Ofﬁcial Data on Multiple Murder
• Mass and spree murders are both types of multiple murders and both are uncommon
• Most reliable data is on the number of victims in a homicide event, likely these
incidents recorded in the UCR as having three or more victims should be classiﬁed as
• The distinction between mass and spree murder is a matter of determining when a
homicide incident or event began and when it ended.
• Due to the way ofﬁcial homicide data is collected, demographic data on mass
murderers and their victims are sparse
• Duwe deﬁned mass killings as those in which four or more victims were killed in a 24
hour period. He reported that for the years 1976-1999 almost two thirds or 61% of
mass murderers where white and 94% were male, with an average age of 29 years.
•69% used ﬁrearms of which 3% were assault weapons
•27% killed in public
•40% killed family members
•36% killed acquaintances
•24% killed strangers
•Average age of victims was 28 years old
•72% of the victims were white
55% were male
•26% in midwest
•23% in East
•29% in south
•22% in west
• Knowledge of mass murders may be skewed toward cases that are more newsworthy
Deﬁnition of Mass Murder
• Levin and fox deﬁne murder as those with four or more victims, the more common
deﬁnition is the killing of three or more victims as part of a single ongoing event.
• Even though we are likely to associate mass murder with workplace violence carried
out by disgruntled employees or horriﬁc massacres in schools or restaurants, mass
murder is more likely to occur in the context of a domestic situation or a felony crime
• Box 11.2 - Going postal
Well Known cases of mass murder
• Richard Speck
• Charles Whitman
Typologies of Mass murders and murderers
Park Dietz categorized mass murderers into three categories that include family
annihilators, pseudo-commandos, and set and run killers
• Holmes and holmes include the four additional categories of disciples, disgruntled
employees, disgruntled citizens, and the psychotic mass murderers in their typologies. These are problematic because they are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive
meaning some mass killers could ﬁt into more than one category
•Family annihilators: those who kill their entire family and often themselves in
one incident within the home. Often the killer is the patriarch of the family, who is
depressed and frequently in alcoholic. John Belding
•Pseudo-commandos: mass murderers who are obsessed with weapons and
often bring an ample supply to complete their massacre. Rather than acting
impulsively, they carefully select a public place where many individuals may be
killed quickly. Frequently pseudo--commando mass murderers commit suicide or
force the police to kill them (suicide by cop) to end their rampage. James Huberty.
•Set and run killers: methods like bombing or poisoning are used to kill their
victims to allow their own escape. Timothy McVeigh.
•Disciple mass murderers: Mass murderers who are those who kill because they
are trying to attain acceptance from a characteristic leader like charles manson.
This type of mass murderer usually does not know his or her victims. Instead they
are chosen by the charismatic leader, and they kill to please the leader. Charles
•Disgruntled employee: most frequent in media. Fox and levin believe that in
recent years, this may be the most common form of mass murder. Are either
current employees or former employees. Arthur hastings wise.
• 70% of work place murderers are white
•Disgruntled citizen: express anger and rage by killing others, but is angry at the
world rather than speciﬁc individuals. Kills strangers in an attempt to bring attention
to the wrongs that they believe should be made public.
•Psychotic mass murderers: psychotic not sociopathic. Have had a break in
reality and likely hear voices or have visions. Sylvia Seegrist. Larry Gene
• Children who kill: school shooting incidents. Killers tend to be white males who strike
out against teachers or classmates. Boys tend to be outcasts and from middle class
families who play video or computer games and have an interest in weaponry like
pseudo commando mass killers. Eric Houston.
• Fox and Levin ‘s typologies are based on offenders motivation, which are: revenge,
power, loyalty proﬁt, and terror.
•School shooters, disgruntled employees, disgruntled citizens, and family
annihilators, and psychotic mass murderers could be motivated by revenge.
•Revenge mass murderers: kill to get even with or retaliate against someone who
they believe has hurt them.
•Power mass murderers: may strike out to show they are powerful. Pseudo-
commandos and some school shooters may be motivated by the need to seek
•Loyalty: see them selves as saving their loved ones from a harsh or miserable life.
