Female serial killers “more motivated by money than sex-driven” men

Editorial use only. No use of book covers. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Lafayette/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (5867028a) Aileen Wuornos Aileen - The Life and Death of a Serial Killer - 2003 Director: Nick & Churchill Broomfield Lafayette Films USA/UK Scene Still Documentary

A new book delves into the little-studied area of ​​what drives women to kill (Image: Lafayette/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock)

Female mass killers are more likely to be driven by money than their male counterparts, who typically kill for sexual gratification, a new study finds.

Professor Marissa Harrison, associate professor of psychology at Penn State Harrisburg in the US, has spent years researching the difference between male and female serial killers.

Her new book, Just as Deadly: The Psychology of Female Serial Killers, also reveals that many female serial killers have college degrees or higher — about 40% work as nurses or medical staff.

This is compared to male killers who, on average, have a relatively lower level of education.

Female killers were statistically more likely to have been married at least once prior to their first attack compared to males, who are typically single when they claim their first victim.

Perhaps due to the fact that there is so little research on female killers, they also appear to be more likely to get away with their crimes.

Harrison said in an interview with Penn State to promote her new publication, “There is so much rumor and rumor about serial killers, but the field is missing information about female serial killers.

“I’m a psychologist, data wrangler. My book presents a psychological-scientific approach to understanding the mindset of female serial killers.’


Perhaps America’s most notorious serial killer, Aileen Wuornos murdered seven men between 1989 and 1990 while she was working as a prostitute in Florida (Image: Sipa/REX/Shutterstock)

Patty Cannon

Martha Patty Cannon, who killed men, women and children and sold their victims into slavery in 19th-century America, is a case study in Harrison’s book (Image: Unknown)

Women who commit mass murders tend to target victims who are familiar to them, such as spouses or partners, and have been known to kill those who are already vulnerable, such as children or the elderly and infirm.

Female serial killers are also considered to be more methodical in their approach to killing, and generally attempt to make deaths by methods such as poisoning or asphyxiation appear natural.

Describing a hypothetical female serial killer, Harrison said: “My colleagues and I made a composite based on statistics. She’s probably white, married at least once, maybe more than once.

“She’s probably in her 20s or 30s, probably middle class, Christian, at least average intelligence, and average or above average attractiveness.

“She’s probably legally employed, maybe in healthcare or something related. In fact, we found that 39% of female serial killers were nurses or healthcare workers. And at least one murder will happen in a suburb.’

In contrast, male mass murderers usually kill for sexual gratification and are considered to be of greater risk to strangers, who very often pursue them before attacking.

Jane Toppan

Another of Harrison’s case studies is Jolly Jane Toppan, a Boston nurse who is believed to have killed more than 100 people in the late 1800s (Image: Unknown).

Harrison explained her motivation for writing the book: “I want readers to know that female serial killers exist.

“The FBI didn’t recognize female serial killers until the 1990s. They called these crimes sexual homicide, and sexual homicide almost always points to a male killer. But there are well-known women who have murdered far more victims than men.’

Harrison added that there are also certain common traits between male and female serial killers that shed light on how vicious murders can be prevented.

She said: “My team’s research shows that in both female and male serial killers there is a good chance that a mental illness is involved.

“For men it is very likely; In women, our research showed that about 40% of women showed evidence of mental illness.

“If cases of mental illness and child abuse continue to appear in these women’s medical histories, mental illness awareness and treatment could potentially prevent some future deaths.”

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/02/12/female-serial-killers-more-motivated-by-money-than-sex-driven-males-18269518/ Female serial killers "more motivated by money than sex-driven" men

Justin Scaccy

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