Thrill killing

Last updated

A thrill killing is premeditated or random murder that is motivated by the sheer excitement of the act. [1] While there have been attempts to categorize multiple murders, such as identifying "thrill killing" as a type of "hedonistic mass killing", [2] actual details of events frequently overlap category definitions making attempts at such distinctions problematic. [3]


Those identified as thrill killers are typically young males, but other profile characteristics may vary, according to Jack Levin, director of the Brudnick Center on Conflict and Violence at Northeastern University. The major common denominator among those who commit thrill killings is that they usually feel inadequate and are driven by a need to feel powerful. "To a certain extent, [thrill killers] may make their victims suffer so that they can feel good," said Levin. "Sadism is fairly common in thrill killings. The killer might torture, degrade, or rape his victim before he or she takes his or her life." [4] They frequently have an "ideal victim type" who has certain physical characteristics. [1] [5]

Thrill killers have been frequently romanticized in films. [6] [7]

Documented incidents

See also

Related Research Articles

Pedicide, child murder, child manslaughter, or child homicide is the homicide of an individual who is a minor. It is often considered a gruesome form of aggravated homicide.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Caril Ann Fugate</span> American convicted of 1958 murder spree at age 14

Caril Ann Fugate is the youngest female in United States history to have been tried and convicted of first-degree murder. She was the adolescent girlfriend of spree killer Charles Starkweather, being just 14 years old when his murders took place in 1958. She was convicted as his accomplice and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1976, she was paroled after serving 18 years.

This is a timeline of major crimes in Australia.

The Bega schoolgirl murders refer to the abduction, rape and murder of two Australian schoolgirls; 14-year-old Lauren Margaret Barry and 16-year-old Nichole Emma Collins of Bega, New South Wales, Australia on 6 October 1997. They were abducted by Leslie Camilleri and Lindsay Beckett, both from the New South Wales town of Yass. The men subjected the girls to repeated rapes and sexual assaults on five or more separate occasions, while driving them to remote locations throughout rural New South Wales and Victoria. Over a twelve-hour period, the girls had been driven several hundred kilometres from Bega to Fiddler's Green Creek in Victoria, where they were stabbed to death by Beckett under the order of Camilleri.

In England and Wales, life imprisonment is a sentence that lasts until the death of the prisoner, although in most cases the prisoner will be eligible for early release after a minimum term set by the judge. In exceptional cases a judge may impose a "whole life order", meaning that the offender is never considered for parole, although they may still be released on compassionate grounds at the discretion of the Home Secretary. Whole life orders are usually imposed for aggravated murder, and can only be imposed where the offender was at least 21 years old at the time of the offence being committed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Murder of Ebony Simpson</span> 1992 homicide in New South Wales, Australia

The murder of Ebony Jane Simpson occurred on 19 August 1992 in Bargo, New South Wales, Australia. Aged nine years, Simpson was abducted, raped, and murdered by asphyxiation when Andrew Peter Garforth drowned her. Garforth pleaded guilty to the crimes and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dante Arthurs</span> Australian murderer

Dante Wyndham Arthurs is an Australian murderer, convicted of the murder of eight-year-old Sofia Rodriguez-Urrutia Shu.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Donald Henry Gaskins</span> American serial killer

Donald Henry "Pee Wee" Gaskins Jr. was an American serial killer and rapist from South Carolina who stabbed, shot, drowned, and poisoned more than a dozen people. Before his convictions for murder, Gaskins had a long history of criminal activities resulting in prison sentences for assault, burglary, and statutory rape. His last arrest was for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, 13-year-old Kim Ghelkins, who had gone missing in September 1975. During their search for the missing girl, police discovered eight bodies buried in shallow graves near Gaskins's home in Prospect, South Carolina.

