Discussion: Assessing Homicide Offenders
There are many types of homicides, including single, spree, mass, and serial. The motivation for each can be quite different. In most single homicides, the victim knows the offender and is commonly a family member. Murder sprees are the killing of three or more people without a cooling-off period and at multiple locations. These offenders may be motivated by a desire to show that they are to be reckoned with. Mass murder involves killing three or more individuals at a single location without a cooling-off period. These are more likely to be motivated by revenge and a desire to get even. The final type, the serial killer, will kill over time with an extended cooling-off period. They can be motivated by anger, thrill, financial gain, and attention seeking. Understanding the motivation and the mental status of homicide offenders has an influence on the potential prosecution and defense of the offender.
In this Discussion, you analyze the case of Charles Whitman. You will be the expert witness for the defense or the prosecution and provide recommendations for the case.
To prepare for this Discuss.
If Charles Whitman had faced prosecution, how would you, as a forensic psychology professional expert witness for either the prosecution or the defense, have assessed his personality? What are the risk/protective factors in his background that might relate to the mass shooting he committed? If you are a witness for the defense, how would you have assisted the defense? If you are working for the prosecution, how would you have assisted that side?