Personal Manifestos: Never a Good Sign
Jodi Arias claims she killed Travis Alexander in self defense, arguing that she is a victim of domestic violence.Corbis Images
Even killers who break the law seem to follow certain rules. Despite how inexplicable any normal person might consider a murderous action, many of them -- particularly the ones that draw media attention -- attempt to justify their behavior and even explain their beliefs in the form of a manifesto.
In a case that has garnered headlines nationwide, alleged killer Jodi Arias has reportedly written a manifesto during her time in jail. The contents of the document have not yet been revealed, although prosecutors claim she wrote it "in case she became famous."
If criminal history in the past few decades has been any guide, a manifesto isn't usually the hallmark of an innocent person. More often than not, it seems to spell trouble.
Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, was caught and arrest one year after the publication of his manifesto.Corbis Images
In what might be the most notorious written document produced by an unhinged killer, the Unabomber's manifesto is a 35,000-word text that Ted Kaczynski sent for publication to the New York Times and the Washington Post. Still hiding and causing terror through his mail bombing campaign, the Unabomber promised to cease his violent activities if his manifesto were published.
Opening with the line, "The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race," Kaczynski goes on a tirade against technology and its effect on Earth.
Although initially reluctant to publish his manifesto, a bomb threat and the recommendation of the Department of Justice to publish as a matter of public safety compelled both publications to include the manuscript as a supplement in the Friday, Sept. 22, 1995 editions of both newspapers.
Jared Lee Loughner had to be medicated before he could be judged competent to stand trial.Corbis Images
In January 2011, Jared Lee Loughner attended an event hosted by then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. With a crowd gathered around Giffords, Loughner pulled out a handgun and fired, killing six people and wounding 13 others, including critically injuring Giffords herself.
Before the shooting, Loughner had posted a series of YouTube videos. The clips, which feature texts and diagrams drawn up by Loughner, reveal the inner workings of Loughner's paranoid perspective. Obsessed with the English language, advocating a new system of currency and warning of mind control and brain washing, Loughner's rants are all over the map.
After being arrested for the shooting in Tuscon, Ariz., Loughner was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, which initially postponed his trial and sentencing. Last year, however, Loughner was finally sentenced to a term of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Likely delusional, Jiverly Wong believed an unidentified police officer tortured him in his sleep.Corbis Images
On one fateful April day three years ago, Jiverly Wong entered the American Civic Association immigration center in Binghamton, N.Y., shooting and killing 13 people and wounding four others before killing himself. Prior to that day, Wong had a criminal record, but nothing to indicate he was capable of the kind of crime he had committed.
A package mailed to a local television station containing a two-page manifesto helped to shed light on Wong's motivation. In the letter, Wong claimed that he had a "poor life," had been persecuted by police, and indicated he intended to kill himself and take at least two other people with him, as reported by CBS News.
The tone of the letter is disjointed and rambling, indicating that Wong likely had mental health issues. He closes the letter with, "And you have a nice day," written in all caps.
Chris Dorner was killed by police after an interstate manhunt.Corbis Images
Cop killer Chris Dorner was a high-profile fugitive after he shot and killed three people in a rampage in the wake of his termination as an employee of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). In an attempt to justify his actions, Dorner published an 11-page manifesto online.
Describing his actions as "a necessary evil," Dorner excoriates the LAPD, invoking the Rampart and Rodney King scandals, and threatens more violence and even murder if the full story behind his termination weren't publicly released.
The massacre perpetrated by Seung-Hui Cho was the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.Corbis Images
Before gunning down 32 students at Virginia Tech University and taking his own life, mass murderer Seung-Hui Cho sent a package to NBC News that included photos, such as the one you see here, an 1,800-word statement, and 27 video clips.
"You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option," Cho said in one of the videos. "The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off."
Cho also discussed his hatred for the rich, and also extolled the Columbine shooters as "martyrs."
Upon receiving the package, NBC News immediately contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The package also sparked a debate over whether it was even appropriate to air its contents, given that doing so was exactly what Cho wanted.
Evidence found after the shooting showed that Pekka-Eric Auvinen may have also attempted to set the school on fire.Corbis Images
In 2007, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, an 18-year-old student, entered Jokela High School in Jokela, Finland, with a handgun and killed eight people as well as himself.
Before committing his crime, Auvinen uploaded a video to YouTube with the words "Jokela High School Massacre" right in the title. His YouTube clips combined with blog posts formed what Auvinen called his "Manifesto of a Natural Selector."
In his manifesto, Auvinen expresses feelings of isolation and disgust with the "miserable, arrogant and selfish human race." Like Cho, Auvinen also idolized the Columbine High School shooters.
Prior to 2007, Finland had only seen one other school shooting in its history. One year after the Jokela, a copycat mass killer, Matti Juhani Saari, shot and killed 11 people, including himself.
Dmitry Vinogradov's attack claimed the lives of five people in a mere 18 seconds.Corbis Images
In January 2012, Dmitry Vinogradov, a 29-year-old Russian man, broke up with his girlfriend. The breakup left him suffering from depression. Two months after the couple broke up, he bought a rifle and began practicing his aim on firing ranges. In November of that year, Vinogradov entered his Moscow office and killed five people.
Before the shooting, Vinogradov, who had been drinking excessively prior to the shooting according to Russian police, published a manifesto online. The document explains that his relationship was the cause of his actions, but also proclaims his hatred for humanity.
After news broke of Vinogradov's murders, users flooded his online profile with angry and occasionally obscene messages directed at Vinogradov.
Although Norway doesn't have a life sentence exactly, Anders Breivik will likely spend the rest of his days behind bars.Corbis Images
On July 22, 2011, Anders Breivik unleashed a series of terror attacks that left 77 people dead and more than 300 people injured. Before he unleashed what TIME described as the "bloodiest act of terrorism in Norway since World War II," Breivik posted one last Facebook update: a 1,516-page document and a YouTube clip.
In his manifesto, titled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," Breivik angrily denounces multiculturalism and immigration. He mentions his pride in his "Viking heritage," and laments the supposed death of Western culture.
Breivik also plagiarizes large sections of the Unabomber's manifesto without attribution.