A disciple mass murderer who kills for his leader may also by motivated by loyalty.
•Proﬁt: someone who kills several people in the course of a robbery to elimainte the
possiblity that they could indetify him could be said to be motivated by proﬁt.
Edward McDonald and Hamilton Sanchez. • Terror: 9/11. Bomb attacks in London, England.
Government Mass Murder
• Genocide in 1984: a crime under international law by the United Nations general
assembly. Deﬁned as follows:
• Any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a
national, ethnical, racial, or religious group such as :
•Killing members of the group
•Causing serious bodily or mental harm to member of the group
•Deliberately inﬂicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its
physical destruction in whole or in part
•Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
•Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
• Led to largest number of mass murders in history
• Mass murder in context of genocide may be comparable to mass murders that are
motivated by terror or power.
• Basically genocide is a mass hate crime.
• Cambodia killing ﬁelds
Deﬁnition of Spree Killer
• Spree murder is a type of multiple murder. Spree killers are those who kill several
victims at different locations within short periods of time.
• Serial killers may also kill at several locations, however the spree killer differs from
serial killer in that spree killers do not have long “cooling off periods” between killing,
they do not return to his or her regular behaviour between slayings.
• Spree killers have no typical victim that they seek out.
• Spree killers are believed to be less common than mass murderers.
• Spree killers are motivated by both the thrill of killing and the excitement of evading
law enforcement according to Gregg McCrary.
Well Known Spree Killers
• Caril Ann Fugate
• Charles starkweather
• Andrew Cunanan
Courts and Multiple Murders
• Deﬁnitions or proﬁles of mass and spree murderers often refer the fact that these
types of killers often commit suicide. These types of murders are considered very
serious by juries and judges. In some cases like David french and Sylvia Seegrist,
sanity appeared to have led the juries to sentences of less than death.
• Multiple murderers are much more frequent in IS.
• Difference between mass and spree killers. Both kill at least three victims in short time
period. Spree killers usually take more time to commit several homicides and their killings occur in more than one location. Mass killers are those who kill three or more
in one place and one location
Deﬁning Serial Murder
• The term serial killer was introduced around 1980. A serial killer is commonly deﬁned
as an individual who kills multiple victims at different times and often in different places
with cooling off periods in between the killings.
• Most deﬁnitions of serial murder distinguish it from mass murder by stipulating that
serial murder involves killing multiple victims over time.
• Unlike spree killers, serial killers return to their normal lives or routines between killing
• FBI: three or more killings having common characteristics suggesting possibility that
crimes were committed by the same offender or offenders.
• Holmes and Holmes
• Fox and Levin: those who kill repeatedly and at least three or four victims.
• Jenkins: ﬁve homicides in more than 72 hours.
• FBI has begun to operate under the premise that they may be investigating a serial
killer when two separate killings over time are committed by the same offender.
• Fox and Levin: serial killers are murderers who kill “with increasing brutality, serial
killers stalk their victims, one at a time, for weeks, months, or years, generally not
stopping until they are caught”
• Standard deﬁnition of serial killer: A serial killer is one who kills at least two victims
over time with a cooling off period in between killings
Serial Killers throughout history
• Box 12.3:
• Wayne Williams
• Jack the Ripper
The Extent of Serial Killing
• In 1992, the U.S. National Centre for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC)
determined that there had been 357 serial killers in the United States during the
period from 1960 to 1991.
• The NCAVC determined that these 357 killers had killed or were suspected to have
killed 3,169 victims. 102 victims per year. Ranges from 35 to 500 in United States.
• Within the United States, California stands out as having several serial killers. Other
states known for an abundance of serial killers include Florida, New York, Texas,
Illinois, Georgia, and Ohio. Therefore, region does not appear to be a factor in serial
killing as it may in homicide.
