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ATYPICAL SERIAL KILLERS

By Vittoria Petrolo, Official Member of IPO Section Italy

- In studies dedicated to serial criminology there is a part of them generally referred to as ''atypical Serial Killers'', that is a sphere of particular murders that are absolutely different from traditional serial killers.

Internationally, the first scholar who talks to us about these atypical forms of serial murder is David Lester, an American psychiatrist who in his work ‘‘Serial Killer: the Insatiable Passion, The Charles Press, 1995’’ explains all the cases of serial killers not considered by criminology studies.


At the Italian national level, the criminologist Ruben De Luca, after studying the insights of the American psychiatrist David Lester, added other 'subcategories' of atypical serial killers such as arsonists, bombers, snipers and induction killers.


Who falls into the category of atypical Serial Killers?

the Sniper Serial Killer,

who uses a precision weapon to lurk and kill people randomly.

Such subjects could potentially shoot anyone who gets in their sights.

[It is evident that the sniper-soldier does not fall into this category as the latter falls within the 'professionals', while the Sniper Serial Killer is an ordinary man who reaches a strategic place to take a position and with the precision weapon fires on the crowd in a random way].

the Arsonist Serial Killer,

is a person who sets fires with the will to kill one or more people. These subjects do not seek direct contact with the victim but want total control of the crime scene.


Those subjects who set fire to a good for criminally rational reasons, such as defrauding insurance, are not part of this category, and arsonists who, being attracted to fire, just want to see it burn 'are not part of this category either. objects', for which a possible victim is a side effect of their gesture].


This category includes Robert Dale Segee who between 1938 and 1950 killed four children by burning them alive and also set a huge fire in a circus tent causing the death of 169 people.


Bomber Serial Killers, who, like arsonists, monitor the crime scene and do not seek physical contact with the victims. These subjects choose to build a bomb or to kill a specific person or to commit massacres on a periodic cycle.

Among the most striking examples is the famous Theodore John Kaczynski, known as Unabomber, he is a former university professor of mathematics who for eighteen years sent explosive parcels to those subjects (often university professors) who supported technological progress and that frightened him enormously. It resulted in 3 deaths and 23 injuries.


Also part of this category is the Hungarian Sylvestre Matuschka who reached the maximum sexual arousal by witnessing the railway disasters that he himself caused.

the serial mafia killer or serial war killer 'Functionaries', is a serial killer who, under the protection of being a mafia killer or a killer in civil wars, is part of these armies or these mafia families mainly for a matter of personal pleasure rather than fidelity to the cause.

These subjects, so-called 'professionals', are serial killers who are within their profession; therefore professionals include all those subjects who satisfy their desire to torture and kill while carrying out either a criminal assignment (such as terrorists, mafia or some professional murderers) or a legitimate assignment (such as executioners or some soldiers).


This includes Richard Leonard Kuklinski, who after having committed some murders on his own, met Carmine Genovese, an Italian-American mafia member of the De Cavalcante family, managing to become the favorite killer of the mafia in the 70s and 80s. Kuklinski used various methods of killing: firearms, sidearms, using ropes, iron bars, baseball bats and his own huge hands for which he became famous.


the category of the serial ritual murderer within the context of cults and sectarian groups (by proxy), includes all those 'criminal minds' that induce other people to commit murders. In this case the serial killer dominates the victim on duty and above all also dominates his physical executioner, obviously without staining himself with the crime in the first person.


Part of this category is the Swedish psychiatrist Sigvard Thurneman who subjugated his patients, but in particular one of his patients, by committing murders.


By Vittoria Petrolo, Official Member of IPO Section Italy

Law Student, Consultant in Forensic Sciences and Criminology



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