In 2010, I met a psychopath. That psychopath presented a story about himself that was a complete lie – from his profession, to his family, to even his birth name. By the time I learned that he was the suspect in the murder of two people (his own mother Alma Collins and his ex-girlfriend Shawn Mason), it was too late. I had already given birth to our son Prince.
Two weeks after Prince was born, I fled Rams’ house at gun point. I ran to the police for help, but trusting the Virginia police ended up being one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Instead of helping to keep my family safe, they helped my abuser.
I fought to keep my son safe from Rams for 15 months. Finally, after a judge in MD granted Rams unsupervised visitation, Joaquin Rams murdered my son Prince. Two weeks after Prince was killed, I learned that Rams had taken out over 500k in life insurance policies on my child.
On Saturday October 20, 2012, I lost my son. I became a mother without a child. He died tragically while he was on one of his first court ordered unsupervised visits with his father. I have heard a lot of terrible stories, but how my son's story ended is unimaginable. I now live for my baby boy. His name was Prince. He is my guardian angel and will always be in my heart.
This blog started out anonymous because I didn't want to lose custody of my son by exposing the people who were putting his life in danger; however, now that my son is gone, I am not staying silent anymore. My name is Hera McLeod and my son's name was Prince Elias McLeod Rams. This is our story. It might not sound real to those hearing it for the first time, but I can assure you that I am not a good enough storyteller to make this all up. I wish this were just a story, because then it wouldn't be happening to me.
I am a mom - but this is NOT a mommy blog. I start out with the reality of me as a mom because since July 2011, that will always be part of who I am. It's a very important piece in my journey because he's the love of my life. That little boy has truly saved my life.
Shortly after my son was born, my life was thrown into chaos that I could never have even imagined. If I was honest with myself, however, that chaos had really started from the first moment I met my sons father. I was sucked into the vortex of evil. Since the night I left that vortex, I have been desperately trying to get out of the vortex.
I used to think my story was unique, but the more I tell it - the more I hear of others who have had horrible things happen to them. I have also heard of many parents who are struggling to keep their children from enduring the pain of a broken relationship...and worse...sometimes shielding them from a parent who is "socially maladjusted" or a parent who has a personality disorder or a parent who is just downright dangerous. It's the extreme that I am talking about here, but there are likely elements that a lot of parents can relate to regardless of the degree of craziness that they are dealing with.
I have been through hell in the past year and now I am trying to move on with my life, raise my little boy, and manage the fact that I don't have a choice but to be connected to a psychopath (thanks to our not so glorious justice system). Gaining sole physical and legal custody of my son was the hardest and the most important thing I have ever done (and the most expensive). I still continue to fight each day to save myself and save my son from this terrorist. If just one person reads my story and gains some hope, tools to deal with the man/woman who terrorizes them, or feels less like a fool because they learn someone else has been conned too - It will all be worth it.
A lot of people like to claim that their ex is a psychopath. Well, mine really is.
A lot of people like to claim that their ex is a psychopath. Well, mine really is.
Hera McLeod is a Seattle-based writer, speaker, and civil rights activist. She is known for speaking out against the silence, particularly on the topics of civil rights for women and children, domestic violence, and Family Court reform. She was a 2017 Jack Straw Writing Fellow, and has published OpEd pieces in The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and The New York Times. Hera has made several television appearances to include The Today Show, The Tony Danza Show, Crime Watch Daily, and DC news affiliates for CBS, ABC, and Fox. In addition to television appearances, Hera has also testified before the United States Congress on the topics of civil rights and the protection of children. The manuscript for her memoir, a cautionary tale about one woman's journey from self-conscious to self-confident, from victim to advocate, is currently on submission with major American publishing houses.
What is a Psychopath?
The first time I tell anyone my ex is a psychopath, I usually get some variation of a “this bitch is crazy/bitter/overreacting” look. Hell, the first time I told my story to my therapist, he told me he thought I might be the crazy one or at least one good story teller. (he later independently verified parts of the story and has now become a believer)
Part of the problem I faced when I lived with Luc was that I didn’t know what it meant to be a psychopath. I didn’t know what to look for and didn’t understand that all psychopaths don’t present themselves as nuts or look like the serial killers from the movies with the close set eyes and the evil grimace. Many of these people can be extremely charming and their level of deceit and ability to con can be very impressive. These people can fool anyone -from an average Joe to professionals with PhDs. After the cold bucket of water was poured on my head and I saw a bit of who Luc really was, I looked up the definition of a psychopath on google and this is what I found on Wikipedia:
Psychopathy (/saɪˈkɒpəθi/ from the Ancient Greek ψυχή “psyche”, -soul, mind and πάθος, “pathos” -suffering, disease, condition) is a personality disorder that has been variously described as characterized by shallow emotions (in particular reduced fear), stress tolerance, lacking empathy, coldheartedness, lacking guilt, egocentricity, superficial charm, manipulativeness, irresponsibility, nonplanfulness, impulsivity, and antisocial behaviors such as parasitic lifestyle and criminality. There is no consensus about the symptom criteria and there are ongoing debates regarding issues such as essential features, causes, and the possibility of treatment.
