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Author(s) Hempel, Anthony G.
Meloy, John Reid
Richards, Thomas C.
Year 1999
Title Offender and Offense Characteristics of a Nonrandom Sample of Mass Murderers
Published in Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Vol. 27, No. 2
Pages 213–225
Link [1]
Abstract A nonrandom sample (N = 30) of mass murderers in the United States and Canada during the past 50 years was studied. Data suggest that such individuals are single or divorced males in their fourth decade of life with various Axis I paranoid and/or depressive conditions and Axis II personality traits and disorders, usually Clusters A and B. The mass murder is precipitated by a major loss related to employment or relationship. A warrior mentality suffuses the planning and attack behavior of the subject, and greater deaths and higher casualty rates are significantly more likely if the perpetrator is psychotic at the time of the offense. Alcohol plays a very minor role. A large proportion of subjects will convey their central motivation in a psychological abstract, a phrase or sentence yelled with great emotion at the beginning of the mass murder; but in our study sample, only 20 percent directly threatened their victims before the offense. Death by suicide or at the hands of others is the usual outcome for the mass murderer.

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