Motives of the Serial Killer

  • Candice A. Skrapec


For many people, social scientists and laymen alike, serial murderers have been summarily relegated to the realm of evil. The very existence of serial killers1 turns up the rhetoric on evil. Why would someone be motivated to kill repeatedly if not as a manifestation of some evil force? However, just as we observe the behaviors of most serial killers to be “crazy”—yet not most killers themselves- we find ourselves in a similar position with respect to the evil of their deeds. While we may describe the series of killings as evil, the perpetrators are of decidedly human substance. Their “evil” is borne of their willful intent to destroy human life. Serial murderers do not inhabit a kind of “otherness,” but rather reveal extreme aspects of our very selves. My own experiences with them have taught me to accept them -but not what they do-unconditionally, as human beings. This permits a window into their killings; and access to a comprehensibility with regard to their motives.


Sexual Violation Sexual Gratification Motive Force Emotional Memory Violent Offender 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Candice A. Skrapec
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CriminologyCalifornia State University FresnoFresnoUSA

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