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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 156773 Find in a Library
Title: Signature Murders: A Report of Several Related Cases
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:40  Issue:4  Dated:(July 1995)  Pages:670-674
Author(s): R D Keppel
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 5
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines the factors in three murders in Bellevue, Wash., in 1990 that provided a "signature" of the common killer of all three victims.
Abstract: Three female patrons of singles bars were murdered in separate events in Bellevue, Wash., in 1990 within 67 days of each other. An evaluation of those murders revealed that they were all linked by a distinct personal "signature" left by the killer. As reported in the literature, the modus operandi (method of operation) of a killer frequently changes from one murder to the next and is different from the killer's signature, which is a permanent psychological imprint at each scene. The murder cases examined in this article showed an elaborate signature of one killer who engaged in a rare personalization of his necrophilic fantasies by posing, openly displaying, and sexually inserting foreign objects into each one of three victims' bodies. A killer's method of operation contains those actions that are necessary to commit the murder. They may change from one murder to the next as the killer gains experience and finds a more beneficial method of operation from murder to murder. Whatever the killer does beyond the murder, such as mutilating, biting, posing, torturing, should be the major focus of investigators in determining whether the murders were committed by the same person. The signature remains the same whether it is the first offense or one committed 10 years later; the ritual may evolve, but the theme will persist. 13 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Case studies; Criminal methods; Homicide investigations; Serial murders; Signature murders
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