Tuesday, June 4, 2013

3.2.1 Crime Evaluation: Motive and Motivation - Holmes, Holmes, DeBurger Serial Killer Motivational Classification

(Excerpt from Peter Vronski's "Serial Killers: Method and Madness of Monsters")

Ronald Holmes, Stephan Holmes and James DeBurger grouped serial killers based on their motives. They determined four types with several subgroups:

1. The Visionary: they kils at the command of hallucinated external or internal voices or visions that they experience. Such individuals are almost always suffering from psychosis or other mental illness.
- they commit incomprehensible murders, leaving behind chaotic crime scenes
- they often leave behind an abundance of physical evidence, and their victim seem to fit no comprehensible pattern (the killer's mind is completely disconnected from reality)
- sometimes they are completely nonfunctional in society, living alone and having no contact with other people
- in other cases, the offenders have episodic breaks with reality during which they kill but otherwise appear harmless or at worst, eccentric to those around them
- they most genuinely suffer from mental illness and some are schizophrenic or psychotic
- they might grow up completely normal, in supportive family settings
- because mental illnesses such as schizophrenia often first manifest themselves in late adolescence or early adulthood, visionary killers are often young
- while they do little to disguise their identity and leave behind evidence, they are difficult to apprehend because there is no clear method or motive to their crimes. They operate on an agenda entirely synced to the incomprehensible madness within them
- they select their victims at random in a logic often indiscernible to an investigator
- they often kill close to home (because of their disturbed state of mind, they are unlikely to venture very far)
- they almost exclusively fall into the FBI disorganized category

2. The Mission-Oriented: they come to believe that it is their mission to rid the community of certain types of people (children, prostitutes, old people or members of a specific race or minority)
- they feel compelled to kill a certain type of victims whom they believe is worthy of death. Often, the choice of victims is influenced by the killer's past experience(s) or current beliefs that lead him to conclude that a certain type of people is "undesirable"
- they are highly organized: often intelligent and white collar or professional workers
- they are compulsively seeking out and stalking their victim type and killing them quickly
- they usually do not commit sexual offenses, but there are exceptions, particularly in the murder of prostitutes
- they are often stable, gainfully employed, long term residents of the geographical territory in which they kill
- they usually refrain from posing or mutilating the corpse
- the body is frequently found at the location of the murder, as they have minimum contact with their victims because they are uncomfortable relating to the object of their hate
- they sometimes team up into groups and can be arguably also classified as "cult killers" when they do

3. The Hedonistic: this category includes killers who murder for financial gain (comfort killers), those who gain pleasure from mutilating or having sex with corpses, drinking their blood or cannibalizing them (lust killers) and those who enjoy the actual act of killing (thrill killers). For comfort and lust killers, murder is only a means to an end and in itself is less important that the acts accompanying or following the killing. For the thrill killer, the desire to kill is central to the motive.

3.1 The Hedonistic Comfort Killers
- they kill for profit or for gain (thus for comfort)
- they were highly prevalent in previous centuries: pirates, bandits, baby farmers, black widows, bluebeards, landlady killers, innkeeper murderers, medical cadaver harvesters...
- these types of crimes continue to occur in rural areas or in economically depressed urban communities, where victims are often transients and are not missed
- victims are frequently known to the killer (husband, wife, business partner, friend, or employer-employee). They are carefully chosen for the profit their death will yield, their murders are planned and their bodies carefully disposed of
- there is a division between geocentric killers who lure their victims to their place of residence or business and nomadic killers who seek out the victim
- victims are often killed quickly, and any mutilation of the corpse has to do with disposal as opposed to psychopathology

3.2 The Hedonistic Lust Killers
- they often have an ideal victim type in mind with fetishistic elements
- they often need intimate skin to skin contact in their killing, and use a knife or strangulation to murder
- necrophilia is a very frequent aspect of lust killer homicides
- they are mostly highly organized, having gone through years of the process of transforming and rehearsing their often bizarre fantasies into reality
- they are often aware that their victim choice is visible to police and may choose to travel to various jurisdictions in both their hunt for and disposal of victims
- because sometimes these killers consume certain body parts or focus on them, dismembered victims might be spread over different locations
- they usually choose different dumping grounds for each victim

3.3 The Hedonistic Thrill Killers
- they specifically derive sadistic pleasure from the process of killing - not the actual killing but the acts leading up to it
- to enjoy the act, they need to keep the victim immobilized and alive and aware of what is happening to them
- they often kill in elaborate ritualized methods and sometimes take a respite and revive the victims who lose consciousness before continuing their torture
- these sadistically  driven killers derive pleasure from the pain and suffering their victims go through as they die
- once the victim is dead, they almost immediately lose interest
- postmortem mutilation and necrophiliac acts are not a frequent characteristic of this kind of murder
- they often involve 3 distinct crime scenes (where the victim is captured, a highly controlled environment where the victim is tortured and killed, and finally a site where the victim is quickly dumped)
- they are often attractive, intelligent, and have charismatic psychopathic personalities, relying on their charm to seduce and lure victims to their deaths
- they are highly controlled and controlling, carefully selecting and stalking their desired victim type
- the body is often disposed of so as to deliberately lead investigators away from the killing scene

4. The Power/Control Oriented: they are the most common of all serial killers, for whom the fundamental pleasure of their crime lies in the power and control they exert over their victims. They enjoy torturing their prey and find it sexually arousing, and murder is often the most satisfying and final expression of their power and control over their victims.
- they are highly organized and closely related to sadistic thrill killers, with the difference that causing pain and suffering is not the primary motive of their offense
- dominating and controlling the victim is the primary motive (but they may use pain as a method of control and torture as a token of it)
- the actual pleasure of controlling the victim may begin before the victim even realizes it as the serial killer manipulates and seduces the victim
- they are often charming, charismatic, and intelligent, gradually taking control over their victim before springing a physical capture
- they often pick a certain "type of victims, but fetishistic elements are less important. The murder is often the ultimate expression of the serial killer's control over his victim - but unlike the thrill killer, the power/control killer does not necessarily lose interest once the victim is dead
- control often continues into death with the offender keeping the corpses near him, sometimes in his home or in some safe place where they can be revisited
- sometimes various post mortem sexual acts, mutilations and necrophilia can occur


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