Mass Murder


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Presentation for Psychology After Hours on 10/22/2012 at Columbus State Community College by Assoc. Prof. Mary Lia Reiter

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  • Homicide = the killing of one human being by anotherMurder = the crime of unlawfully killing a person, especially with malice or aforethought.Not all homicides are murder, but all murders are homicides.FBI’s UCR: 14,748 murdersMurder Rate: 4.8/100,000
  • These definitions are difficult – Brevik’s crimes had elements of a spree and a mass murder.
  • Jerry Hessler - Ohio bank employee who in 1995 was upset about losing his job and went on a shooting spree, killing four people including a baby (and was found with a list of several more people he intended to kill), died of a heart attack on Jan. 14, 2011 on death row in Mansfield, OH at age 45. Mr. Hessler had first broken into a Columbus home and killed Brian Stevens, 36, a bank employee; his wife, Tracy Stevens, 25, also a bank employee, and their 4-month-old daughter, Amanda. Another bank employee who was visiting, Ruth Canter, 33, was wounded, and a 7-year-old boy hid and escaped injury. After leaving the Stevens home, Mr. Hessler went to a home about a half-mile away and shot Mark P. Campolito, 27, another bank employee, in the left arm, Sergeant Longebone said. Mr. Campolito was hospitalized in fair condition.At a home in the suburb of Worthington, Mr. Hessler killed P. Thane Griffin, 64, who had recently retired as a charity executive.After the killings, Mr. Hessler drove 70 miles northeast to the home of his former girlfriend, Judy Stanton, 38, in Ashland. When he was refused entry, Mr. Hessler fired three shots through the door and kicked it open. Mrs. Stanton's husband, Douglas, 38, shot Mr. Hessler in the chest, but Mr. Hessler was wearing a bulletproof vest and received only minor injuries. No one else in the house was hurt.In searching the vehicle, the police found appellant’s passport, pages from an address book, binoculars, a knife, a sledge hammer, ear plugs, and eleven books of matches. Inside the trunk, police found four red plastic gasoline containers, three of which held gasoline. Under the seats, police found additional boxes of 9-mm ammunition. Altogether, appellant had around two hundred eighty lead bullets, fifty-five full metal jacket bullets, and forty hollow-point bullets. On the front passenger floorboard, police found a piece of paper listing, in appellant’s handwriting, the names and addresses of 7 other people.
  • James Huberty, From Canton, OHHad polio as a youth. Mother abandoned family when he was young. Degree in Sociology from Community College. Attended mortuary school.History of DV, cruelty to animalsBrain damage from motorcycle accident & couldn’t work as welder anymore.Moved to CA to find work. Lost job 2 weeks before shootingunemployed security guard and welder started and kept his shooting rampage for 77 minutes inside the McDonalds restaurant until a police sniper ended his carnage with a bullet that went through his heart. (His widow tried to sue McDonalds and his work place claiming that the incident was a result of the MSG in their food combined with industrial chemicals he worked around caused delusions and uncontrollable rage).Phoned police on the way to the McDonalds.Victims were mostly Mexican/Mexican American257 rounds of ammunition
  • Charles Whitman was a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a former Marine who killed 16 people and wounded 32 others during a shooting rampage on and around the university's campus on Aug. 1, 1966. Whitman killed three of his victims inside the university's tower, and 10 others from the 29th floor observation deck./ The tower massacre happened shortly after Whitman murdered his wife and mother at their homes. He was shot and killed by Austin Police Officer Houston McCoy.Had a severe brain tumor that might have caused the mental state.
