Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations Essay

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Some of the 'tools of trade' a killer could incorporate to torture his victims as he seeks to facilitate his perversion include but they are not limited to "leather slave collars, handcuffs, cigarette lighters, whips, and adhesive or duct tape" (Keppel and Birnes, 2008).

Information about Torture: Its Relevance in Understanding a Killer's Signature

Peter Sutcliffe, yet another brutal and sadistic serial killer, can be seen as a classic example of those who went far than it was necessary to kill their victims. In some cases, killers tend to engage in a variety of other actions beyond the actual crime. These actions could include but they are not limited to unnecessary stabbing and some kind of bondage or binding. Peter Sutcliffe for instance was popular for repeatedly stabbing and slashing his victims.

Signature killers in the words of Flowers (2006) "tend to leave behind a 'calling card' or psychological signature unique to them at each crime scene." Information about torture could help investigators understand a killer's signature. Such info could particularly help the said investigators establish links between crimes. Beyond inflicting injuries that bring about the death of their victims, killers driven by the intense need to derive satisfaction from the pain and suffering of their victims go to extreme lengths to act out their fantasies. For instance, prior to their eventual killing, most of Richard Cottingham's victims were subjected to what appeared to be vicious and unusual sexual attacks. Cottingham's sexual arousal largely relied on subjecting his victims to unimaginable pain. In the course of satisfying his perverted
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desires, he routinely handcuffed his victims, performed anal sodomy upon them, and bit or tore their breasts. This according to Keppel and Birnes (2008) is what Cottingham did to his last would-be murder victim who was however lucky to have her life saved before the killer could torment her further. These aspects of torture and infliction of pain were consistent with Cottingham's other murderous exploits prior to his final act. Using Cottingham's case as an example, it is not difficult to see how information about torture can help us understand a killer's signature characteristics.

Conclusion

Before killing their victims, most killers go to great lengths to act out their fantasies. It is from this "acting out" that they derive intense satisfaction which is in most cases of a sexual nature. In that regard, such criminals routinely subject their victims to unimaginable mental and physical anguish. Information regarding torture can therefore be of great use to anyone interested in understanding a specific killer's signature.

References

Barkan, S. & Bryjak, G. (2011). Fundamentals of Criminal Justice: A Sociological View (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Flowers, R.B. (2006). Sex Crimes: Perpetrators, Predators, Prostitutes, and Victims (2nd ed.). Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas.

Keppel, R.D. & Birnes, W.J. (2008). Serial Violence: An Analysis of Modus Operandi and Signature Characteristics of Killers. New York: Taylor & Francis Group.

Keppel, R.D. & Birnes, W.J. (2003). The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations: The Grisly Business Unit. California: Academic Press.

Smith, D. & Zahn, M.A. (Eds.). (1998). Homicide: A Sourcebook of Social Research. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE.

Vito, G., Maahs, J.R. & Holmes, R.M. (2006). Criminology: Theory,…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Barkan, S. & Bryjak, G. (2011). Fundamentals of Criminal Justice: A Sociological View (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Flowers, R.B. (2006). Sex Crimes: Perpetrators, Predators, Prostitutes, and Victims (2nd ed.). Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas.

Keppel, R.D. & Birnes, W.J. (2008). Serial Violence: An Analysis of Modus Operandi and Signature Characteristics of Killers. New York: Taylor & Francis Group.

Keppel, R.D. & Birnes, W.J. (2003). The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations: The Grisly Business Unit. California: Academic Press.

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https://www.paperdue.com/essay/psychology-of-serial-killer-investigations-76645