Serial Murder: Discerning Fact from Fiction

Serial Murder: Discerning Fact from Fiction
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded May 3, 2018
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Serial Murder: Discerning Fact from Fiction
Unit 2 Recording: Serial Murder: Discerning Fact from Fiction
Unit 3 Webinar Notes: Serial Murder-Discerning Fact from Fiction

For most of the population, serial killer stories are the stuff of urban legends or pop culture. Names such as Jack the Ripper or the Zodiac Killer come to mind. For law enforcement, serial murder is yet another type of crime that must be apprehended. For researchers, each serial killer case must be understood as a separate incident with its intricacies and as a statistic that together with existing historical data paints a bigger picture of the trends.

This webinar’s esteemed guest is Dr. Michael G. Aamodt Ph.D., he is the Principal Consultant for DCI Consulting Group and a Professor from the Radford University Department of Psychology. He served 26 years as a professor and has published numerous books, research articles in professional journals, and has been the resource speaker for various conferences.

Dr. Aamodt is also the creator of the Radford/FGCU Serial Killer Database, the largest private database on serial murder in existence, and he is joining Justice Clearinghouse to dissect statistics surrounding serial murder cases for in the US and around the world over the last century.

Some of the points raised in the webinar are:

  • Distinguishing mass murder, spree murder, and serial murder.
  • Defining serial killers and issues on its definition.
  • A history of the serial killer database, its contents and the goals for the creation of the database.
  • The process of creating the database
    • Collating sources and the information obtained for the database.
    • The issues faced with the accuracy and availability of information.
  • The data gathered and analyzed which provided insights and statistics including:
    • The frequency of serial killers by country and their percentage ratio to the population
    • The average number of cases per decade for the US
    • The reasons for the increase and decrease in the US cases through the decades
    • Recidivism tendencies of serial killers
    • How people’s change in behavior contributed to the decline in cases
    • The profile of the serial killer (race, age, sex, IQ, etc.) based on data juxtaposed to the portrayal in the media
    • The personal background and lifestyle of the serial killer, as well as post-arrest events
    • The profile of serial murder victims (age, race, sex, method of death)
    • A snapshot of the states with the highest and lowest victim rates.
  • The poll questions solicited the participants’ opinion on the definition of serial murder and the US statistics of such cases.
  • The audience utilized the Q&A segment to clarify things related to:
    • Whether the database included cases of serial murder related to other countries’ traditions and cartel killings.
    • If other countries’ agencies tend to provide inaccurate reports or refuse to provide reports.
    • The database’s link to FBI statistics.
    • Tracking probable serial murder cases.
    • Distinguishing gang-related murder from serial murders.
    • The possibility of an adult influencing a child to commit murder.


Additional Resources
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