her sons.

The psychodynamic theory argues that an individual’s childhood experiences influence their likelihood of committing a crime in the future (Criminal Michelle had traumatic childhood experiences, being molested and abandoned by her mother, which instigated her depression and mental illness. Since then, Michelle was obsessed with being the ‘perfect’ mother who would protect her children, correcting her mother’s weakness. However, when she saw that she was inadequate, and her childhood experience was overwhelming, she decided to do “what was best for the children (a sense of altruism)” (Michelle Lynn Kehoe v. State of Iowa). This included saving the children from herself, lifetime depression, and from the pain of a mother committing suicide. She claimed she wanted to kill her children before they reached the age of accountability so that they could go to heaven. This explains the love or altruism she had for her children, saving them from guilt and relieving them from suffering before they grew older. Michelle’s reasoning for committing filicide shows an interplay of psychodynamic, behavioral, and cognitive theories that explain her susceptibility to criminal behavior (Miller).

Works Cited

Criminal Psychological Theories of Crime. 2020. 23 November 2020.

Dodson, Kimberly D. and Leann Cabage. “Chapter 12: Mothers who kill.” (Eds.), T. L. Freiburger and Catherin D. Marcum. Women in the criminal justice system: Tracking the journey of females and crime. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2015. 189-208.

Michelle Lynn Kehoe v. State of Iowa. No. 8-0222. COURT OF APPEALS OF IOWA. 18 December 2019.

Miller, Laurence. “Psychological Theories of Criminal Behavior.” Handbook of Behavioral Criminology (2017): 43-62.

Press, Associated. Court affirms Coralville woman’s conviction for attack on young sons. 19 December 2019. 23 November 2020.



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