An Analysis of Serial Killing and Sexual Sadism Applying Robert Pickton as a Case Study

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Robert William “Willie” Pickton is currently serving a life sentence for the second degree murder of six British Columbian women. Although convicted for the murders of six victims, physical and forensic evidence for thirty-three women was uncovered at Pickton’s Port Coquitlam pig farm which served as the crime scene for his murders. Numerous other missing women, mostly marginalized prostitutes with chronic drug addiction, from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside area remain unaccounted for. It is not unreasonable to assume that they too, met the same disturbing fate as the other murder victims. Pickton’s modus operandi for the serial murders was the same; he would prowl the drug and poverty ridden Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver…show more content…
Serial murder is defined as the murder of at least three victims accompanied with an intermittent “cooling off” period in between. Often during the “cooling off” period the serial killer fantasizes about his next potential victim and contrives a plan to enact said fantasy (Simons, 2001). The term “serial killer” was introduced into the English lexicon in the 1970’s and used to describe individuals who committed a series of murders under these pretenses. The typical age of onset for serial murder is usually in the mid-to-late twenties (Arndt, Hietpas, and Kim, 2004). It is difficult to determine when exactly Robert Pickton began his string of killing since much of his early life remains shrouded in mystery. The best way to examine the frequency of Pickton’s murders and the duration of the “cooling off” period between them then, is to examine data of women reported missing from the Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver. Using this data, it can be reasonably assumed that Pickton began his murders (at least within the context of his general modus operandi) sometime in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s (The Pickton Trial, CBC.ca/news). Using the missing women data along with evidence found on the Pickton farm, it is seen that the murders increased in frequency with a much smaller “cooling off” period throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s before his eventual arrest in 2002. Traumatizing events during childhood have been shown to be potential precursors to serial

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