Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Law Hum Behav. 2003 Oct;27(5):459-70.

Characteristics of sexual homicides committed by psychopathic and nonpsychopathic offenders.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4J1, Canada.


In this study, the relationship between psychopathy and the prepetration of sexual homicide was investigated. The official file descriptions of sexual homicides committed by 18 psychopathic and 20 nonpsychopathic Canadian offenders were coded (by coders unaware of Psychopathy Checklist--Revised [PCL--R] scores) for characteristics of the victim, victim/perpetrator relationship, and evidence of gratuitous and sadistic violent behavior. Results indicated that most (84.7%) of the sexual murderers scored in the moderate to high range on the PCL--R. The majority of victims (66.67%) were female strangers, with no apparent influence of psychopathy on victim choice. Homicides committed by psychopathic offenders (using a PCL--R cut-off of 30) contained a significantly higher level of both gratuitous and sadistic violence than nonpsychopathic offenders. Most (82.4%) of the psychopaths exhibited some degree of sadistic behavior in their homicides compared to 52.6% of the nonpsychopaths. Implications for homicide investigations are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center