Abstract/Details

Multiple murderers: The characteristics of the persons and the nature of their crimes

Ritter, Barrie J. 
 United States International University ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  1988. 8819738.

Abstract (summary)

The problem. The purpose of this study was to initiate the establishment of a data base to support research on multiple murderers. A systematic, descriptive study was conducted on a sample of multiple murderers and their crimes, using historical, cross cultural and recent American cases. The specific purposes of the study were to determine the characteristics of multiple murderers and their crimes, including commonalities and differences, and to analyze the characteristics of the persons to determine what, if any, correspondence existed between them and their crimes.

Method. Available, published materials were used to describe 27 well-known multiple (or episodic) murderers. These cases were considered representative of the countries, time periods and diversity of crime-types that constitute the phenomenon of multiple murder. To provide accurate and reliable case descriptions, two research instruments were developed from the content themes reviewed in the literature: the "Life History" and "The Crimes." The procedures to be followed in data collection were specified. These instruments ensured that the descriptions were highly structured and that the descriptive data covered a range of variables and issues.

Results. The majority of multiple murderers studied were found to be white males whose families clustered at or near middle-class status. There were few instances of abuse or neglect, and the childhoods were found to have few major traumas. It was concluded that life histories of multiple murderers cannot account for their crimes.

Common personality traits include egocentrism, ambitiousness, greed, feelings of superiority, and, in general, high dominance-feeling and psychopathy, with the latter two traits being the most important for explanatory purposes.

As multiple murderers tended to employ diverse methods and often to select dissimilar victims, it was concluded that, at present, there is no such thing as a "typical" serial murder pattern. It was further concluded that multiple murder is a chosen career and not a psychopathological response or sign of mental illness.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Criminology;
Social psychology
Classification
0627: Criminology
0451: Social psychology
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Psychology
Title
Multiple murderers: The characteristics of the persons and the nature of their crimes
Author
Ritter, Barrie J.
Number of pages
547
Degree date
1988
School code
0239
Source
DAI-A 49/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
979-8-206-85505-0
Advisor
Hamreus, Dale G.
University/institution
United States International University
University location
United States -- California
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
8819738
ProQuest document ID
303716825
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
https://www.proquest.com/docview/303716825/abstract