Serial Killers and Who Are They

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A serial killer is an individual who murders about three people in a period of more than thirty years. Such individuals kill and cool off before killing again making it quite difficult to identify them. In most of the cases investigated on serial killer, it is hard to determine the motive of the killer. However, there are some conventional beliefs about these killers. There are some serial killers who kill for the fun of it while others perceive it to be their responsibility to eliminate some of the charades from the society. These and many other beliefs lead to classification of serial killers’ motives as those who seek thrill in killing. These killers enjoy getting attention of the media. They enjoy being at large while the police keep on trying to pursue them. There are other serial killers who attribute their actions as a mission. For them, it is their duty to help the society do away with certain characters among it. They feel to have done the society a big favor by eliminating certain categories of people such as thieves and prostitutes. In most cases these serial killers leaves traces whenever they execute their heinous acts. These marks are referred to as signatures. They may include inscribing certain writings on the body of the victim, inserting objects on victim’s body or even concealing the victim. Dennis Rader is one of the most famous serial killers from Wichita who performed murder in secret for over thirty years. A confession of the murders he had made surprised many because no one thought that a man of his dignity could perform such acts. Hickey also has a text on serial killers where he talks of how the current definition of serial killers is narrow and fails to cover all serial killers. This paper will seek to compare and contrast serial killing as reflected lectures in Denis Rader and that reflected in Hickey text.

Serial Killing according to Rader’s Confessions

In most murder cases, individuals kill out of anger or revenge but serial killing is a different case as seen in Dennis Rader’s confessions. He was a father, a husband, and a church president and the public could not have associated him with the killings that he confessed. This is an indication that serial killers are not those individuals that everyone expects to be a murderer but individuals who are perceived to be the best in the community. In real sense, no one would expect a church president who speaks against murder to go out and commit the same vice. It took the police a very long time to identify Rader who had performed killings for a long period of time. The police had arrested so many other individuals and had performed investigations but never succeeded. Rader was out there and wrote letters confessing that he was out and the individuals who had been arrested were the wrong people. Dennis Rader called himself BTK for Bind, Torture, and Kill showing the way that he did his killings. In his confessions, he said that he had great sexual fantasy that led to his killings. He felt that so as to be able to do anything to a person, the first thing was to bind and tie him or her. His were torture chambers that his victims had to enter before they were killed. He also confessed that he killed to relieve his sexual fantasies (Magnus prg.5). This is an indication that serial killers do not murder individuals who have wronged them but innocent people so as fulfill their fantasies. According to the confessions by Rader, it is clear serial killers do not go for a victim for a specific reason but just because they felt that they will feel good in they murdered the victims. He says that his victims from the very first day that he killed were just objects. Being objects, he was quite satisfied to plan killing these objects and going ahead to kill them. In fact, he confessed that he had more satisfaction in planning the killing and after killing the victims.

Serial killers are never satisfied after a single killing but the urge keeps haunting them oftenly. This is the reason as to why serial killers go hiding for quite sometime and come out repeating the act again (Montaldo p.94). He confessed that he had no capacity to control his behavior of killing but it had control over him. He also confessed that were it not for the arrest, many other individuals could have died. He had plans to execute many more. Some of the people were quite lucky according to him because he could at times visit their homes and fail to find them and other times fail to go for certain reasons.

Serial Killing according to Hickey’s Text

In his text, Hickey uses several examples of serial killers to define serial killers and their actions. According to him, most individuals who are currently identified as serial killers are men and each is believed to kill certain group of individuals such as women in a certain range of age, young children, and prostitutes amongst others (Hickey p.24). According to him, most of the serial killers execute their victims in specific ways. He observes that the current definition of serial killers cover individuals who perform sexual attacks and murder young men, women, and children. This is similar to the confessions by Rader who only murdered young people due to sexual fantasies. One of his examples include a serial killer whose victims were prostitutes and he all of them using a machine gun. Cases of serial killing according to him took the police long times of investigations without identifying the serial killer. This is because of the tendency of the serial killers to go to stages of dormancy after every single murder. Serial killers are never satisfied with one murder but repeat the act many times to satisfy their needs (An overview of Homicide and Murder, prg.7). Unfortunately, there never comes a time when they get satisfied but are always planning more killings being controlled by the killing. There seems to be a difference between Rader’s confessions especially when he was writing letters to the police to say that he was still out and was planning more killings. According to Hickey, some offenders die before they are identified. Other individuals suffer as a result of their acts.


Serial killers are very different from murderers because they don’t kill due to conflict and only once like many murderers but kill for the fun of it. Dennis Rader performed many murderers due to his sexual fantasies and went for over thirty years without being detected. He was controlled by his urge to kill and he viewed his victims as objects. According to Hickey, most of the serial killers are men just like Rader and kill certain groups of people. the target group for many serial killers are young men, women, and children due to sexual fantasies. The confessions of Rader and his motives to kill fit into the definition of a serial killer by Hickey.

Works cited

An overview of Homicide and Murder. (2009). Web.

Hickey, E. W. Serial murderers and their victims (5th edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson. 2010. Web.

Magnus, John. (2010). Secret Confessions of BTK. Web.

Montaldo, Charles. (2010). “Court Transcript of BTK’s Confession: The Murder of the Otero Family.”

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