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Serial Murder: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators

NCJ Number
Robert J. Morton
Date Published
71 pages
This monograph presents the findings and collective insight of a multidisciplinary group of experts involved in a Serial Murder Symposium held in order to synthesize the knowledge of various disciplines (law enforcement, mental health, academic and other experts who have studied serial killers, officers of the court, and members of the media) regarding serial murder and serial murderers.
The symposium's focus was on obtaining a consensus of participants' views on the causes, motivations, and characteristics of serial murderers, so as to enable the criminal justice system to improve its response in identifying, investigating, and adjudicating these cases. The symposium crafted the following definition of "serial murder" "The unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s) in separate events." The symposium also discounted a number of myths about serial killers, such as that they are all dysfunctional loners, are all White males, are only motivated by sex, all travel and operate interstate, cannot stop killing, are insane or evil geniuses, and want to get caught. Two sections of the monograph discuss the causality and psychopathy of the serial murderer, followed by a section on motivations linked to various types of serial murder. Two sections address best practices in the investigation and forensic analyses of serial murders. One section focuses on the prosecution of serial murder cases. Two sections address how the media covers serial murder cases. Appended symposium agenda, the symposium working group, and attendees