• Research by Brin Hodgkiss indicates that there have been almost 50 serial killers in
South Africa in the past two decades. • Box 12.4
• Dr. Harold Shipman
Demographic Proﬁle of Serial Killers
• If one true statement can be made about serial killers as a group, it is that there are
exceptions to the frequently reported facts about serial killers. For example, studies
of known serial killers indicate that most serial killers are lower-class white
males in their late 20s or 30s. However there are serial killers who are known as
Who serial killers kill
• Serial killers tend to kill victims who are strangers to them. In his study of U.S. Serial
killers from 1975 to 2004, 91.5% of male serial killers killed at least one stranger. Male
serial killers also tend to seek out victims who are not likely to be reported missing or
those who are otherwise vulnerable. So serial killers tend to select people who are
treated as throwaways in society such as homeless, runaways, migrants, prostitutes.
Egger refers to these people as ‘less dead’ because they were ‘less alive’ before they
• Children, women, and gay men may also be sought out by male serial killers to feed
their sexual fantasies or simply because the serial killers believe they will be easy to
overpower and control.
• Young women who were alone and children account for most of the strangers sought
out by serial killers. Friends and neighbors were the most common acquaintance
victims, although waitresses and prostitutes were also commonly reported
acquaintance victims. In the family category, serial murderers were most likely to kill
their own children and their spouses. Young and middle age adults were most often
targeted by serial murderers, but are increasingly seeking out elderly as victims.
• Female serial killers commonly kill people they know, such as their own
children, their spouses, and elderly or young people in their care.
• The average number of victims killed by each serial killer, whether female or male,
falls in the 7-12 range according to Hickey.
How serial Killers Kill
• Whereas the majority of murder victims in the united states die of gunshot wounds,
those who are killed by serial killers are more likely to be killed in the other ways. Male
serial killers tend to strangle victims but have beaten, shot, or injected their victims to
kill them. Fox an levin argue that male serial killers don't use guns because it would
take the pleasure out of killing. Many serial killers kill for the feeling of power or
sadistic pleasure they get from torturing another and taking his or more often her life.
Torturing victims before killing appears more common among male serial killers and
serial killers who kill with another in what has become known as serial killing teams.
• Women who kill alone have shot, suffocated, and used lethal injections to kill their
victims. When women and men kill together in a serial killing team, they tend to
operate more like male serial killers than like female serial killers. In these teams,
torture is again more likely than when women kill by themselves.
• Box 12.6
• Aileen Wuornos Race and Serial Killers
• Despite the myth that African Americans are not serial killers, there are deﬁnitely
African Americans who kill serially.
• Victimization is often interracial, it is likely that African American serial killers kill other
Child Serial Killers
• It is extremely rare for a serial killer to be under the age of 20
• Jesse Pomeroy
• Mary Flora Bell
• Box 12.7
• Eric Hickey lists the following myths regarding serial killers:
• Serial killers are all male
• Serial killers are white
• Serial killers kill for sexual thrills
• Serial killers are very intelligent
• Serial killers are insane
• Serial killers are highly mobile
• Serial Killers operate alone
• Serial Killer kill dozens of victims
• Serial killers were abused as children
• Serial Killers beat, stab, strangle, or torture their victims
• These are myths, so they apply to some serial killers but not others.
Types of Serial Murderers
• Distinction of organized vs disorganized criminal behaviour
• Organized crime scenes suggest that the killer carefully planned and executed the
murder in contrast to the disorganized scene where the killing appears to have
been a spontaneous and chaotic act. Whereas the organized killer is likely to
exercise power over the victim by using restraints and raping or torturing their
victim while he or she is alive, the disorganized killer is more likely to perform
sexual acts on the victim after death and leave evidence of weapons at the scene.
• Holmes and DeBurger base their four category typology, the visionary, the missionary,
the hedonistic, and the power and control serial killer, on the killers motives and on
characteristics of the victims:
1. Visionary:These killers kill because of visions that are believed to be the result of
some type of psychosis
2. Missionary: These offenders who are not believed to be suffering from any type
of psychosis, kill to do away with certain types of people in the world such as
prostitutes or homosexuals.
