The Killers Among Us: An Examination of Serial Murder and Its Investigation

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9780138947347: The Killers Among Us: An Examination of Serial Murder and Its Investigation

This book brings together all of what we know, what we think we know, and what we don't know about the horrific violence of serial murder.Part I introduces the subject of serial murder and presents the "six myths" of serial murder that interfere with understanding and successful investigation. Part II presents detailed case studies of four infamous serial killers, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Kenneth Bianchi and Henry Lee Lucas. Part III focuses on the investigation of serial murder, showing the problems law enforcement faces -- notably "linkage blindness," the inability of unwillingness of police agencies to share information on unsolved murders. This seciton includes an extensive discussion of fourteen different police responses to serial murder. Finally, the author -- a noted criminologist and former homicide investigator -- discusses the future of serial murder and its investigation.Students of criminology, psychology and sociology; true crime buffs; mystery writers and readers; journalists; skeptics; and criminal justice professionals.

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About the Author:

Steven A. Egger is professor of Criminal justice at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He was formerly interim dean of the School of Health and Human Services at the University of Illinois. He was project director of the Homicide Assessment and Lead Tracking System (HALT) for the state of New York. HALT, which was the first statewide computerized system to track and identify serial murderers, has become the model for the development of a number of other statewide systems.

Dr. Egger has been conducting research on serial murder since 1983. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University. He has a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University, where he completed the first dissertation on serial murder in the world. He has worked as a police officer, homicide investigator, police consultant, and law enforcement academy director. His other research interests include the epistemology of criminal investigation, police interagency networking, and the future predator.

He is the author of Serial Murder: An Elusive Phenomenon (Praeger, 1990), editor of a series of monographs entitled Criminology and Crime Control Policy for Praeger, and series editor of a series entitled Issues in Criminal Justice Controversy, under contract to Allyn and Bacon. He has lectured on serial murder in England, Canada, the Netherlands, and Spain.

Dr. Egger and his wife, Kim, are currently working on an encyclopedia of serial murder, which will include entries on over seven hundred serial killers.

Kim A. Egger studied at Purdue University and has a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Law and Psychology. She has co-authored, with Steven Egger, a chapter on the victims of serial murder in a monograph on victimology. For the past ten years she has been developing a database on serial killers, which currently holds information on 1,246 serial murderers. She has lectured at Purdue University, the University of Illinois at Springfield, and Brazosport College, Texas.

Don Larsen is a detective with the Springfield, Illinois, -Police Department. He holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Linda Kreuger was formerly a part-time patrol officer with the Sangamon County Sheriff's Office. She is currently employed in Rehabilitation Administration for the state of Illinois. She holds a master's degree in Rehabilitation from Southern Illinois University.

Both Don and Linda were previously enrolled in Steven Egger's course on serial murder at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The first edition of this book, published in 1998, was my second attempt to provide an overview of the phenomenon of serial murder and to discuss its investigation. This was essentially an update of my first book on serial murder, Serial Murder: An Elusive Phenomenon, published in 1990 by Praeger Publishers. This second edition of The Killers Among Us provides an expanded overview and exploration of the phenomenon of serial murder and its investigation using the same basic format as the first edition. Minor editorial revisions have been made throughout the book.

Part I has been updated and expanded, with the addition of minor myths to the major myths of serial murder discussed in Chapter 1 and the inclusion of additional theories of the etiology of serial murder in Chapter 2. A discussion of a number of serial killers in the United States and internationally has been added to Chapter 3. My essay, "Serial Killing of the Lambs in Our Dreams: Concept of the 'Less-Dead,' " now stands alone as an introduction to Chapter 4 on victims, which has been completely rewritten by Kim Egger to include the results of a preliminary analysis of her database of 1,246 serial killers identified worldwide between 1990 and 1999. Chapter 5, which discusses mass media treatment of serial murder, has been completely rewritten and expanded.

Part II now includes seven case studies of serial killers rather than four. The study of Jeffrey Dahmer, which appeared alone in Part IV of the first edition, is now included with the other case studies. Two additional case studies are new to this edition. The case study of Joseph Miller, written by Don Larson, describes Miller's killings in the Chicago and Peoria, Illinois, areas. The case study of Jerry Marcus, written by Linda Kreuger, describes Marcus's killings in three southern states. Marcus is unique among the seven case studies in that he is African American and also because most of his victims were women he knew. Chapter 13 presents a cross-case analysis of these seven case studies.

Only minor changes have been made in Part III since the status of serial murder investigation has remained essentially unchanged.

As in the first edition, Part IV briefly discusses the future of the phenomenon and of its investigation.

This book is intended for a variety of audiences. Students attempting to understand the phenomenon of serial murder and its investigation will find the book useful. It is designed as a text for a separate course on serial murder or as a supplement to a variety of college and university courses, including Criminology, Criminal Justice, Victimology, Deviant Behavior, Penology, Criminal Investigation, and Abnormal Behavior. Crime writers should find this book useful as a research tool. It is my hope that criminal investigators will also find this book useful in dealing with serial murder investigations or in becoming prepared to respond to such an investigation.

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