Then, I looked everywhere to try and find some sort of test or scale or check list to see if Luc really fit this description (though I suspected he would just based on the definition). I then found Dr. Robert Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R): (I have noted where Luc fits in bold next to each characteristic)
To my knowledge, Luc has never been diagnosed officially as a psychopath (it is my understanding that this particular diagnosis is rare and most psychological evaluators avoid it like the plague). In open court during the Child Custody War, however, the court heard testimony from many credible professionals as well as Luc’s numerous victims. All of this evidence that I have gathered has led me to the below conclusions:
Factor 1: Personality “Aggressive narcissism”
- Glibness/superficial charm (Charm – check)
- Grandiose sense of self-worth (Uh…yes…he would always talk about how I was lucky to be with him because he was so attractive and successful)
- Pathological lying (He lied about his entire story…and continues to lie even when caught. He is also famous for lying under oath and then denying he lied in the face of clear evidence)
- Cunning/manipulative (check…he has conned people out of thousands of dollars and was able to manipulate me into paying his mortgage for months among other things. He also effectively manipulated the court into allowing him to have unsupervised visitation with Prince.)
- Lack of remorse or guilt (check…he will never apologize for anything because he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with what he has done)
- Shallow affect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric) (He is a professional at crocodile tears. He sat on the stand in court and cried about how much he wanted to take Prince to chuck e cheese for his birthday. When court was over, however, he never followed up or asked to change the visit to Chuck e Cheese as he had requested)
- Callousness; lack of empathy (this is clear – child abuse, exploiting women, etc)
- Failure to accept responsibility for own actions (Check – he believes everyone else is at fault. Even after assaulting someone, he tries to turn the story to make him look like the victim instead of the person he victimized. Two weeks after my son was born, Luc took my sister to a concert and had sex with her. While he claims it was concentual to this day, the evidence shows otherwise. Depending on whom he talks to about this event, his story changes. Never once, however, has he been able to accept responsibility for this intensely immoral and reprehensible act.)
Factor 2: Case history “Socially deviant lifestyle”.
- Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom (maybe this is why he can’t hold a real job? His sexual deviation would also likely fall into this category)
- Parasitic lifestyle (yep, lives off of women – his ex girlfriend before me, his own mother until he was found dead in his home, me, and now the older couple with whom he lives)
- Poor behavioral control (He was arrested for assaulting his now 13 year old son back in 2010. What he did with my sister would also represent poor behavioral control)
- Lack of realistic long-term goals (check…a 40 year old still telling people he is counting on becoming a singer and maybe winning the lottery. Note: He is not a good singer. Luc actually told the custody evaluator in our court case that he had been on tour with major artists. He told me he was on tour with Rihanna in the summer of 2010. Anyone who has access to google could see that this was a bold faced lie.)
- Impulsivity (His rages and abusive nature – his habit for impulsively buying hundreds of dollars in lottery tickets without even having an income)
- Irresponsibility (Check…thousands of dollars in civil judgements and again the lottery tickets)
- Juvenile delinquency (While I don’t have personal experience as I did not know him as a child, I suspect there may have been problems here as well.)
- Early behavior problems (Same as above)
- Revocation of conditional release
Traits not correlated with either factor
- Promiscuous sexual behavior (Check – porn sites and his desire to sexually exploit women while calling it “swinging”)
- Many short-term marital relationships (Check – also tends to be violent in its end)
- Criminal versatility (check – He has been charged with assault, embezzlement….he has been named as the prime person of interest in at least one murder. He provided the courts with fake tax paperwork and forged paperwork to make it look like he held a job that he had not held)
- Acquired behavioural sociopathy/sociological conditioning (Item 21: a newly identified trait i.e. a person relying on sociological strategies and tricks to deceive) (check)