  • Speck was a mass murderer who systematically tortured, raped and murdered eight student nurses from South Chicago Community Hospital in Chicago, Illinois on July 14, 1966.Born in Kirkwood Il. Father died when he was 6. Stepfather beat him often.Head injury from falling from a treePoor studentJuvenile delinquentMarried – history of DV and spousal rape.6 months before the murders, wife filed for divorceAttempted suicide after murders, recognized by survivorDeclared sane but sociopathOriginally sentenced to death. Sentence commuted to life after Furman. Video showing him cross-dressing, doing drugs, and obtaining female hormones in prison
  • Most research consists of typologies and case studies
  • Based on data on 558 assailants (494 unique individuals or partnerships)3850 known homicides (maybe up to 5650 murders).Includes some unsolved cases
  • The most common form. Power and control are clearly dominant.Serial: Inspired by sadistic fantasies, a man tortures and kills a series of strangers to satisfy his need for control and dominanceMass: A pseudo-commando, dressed in battle fatigues and armed with a semi-automatic weapon, turns a shopping mall into a war zone.Examples: Donald Harvey – Cincinnati area hospital killed 80 patients over a period of years. Enjoyed playing god. Donald Harvey (born in Butler County, Ohio April 15, 1952) is an American serial killer who claims to have murdered 87 people. The official estimates of the number of people he murdered range anywhere from 36 to 57 deaths. Donald Harvey received some type of sadistic pleasure from killing his patients, although he claims he started out killing to “ease the pain” of patients.[1] As he progressed in his murders, he began to enjoy it more and more and became an expert medical serial killer.[2] He is a self-professed "Angel of Death". Harvey is currently serving three consecutive life sentences at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in OhioJulian Knight in 1987 – obsessed with the military – Melbourne, killed 7 wounded 18 on 9 August 1987 during a shooting spree in Clifton Hill, Victoria, in what became known in Australian history as the Hoddle Street Massacre.UnibomberSimilar to mission-oriented – could be motivated by ridding the world of undesirables, thrill seeking, or power.
  • Many murders are motivated by revenge against specific people, categories of people, or society at large.Serial: Grossly mistrated as a child, a man avenges his past by slaying women who remind him of his mother.Mass: After being fired from his job, a gunman returns to the work site and opens fire on his former boss and coworkers.Examples:Ronald Gene Simmons – killed whole family in 1987 to avenge rejection by his wife and older daughter with whom he had had an incestuous relationship.Patrick Sherrill – 1986 killed 14 fellow postal workers in Edmond, OK after being reprimanded and threatened with dismissal by his supervisor. Student shooters1989 Marc Lepine – U of Montreal – 14 female engineering students were killed because of a grudge against feminists. Father was abusive, hated women, head injury, William Cruse – hated humanity. In 1987 he went on a shooting spree in a Winn-Dixie in Florida killed 6 and wounded 12. Delusional/paranoid Murder by proxy – victims are chosen because they are identified with a primary target against whom revenge is sought.
  • More instrumental than expressive – murder serves as a necessary, even if distasteful, means towards some desired outcome. Warped sense of love and loyalty, a desire to save loved ones from misery and hardship.Serial: A team of killers turns murder into a ritual for proving their dedication and commitment to one anotherMass: A depressed husband/father kills his family and himself to spare them from a miserable existence and bring them to a better life in the hereafter.Examples:HerminoElizalde –father who lost his job and close to losing his 5 kids – killed them in their sleep then committed suicide.James Colbert, Concord NH 1991 – strangled wife out of jealousy then killed his three daughters to protect them from becoming orphans.David Koresh – branch davidians in 1993 – followers were willing to die for their radical religious cause. Manson family - Picture is Patricia Krenwinkel, Tex Watson, Susan Adkins, Linda Kasabian (who was granted immunity to testify for the state – was driver and lookout) – convicted in murder of Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, WojciechFrykowski, Abigail Folger, Steven Parent. Followers
  • Killing is designed to eliminate witnesses to a crime, often a robbery.Serial: A woman poisons to death a series of husbands in order to collect on their life insurance policies.Mass: A band of armed robbers executes the employees of a store to eliminate all witnesses to their crime.Examples:1983 WahMee club in Seattle – was a mulitiple homicide on February 18, 1983, in which Kwan Fai "Willie" Mak, Wai-Chiu "Tony" Ng, and Benjamin Ng gunned down 14 people in the WahMee gambling club. Thirteen of their victims lost their lives, but one survived to testify against the three in the high-profile Seattle trial. It remains the deadliest mass murder in the state's history.64 yr old Sacramento landlady murdered and buried nine elderly tenants so she could steal their social security checks 1980s1989 ritualistic cult slayings of 15 people in Matamoros, Mexico – drug smugglers practicing Palo Mayombe, a form of black magic. Human sacrifices were thought to protect them from bullets and criminal prosecution while they illegally transported 2000 pounds of pot per week from Mexico to the US.
