Spree vs. Serial Killers

“The validity of spree murder as a separate category was discussed at great length. The general definition of spree murder is two or more murders committed by an offender or offenders, without a cooling-off period. According to the definition, the lack of a cooling-off period marks the difference between a spree murder and a serial murder. Central to the discussion was the definitional problems relating to the concept of a cooling-off period. Because it creates arbitrary guidelines, the confusion surrounding this concept led the majority of attendees to advocate disregarding the use of spree murder as a separate category. The designation does not provide any real benefit for use by law enforcement.”

That being said, the FBI is not the only game in town when it comes to understanding the mindset of multicidal killers or evaluating the usefulness of the “spree” designation. Criminological researchers interested in developmental and psychological issues see value in retaining distinct categories to study their differences. Even subtle differences can be important for intervention, prediction, and situation management.   more

Six Murderers Who Embody the Nine Traits of Narcissism

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Belief they are special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
  • Need for excessive admiration
  • Interpersonally exploitative behavior
  • Lack of empathy
  • Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of them
  • Demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes

Son of Sam – The .44 Caliber Killer

On August 10, 1977, 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz is arrested and charged with being the “Son of Sam,” the serial killer who terrorized New York City for more than a year, killing six young people and wounding seven others with a .44-caliber revolver. Because Berkowitz generally targeted attractive young women with long brown hair, hundreds of young women had their hair cut short and dyed blonde during the time he terrorized the city. Thousands more simply stayed home at night.

After his arrest, Berkowitz claimed that demons and a black Labrador retriever owned by a neighbor named Sam had ordered him to commit the killings.

David Berkowitz was brought up by adoptive parents in the Bronx. He was traumatized by the death of his adoptive mother from cancer in 1967 and thereafter became more and more of a loner. In 1971, he joined the army and served for three years, where he distinguished himself as a talented marksman. In 1974, he returned to New York and worked as a security guard. His mental condition began to severely deteriorate in 1975 (he would later be diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic).

 

Feeling isolated from the world around him, he became an arsonist and set hundreds of fires in New York City without being arrested. He began to hear voices of “demons” that tormented him and told him to commit murder. On Christmas Eve, 1975, he gave into these internal voices and severely wounded 15-year-old Michelle Forman with a hunting knife.   more