In the United States, life imprisonment is amongst the most severe punishments provided by law, depending on the state, and second only to the death penalty. According to a 2013 study, 1 of every 20,000 inhabitants of the U.S. were imprisoned for life as of 2012. Many U.S. states can release a convict on parole after a decade or more has passed, but in California, people sentenced to life imprisonment can normally apply for parole after seven years. The laws in the United States categorize life sentences as "determinate life sentences" or "indeterminate life sentences," the latter indicating the possibility of an abridged sentence, usually through the process of parole. For example, sentences of "15 years to life," "25 years to life," or "life with mercy" are called "indeterminate life sentences", while a sentence of "life without the possibility of parole" or "life with no mercy" is called a "determinate life sentence". The potential for parole is not assured but discretionary, making it an indeterminate sentence. Even if a sentence explicitly denies the possibility of parole, government officials may have the power to grant an amnesty to reprieve, or to commute a sentence to time served.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Josh Phillips (murderer)</span> American murderer

Joshua Earl Patrick Phillips is an American who was convicted of murder as a child. In November 1998, when he was 14 years old, Phillips killed Maddie Clifton, his 8-year-old friend and neighbor. The following year, he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Phillips stated that he killed Clifton to stop her from crying after she was accidentally struck with a baseball while they were playing, and that he feared punishment from his abusive father. Although elements of Phillips's story are disputed, officials who were involved in his prosecution have subsequently expressed contrition over the severity of his sentence. Phillips is eligible for re-sentencing in 2023.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anthony and Nathaniel Cook</span> American criminal brothers

Anthony Cook and Nathaniel Cook are American serial killer brothers who committed a series of at least 9 rapes and murders of mostly couples in Toledo, Ohio, area between 1973 and 1981. Their guilt was established in the late 1990s thanks to DNA profiling, after which both brothers were convicted and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.

Gary James Lewingdon and Thaddeus Charles Lewingdon were American siblings and serial killers, who committed a series of ten murders in different Ohio counties from December 1977 to December 1978 for the motive of robbery. As a murder weapon, the criminals used .22 caliber pistols, due to which they received the nickname The .22 Caliber Killers. In 1979, both brothers were sentenced to several terms of life imprisonment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rodney Halbower</span> American murderer and suspected serial killer

Rodney Lynn Halbower is an American murderer and suspected serial killer. He is the prime suspect in the Gypsy Hill killings, a series of murders of young women in San Mateo County, California, whose killer was named The San Mateo Slasher. In March 2014, based on DNA profiling, Halbower was named as a person of interest in the murders. By this time, Cathy Woods, a mental patient who was convicted for one of the victims' murders, was exonerated after 35 years behind bars. At the time of his identification, Halbower himself was imprisoned for 38 years in Oregon.

Patrick Baxter is an American serial killer who raped and killed two women and a teenage girl in Westchester County, New York, between 1987 and 1990. Due to DNA profiling, Baxter was arrested for the murders in 2000 while serving a sentence for car theft and was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life imprisonment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Larry and Danny Ranes</span> Convicted American serial killers

Larry Lee Ranes and Danny Arthur Ranes are American serial killer brothers who committed their crime sprees predominantly in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Larry, a suspect in the murders of five people in the 1960s, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for one murder in 1964; Danny was convicted of four sexually-motivated murders between March and August 1972 with accomplice Brent Eugene Koster, for which both were sentenced to life imprisonment. Their case is notable for the fact that, unlike other siblings who engage in crime, they operated completely independently of one another.

Leslie Allen Williams is an American serial killer, rapist, and necrophile who is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in Michigan for the murders and rapes of four teenage girls in Oakland and Genesee counties from 1991 to 1992. His case became controversial in that he was on parole at the time of the killings, bringing up flaws in the Michigan parole system.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tony Ray Amati</span> American serial killer

Anthony "Tony" Ray Amati is an American serial killer who shot and killed three people during a series of "thrill-killings" in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1996. The FBI was brought in to find Amati's whereabouts and added him to the FBI's ten most wanted list in 1998. Following his arrest, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, and is currently serving his sentence in Nevada.

Larme Price, known as the Thrill Killer, is an American serial killer who murdered four immigrants in New York in 2003. Price claimed he carried out the murders in revenge for the September 11 attacks, and said he was driven to kill by a paranoid hatred of Arabs. Despite this claim, only one of his victims was Middle Eastern. Price confessed to the murders, was found guilty, and was sentenced to 150 years in prison without parole. He remains incarcerated at the Sullivan Correctional Facility.

Rustam Musadinovich Kiknadze is a Kazakhstani serial killer and rapist who murdered three women over twenty days in the Jambyl Region in 2020. His case garnered great controversy among locals, as he was a known violent offender who had previous convictions for a double murder and raping underage children, in addition to his relatively lenient sentence of 26 years for his latest killings.