3. Hedonistic: This type of serial killer murders for the satisfaction obtained from the
process of killing. Holmes and DeBurger describe three subtypes of hedonistic
1. There are lust murderers who kill for sexual pleasure. AKA erotophonophilia.
Involves the brutal torture for sadistic pleasure of the offender. 2. The thrill oriented killers who murder for excitement and may also torture or
mutilate their victims.
3. Comfort oriented killers kill for the beneﬁts they receive from killing, such as
ﬁnancial gain or psychological pleasure.
4. Power and Control: This type of serial killer gains great pleasure from the
absolute power and control he has over his victims. He may torture or
sexually mutilate his victims as a way to dominate his victim not for sexual
pleasure. Satisfactory comes form making victims squirm
• Traveling serial killers, like Theodore Bundy, commit murders in several states as they
travel or move from location to location. Local serial killers stay in one geographic
region as they commit their murders, but they may cross jurisdictional boundaries
making it more difﬁcult for authorities to realize a serial killer is in their midst.
• Place speciﬁc serial killers kill in one speciﬁc site such as their home or in their
• Some experts on serial killers inly consider those who have a sexual motive to be true
serial killers. Called by Mitchell as ‘criminality dimension’ among serial killers.
According to Mitchell, there are the strictly amateur killers for which serial murder is
their only crime, There are killer amateurs who commit other crimes more often than
murder, and they keep their other crimes separate from the murders. Career
criminals who kill are those that kill but only as part of their other criminal
activity, such as within a robber or to make a point in the world of illegal drugs.
Finally professional killers are those who kill for pay.
• Keppel and Walter focused on sexual serial homicide in suggesting a four part
typology that included power assertive, power reassurance, anger retaliatory and
anger excitation. in power assertive, the rape is planned but the murder is not,
offender becomes increasingly aggressive. Power reassurance rapist murderer is also
motivated by power and plans the rape but not the murder, but during the rape
offender is acting out a fantasy and wants reassurance from his victims, when he
doesn't get this reassurance he kills his victims. Anger retaliatory rape murder is when
acting out of anger offender plans both rape and murder, he attacks a symbolic victim
to seek revenge. Anger excitation murderers plan both murder and rape, and are also
driven by anger, often torture victim and possibly mutilate victim to feed their fantasies.
Types of Female Serial Killers
• Kelleher and Kelleher argue that female serial killers are so different from male serial
killers that the standard serial killer typologies fail to categorize female serial killers
• Black widows: female killer who is often intelligent and manipulative, methodically
plans and kills one individual after another, often with many years between
murders. Poison is often their weapon of choice because it is likely to go
• angels of death: women who kill individuals in their care or those who rely on the
for medical attention. May kill out of compulsion to control those under their care.
Often commit their crime by giving their victims lethal injections of insulin,
potassium, or potassium chloride. • Sexual predator: controversial. A women who systematically murders others in
clear acts of homicide. So rare that only one women in united sates ﬁts this
category: aileen wuornos
• revenge serial killer: kills for revenge. motive is much more typical in a crime of
passion as compared to a serial killing because serial killers by deﬁnition have
downtime between killings.
• Proﬁt for crime:female who clearly murders for proﬁt, and must act alone and seek
out non family members.
• Team killers: women who kill with a partner. it is unlikely that they would have killed
alone. Only category where there are examples of women killing as sexual
• Question of sanity: women where the killing seems to be random or they found to
be legitimately insane.
• Unexplained: leftover/catchall category. women who kill for no clear reason.
• Unsolved: unsolved cases where it may have been a women.
Theories about serial killers
• many serial killers did not grow up in nuclear families. many grew up in homes with
only one parent because of divorce, death, or simply because their parents never
married. many serial killers have been adopted. Many were victims of abuse or
neglect and several had severe head injuries while growing up. several of those
known to have killed serially had parents who were addicted to drugs including
• the macdonald triad appears to have been quite common in the childhood histories of
serial killers. the macdonald triad is named after j. m. macdonald who ﬁrst discovered
that many sadistic killers had three behaviours in common as children: ﬁre setting,
torturing animals, and bedwetting.
• the best theories for explaining serial killings are likely to be integrated theories that
employ the collective wisdom of many scientiﬁc disciplines.
