Do Wisdom and Insight Come With Age?

Maybe Not If You’re a Murderer

copyright free, courtesy of Missouri Department of Corrections

The Cult of Two

In Diane’s 2013 interrogation interview, her animosity towards her targeted family members oozes through the camera. Not so with Rachel, who seems to parrot her mother’s complaints. Diane may have been motivated by anger, but Rachel appears to be inspired by love. Rachel adored her mother. In the interrogation, she seems seduced by the fantasy of having her mom to herself, just Diane and her golden child living happily ever after.

The Mask Diane Hid Behind

Everyone who knew Diane Staudte was stunned when she confessed. Is Diane capable of murder? Surely not.

No One Can Pretend All the Time

I spend a lot of time evaluating people who have a lot to lose and plenty of reasons to lie. If you’ve killed someone, the evidence is overwhelmingly against you, and your life is at stake, it’s understandable why someone might try to fake insanity.

Still Faking After All These Years

I don’t know what I was hoping for when I watched the 20/20 interview. I thought perhaps Diane had gotten some perspective on why she made her choices; Lord knows, she’s had years to think about it. I thought she might have embraced religion in the fervent way lifers sometimes do. I even held out faint hope that she would express remorse, if not for the family members she killed, at least for the tarnished life left to her Golden Child, Rachel.

The Bottom Line

Innocent people do get convicted. We have to do everything we can to make damn sure they don’t. There are also people as guilty as Cain who create a story that fits the reality they want instead of the reality there is. And that’s not innocence; that’s lying.



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Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D.

Forensic psychologist/private investigator//author of serial killer book. Passionate about victim’s rights, the psychology of true crime, and criminal justice.