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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222567 Find in a Library
Title: Starkweather Syndrome: Exploring Criminal History Antecedents of Homicidal Crime Sprees
Journal: Criminal Justice Studies: A Critical Journal of Crime, Law and Society  Volume:21  Issue:1  Dated:March 2008  Pages:37-47
Author(s): Matt Delisi; Andy Hochstetler; Aaron M. Scherer; Aaron Purhmann; Mark T. Berg
Date Published: March 2008
Page Count: 11
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A comparison study was conducted of convicted murderers and the offense and criminal history of those who committed homicides during crime sprees and those who did not.
Abstract: Among the sample of convicted murderers, spree killers were noteworthy for their criminal versatility and sheer magnitude of crimes committed. Specifically, spree murderers killed nearly twice as many victims and attempted to kill more than 4 times as many victims as homicide offenders who did not engage in spree crime. In terms of the average levels of crimes committed during the course of their final homicide event, spree murderers committed significantly more rapes, robberies, assaults, acts of child molestation, kidnappings, burglaries, and weapon offenses. In terms of criminal history, fewer differences emerged between spree and non-spree murderers. Both groups of murderers had extensive convictions histories. However, spree murderers had significantly more prior convictions for robbery and child molestation, but fewer convictions for drug sales and use. Little is known about the criminal backgrounds of offenders who commit homicidal crime sprees. Spree murderers have variously been referred to as disorganized, impulsive, asocial lust murderers, and hybrid cases. They are defined as killing at two locations with little to no cooling-off period, but the time period of their violence is non-specific. Based on data from a purposive sample of 654 convicted murderers selected from 8 States, this study compared the offense and criminal history of offenders who committed homicides during crime sprees and those who did not. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Homicide
Index Term(s): Comparative criminology; Crime patterns; Criminal career patterns; Criminology; Dangerousness; Habitual offenders; Homicide trends; Murderers; Offender profiles; Recidivism
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