• Mitchell proposed an integrated model to explain serial killing. He posits that the
sociocultural environment and one's home situation interact with biological factors
such as a predisposition to violence to cause what he calls 'diathesis stress
syndrome'. this leads to psychological problems possibly including cognitive difﬁculties
or even psychiatric illnesses. loss of family member or rejection by loved one may lead
to homicide. this model is valuable because it provides an integrative model employing
valuable insights from various academic disciplines.
criminal justice processing: what happens to serial killers in court?
• although serial killers such as Charles Manson and his followers come before the
parole board every few years, most serial killers are sentenced to death or to life in
prison without the opportunity for parole.
• Although the concept may be a twentieth century invention, the actuality of serial
killing has existed throughout history Chapter 13
• Particularly brutal homicides usually reﬂect a familiarity between the victim and
offender. Familiarity breeds hate. Reality of may hate crime murders makes it clear
that hate also breeds brutality
• When motivation to do a crime is ‘hatred, bias, or prejudice, based on actual or
perceived race, colour, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation
of another individual or group of individuals’ the crime ﬁts the deﬁnition of a hate crime
according to the U.S. Congress. Some hates crimes involve intimidation or assault,
but some horriﬁc homicides have been motivated by bias.
Data on hate crimes
• Hate crimes are most likely to occurs at the victims’ residence or in open spaces
regardless of bias motivation. When a weapon was used by the offender, personal
weapons such as the offenders’ hands and feet were most common. The majority
of offenses motivated by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability bias are
violent offenses and in particular assault. The majority, 68.9%, of religiously biased
hate crimes, are property offenses with vandalism making up 52.7% of all religiously
motivated hate crimes. Data also revels that a larger percentage of victims of religious,
biased, and disability hate crimes as compared to other hate biases are older than 40
years. The largest percentage of victims of race and ethnicity crimes are younger than
18 years, and sexual oriented biased crime victims are more likely to be over 18 years
with the largest percentage, 37%, falling in the 25 to 29 year old category.
• Another way that hate crime incidents are similar: most are not murders. Less than
1% of hate crimes reported were murders or non-negligent manslaughter. In all,
14 victims were killed in cases classiﬁed as hate crime murders in 2003. 11 of
the 14 victims were killed by white offenders, 2 by black offenders, and the rest
the offenders race was unknown. However racial hatred was not the motive for
all 14 murders. 5 or 36% were racial, with 4 anti black and 1 anti white. 2 or 14%
of the homicides were categorized ass anti ethnicity/national origin bias. Six or
42% were anti male homosexual and one was anti mental disability murder.
• Racial hatred not always the motive, can be: racial, anti-ethnicity/national origin bias,
anti-male homosexual, and anti-mental disability murder as well.
• For the FBI to record a crime as a hate crime, the investigation of the crime must lead
to evidence that supports that the crime was biased motivated. Comments made by
the offender, his or her written statements, or the gestures used at the time of the
crime may all be used as evidence that a crime was a hate crime.
Hate crime legislation justiﬁcation and controversy
Most hate crime statutes mandate the counting of hate crimes or the addition of
sentencing enhancements for hate crimes or both.
• The justiﬁcation for hate crime legislation centers on the belief that although
only a small fraction of crimes in the united states are categorized as hate
crimes, crimes motivated by bigotry are particularly dangerous and socially disruptive. Hate crimes are believed to have a far reaching impact beyond the
particular individual who has been victimized.
• Hate crimes serve as a means to terrorize entire groups of people, they send the
message that violence against certain categories of people is condoned.
• Hate crime legislation, especially when it includes sentencing enhancements, remains
controversial. Those who argue against the enactment of hate crime legislation and
especially legislation that includes sentencing enhancements, make several
arguments against hate crime legislation.
•First: argue that hate crimes are not necessarily any more harmful than other
•Second: argue that it is both costly and difﬁcult to prove that hatred or bias is the
motivation for a particular crime.
•Third: Those against hate crimes have argued it is the ﬁrst step to punishing
individuals for their speech, which would be an egregious violation of ﬁrst
amendment rights in the united states.
