Homicide by the Rich and Famous: A Century of Prominent Killers

Homicide by the Rich and Famous: A Century of Prominent Killers

Homicide by the Rich and Famous: A Century of Prominent Killers

Homicide by the Rich and Famous: A Century of Prominent Killers


Many people express shock and horror when they hear of a wealthy or famous person killing another person. As a society, we seem to expect the rich and famous to behave better, to commit fewer crimes, to be immune to the passions that inspire other, less prominent people to kill. After all, the rich and famous have everything--why would they need to murder? But the rich and famous kill for the very same reasons others do: love, power, money, jealousy, greed, revenge, and rage. Here, Scott takes us on a tour of murders committed by the rich and famous during the last century, looking at the motives, the responses of the community and local law enforcement, the media, and the outcomes. She argues that the rich and famous may kill for the same reasons as others, but they receive vastly different treatment and are often able to get away with murder.

Homicide by the rich and famous is not new in this country, nor is fascination with the crimes committed by our most revered citizens. But being among the upper echelon of society does afford such suspects with a greater ability to escape punishment. They have greater access to better respresentation, they have the means to flee the country, they have influential friends in high places willing to put themselves on the line, and they are generally treated better by law enforcement and the criminal justice system. This book profiles the many ways in which homicides committed by the rich and famous are similar to other murders in their motives, but differ from those committed by everyday citizens in their outcomes. Scott provides readers with a showcase of crimes that will infuriate and fascinate readers.


Today the world of the rich and famous is more fascinating than ever. Not only do hordes of photographers report on their doings, but also recent films such as Rich Kids and TV shows such as Robin Leach's Life of Luxury; MTV's Rich Girls; Fox's The Simple Life, featuring Paris Hilton and in which Beverly Hills meets rural America; and NBC's The Apprentice with Donald Trump celebrate this world. However they acquire their fortunes, the rich and famous have become part of a modern-day royalty based on celebrity.

Now, more than ever, this fascination has been extended to the homicides committed by the rich and famous. This interest is deep rooted because the public has long been intrigued by the crimes and trials of the high and mighty, particularly since the advent of the penny press in the United States and Western Europe in the 1830s. Then, with the arrival of massproduced photography and yellow journalism in the 1880s and 1890s, the news of such crimes made even more lurid and titillating reading; and today, the Internet, cable TV, investigative TV programming, along with the print media, have turned the homicides of the rich and famous into a form of popular entertainment. The O. J. Simpson case in 1994, dubbed by some β€œThe Trial of the Century,” was only the beginning of this modern explosion of interest.

Part of this fascination arises simply because of the wealth and fame of the victims and the accused. Another reason is that murder by the wealthy is much rarer than murder by members of other social classes, so it gets more coverage and attention because the news emphasizes what's new and different. Coverage of these homicides also opens up the lives of the wealthy and famous in an even more intimate way, and it reveals the personal vulnerabilities and problems in relationships that are normally kept concealed.

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