Serial Killers Definition

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The legal definition of a serial murder, as defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (Morton & Hilts, Eds., 2006), in 2005 is, “[t]he unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s), in separate events" (p. 9). Serial killers remain a rare phenomenon with only a small portion of the murders being ones committed by serial killers. The FBI (2006) states, serial murder accounts for under one percent of killings each year. Nevertheless, throughout the years, countless people have researched serial killers due to the heinous nature of their crimes and the fact that they are truly fascinating individuals. Criminologists such as Dr. Ronald Holmes, Dr. Stephen T. Holmes, Robert Morton, and Peter Vronsky, have conducted several…show more content…
According to A&E Television Networks, LLC. (2016a), Shawcross's academic records as a child indicated a low IQ. He had been consistently in trouble since he was 18. At the age of 27, while in custody for the murder of Karen Hill he admitted to the murder of Jack Blake, but due to the absence of proof, authorities were unable to convict him. He served his time in prison and upon his release, the courts sealed his records so he would not be further stigmatized. He repeatedly switched jobs, all of which were unskilled work and all four of his marriages ended in divorce. At the age of 43, he started on a killing spree in New York and took the lives of ten women in Monroe County and one in Wayne County. After the murders, the authorities established a profile of the killer's possible characteristics, which read as…show more content…
What drives these murderers can vary greatly. "The motives of serial killers are commonly placed into four categories: visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic and power or control; nevertheless, the motives of any given killer may display considerable overlap among these categories" (Coulthard, 2011, para. 5). Hedonistic killers typically fall into a few subgroups according to their motivations. At times, it is difficult to discern a specific motivation, which allows many serial killers to fall into more than one classification. Dr. Ronald Holmes and James DeBurger initially established this typology, in the late 80's; however, in 2009, Dr. Ronald Holmes and Dr. Stephen T. Holmes expanded it to include the gain/comfort killer (Morton, Tillman, & Gaines,
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