  • Some are terrorist acts in which the perp. Wants to send a message through murder.Serial: A profoundly paranoid man commits a series of bombings to warn the world of impending doom.Mass: A group of antigovernment extremists blows up a train to send a political message.Examples:Manson – “Death to Pigs” at Sharon Tate slaying1978 three brothers, Bruce, Norman, and David Johnston, protected their multimillion dollar crime ring by eliminating several gang members whom they suspected would testify against them to a federal grand jury in Philly. “Snitch and the same thing happens to you.”1982 Chicago Tylenol cyanide poisonings. Killer has never been apprehended. 7 people died.
  • March 14, 2012 – Gay Street here in Columbus, John w. Mallett walked into a building and stabbed four people.Suffered from schizophreniaFamily had tried to get him help many times, but had been turned away.Always thinking people were out to get him, so he armed himself.One person died, four were wounded.
  • Rage or cold bloodedAffective – emotionally charged, uncontrolledPredatory – purposeful and controlled with lack of emotional displeyKip Kinkel killed four and wounded 25 – having hallucinations – extreme emotional distress. Reacts to stressor that generates intense anger and or anxietyDylan Klebold didn’t show emotions of rage or anger or distress during the murders – only laughed and taunted his victims before he shot them in a cold blooded way. Predatory murder can serve to gratify fantasies of omnipotence and control as well as sexually sadistic acts. Can relieve paranoid delusions, or a compulsive drive. Describe feelings of exhiliration. Objectives – gratification, vengeful fantasies, sadistic desires, omnipotent control, expediency. No displacement of target – will pursue target. No overkill.Mass murders aim to solve a problem – predatory is responding to a preceding phase of affective turmoil that is protracted and conflict ridden.
  • Holmes and Holmes (2001) list eight different types of mass murderer. These are -Disciple Killer – follows the direction of a charismatic leader, motivation is extrinsic. Killer is sometimes female, maybe cult memberFamily Annihilator Killer – kills his entire family at one time, and may even kill the family pet.  The motivation for the Family Annihilator is intrinsic, inside the offender. Most common form of mass murder. Devon Crawford 2009 in Cleveland shot wife, sister in law and her three children and himself because of a domestic disturbance.Disgruntled Employee Killer – may have been dismissed from a job, denied a promotion, have received some disciplinary action, or suffered some other perceived wrong.  May be on medical or mental disability leave. Can be a long-term employee or a new employee. They lash out to fix some perceived wrong, however it has been found that this situation can happen with either a very regimental or lax management system. The motivation is intrinsic in an effort to “right a wrong”Ideological Killer – the PseudoCommando, - stockpiles weapons to lash out against something which is perceived as not right about the world. Pseudo-political reasonings, sometimes semi-affiliated to terrorist or extremist ideals (Anders Brievik, (Jared Laughtner?) James HubertySet and Run Killer – either a mass bomber, or perhaps a product tamperer. They intend normally to set the weapon and then run, not to commit suicide. Some similarities to the serial arsonist. McVey – 168 people killed in OK city bombing ; Michael Davis – set fire in Youngstown that killed 2 women and 4 children in 2008 because of a family feud; Robert “Lucky” Patterson suspected of killing 5 people in OSU fire in 2002Disgruntled Citizen Killer - These are people that are unhappy with something in their lives and feel that killing a large number of people at one time will either change their lives or at least give them an outlet for their hatePsychotic Killer (sometimes called the Mentally Disordered Multiple Murderer) LoughnerSchool Shooter – normally males aged 11 – 18, with social problems, who target their own schools in rampage murders. Often a team killingMurderer for Profit (Kill family for $$) Matthew Hoffman – killed 3 people and kidnapped a 13 year old girl last November in Mt. Vernon, OH after a home burglary went bad.Murder for sex - (Richard Speck)
