Advertisement

Motives of the Serial Killer

  • Candice A. Skrapec
Chapter

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Sexual Violation Sexual Gratification Motive Force Emotional Memory Violent Offender 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bailey, K. G. (1987):Human paleopsychology: applications to aggression and pathologicalprocesses, Hillsdale N.J., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  2. Christianson, S-A; Forth, A. E.; Hare, R. D.; Strachan, C.; Lidberg, L. & Thorell, L-H. (1996): Remembering details of emotional events: A comparison between psychopathic and nonpsychopathic offenders,Personality and Individual Differences, 20(4), pp. 437–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dietz, P. E. (1986): Mass, serial and sensational homicides,Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 62(5), pp. 477–490.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Egger, S. A. (1990): Serial murder: a synthesis of literature and research, in S. A. Egger (ed.),Serial murder: an elusive phenomenon, New York, Praeger.Google Scholar
  5. Hare, R. D. (1993):Without conscience: the disturbing world of the psychopaths among us, New York, Pocket Books.Google Scholar
  6. Hare, R. D. (1970):Psychopathy: theory and research, New York, John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  7. Keeney, B. T. & Heide, K. M. (1995): Serial murder: a more accurate and inclusive definition, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 39(4), pp. 299–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Money, J. (1990): Forensic sexology: Paraphilic serial rape (blastophilia) and lust murder (erotophonophilia), American Journal of Psychotherapy XLIV(l), pp. 26–36.Google Scholar
  9. Raine, A. (1994): Selective reductions in prefrontal glucose metabolism in murderers, Society of Biological Psychiatry, 36, pp. 365–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Raine, A. (1993): The psychopathology of crime: criminal behavior as a clinical disorder, New York, Academic Press.Google Scholar
  11. Reeve, J. (1992):Understanding motivation and emotion, New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Skrapec, C. A. (1997): Serial murder: Motive and meaning, Dissertation Abstracts International, (University Microfilms No. 9808004).Google Scholar
  13. Skrapec, C. A. (1996): The sexual component of serial murder, in T. OReilly-Fleming (ed.), Serial & mass murder: theory, research and policy, Toronto, Canadian Scholars Press.Google Scholar
  14. Skrapec, C. A. (1994): The female serial killer: an evolving criminality, in H. Birch (ed.), Moving targets: women, murder and representation, Berkeley, University of California Press.Google Scholar
  15. Williamson, S.; Harpur, J. Hare, R. D. (1991): Abnormal processing of affective words by psychopaths, Psychophysiology, 28(3), pp. 260–273.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wrangham, R. & Peterson, D. (1996): Demonic males: apes and the origins of human violence, New York, Mariner Books.Google Scholar
  17. Yochelson, S. & Samenow, S. E. (1976): The criminal personality: volume I: a profile for change, New York, Jason Aronson.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations