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NCJ Number: 206745 Find in a Library
Title: Empirical Test of Holmes and Holmes's Serial Murder Typology
Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior  Volume:31  Issue:4  Dated:August 2004  Pages:489-515
Author(s): David V. Canter; Natalia Wentink
Editor(s): Curt R. Bartol
Date Published: August 2004
Page Count: 27
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article presents the results of an empirical study of Holmes and Holmes’s (1998) serial murder classification scheme or typology model.
Abstract: In 1998, Holmes and Holmes developed a serial murder classification; a fivefold model of serial killers which included: (1) the visionary killer; (2) the mission killer; (3) the hedonistic killer (the lust killer and thrill killer); and (4) the power or control killer. The model can be seen as a division of an organized-disorganized continuum. This study presents the results of a test of the Holmes and Holmes’ model which tested the hypotheses that the characteristics within each type of serial murderer consistently co-occur with one another and that these characteristics do not co-occur with characteristics of other types. A multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis of the data showed that the higher frequency characteristics of the crime scenes could not be used to distinguish between offenses or support the proposed types. The mission killing type proved extremely difficult to relate to identifiable crime scene variables other than those associated with the form of weapon used to kill. The MDS analysis did not help distinguish these variables from others. The visionary, lust, and thrill killers were found to have limited support from the MDS analysis. By testing Holmes and Holmes’s 1998 model, some of the strengths of their careful consideration of many serial killers can be seen. However, a model of serial killing emerges that places much more emphasis on how the offender interacts with the victim than on inferences about the motivations of the offender. Study limitations and implications are presented and discussed. Appendix, references
Main Term(s): Murder
Index Term(s): Crime typologies; Homicide; Homicide causes; Murderers; Offender classification; Offender profiles; Serial murders; Violent offenders
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