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03. The Devil Doesn’t Get Hurt

Nature versus Nurture. From armchair true crime enthusiasts to leading psychology experts, the debate has raged for centuries. Which makes a person commit heinous acts of violence? Reporter Olivia LaVoice spent months tracking down Jamie Osuna’s family members to help her find the answer to that question. She found far more than she ever expected.

Nature versus Nurture. From armchair true crime enthusiasts to leading psychology experts, the debate has raged for centuries. Which makes a person commit heinous acts of violence?

Reporter Olivia LaVoice consulted a renowned psychologist, prosecutors, Osuna’s mother and ex-wife to find out. Those interviews lead only to more questions, more digging. She spent months tracking down Jamie Osuna’s extended family members, only to find herself climbing a tangled family tree, rooted in generations of trauma.

Patterns emerged. Like a formula for dysfunction, she found father figure after father figure leaving devastation in their paths. Add in mother figures too afraid and too spiritually broken to leave the men that tortured them. All of that equaled biological children and step children and half siblings caught in the cycle. Some found the strength to overcome, but others continued, and in Jamie’s case, elevated the violence with which they were raised.

Jamie Osuna’s Family Tree

Jamie Osuna's family tree

Jamie Osuna was born on March 7, 1988. Osuna’s mother claims his father kicked her when she was almost full-term, causing a cleft in the baby’s right ear. The parents split up when Osuna was an infant.

According to family members, Jamie wasn’t accepted by any of the father-figures in his life. His mother told KGET reporter Olivia LaVoice, “He didn’t come out of the womb an evil killer. He was a normal, loving kid.”

In this childhood photo, Osuna poses against a paint-splattered background, the red paint eerily foreshadowing the blood Osuna would spill as an adult.

Police reports documented multiple instances of abuse against young Osuna, such as being tied to a tree and whipped at 5 years old, and having a brick thrown at him by an uncle.

Timeline


1980s

  • 1986 – Michelle, 17, gives birth to her first son, Jamie's older half-brother.
  • May '87 – Michelle marries Jamie's father.
  • Early '88 – Michelle claims Jamie's father kicks her stomach while pregnant.
  • March 7, '88 – Jamie Osuna is born.
  • October '89 – Michelle and Jamie's father divorce.
  • November '89 – Jamie's father attacks Michelle's new boyfriend Jeff, according to police reports.

1990s

  • Early '90s – Jeff throws Jamie out of a moving truck, according to Michelle.
  • 1992 – Michelle have a son, Kurt.
  • May 5, '93 – Jeff is arrested and charged with unjustifiable punishment to a child for tying Jamie to a tree and beating him, according to police reports.
  • 1994 – Michelle and Jeff have a daughter.
  • Nov. 15, '96 – Jamie's uncle throws a brick at 8-year-old Jamie, according to police reports.

2000s

  • 2000 – 12-year-old Jamie is finally allowed to live with his maternal grandmother.
  • May 16, '03 – Police arrest 15-year-old Jamie for stabbing another boy. Michelle claims this arrest is what prompts her to leave Jeff.
  • Aug. '07 – Jeff dies of a heart attack.
  • March 24, '17 – KGET reporter Olivia LaVoice spends 45 minutes interviewing Jamie Osuna in jail.