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Sociology of Serial Killers

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Katie Cornett

on 14 December 2014

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Transcript of Sociology of Serial Killers

Sociology of:

What is a Serial Killer?
A serial killer is a person who has killed three or more people over a period of time longer than one month.
They typically take a break between murders, each murder is committed based on psychological reasons

Categories of Serial Killers










Organized Serial Killers
Disorganized Serial Killers
Etiology of the Serial Killer:
In 1977 Eysenck suggested that several factors interplay which can make a person a serial killer: environment, biological factors and personality traits.
There is a general agreement that mental health and early childhood trauma also play a significant role in the forming of serial killers
The etiology of psychopathy is unknown, several studies have shown that there is a strong neurobiological basis for psychopathy.
The two areas of the brain that have been the primary focus when studying serial killers are the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.
Not all serial killers are same, each one has different motives.
According to Holmes and Holmes there are four main motivators which drive serial killers to commit murder: mission oriented, hedonistic, visionary, power/control.
These motivators can overlap.
Many serial killers are known to have sexual relations with their victims, this may be non-consensual, or can be after the victim is deceased.
Mission Oriented
These types of serial killers are motivated by the idea that they are helping the world by getting rid of what they perceived as undesirable.
The mission orientated serial killer makes a decision to kill.
Being on a mission means that these killings are usually premeditated & preplanned to a certain extent.
These type of serial killers are motivated by pleasure.
They view people as expendable, so others are objects to achieve their pleasure.
This is then divided into three sub categories: lust, thrill and comfort.
These type of serial killers are motivated by sexual gratification, and tend to use more contact, weapons which require physical contact and/or strangulation. They do this to achieve this pleasure.
These type of serial killers are motivated by the fear and terror they cause on their victims. They are actively seeking the adrenaline rush. Most of these types of serial killers pride themselves in committing the perfect crime by targeting strangers
These type of serial killers are motivated by the financial gain. This kind of murders are usually committed within families and close acquaintances. These killings are usually performed indirectly through poison or hiring a killer.
Serial killers who are considered visionary serial killers are primarily motivated by a mental illness and or psychotic break.
These type of serial killers are usually driven to murder because of a higher power, which they belief is something out of their control.
They sometimes believe that they are committing these crimes for a greater good, they also think that killing a few saves many more.
Power & Control
These type of serial killers are usually motivated by the idea of being in a position of power.
They also like having strength over their victims.
Many serial killers' behaviors are associated with neglect or abuse that they suffered from childhood.
Some of these killers either suffered abuse against themselves, or watched a family member suffer from abuse throughout adolescence.
A common theme among serial killers is insecurity.
In order for rejection to not be an option, usually the serial killer murders a person that they desires.
Many of the serial killers will have sex with the corpse, giving them total power and pleasure without the fear of rejection as well.
Many male serial killers start their killing spree after they have been rejected by a women multiple times. This can start from early childhood or later in life.

General Characteristics
Zodiac Killer
Between the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Zodiac Killer, whose identity is still unknown is believed to be responsible for at least five murders within the San Francisco Bay Area. Although his identity is still unknown, he sent letters into newspaper editors on multiple occasions, talking about his murders.

Alcohol & Substance Abuse
Psychological Abuse
Sexually Stressful Events During Childhood
Alcohol & Substance Abuse
According to the FBI, 70% of serial killers who grew up with alcohol experienced substance abuse. Many serial killers aren’t addicted to substance or alcohol, but many of them have encountered alcohol abuse while growing up
Psychological Abuse
Most serial killers were abused while growing up. About 50% of well known serial killers said that they had suffered emotional abuse and neglect.
Sexually Stressful Events During
Violent sexual events during childhood have serious affects on an individuals development. Some were punished others were sexually abused either by their parents or family members. Such experiences during childhood will cause violent fantasies that will continue into adulthood.

Family members of serial killers were usually distant. They move around a lot and sometimes end up in shelters. Children who grow up like this never understand the meaning of a relationship. They never let people in and isolate themselves.
Most serial killer fantasies are about violence and control. Serial killers never remember any positive fantasies they had while growing up. Before a serial killer kills they fantasize about the murder over and over again until they create a successful fantasy.
Luis Garavito
Luis Garavito has been proven responsible for the murders of 189 Colombian boys, many of who lived in poor neighborhoods, and therefore, their murders would be overlooked. Most of the boys were between the ages of 8 and 16. He would lure the young boys to secluded places by offering them money or alcohol, and often disguised himself as a priest. In 1997, authorities found an old graveyard containing 36 of Garavito's victims, which sparked a nation wide hunt for the killer. It was not until 1999 he was arrested for suspicion of sexual assault, and confessed to killing 140 boys, resulting in an 835 year prison sentence. Luis himself suffered child abuse from his father and other neighbors for most of his childhood.
Characteristics of an organized serial killer include:
Higher than average IQs
Good social skills
Has a successful love life
Has a father in life, but may have been abusive
Succeeds in society
Kills in one spot, then moves body
Tend to have some college background
Good hygiene
Disposes of evidence
Characteristics of a disorganized serial killer include:
Below average IQ
Live by themselves
Suffered emotional abuse from family
High school dropouts
May contact victim's family to "play games"
Does not clean up murder
Leaves body intact

Motives of Serial Killers in America
Examples of Serial Killers
-Ted Bundy
-Boston Strangler
-Green River Murders
-John Wayne Gacy
-The Rostov Ripper
-The Zodiac Killer
Ted Bundy
Most frightening of all the serial killers. A handsome, educated, psychopathic law student who stalked and murdered dozen of college women.
He was a con artist. He would fake a broken arm so that a woman would help him carry his textbooks to his car, then he would batter them with a baseball bat and carry them off for his rituals.
Boston Strangler
Unidentified Killer or Killers
Killed 13 women
A man named Albert DeSalvo confessed to 11 of the murders
Green River Murders
Scores of women murdered in the Seattle area results in the longest running homicide investigation in U.S. history.
DNA evidence points the killer to be Gary Leon Ridgway.
John Wayne Gacy
A "respectable" Chicago business man who hire young men to work at his contracting company. He rapes and murders scores of them then buries them on his properties.
The Rostov Ripper
Russia's worst serial killer.
Caught by Viktor Burakov
Identified as a former teacher, Andrea Chikatilo
Katie Cornett
Dennys Bautista
John Cueto
Diana Hakobyan
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