  • Stage two – loners or fringe group – Cho – quiet, reserved, struggling to fit in, difficult to get to know, in a world of his own, dramatically uncommunicative.Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold spent more than a year planning Columbine. Mass murder is not an impulsive or spontaneous act. Notion of snapping is wrong. It is rational – very few have been psychotic or seriously mentally ill.Gendered performance of masculinity – deliberate plan designed to control the image others have of the killer as a powerful and masculine individual in the socially approved manner for men, with violence. Results from emasculation. Example, Cho at Virginia Tech – described as meek and quiet. Sent in video to NBC to try to portray himself as strong, violent, tough.
  • 89.5% of ordinary homicide offenders are male45.3% ordinary homicide offenders are white (78% of the population is white)It takes years to develop the deep sense of frustration that is distinctive in mass murders.Warrior mentality – fascination with weapons and war regalia. Possess an arsenal of guns. Military training or service. Normalizes killing.Externalizes blame – nothing is ever their fault. Holds others accountable. Blames everyone else for their failures.Loners – lack external social controls – rejected by peers, bullied, teased, humiliated at school. Little attachment to parents, have friends who get in trouble.Antisocial, narcissism, hostility, oversensitive, rigid, obsessional, self righteous, grandiose, sense of entitlement, impulsivity
  • Mass murders pay little attention to escape or capture. Some are killed at the incident, others commit suicide. Most leave ample evidence at the scene.Often small incident sparks the murderous rampage – an insult or trivial provocation.Characteristics of Mass Murderers:Often have serious mental health issues (Hoffman lined his entire house with bags full of tree leaves, Laughtner has symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia) (All killers of 10 or more victims had paranoid symptoms) (3 – 10 victims and the predominant characteristic is depression)Are not usually motivated by exposure to videos, movies, or television – these aren’t copy cat killings, but their lives usually have an overwhelming amount of violence in them, both real and fictionalAre not using alcohol or other drugs at the time of the attacks (although It’s not usual for them to have a history of drug abuse)Are often unemployedAre sometimes female – although rareAre not usually Satanists or racistsAre most often white males (not always – Crawford is black, Cho Seung-Hui was Korean)Sometimes have college degrees or some collegeOften have military experienceGive pre attack warning signals (Klebold & Harris posted on the internet)Often carry weapons around illegallyOften do not attempt escapeHalf commit suicide or are killed by others (depends on type – domestic usually commit suicide, workplace killers don’t)Most have a death wish
  • Predicting that an individual who has never acted out violently in the past will do so in the future is still more difficult. Seeking to predict acts that occur as rarely as school shootings is almost impossible. This is simple statistical logic: when the incidence of any form of violence is very low and a very large number of people have identifiable risk factors, there is no reliable way to pick out from that large group the very few who will actually commit the violent act.there is no research that has identified traits and characteristics that can reliably distinguish school shooters from other students
  • "At eight o'clock tomorrow morning, I intend to shoot the principal. That's when he is in the office by himself. I have a 9mm. Believe me, I know what I am doing. I am sick and tired of the way he runs this school.“the more direct and detailed a threat is, the more serious the risk of its being acted on.
