Serial murder is the term used to describe the killing of individuals by the same person over the course of time. It is a rare occurrence that has sparked an interest in today’s society. Much research has been done on the biological, sociological, and psychological state of the killers and focus on the reasons and motivation for the homicide. There are a number of scholarly theories on the factors that contribute to making a serial killer. Norris has a theory is that the murderers are suffering from a neurogical disorder caused by head trauma and brain damage from early childhood, causing the aggressive behavior (qtd. in Castle t. and Hensley C. 455). Castle and Hensley mention that mental illness and personality disorders are difficult to detect, however some disorders such as antisocial personality disorder (psychopaths) are linked to many serial murders (457). Kocsis further states that serial killers have a certain type of personality disorder which identifies them as sociopaths (4). Castle and Hensley also describe a theory stating that the military provides their trained servicemen with the mental state of a killer and has helped create over 25 identified American serial killers (459). Many scholars try to apply the learning theory to serial murder. Hale's theory suggests serial murder is a crime that can be learnt (39). This article will be expanding on the Hale's Learning Theory being applied to serial murder.
Serial murder describes three or more separate murders committed sequentially. The murderers often have an emotional cooling-off period between the killings. Hale mentions the five primary elements of serial murder stated by Holmes and DeBurger (38). The first is that a serial murder usually happens on a one-on-one
basis with a few exceptions. Second, there is often no or little relationship between the murderer and the victim. Third and fourth, the motivation of the killer is not usually obvious, however there is always...