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What constitutes a serial killer?

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  • What constitutes a serial killer?

    Indy is trying to become the next Chicago. So far it has been at least sufficiently successful to where homicides aren't even newsworthy unless they happen somewhere other than the east side. Last night three bodies were found dumped in the woods near I-465 on the south side. There is lots of speculation going around but on the NextDoor app (the absolute worst in social media) somebody referenced a serial killer and it has set the villagers off. So it has me wondering exactly how many victims it takes to earn the label "serial killer". Or is it more than just a number?
    Center Grove Trojans
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  • #2
    I was gonna say too much milk...
    "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
    ~~Groucho Marx
    I have the hots for Khaleesi...


    • #3
      Interesting question. I would think there needs to be a component of killing for 'pleasure' or some other compulsion to systematically find, hunt, and murder victims vs. a criminal who kills to defend there criminal enterprise or out of spite of a rival. Sort of a line between "multi murderer" and "serial killer".

      This from me who has binged the first 6 seasons and Dexter over the last few months. I've not given it much thought until now.
      "He went into a tire barrier, which is certainly the nicest of all the barriers." -Bobby Unser, Denver '90


      • #4
        From what I have seen in nonfiction reading and documentaries, the difference between a "serial killer" and another criminal who simply kills multiple people is less about numbers than it is in their motivation and methodology. Their process for and psychological and emotional involvement in the killings.

        The serial killer tends to work alone, killing for their own personal gratification. Sometimes they team up with another one-usually a family member or romantic/sexual partner-but that seems to be rare. Also, a major part of their process of gratification is the hunt for the victim. This is different from, say, the mob hitman, the gangster who commits drive-bys, or the guy who storms a post office with an AK. Although there can be and have been individuals who engage in those activities who also fit into the serial killer category, because it conveniently facilitates their habit.

        My hometown has a prison in it-a major employer in the area-that once upon a time was a maximum-security state penitentiary where several well-known serial killers were incarcerated and occasionally executed, so this was, for a long time, a frequent topic of news and conversation in the area.
        "Only a fool fights in a burning house."-Kang

        "If you listen to fools....The Maaahhhhb Ruuuules....."-Ronnie James Dio


        • #5
          3 or more separate murders qualify for being a serial killer. Not killing 3 people in a single incident.

          In the example you gave. If the killer dumped those 3 bodies over a period of time then its a serial killer. If however they dumped the 3 bodies or 2 of the bodies at the same time because the victims were killed in the same incident then the killer is not a serial killer but a rage killer


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