Details We Know About Serial Killer Todd Kohlhepp's Childhood

Serial killer Todd Kohlhepp, the real estate agent convicted of killing seven people in South Carolina from 2003 to 2016, has been violent since childhood. He was born in Florida and raised in Georgia and South Carolina by his mother, Regina Tague, after splitting with Kohlhepp's father when he was a baby, according to what Tague told WSPA in an interview (via YouTube).

Kohlhepp had a stepfather for a time, and eventually went to live with his biological father when he was a teen. Still, no matter who he lived with, he was a very troubled kid, even before 1986 when he held a 14-year-old girl at gunpoint and forced her to go to his house where he tied her up and raped her when he was just 15 years old.

The Spartanburg Herald Journal reported that Arizona Judge Rose Kimball spoke of the kind of child Kohlhepp was when he was before her being tried as an adult for the sadistic crime. 

"At less than the age of 9, this juvenile was impulsive, explosive, and preoccupied with sexual content," Kimball said. "He has not changed. He has been unabatedly aggressive to others and destructive of property since nursery school. Twenty-five months of the most intensive and expensive professional intervention, short of God's, will provide no protection for the public and no rehabilitation of this juvenile by any services or facilities presently available to the Juvenile Court."

Todd Kohlhepp's mom said he's 'misunderstood'

Tague told WSPA that as a child her son had anger issues, and she couldn't find a way to help him. He also had an extreme sensitivity to being emotionally hurt, which manifested in violence. He once stabbed a little girl in the leg with scissors while on the school bus because she made him mad, Tague said. Another time he killed a goldfish with bleach because he wanted a gerbil. As a teen, he destroyed his new bedroom furniture with a claw hammer when he didn't get his way about going to live with his dad, and even threatened to kill his mother. 

The Spartanburg Herald Journal reported that Dr. Roger Martig gave Todd Kohlhepp a psychological exam following the 1986 rape. "He demonstrates episodes of ignoring or distortion of reality and regular use of projection defense mechanisms and the presence of degrees of an impaired sense of reality," his findings read. Martig wrote that Kohlhepp had "excessively strange impulses and feelings" and has a "limited capacity to tolerate unpleasant affects."

He concluded that Kohlhepp's issues could evolve into "emotional deterioration in the future or continued aggressive behavior towards others in the future."

The Associated Press reported that even though Tague knew her son was a murderer, she told "48 Hours," "He was very misunderstood. Todd is not a monster. He's not even close to it. He wasn't doing it for enjoyment. He was doing it because he was mad, and he was hurt."