Have you ever written to anyone in prison? If you did, chances are you wrote to someone you knew who had made a bad mistake- that methhead cousin, you're aunt that embezzled. You might have written once or twice, but then you probably lost interest and moved on.

Some people seek out a prison pen pal. Whether they are curious, charitable, or lonely, it seems as if the more infamous the prisoner is, the better. Ted Bundy received many letters from adoring "fans". It probably helped that he was seen as conventionally handsome.

Abilene mugshot, with edits
Abilene mugshot, with edits

It leads me to wonder, how many people have written to Paris Bennett? He has an Inmates Classified profile that is more intelligent and thoughtful than you'd expect for a typical prisoner.

You seek someone with whom you can form a durable bond, right? Someone who pens real letters while others text and tweet? Someone who offers memorable conversations instead of the forgettable chatter, endless posturing and petty duplicities that pass for friendly interaction these days?

That person is me.

That person is also the person who is spending 40 years behind bars for a crime so horrific that countless headlines describe him as a psychopath. I am not a psychiatrist, but I can't blame any writer for using that term as a shorthand to describe Paris Bennett's crime.

In 2007, when Paris Bennett was 13, he sexually assaulted and killed his 4-year-old sister, stabbing her 17 times. He is still under 30.

"I love her," he claims, present tense, in a prison interview with Piers Morgan two years after the crime. His mother listens in on headphones, looking incredibly stressed and distraught, but holding it together.

I named my firstborn, my son Paris, after the hero in the Illiad. [...] I obviously didn't read the original story close enough. [...] Paris of Troy was a weak narcissist, but my son Paris is both a narcissist, a sociopath, and possesses worrisome paraphilias.

That is an excerpt from the book Charity Lee, Paris's mother, wrote entitled How Now, Butterfly? It is a memoir written mostly in an epistolary form- a collection of journal entries-  but it also contains a transcript of the chilling 911 call to Abilene police.

google books
google books

Paris would originally claim that he had been hallucinating that his sister was a demon but later confessed he did it to hurt his mother, possibly because she had recently experienced a relapse with her drug addiction. That reasoning seems extremely weak. Parents make mistakes all the time, and it doesn't turn their children into monsters.

Perhaps the most rational theory is that his consumption of violent porn at a young age, coupled with some sort of mental abnormality, led him to destroy so completely what he still claims to love- his sister Ella.

There's a part of me, curious, that is tempted to pick up a pen. To see what this intelligent but deeply disturbed person has to say. However, I know myself. I will lose interest, I will move on. Because in the end, violent narcissists are all the same- they have nothing to say that isn't about them, and that's really quite boring.

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