Five Classifications of Mass Murderers 9
Four Classifications of Serial Murderers 18
II. Serial Killer Profiling by the FBI 32
III. A Comparison of Mass and Serial Murderers 35
This project centers on the topics of mass and serial murder. By definition, the two are separate and distinct classifications, and each of these will be discussed at some length below. And although the apparent incidence of both of these forms of murder (and their specific subsets) appears to be on the rise, neither are the phenomena restricted to the United States, nor are they limited to the twentieth century.
The research conducted in the preparation of this project has been limited, with only two exceptions, to literature published after 1990. This focus is important in limiting the discussion to some of the most contemporary thought currently available. There is a significant disparity between the amount of literature available for the subject of mass murder versus that for serial murder.
This project is divided into three sections: a comparison of mass and serial murder, including selected examples; the FBI Investigative Support Unit's serial killer profiling program; and examinations of Richard Speck, a mass murderer in the 1960s, and Edmund Kemper, a serial killer in the 1970s. Each section will present detailed information, as well as competing opinions and analysis.
While homicide may be broadly defined as the unlawful taking of a human life, with or without malice or intent, mass murder and serial murder are two separate and distinct forms of homicide. Indeed, of the two, mass murder "do[es] not pose much of a challenge to law enforcement authorities. Whereas serial killers are often difficult to identify and apprehend, a person who massacres is typically found at the crime scene--slain by his own hand, shot by police, or alive and ready to surrender." And as Fox and Levin remark, even if a mass mu...