Motives for Murder

A murder victim lies dead, and law enforcement searches for clues to apprehend a suspect. The friends and family react in horror, and they only have one question: Why? English mystery author P. D. James succinctly described the motives for murder as the “4 Ls”: love, lust, lucre, and loathing. To begin to understand the motives for murder, one must understand the types of murder.

Categories of Murder

The FBI Crime Classification Manual lists four major categories of homicide, with as many as 24 subtypes. The classification system is based on the underlying motives for the murder:

  • Criminal enterprise murder
  • Personal cause murder
  • Sexual homicide
  • Group cause homicide

This categorization of homicide streamlines all types of murder, which aids investigators in following through during the investigative process and ...

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