Sexual homicides/offenses have been of particular attention to psychologists to construe certain factors related to criminal events. Sexual homicide is a social challenge typified by offending habits directed at minor subjects. Initial studies have endeavored to commentate on perpetrators’ techniques to conceal their defiant behaviors (Ribeiro et al., 2021). The selected readings unanimously imply that investigating the crime scene behaviors, event characteristics, and offender and victim characteristics in criminal profiling is worth investigating. The authors of the three scholarly materials converge well with earlier studies of Ribeiro et al. (2021) that it is possible to develop criminal profiles by comparing the behavioral characteristics of the offenders and victims in crime events. In this paper, three scholarly materials are synthesized to demonstrate that offenders have multiple motives for sexual crimes and commit them in various ways. In each case, they use forensic countermeasures depending on their experience in violent crimes.
Many studies have diverged from the social challenge of sexual offenses and homicides. A quick scan of the literature indicates that studies Pecino-Latorre et al. (2019), Chopin and Beauregard (2019), and Yaksic et al. (2021) converge well under one theme – homicide patterns. Operandi characteristics and offender behavior, as studied by Chopin and Beauregard (2019), disclose that a combination of a crime scene, situational, event, and victim characteristics influence sexual assault prevalence and crime event patterns. The authors add that event characteristics is the most lethal combination whereby the perpetrator uses a weapon during the crime. These observations concurred with those of Pecino-Latorre et al. (2019) that victims’ characteristics partially influence the method or weapon used by the offender. Yaksic et al. (2021) argued that a strong correlation exists between the type of weapon used and the type of offender. Accordingly, from these studies, the patterns of this criminal phenomenon emerge from distinct variants.
In the selected articles, it is evident that various factors escalate violent crimes. For instance, Chopin and Beauregard (2019) attribute to factors such as the presence of lethal weapons, if the victim is known to the perpetrator, and if the victim exhibits active resistance. Pecino-Latorre et al. (2019) attribute the prevalence of crime to the psychological process, the distinct and dynamic characteristics of the victim and the offender. While delving into the offender characteristics, Yaksic et al. (2021) observed that potential sexual homicide offenders prefer using multiple weapons and different crime methods to achieve their goals. These contrasted studies by Chopin and Beauregard (2019) that weapon is unnecessary because the perpetrators can achieve a lethal outcome by strangulation or beating the victim using their hands. These observations reflect those of Pecino-Latorre et al. (2019), that female and male offenders may use other crime methods, such as suffocation. Chopin and Beauregard (2019) reveal that the victims of sexual homicide offenses are a mix of children, males, and females.
Chopin and Beauregard (2019) contend that social isolation is associated with violent crimes. When the offenders are isolated, they cannot create and maintain an intimate relationships. Moreover, instead, they direct their energies and time to destructive and antisocial behaviors against other people. Such perpetrators are more likely to engage in rape because of their inability to approach females without force. The authors also attributed the prevalence of violent crimes to the offender’s consumption of psychoactive substances prior to committing the offenses. Pecino-Latorre et al. (2019) attribute these deviant acts to the offenders’ socio-demographic characteristics (age, gender, and country of origin). In relation to victim characteristics, if the offender is a female, there is a high probability that the victim is a minor who is usually beaten by hands or straggled to death. Females above 65 years are victims of offenders 55 years or older (Pecino-Latorre et al., 2019). The authors also highlighted other issues, such as the existing criminal record of the perpetrator, prior relationships of the aggressor and the victim, and the country of origin of the victim and the aggressor.
Motives of Sexual Homicide Offenders
The three review articles describe various motivations of offenders, hence the theme of motives. Yaksic et al. (2019) revealed that no offender sought fame, but instead, they were driven by their desire to obtain revenge, quell their anger, obsession with serial murder, and their ambition to achieve their sexual violence goal. Other reasons identified by the research group include the need to become successful serial sexual offenders and satisfy their needs for power and self-actualization. Pecino-Latorre et al. (2019) attribute the prevalence of sexual homicide offenses mainly to the perpetrators’ urge to control the victim. In a similar study by Yaksic et al. (2021), the authors attribute these violent acts to experiences and factors that shape personality, enable fantasies, and promote predatory inclinations. Precursors of violence include egoistic tendencies, low frustration tolerance, lack of empathy, and lack of responsibilities, among others.
Offenders with criminal records observe precautionary methods to avoid being identified by foreign investigators (Pecino-Latorre et al., 2019). Their counter-forensic measures include setting the crime scene on fire to conceal the physical evidence, hiding and moving the cadaver, and distancing themselves from the scene. Additionally, those with violent criminal records commit crimes in outdoor locations (Pecino-Latorre et al., 2019). Yaksic et al. (2021) also note the same criminal behavior by those who commit the crime. Yaksic and others note counter-forensic measures such as employing many methods to dispose of the victim’s body and conceal the victim’s body by disposing of it in a remote location. However, this research group claimed that only experienced sexual homicide offenders effectively employ forensic counter-measures while inexperienced ones leave the victims’ bodies at the crime scene. Chopin and Beauregard (2019) write that crime scene behaviors include a criminal act the offender commits in an outdoor location with a victim whom they have never met earlier. The authors also disclosed that the offenders inflict many wounds and mutilations on the victims. Chopin and Beauregard (2019) speculated that offenders conceal their identity by conducting a cost-benefit analysis. Offenders would prefer to beat up victims who resist rape, for example, to prevent third-party intervention.
The emerging evidence from these scholarly materials discloses that sexual homicide offenders use various counter-forensic measures in a crime event to conceal their identity. It is also evident that multiple driving factors make the offenders perpetually injure, harm, or kill their subjects. One frequently cited motive is the desire to maintain control over their subjects and satisfy their needs for power. Summing up, it has been observed that sexual homicide is a complex phenomenon involving specific psychological processes, and distinct characteristics of the crime participants, among other distinct variants. Notwithstanding the complex combination of a crime scene, situational, victim, and event characteristics, forensic analysts require to construe all the intertwining crime scene behaviors for psychological profiling in crime scenes. Research also suggests that homicides are directly linked to socio-demographic characteristics (such as country of origin, age, and gender) and thus can be used in gaining meaningful information about potential perpetrators. An in-depth and systematic understanding of offenders’ analysis cannot be dispensed for a successful criminal investigation that will potentially reduce economic resources and time devoted to sexual homicide/offenses investigations.
Chopin, J., & Beauregard, E. (2019). Lethal combinations: A conjunctive analysis of crime scene behavior associated with sexual homicide. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 37(5), 559-578.
Pecino-Latorre, M. D. M., Pérez-Fuentes, M. D. C., & Patró-Hernández, R. M. (2019). Homicide profiles based on crime scene and victim characteristics. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(19), 3629.
Ribeiro, R. A. B., & de Matos Soeiro, C. B. B. (2021). Analysing criminal profiling validity: Underlying problems and future directions. International journal of law and psychiatry, 74, 101670.
Yaksic, E., Harrison, M., Konikoff, D., Mooney, R., Allely, C., De Silva, R., … & Sarteschi, C. M. (2021). A heuristic study of the similarities and differences in offender characteristics across potential and successful serial sexual homicide offenders. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 39(4), 428-449.