  • From DHS and ReadyHouston (2012)
  • Mass Murder

    1. 1. Types of Killing Legal/ JustifiableHomicide Single Serial Murder Multiple Spree Mass
    2. 2. Defining Multiple Murder MinimumType of Number of MurderMulticide Victims Time Span LocationsMass Murder 4+ Minutes to Single to hours severalSerial 3+ Months to years MultipleMurderSpree 2+ Days to weeks MultipleMurder
    3. 3. Defining Mass Murder“The anti-social and non-state-sponsored killing ofmultiple victims during a single episode at one or moreclosely related locations.”• Time period is within 24 hours• Location and distance can be ignoredAbout 3 cases every 30 days5 victims per incident on average (180/year)
    4. 4. Mass MurderExample: Jerry Hessler, Columbus, 1995 • Killed 4 people, including a baby • Injured 2 others • Had list of others he wanted to kill • Long history of mental disorders • Severe depression • Borderline PD • Dependent PD • Passive Aggressive PD • Delusional disorder • Intermittent explosive disorder • Poor relationship history • Fired from job • Gave warnings he would “settle the score”
    5. 5. Mass MurderExample: James Huberty, San Ysidro, CA, 1984“Society had its chance. I’m going hunting. Hunting for humans.” • Killed 21 and wounded 19 at a McDonalds • Used an 9mm Uzi semi- automatic, Winchester pump action 12 gauge shotgun, and 9mm Browning HP • History of brain injury • Parental Abandonment • Poor employment history • Violent social history • Gave warning signs to wife.
    6. 6. Mass MurderExample: Charles Whitman, Austin, 1966“I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts.” • Killed 16 and wounded 32 • IQ of 138, alter boy, baseball player, pianist • Eagle Scout at 12 • Father was violent • Former Marine • Court martialed for gambling, carrying gun, and threatening another Marine • Attended UT • Suffered from depression • Gave warning to psychiatrist • “oozing with hostility” • Murdered wife and mother • Had brain tumor
    7. 7. Mass MurderExample: Richard Speck, Chicago, 1966"It just wasnt their night."
    8. 8. Issues• Little professional research• Why? o Not a challenge o Not as scary • Small geography • Offender is dead • Not sexual/sadistic
    9. 9. PatternsLocation• 70% occur in the workplace, public street, or school• Weekday mornings• Smaller towns/rural areas
    10. 10. PatternsVictim Characteristics 40% family members 40% acquaintances Most are intraracial Females more likely to be victims
    11. 11. Patterns Motive • Power • Revenge Fox & Levin Typology of • Loyalty multiple • Profitmurder, not justserial murder: • Terror
    12. 12. Fox & Levin’s Motivational Typology The Power KillerMost common Donald Harvey Julian Knight “Angel of Death” Hoodle Street Masssacre
    13. 13. Fox & Levin’s Motivational Typology The Revenge Killer Ronald Gene Marc Lepine William Cruse Simmons"I have decided to send to death the feminists who have always ruined my life”
    14. 14. Fox & Levin’s Motivational Typology The Loyalty KillerMurder out of love or loyalty Manson Family David Koresh James Colbert
    15. 15. Fox & Levin’s Motivational Typology The Profit KillerKilling is instrumental rather than expressive Adolfo Wah MeeDorothea Puente Constanzo Massacre
    16. 16. Fox & Levin’s Motivational Typology The Terror KillerKiller wants to send a message Charles Manson Chicago Tylenol Poisonings
    17. 17. PatternsWeapon• Almost always use a firearm.• Difficult to kill a large number of people without one. John Mallett, Columbus, Ohio 2012
    18. 18. PatternsEnd Result: Offender often dies at the scene Typically plan a murder suicide
    19. 19. Forms of Mass Murder Mullen (2004)Victim Specific Instrumental Massacres Family Revenge Terrorist Indiscriminate Cult Felony Related Gang
    20. 20. Emotional/Emotionless Declercq & Audenaert (2011)Affective Predatory
