SOC 2760 Final: Homicide Exam Review Guide

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10 Aug 2016
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Homicide Exam Review Guide
Fox and Levin (4 Questions):
Textbook Chapter 2: Defining Multiple Murder page 21-38:
Mass, Serial, and Spree:
The FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit (BSU) defined mass killing as homicides involving the
murder of 4 or more victims in a single episode
Repeat murderers were then classified as either serial or spree killers depending on whether
or not the offender “cools off” between attacks
The spree killer launches a swath of destruction, usually over a period of several days,
wherein most of his activity surrounds planning or executing his crimes and evading the
police
The serial killer, who may continue to kill over a period of months or years, often has long
time lapses between homicides, during which he maintains a more or less ordinary life, going
to work and spending time with friends and family
The FBI adopted the broadest term possible definition in terms of both motivation and
victimization: “Serial murder is the unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same
offender(s) in separate events”
A Typology of Multiple Murder:
Ronald Holmes and James Burger assembled a motivational classification that distinguishes
4 broad categories of serial killers:
1. Visionary obeying voices from G-d
2. Mission oriented ridding the world of evil
3. Hedonistic killing for pleasure ! lust, thrill, comfort
4. Power / control oriented killing for dominance
Holmes and Steven Holmes proposed a 5-class categorization:
1. Disciples youngsters who follow the dictates of a charismatic leader
2. Family annihilators estranged husband who slaughters his wife and children
3. Set-and-run-killers bomb-setter
4. Pseudocommandos military-style assault in a public place
5. Disgruntled employees a fired worker who executes his former coworkers
Type of Multiple Murder:
Motivation
Serial Murder
Mass Murder
Power
Inspired by sadistic fantasies, a man
tortures and kills a series of strangers
to satisfy his need for control and
dominance
A pseudocommando, dressed in battle
fatigues and armed with an assault rifle,
turns a shopping mall into a “war zone
Revenge
Grossly mistreated as a child, a man
avenges his past by slaying women
who remind him of his mother
After being fired from a job, a gunman
returns to the work site and opens fire
on his former boss and coworkers
Loyalty
A team of killers turn murder into a
ritual for proving their dedication and
commitment to one another
A depressed husband / father kills his
family and himself to spare them from a
miserable existence and bring them to a
better life in the hereafter
Profit
A woman poisons to death a series
of husbands in order to collect on
their life insurance policies
A band of armed robbers executes the
employees of a store to eliminate all
witness to their crime
Terror
A profoundly paranoid man commits
a series of bombings to warn the
world of impending doom
A group of antigovernment extremists
blows up a commercial airplane to send
a political message
“Murder by proxy” victims are chosen because they are identified with a primary target
against whom revenge is sought; can be generalized to crimes outside of the family setting,
particularly in the workplace or in schools
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Homicide Exam Review Guide
“Suicide by proxy” a husband or father is despondent over the fate of the family unit and
takes not only his own life but also those of his children and sometimes his wife, in order to
protect them all from the pain and suffering in their lives
Theories of Multiple Homicide:
Strain Theory:
Criminal behaviour frequently results from an individual’s experience of dealing with the
difficulties of everyday life
Robert Merton suggests that American culture emphasizes economic success without also
emphasizing the requisite opportunities for attaining it members of society are urged to pull
themselves up by their bootstraps and do what it takes to become wealthy, but many of them
lack access to the structural means for improving their socioeconomic status
They go outside of conventional society and seek to “get ahead” by engaging in criminal
behaviour such as robbery or embezzlement
Robert Agnew proposed his general strain theory whereby a range of negative experiences
or disappointing events in social relationships at home, school, or work, or in the
neighbourhood can lead to frustration, anger, depression, anxiety, and to criminal behaviour
Social Learning Theory:
According to social learning theory, individuals develop a propensity to kill from what they
learn during their interaction with other people
Early on, it was proposed that criminal behaviour derives from differential association with a
group of intimates who reinforce positive attitudes toward and teach the skills associated with
criminality
A military background also provides an effective learning experience for the development of a
potential serial killer, providing an environment in which he is taught to be violent and kill the