  1. 1 2 MacKenzie, Doris Layton; O'Neill, Lauren; Povitsky, Wendy; Summer Acevedo (2010-05-28). Different Crimes, Different Criminals: Understanding, Treating and Preventing Criminal Behavior. Routledge. pp. 217–. ISBN   9781437755428 . Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  2. Vronsky, Peter (2004-10-05). Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. Penguin Publishing Group. pp. 196–. ISBN   9781101204627 . Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  3. Fox, James Alan; Levin, Jack (2005). Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder. Sage Publications. pp. 51–. ISBN   9780761988571 . Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  4. Robinson, Bryan (March 18, 2004). "What drives thrill killings". ABC News.
  5. Holmes, Ronald M.; Holmes, Stephen T. (2009-07-21). Serial Murder. SAGE Publications. pp. 123–. ISBN   9781412974424 . Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  6. Mayo, Mike (2008-02-01). American Murder: Criminals, Crimes, and the Media. Visible Ink Press. pp. 185–. ISBN   9781578592562 . Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  7. Neil Strauss (September 1993). "Review: 13 Above the Night". Spin : 121–122.
  8. The Leopold and Loeb Trial: A Brief Account Archived 2007-03-15 at the Wayback Machine by Douglas O. Linder. 1997. Retrieved 11 April 2007.
  10. Fredrick Kunkle (January 3, 1992). "Paterson Thrill Killer Sentenced to 32 Years". The Record (Bergen County, NJ). Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
  11. "Mako-andrew garforth". Archived from the original on 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  12. James Bulger murder at (accessed 25 April 2005)
  13. "Mako- Paul Osbourne". Archived from the original on 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2010-01-22.
  14. Dwyer, Kevin and Fiorillo, Juré. True Stories of Law & Order 2006: Berkley/Penguin. ISBN   0-425-21190-8.
  15. O'Kane, James (2005). Wicked Deeds: Murder in America. Transaction Publishers. p. 110. ISBN   0-7658-0289-9.
  16. "Gunman takes stand against murder defendant". Eugene Register-Guard. May 12, 1999. p. 14.
  17. "Second Suspect Goes On Trial In Thrill Kill". Eugene Register-Guard. May 7, 1999. p. 21.
  18. "Seaside 'Thrill Kill' Suspect Arrested At Mexican Border". Seattle Times. July 20, 1998. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  19. New York Times (1997-10-03). "Affidavit Shows Obsession With Serial Killers". The New York Times. p. B6. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
  20. Hartford Courant. "Connecticut's Death Row Inmates" . Retrieved 2009-01-06.
  21. "Death row inmate resentenced to life in prison". Associated Press. 2018-05-09. Retrieved 2021-08-05.
  22. "Bega killer Camilleri sentenced for murder of Melbourne schoolgirl". ABC News. December 5, 2013 via
  23. "Benjamin Sifrit Gets 38 Years in Slayings - the Washington Post". Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
  24. Lash, Steve (2008). "Convicted of murdering two tourists in Ocean City, Erika Sifrit". The Daily Record.
  25. AAP (2008-07-16). "Man used teen's head as bowling ball, court told". . Retrieved 2008-07-16.
  26. BBC News (2007-05-07). "Perth girls get life for murder". BBC. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
  27. Daily Telegraph (2007-04-24). "Eliza Jane murder pact mystery". News Limited. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
  28. Barnier, Ben (March 14, 2008). "The 'Lesbian Killers' Who Shocked Australia" . Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  29. "Valerie Page Parashumti".
  30. "'Are you not all dead yet?' — teenage gunman kills 15 in school massacre in Germany". . 11 March 2009.
  31. ""Ich wollte für meine Kinder weiterleben"".
  32. "State's Objection to Defendant's Motion in Limine #3: To Exclude Evidence of Other Bad Acts" (PDF). Courts of New Hampshire. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  33. Hall, John (2013-04-23). "'I'm the most sick and twisted person you'll ever meet': Murderer Steven Spader, who hacked Kimberly Cates to death with machete, 'insults' victim's family with apology" . The Independent. Archived from the original on 2022-05-07. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  34. Newcomb, Alyssa (February 8, 2012). "Teen Thrill Killer Alyssa Bustamante Could Get Paroled Some Day". ABC News.
  35. "Alyssa Bustamante: 5 Things to Know About the Teen Killer". International Business Times. February 7, 2012.