Terrifying Beauty: Amy Kern's Rampage
UPDATE: CBS 12 has published a new article that gives some new and horrifying details about the death of Amy Kern's grandmother, Debra. If Kern is guilty, she may very well be just as crazy as her lawyers will surely claim. That, or pure evil. Thanks to reader BVikk for the tip.
UPDATE: News4Jax.com has the arrest report in this case. It's pretty revealing, to say the least.
On her MySpace profile, Amy Kern wrote:
I am open minded to many things with a funny sense of humor. I can be pretty rebellious at times, but always have a good heart deep down.
The following is from an article published online by WPTV TV, the NBC affiliate in Palm Beach, Florida. The article was posted to the Web on February 8:
A woman is in custody tonight, accused of going on a shooting spree that left two people dead.
Police say she was found in the Bluffs community of Jupiter along with one of her victims.
The suspect was brought out of this home, where they say she killed one of her victims - her grandmother, 80-year-old Donna Kerns [sic].
Video posted online by the same TV station showed police leading a blonde woman from the second floor of Donna Kern's mansard-roofed residence.
People close to pretty, 30-year-old Saint Mary's, GA resident Amy Kern believe she went crazy. Kern may have been losing it since late last year. A month after her daughter was born at the end of November, 2008, Kern was accused of threatening the infant and attacking her fiance with an axe.
Speaking to CBS 12 in Palm Beach, Kern's fiance, Andrew Charneski said, "Sometimes when she goes into that state she hears voices. She thinks people are trying to do her harm and it's always directed at the people she loves the most."
If Charneski is telling the truth, his statement may explain what police say Amy Kern did this weekend.
Prior to Amy Kern's arrest on Saturday at her grandmother's home, someone came to the apartment Kern's aunt, Beverly Kern, shared with a 59-year-old man named William Chapman. Like Doris Kern, Chapman was shot to death.
In addition to the murders, police believe Amy Kern went on a shooting spree, targeting a vehicle on I-95 and then a man at a highway rest stop.
Amy Kern may be receiving psychiatric treatment while incarcerated at the Palm Beach County Jail. Kern herself requested she be placed on suicide watch.
Unlike the personal profiles or webpages of many folks accused -- even convicted -- of violent crimes, there is nothing on Amy Kern's MySpace page that might clue a reader in to what allegedly lurked beneath her attractive façade. Her "About me":
I am from Jupiter, FL. Born, raised, and worked there my whole life up until a couple years ago. I enjoy warm, beautiful weather, nice beaches, the ocean, going to the park, hanging out with good friends, or not hanging out with anybody sometimes (as long as I'm having fun), four-wheeling, mudding, and going fast in fast cars or on roller coasters. Boating, fishing, and camping out in the woods next to a bon-fire are also among my favorites. I do like to shop and hang out on the inside sometimes though. I just like to be having a good time no matter what it is, really. I just had a daughter the end of Nov. 2008. I can not stand to be away from her. She has got to be the best thing ever!!
See? Just like the self-description published by a million other young mothers on the social networking site.
So the question is -- what set this woman off? Was it a combination of pre-existing mental illness perhaps fired by post-partum depression? The latter can turn into post-partum psychosis. In a person who has already had major mental health problems, it may not be a big leap from depression to psychosis.
I suspect there is more in Amy Kern's past than the alleged axe attack on Andrew Charneski (who was not harmed in the attack). Still -- women certainly commit violent crime, but they don't do it as often as men, and incidents like the murders of Chapman and Donna Kern are relatively rare. It seems as though the killer was driven to commit these crimes.
Is Amy Kern legally insane, or that rare female psychopath who behaves more like her male counterparts? There's no way to know yet. A hair-trigger analysis of the sheer number of photos Kern posted in her MySpace showing just her might point towards the sane but psycho answer to that question. If so, then why kill your family members? Usually, the psychopath's mode of operation is to use and sponge off family.
There aren't many answers yet, and there may never be. Perhaps Amy Kern doesn't even know why she's sitting in jail today, under a suicide watch. If so, that would only compound the tragedy.