Historical cases of hate crime murders
• Emmett Till
• Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam
• James Ford Seale
Race Hate Crime, and Murder
• Racial hate crime is the most common type of hate crime.
• Cheryl Brown
• Most commonly targeted race is african americans, followed by whites, asian
paciﬁc americans, multiracial groups, and native americans and Alaska natives.
Ethnicity/National Origin, Hate Crime, and Murder
• Hate Crime offenders may be nativists who seek out ethnic minorities to victimize
because they believe them to be immigrants who are taking away opportunities for
Religion, Hate Crime, and Murder
• Although ofﬁcial data indicate that Haq’s attack and most religious bias hate crimes
int he united states are aimed at jews, crimes against Muslims have increased in
the united states since 9/11 terrorist attacks. FBI reported that hate crimes against
muslims or those believed to be muslim were 17 times higher in 2001 after the 9/11
attacks than in preceding years.
• Those who kill gay victims are far more likely to use the utmost brutality in comparison
to those who kill heterosexual victims. Gay murder victims were more likely to be
dismembered and suffer multiple stabbings and severe bludgeoning. Almost 60% of
152 antigay murders between 1992 and 1994 involved ‘overkill’
• Hate crime homicides are often very brutal and they often involve more than one
offender. • Hate crime incidents were more likely to involve multiple offenders, and the offenders
were more likely to beat the victims brutally with their hands, feet, or a blunt object
than in other homicides against males.
• The gay bias killings were likely to occur in the victims homes and the victims and
offenders were more likely to be strangers to one another.
• Offenders in gay male hate crimes speciﬁcally sought out gay men to harm because of
their biases against gay men, and the anger is reﬂected in the damage done to the
gay male victims.
Gender, Hate crime, and murder
• Charles Carl Roberts IV
• Duane Morrison
• Marc Lepine
• Philosopher Mary Anne Warren coined the term gendercide as analogous to genocide.
Deﬁned it as the deliberate extermination of persons of a particular sex or gender.
Gendercide is a sex neutral term.
• Roberts, Morrison, and Lepine.
• Gender was not originally included in hate crime legislation for fear that its inclusion
would slow the passage of hate crime bills and including gender would open the door
to including a whole host of additional categories such as age and disability.
• Those who are against the inclusion of a gender category argue that crimes against
women are not the same as hate crimes against members of other minority status
• First: They note that crimes against women are most often committed by offenders
who are known to the women whereas hate crimes are most often committed by
• Second: Violence against women is commonplace; hate crimes are less frequent,
making special prosecution or counting of hate crimes against women a logistical
• Third: Special laws are already in place to deal with crimes against women such as
domestic violence and sexual assault laws.
• Fourth: The choice of female victim is often more about power and control and less
• Fifth: Offenders who perpetrate against women do so as recreation or for fantasy
and not for hate.
• Those that believe violence against women is rampant and is often a hate crime
• First: That crimes against women often have the same features as hate crimes
against other minorities. Use of derogatory terms against the women they attack
parallel to the derogatory terms used against racial or religious minorities.
• Second: those who argue that gender should be a category included in hate crime
legislation say that often women are targeted because they are women. Argue that
misogyny, the hatred of women, may be the root of attacks against women. Would
not consider offending against men in the same way. • Fourth: The crime committed against one member oft he group often affects the
larger group. The fact that a serial rapist is attacking women makes all women
fearful and thus affects the way they live their lives.
• Increasing trend of including gender as a hate crime category
Disability, Hate Crimes, and Murder
• Until recently the category of disability crime received little attention.
• People with disabilities are easy to victimize
Hate Crimes Around the World
• Most western countries have laws against hate crimes.
A hate crime is deﬁned differently in different countries
• AKA xenophobic criminality
• Politically motivated violence
Explanations and motivation
• Research on hate crimes offenders suggests three major motivations for hate crime
1.A very small number of hate crimes offenders are part of larger organized
hate groups that are attempting to make changes to society that would
support their biased ideology.