    21. 21. Types of Mass Murderers Holmes and Holmes (2001)/Deitz (1986)• Disciple Killer• Family Annihilator Killer• Disgruntled Employee Killer• Ideological Killer – The PseudoCommando• Set and Run Killer• Disgruntled Citizen Killer• Psychotic Killer• School Shooter• Profit-motivated• Murder for sex
    22. 22. Contributing FactorsPredisposing Precipitating Facilitating Factors Factors Factors
    23. 23. Predisposing Factors• Long histories of frustration, humiliation, and repeated failures• Negative self image• Depression• Lack of coping ability• Externalization of blame
    24. 24. Precipitating FactorsShort term acute triggers• Sudden loss or threat of loss • Job • Relationship • Financial • Bullying• Some kind of “final straw”
    25. 25. Facilitating Factors• Social isolation• Loner• Brain pathology• Psychiatric illness• Grandiose & obsessional traits• Sense of entitlement
    26. 26. Cumulative Strain Fox & Madfis (2009)Stage One Stage Two Stage Three Stage Four: Stage Five: Uncontrolled Acute Strain The PlanningChronic Strain Strain The Massacre Stage•Bullying •Recent •Lack of social •Firearm Access•Family catastrophic • Involved, someti support mes lengthy •Firearm Problems loss •Deviant peer planning Proficiency•Workplace •Humiliation • Days – years •Access to groups Failures •Rejection crowds •Lack of • “Rational•Financial •“last straw” Immorality” •Lack of conventional Difficulties • Gendered guardianship bonds•Chronic Performance Rejection
    27. 27. Mass Murderer Characteristics *This is not a profile*• Male (93.8%)• White (61.7%)• Over 30 (40.3%)• Warrior Mentality• Externalizes Blame• Loners• Atypical Behaviors/Cluster B Personality Traits
    28. 28. Mass Murder Characteristics Hickey (2009)They give little thought or concern to inevitablecapture or deathThey commit crime in public placesTheir motive is retaliatory; based onrejection, failure, or loss of autonomyThe offense is an effort to regain a degree ofcontrol over their lives
    29. 29. Mass Murderer CharacteristicsDefining characteristics• Experienced a lifetime of frustration, humiliation, and failure• Externalization of blame• “Oozing with anger”• Fascination with guns/weapons/violence• History of mental illness (e.g., depression, antisocial PD, borderline PD, narcissistic PD, intermittent explosive disorder, conduct disorder)• Social isolation• Recent loss
    30. 30. Prevention• Target hardening – ineffective• Prediction schemes – ineffective/unreliable
    31. 31. Threat assessment:Low Level of Threat• Threat is vague• Threat is implausible/inconsistent• Content of threat suggests person unlikely to carry it outMedium Level of Threat• Direct concrete threat• Some details• Possible place & time articulated• Indication of prepatory steps, but vague• Statements of intent “I’m serious.”High Level of Threat• Threat is direct, specific, and plausible• Threat suggests concrete steps taken in preparation• Weapon acquired/victims under surveillance
    32. 32. Prevention• Reduce chronic strain o Bullying prevention o Social Support for those at risk o Recognize difference between the troubled and the troublesome o Promote constructive images of masculinity• Listen o 80% reveal their plans to someone, 59% to two or more people.• Gun availability o Background checks o Eliminate loopholes o Limit automatic weapons o Ban high capacity magazines• Limit publicity/notoriety
    33. 33. Surviving an Attack:Run Hide Fight (last resort)• If there is an escape • Lock or blockade • Improvise weapons path, attempt to leave door • Commit to taking• Leave whether others • Turn off lights/cell shooter down no agree to do so or not phone ringer matter what• Leave belongings • Hide behind large • Act with physical behind objects aggression• Help others escape • Don’t trap yourself or • Attempt to• Prevent others from restrict options for incapacitate the entering area movement shooter• Call 911 when safe • Remain quiet