The Contract Murderer: Patterns, Characteristics, and Dynamics

Author:  L. Schlesinger

Publication Date:  2001

Abstract:  A case of an independent professional contract murderer, who killed over 100 people, is reported. After eluding law enforcement for 30 years, the subject killed several associates who he believed could implicate him in various crimes. These homicides eventually led to his arrest, since the victims were individuals who could be linked to him. This hit man had a background of poverty and childhood abuse but, as an adult, had pursued a middle-class lifestyle and kept his family totally separate from his criminal career. In addition, he had a number of characteristics that helped him carry out his crimes in a highly planned, methodical, and organized manner: he had adept social judgment; personality traits of orderliness, control, and paranoid vigilance; useful defense mechanisms of rationalization and reframing; and an exceptional ability to encapsulate emotions. This case is discussed within the context of contract murder, a crime that occurs relatively frequently and is probably increasing; yet it often goes undetected, the arrest rate is low, and the offender is rarely studied.

Full Citation:  Schlesinger, L. ‘The Contract Murderer: Patterns, Characteristics, and Dynamics’. Journal of Forensic Sciences 46, no. 5 (2001): 1119–23.

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