serial murder n.
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  2. Serial Killer • someone who commits three or more murders over an extended period of time with cooling-off periods in between • in between crimes they tend to appear quite normal

  3. Mass Murderer • individual who kills three or more people in a single event and in one location • perpetrators sometimes commit suicide so it is hard to determine what triggers their actions • those who are caught sometimes claim they cannot clearly remember the event

  4. Spree Killer • commits multiple murders in different locations over a period of time that may vary from a few hours to several days • they do NOT revert to their normal behavior during breaks

  5. usually carried out between solitary individuals • generally but not always male • most have dysfunctional backgrounds • frequently they are physically, sexually or psychologically abused as children • often begin to fantasize about murder during or before adolescence

  6. “MacDonald Triad” Warning signs in childhood • fire-starting, usually for the thrill • cruelty to animals; larger animals such as cats and dogs, frequently for solitary enjoyment rather than to impress others • bedwetting, beyond the age when children usually stop

  7. Types of serial killer Organized Disorganized

  8. Organized • usually of high intelligence, plan crimes quite methodically • often lure victims with ploys appealing to their sympathy • have a high degree of control over crime scene • usually have a good knowledge of forensic science, allowing them to cover their tracks

  9. follow their crimes in the media and take pride in their actions • socially adequate, usually have friends, lovers, spouses or children • Usually described as a “really nice guy” or who “wouldn’t hurt a fly”

  10. Disorganized • often of low intelligence, commit their crimes impulsively • will murder someone whenever the opportunity arises • usually doesn’t bother to dispose of the body, rather leaves it at the scene • carry out “blitz” attacks, jumping out and attacking victims without warning

  11. rarely bother to cover their tracks, but keep on the move • often socially inadequate with few friends • may have a history of mental illness • seen as eccentric or “creepy” • may block out memories of their killings

  12. can show aspects of both types BUT characteristics of one will prevail

  13. Motivations • Visionary – compelled to commit crimes due to hallucinations or voices ie. Son of Sam

  14. Mission Oriented • believe acts are justified on the basis that they are getting rid of a certain group of people ie. prostitutes, members of an ethnic group • believe they are doing society a great favor ie. Robert Pickton

  15. Hedonistic • for the sheer pleasure • may enjoy the chase, torturing or abusing the victim while they are alive • others may kill victim quickly and engage in rituals • usually there is a strong sexual aspect ie. Jeffrey Dahmer - was responsible for a series of gruesome murders of 17 young men from 1988 until he was caught on July 22, 1991, in Milwaukee.

  16. Gain motivated • primary focus is materialistic • fine line between gain and contract killer ie. Marcel Petiot

  17. Power/Control • most common type • main objective to gain and have power over victim • sometimes abused as children, leaving them feeling powerless and inadequate ie. BTK Dennis Rader, the self-proclaimed "BTK killer" (BTK is a self-imposed moniker standing for "Bind, Torture, and Kill"). He confessed in 2005 to the serial killing of 10 people in the Wichita, Kansas area from 1974 to 1991

  18. often engage in rituals that are linked to their form of abuse • this will temporarily take the humiliation away • many sexually abuse their victims, but abuse is a form of power NOT lust

  19. Some serial killers may seem to have characteristics of more than one type BUT Will only belong to ONE type BACK TO SOCIOLOGY PAGE