enemy
Routine Activity Theory (1 question):
According to routine activity theory, everyday situations that offer opportunities for
victimization present more important casual factors than social conditions
Serial killers often select their victims based on the presence of routine opportunities in their
victim’s lifestyles to lure them into vulnerable positions
Potential victims may have minimal contact with friends and family, being stigmatized by their
choice of an illegal occupation and living apart from anyone who might provide them with
protection
The choice of victims in a mass shooting may be influenced by the elements specified in
routine activity theory
Routine activity theory may also give clues as to why certain venues are not selected by the
killer as an appropriate scene for a mass shooting
Suggests that three elements are required for crime:
1. A motivated offender
2. The availability of a suitable target
3. The absence of effective guardians
Control Theory:
Criminality is often controlled by an individual’s commitments and attachment to conventional
institutions, beliefs, activities, and groups many people refrain from engaging in violent
behaviour because they fear losing their relationships with significant others
It is the person who has nothing to lose who lacks attachments to others, doesn’t make
commitments to conventional behaviour, and fails to adopt a belief in the moral
appropriateness of the law who is most likely to commit murderous acts
Chapter 3: Serial Murder page 43-55:
Prevalence of Serial Murder:
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Linkage blindness investigators are not always able to connect homicides, separated over
time and space, to the activities of a single perpetrator, particularly murder sprees that cross
jurisdictional boundaries
Rapid growth into the 1980s suggests significant shifts in the prevalence of serial murder
As interest in serial murder increased, so did the likelihood that cause histories would be
published in some fashion, and, as law enforcement became better equipped to identify
linkages between victims slain by the same killer(s), the detection of serial crimes and
criminals became more likely
The prevalence of serial homicide appears to have diminished over the past decade or two
this decline parallels a sharp downturn in all forms of murder during the 1990s and is to some
extent due to many of the same factors:
o The growth in prison populations kept many violent predators & potential serial
killers behind bars
o Improved law enforcement investigative techniques and other advances in
technology
Other social and cultural changes that may have impacted the behaviour of certain offenders
o The internet has provided such individuals a wide variety of options with which to
satiate their sadistic desires without resorting to murder
Technology has provided greater safety for potential victims cell phones and camera
functions
Extraordinarily Ordinary:
Serial killers who seem like the “boy next door” have become household names, but
underneath the trustworthy and smooth veneer often glorified by the media lies the heart of a
monster whose supreme passion is stalking his prey
A Profile of the Typical Serial Killer:
There is only one trait that tends to separate serial killers from the norm: they are
exceptionally skillful in their presentation of self rather than coming across as evil monsters,
they are able to project a nice guy image that places them beyond suspicion
Male serial killers, frequently sexual predators, tend to target prostitutes, women, or young
boys and girls as victims strangers whom they can stalk, capture, control, and kill to satisfy
their sadistic impulses and violent fantasies
Female serial killers generally kill victims with whom they have shared some kind of
relationship, often in which the victim is dependant on them more than 70% target family
members or patients of some kind
Black widows serial killers who sequentially marry and then murder several husbands to
collect on their inheritances
Firearms and strangulation were the most common weapons used, with knives not very far
behind
Only slightly more than 1/10 serial murderers travelled long distances in search of their prey
Serial killers develop a certain level of comfort with regard to murder they murder with great
ease in order to satisfy a variety of urges and needs at the expense of us all
Chapter 13: For Love, Money, or Revenge: page 159-169 & 177-181:
Relative Obscurity:
Crimes committed against members of minority groups generally do not receive the same
level of attention or interest as those affecting White, middle-class Americans
The relative neglect of mass murder as a form of multiple homicide is possibly because it
cannot compete with the sensational character of serial murder
A Profile of Mass Killers:
The moral panic and sense of urgency surrounding mass murder were fueled by various
claims that mass murder, and mass shootings in particular, were reaching epidemic
proportions
Several criteria must be met for including in the mass shootings database:
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