skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 99115 Find in a Library
Title: Men Who Murdered
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:54  Issue:8  Dated:(August 1985)  Pages:2-6
Author(s): R K Ressler; A W Burgess
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Background information and interviews conducted by FBI agents with 36 sexual murderers indicate that a murderer's actions stem from a combination of background experiences: low social attachment; physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse; and a dominance of a violent, sexualized fantasy life.
Abstract: The majority of the 36 male offenders in the sample grew up in the 1940's and 1950's, were white, and were usually eldest sons. Most had positive personal characteristics and social factors: a pleasant general appearance, average to above-average intelligence, mothers who were homemakers, and fathers who earned comfortable incomes. Family histories, however, revealed multiple problems. The murderers felt uninvolved with their fathers, ambivalent toward their mothers, and had little attachment to younger siblings. The parents were preoccupied with their own problems of substance abuse, criminality, or aberrant sexual behavior and were often arguing. Offenders' individual development was characterized by the dominance of a fantasy life -- primarily violent and sadistic in nature -- and a history of personal abuse. Despite the intelligence and potential of these men, their performance in academics, employment, sexual relationships, and military service was poor. Interviews revealed many expressions of low self-esteem prior to the murders. These data suggest the murderers developed certain attitudes: they devalued people, viewed the world as unjust, saw life and authority as inconsistent and unpredictable, were obsessed with dominance through aggression, and preferred solo sex. To fulfill a need for a sense of adequacy and mastery of life, the murderers developed private worlds where fantasy and delusions predominated. Clues for understanding the type of criminal personality responsible for rape, mutilation, torture, and murder are outlined. A chart and two references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Murder; Offender profiles; Psychological influences on crime; Sex offense causes
Note: Available on microfiche as NCJ-99114
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.