ABSTRACT

A valuable first step would be the development of a single definition of serial murder. Such efforts have already begun. In 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) hosted a symposium, “Serial Murder: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators” in San Antonio, Texas, with the goal of identifying commonalities of knowledge on an array of topics related to serial murder among recognized experts in multiple fields and specialties (i.e., law enforcement, medical, legal, academic, and media). že definition of serial murder developed during that meeting-“the unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s) in separate events” (Morton and Hilts 2008, 9)—appears to open the door to a number of different types of multiple murderers than would be included in other definitions of serial murder. žat door is quickly closed, however, by the restriction appearing further in the document that specifies no relationship between the offender and victim. But, this new definition (without the stranger qualification) is perhaps the best available. It is sufficiently inclusive to allow for additional models of serial murder besides the white, male model, and it eliminates much of the distinction that is so closely related to the term serial murder. žat distinction, however, will not be easily abandoned by the media and public.