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An Empirical Analysis of 30 Years of U.S. Juvenile and Adult Sexual Homicide Offender Data: Race and Age Differences in the Victim–Offender Relationship

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Abstract:

Abstract: 

Little is known about the racial patterns of crimes committed by sexual homicide offenders (SHOs). This study examined race and age influences on victim–offender relationship for juvenile and adult SHOs. A large sample (N = 3868) from the Supplemental Homicide Reports (1976–2005) was used. Analyses of victim–offender patterns included examining victim age effects (child, adolescent, adult, and elderly). The findings revealed several race- and age-based differences. Black offenders were significantly overrepresented in the SHO population. This finding held for juveniles and adults independently. White SHOs were highly likely to kill within their race, “intra-racially” (range 91–100%) across four victim age categories, whereas Black SHOs killed both intra-racially (range 24–82%) and inter-racially (18–76%), with the likelihood of their killing inter-racially increasing as the age of the victim increased. This study underscores the importance of considering victim–offender racial patterns in sexual murder investigations, and it offers practical implications for offender profiling.

Keywords: crime victims; forensic science; homicide; offender profiling; race; rape; sexual homicide

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2010.01448.x

Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry, Brown University, 593 Eddy Street, APC 978, Providence, RI 02903.

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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