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The mind of a murderer

What is hiding in the mind of a murderer? What drives you to perform violent and bloody acts? Here is a journey into the killer psychology.

Every day, the mass media provide alarming news about crime news. Murders, property crimes, arms and drug trafficking are certainly crimes that shake the foundations of the society in which we live. But what drives certain people to commit such violent and bloody actions? In this article we will try to understand what are the main characteristics that define the mind of a murderer.

The term “killer” has its origin from the Arabic word “ḥashshāshīn” or “ḥashāshīn” which literally means “hashish eaters”. Thus, in the 11th century, the Nizarites were referred to, the famous Sect of the Assassins, whose mission was to kill people of power and nobles, to encourage certain changes in society. It was said that in this way, they would have free access to paradise.

They were recruited very young and were mostly orphaned, beggar, uneducated children, etc. Thanks to habituation and drug use, they were inculcated in the concept of “mission”, that of killing without remorse. Once their loyalty was tested, they followed a very hard training course that transformed them into real professional killers, able to use any tool as a lethal weapon.

What is the difference between murder and murder?

In order to fully understand the psychological elements that distinguish the mind of a murderer, it is essential to answer this question first. To do this, we will have to resort to our current penal code.

Italian legislation identifies and separates various criminal figures against crimes against the person (articles 575 to 623 Bis). In fact, the penal code distinguishes the murderer in the strict sense from the murderer, considered as “voluntary murderer”.
The main difference between the two must be sought precisely in the execution (malicious or otherwise) of the criminal act.
To understand the difference between a manslaughter (be it culpable or intentional) and a voluntary manslaughter, it is necessary to underline the psychological aspect of malice, intentionality, voluntariness. Acting consciously, precisely, aimed at suppressing the lives of others and not as a casual or unexpected consequence.

However, a murder can be considered murder in the following circumstances:

  • Treason: generated by a situation of evident superiority over the victim, preventing him from defending himself (for example by hitting him from behind).
  • For the price, reward or promise to kill in exchange for something (as in the case of the killers).
  • With the aggravation of cruelty: more pain is procured than necessary (for example when non-lethal wounds are procured to slow down death and prolong torture).
  • To facilitate the commission of another crime or to prevent it from being discovered (usually in cases of sexual violence, to cover up the abuse committed).

Is a murderer necessarily a psychopath?

Taking away the life of another person, especially in certain circumstances, is terrible, which is why we tend to think that this behavior is the result of some mental disorder.

What is most referred to is psychopathy. However, the percentage of killer psychopaths is very low. It is more likely to meet a psychopath in a high political position, in command of an important company, etc. But when a psychopath kills, he does so with such cruelty that distorts the perception of the beholder.

A murderer is not necessarily a psychopath. The percentage of murderer psychopaths is very low.

Society must find an explanation for these actions, but it is not fair that all the behaviors that we cannot explain are justified with a pathology. Many of these crimes are committed out of pure pleasure from evil. Just as there are good people, there are many others who are bad and behave accordingly. There is a possibility that a person with mental disorders may commit a certain crime, but this is never the rule.

There have been many cases in which a person killed relatives or friends for trivial reasons and that, despite numerous psychological tests, he does not present any disturbance and acted out of mere hatred.

The mind of a murderer: what changes if it is a man or a woman


In general, the number of murderous men far exceeds that of women. But even the latter are no different. Voluntary murder is a criminal behavior characteristic of the human being and does not depend on gender at all. Because of the role women have played in society, their methods of killing are simply different from those of men.

Throughout history, women have made greater use of poison, since they have been relegated to the kitchen for centuries. Men, on the other hand, tend to use more aggressive and violent methods. As for motivation, women usually kill with the intention of obtaining a benefit (not necessarily patrimonial), while men usually act driven by reasons such as gratification or sexual domination.

The murderer’s mind and other characteristics

Most of the murders above all require voluntary work, therefore some planning. In addition, killers usually lack empathy and use persuasion, seduction, etc. to approach their victims. They can result from a deficient environment which has led to the development of an abnormal personality.

We cannot forget that it is not an exact science and everything we have said on the subject can change depending on the crime, the protagonists (authors and victims), the environment, etc. The crime is malleable and the reasons why it is committed are found only in the murderer’s mind.

It is possible to outline an approximate profile of a murderer who helps investigators and psychologists to understand the reason for his criminal behavior. But each person is different, therefore a single interpretative model is unlikely to apply to all.

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2 Comments

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