2.Hate crime offenders can be seen as individuals who are ﬁghting to keep others off
3.Many hate crime offenders commit hate crimes for the fun of it.They ﬁnd it exciting
• Most hate crimes are committed by young people who mostly follow the law and see
little wrong with their actions.
• The main motivation for hate crimes is prejudice
• Some academics argue that hate crimes are as much a product of the society as they
are of the individual.
• The lifestyle or routine activities theory
Focus on how lifestyle or routine behaviour of an individual may place him or her at
risk for victimization.
• Motivated hate crime murderers plan their murders and seek particular types of
victims at places where they believe they will ﬁnd such victims.
• Children kill far less often than adults
• There was an alarming increase in homicides committed by those ages 14 to 17 in the
1980’s which decreased in 1990’s, but is increasing again.
Homicide by children is in no way a new phenomenon
• Parricide is the killing of a parent Deﬁnitions
• The term juvenile is often interpreted to refer to children younger than 18 years;
however this term is not used uniformly across all jurisdictions
• Youth, juvenile, or children mean people younger than 18 years.
• Teen, teenage, or adolescent mean children who are under 18 years but at least 13
years of age.
• Children under 13 years are called preteens or preadolescents
• US common law does not consider children younger than 7 years capable of mens
rea. In other words they are not believed to be capable of intending to commit a
Ofﬁcial Data on Homicide by Children
• Less than 10% of those arrested for murder and non-negligent manslaughter for the
years 2002 to 2004 were younger than 18 years
• As age increases the number of arrests for homicide increases
• Box 9.3:
• Nathaniel Abraham: charged as an adult
Trends: Are children killing more or less often?
• Among preadolescents (under age 14), homicide commission began increasing in the
late 980’s and continued to increase in the early 1990’s. However since it peaked in
1994 at a rate of 0.4 per 100,000 for preadolescents, it has decreased to the lowest
• Among those ages 14 to 17 there are very rapid increase after 1985 when the rate
10.5 per 100,000. The rate continued to a peak rate of 31.3 per 100,000 in 1993.
Since 1993 the homicide offending rate among 14 to 17 year olds has plummeted to
the lowest levels ever recorded. In 2002 the rate was 9.0 per 100,000
Sex and Juvenile Homicide offenders
• Males far outnumber females as juvenile homicide offenders
• Boys are more likely to be arrested for murder and non-negligent manslaughter than
Race and Juvenile homicide offenders
• National Study of Juvenile Homicide indicates that for every million juveniles in the
U.S. 56 were homicide offenders. Incidence varies by race. Just over half, 56%, of
known juvenile homicide offenders between 1980 and 1997 were african american.
• African american juvenile offenders used guns in 72% of their offenses; asians used
ﬁrearms in 67% of their offenses; whites used guns in 59% of their offenses, and only
48% of native american juvenile offenders used guns.
• Youths were most likely to kill individuals of their own race. Children in other countries
• The number of youth who commit homicide in the united states is much higher than
the numbers of children who kill in other Westernized countries
• The problem of juvenile homicide is not shared equally across the united states
• Large urban populations with all the problems associated with such cities experienced
much higher juvenile homicide rates than less densely populated places
Victim/Offender Relationship: Who do children Kill?
• Male juvenile homicide offenders and female juvenile offenders most often killed
• Boys were more likely than girls to kill strangers
• Differences in who male and female juveniles kill and in the weapons they use may be
explained by the fact that young girls are more likely than young boys to kill their own
• Although technically parricide means the killing of a close relative, the term has come
to mean the killing of ones parent. The killing of ones father is called a patricide
and the killing of ones mother is called a matricide
• Patricide is most often committed by an adult daughter or son
• Heide suggests that there are three types of children who kill their parents:
1. Severely abused children who feel they are trapped. May be physically,
emotionally, and/or sexually abused.
2. Children who are mentally ill
3. Dangerously antisocial children
• Unlike other types of adolescent homicide offenders, more often than not the parricide
offender is a white upper-middle or middle class male who does not have a juvenile
• Typical parricide offender is 16 to 18 years old
• Adolescent parricide offenders are more likely