Sexual Murder: Catathymic and Compulsive Homicides

By Louis B. Schlesinger | Go to book overview

Unplanned Compulsive Homicides

9

Sexually motivated compulsive homicides are fueled by a combination of sadism, fantasy, and a compulsion to kill. These elements, to one degree or another, are present in both compulsive murderers who plan their crimes and compulsive murderers who act in an unplanned, impulsive, and spontaneous manner. Whether the murder is planned or spontaneous, however, is not a result of the compulsion or various sadistic fantasies; rather, it is a result primarily of the offender's personality makeup. Thus, the individual's personality is an intervening variable between the three elements and the way the crime is committed.


9.1

Personality as an Intervening Variable

Behavior is shaped largely by personality. People who have reasonably intact personalities with minimal overt disturbance carry out their lives in an orderly and thoughtful manner. When such people commit crimes, they are likely to do so in a logical, methodical fashion. If individuals have a compulsion to kill, they are likely to plan the murder in a manner consistent with their personality. Compulsive offenders who commit planned sexual murders typically have psychopathic, sociopathic, narcissistic, antisocial, and other personality disorders that do not disorganize their thinking and conduct. They are manipulative and deceptive, but they are not distracted by interfering overt psychopathological symptoms (such as hallucinations and delusions).

Conversely, compulsive murderers who act in an unplanned, spontaneous fashion do so not because of different underlying motivating elements

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