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Profiling Serial Murders (From Profiling Violent Crimes: An Investigative Tool, P 55-79, 1989, Ronald M Holmes -- See NCJ-120539)

NCJ Number
R M Holmes
Date Published
25 pages
Psychological profiling of serial murderers involves the analysis of offender motives, mindset, and crime scene traits.
Serial murder claims more than 5,000 victims a year by an estimated 35 serial murderers currently at large in the United States. Motives, gains, and the etiology of serial murder differ from traditional forms of homicide. A typology of serial murderers has been developed that encompasses the spatial mobility of serial killers, and visionary, mission, hedonistic, and power/control serial killers. Most serial murderers appear to share certain characteristics: white, age range from 25 to 34 years, intelligent or at least street smart, charming and charismatic, and interested in police work. Profiling a serial murder case involves the analysis of several crime scene traits, including the controlled crime scene, the chaotic crime scene, evidence of torture, specific victim, weapon at scene, relational victim, known victim, violent weapon, aberrant sex, necrophilia, weapon of torture, strangulation, penile penetration, and object penetration. Additional profiling elements are blindfolds, facial attack, body disposal, dismemberment, bondage, body position, and souvenirs. Excerpts from a taped interview demonstrate the serial murderer's perspective of victim selectivity and perceptions during the violent act. A model of personal violence is described and illustrated. 1 table, 3 figures.


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