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This is an analysis of the handwriting of Bart Ross, the man who shot the husband and mother of Judge Joan Lefkow and then killed himself.

This writing sample was published in the Chicago Tribune on March 11, 2005 and it was obviously written shortly after the murders.

Ross’ handwriting is not very legible. It is difficult to read because the baselines (imaginary lines on unlined paper) are erratic, the writing slant is inconsistent, the rhythm is poor, it is very heavy and thick, and has tall upper loops and unfinished lower loops. All of these characteristics give us clues about Ross’ personality.

The most powerful and negative characteristic is the very inconsistent baseline (rising and falling within the same word). In graphology the baseline represents the writer’s contact with reality. Ross’ erratic baselines reveals significant confusion between reality and illusion as well as unstable moods and working habits, indecisiveness and hyper-emotionalism.

In addition to the erratic baseline, the slant of the letters is very inconsistent. This mixed or inconsistent slant shows that Ross was anxious, moody, inconsistent, unpredictable, nervous, agitated, unsettled, undisciplined and capricious. The swing between depression and expression was with complete lack of cause. Inside he felt socially inferior and off-center and, as a result, he was lacking in good judgment and common sense. He vacillated between being despondent, melancholic and depressed, and being manic, restless and aggressive. His personality was disorganized and unfocused and all this adds up to an emotionally disturbed person. In this case there is little doubt the emotional disturbance was so severe that he as out of contact with reality and was psychotic.

The illegible nature of this writing reveals a confused state of mind, suspicion, arrogance, mistrust, neurotic fear and insecurity, and these characteristics reinforce the belief that he was suffering from paranoia.

Despite his grammar errors Ross was intelligent. He thought quickly and was an ambitious hard worker when motivated.

Ross’ writing was heavy and thick. This means he did everything with great emotional intensity. He acted with energy, determination, impulsiveness, tenacity and strong sensual influences. Unfortunately this same emotional intensity made him stubborn, obstinate, irritable, lacking in discipline and much more likely to commit acts of violence.

The upper loops in Ross’ writing are high as compared with his lower loops. These tall loops show vanity, undirected or misdirected mental activity and retreat into fantasy. Because Ross was a vain person he must have been deeply humiliated by the disfigurement of his jaw and face. He was hypersensitive to criticism as well as being immature and even neurotic about his self-image.

The unfinished lower loops show unrealistic, possibly wishful, sexual expectations that were probably unfulfilled and this gives more evidence of his emotional instability.

Ross was a vain, frustrated, confused, emotionally unstable and mentally ill person. He probably could have been helped by medication and therapy, but his anger and paranoia toward the medical profession precluded his seeking assistance. Unfortunately, the Lefkow Family paid the price for his untreated mental illness.