A spree killer is someane who kills twa or mair victims in a short time in multiple locations. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics defines a spree killin as "killins at twa or mair locations wi amaist nae time break atween murthers".[1]



Accordin tae the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the general definition o spree killer is a body (or mair nor ane body) who commits twa or mair murthers withoot a ceulin-aff period; the lack o a ceulin-aff period markin the difference atween a spree killer an a serial killer. The category haes, housomeivver, been foond tae be o nae real value tae law enforcement, acause o definitional problems relatin tae the concept o a "ceulin-aff period".[2] Serial killers commit clearly separate murthers, happenin at different times. Mass murtherers are defined bi ane incident, wi nae distinctive time period atween the murthers.[2]

Hou tae distinguish a spree killer frae a mass murtherer, or even a serial killer is subject tae considerable controversy an aften thare doesna seem tae be ony coherence in the application o the term. For example, The Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment, leets five different categories o spree killers an cites Mark O. Barton as an example for the seicont ane.[3] He is notit wi ither mass murtherers such as Patrick Sherrill in the respective entry aboot mass murther.[4] In The Anatomy Of Motive, John E. Douglas cites Charles Starkweather an Andrew Cunanan as examples o spree killers,[5] while Jack Levin caws Cunanan a serial killer[6] an Starkweather a mass murtherer.[7]

In Controversial Issues in Criminology, Fuller an Hickey write that "[t]he element o time involvit atween murtherous acts is primary in the differentiation o serial, mass, an spree murderers", later elaboratin that spree killers "will engage in the killin acts for days or weeks" while the "methods o murther an teeps o victims vara". Andrew Cunanan is gien as an example for spree killin, while Charles Whitman is mentioned in connection wi mass murther, an Jeffrey Dahmer wi serial killin.[8]

Douglas explains that the identity o a serial killer is generally unkent till he is caucht, an the mass murtherer's identity is anerlie learned efter he haes committit his creeme. The identity o the spree killer, on the ither haund, is uisually kent bi polis, even while his spree continues, an he is socht as a fugitive.[9]

Anither term, rampage killer, haes sometimes been uised tae describe spree killers, but it does no differentiate atween mass murtherers an spree killers.

See an aw



  1. Charalambous, Nick, and Meryl Dillman. "No evidence of spree killer yet, police say" Archived 2008-12-30 at the Wayback Machine. The Anderson Independent-Mail (Anderson, South Carolina), December 17, 2006. Accessed July 8, 2008.
  2. a b Morton, Robert J., and Mark A. Hilts (eds.) Serial Murder – Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators Archived 2010-10-07 at the Wayback Machine, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Accessed July 4, 2009.
  3. Levinson, David (ed.): Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment, Vol. 4; Berkshire Publishing Group, 2002. p. 1565
  4. Levinson, p. 1038.
  5. Douglas, John E. & Olshaker, Mark: The Anatomy Of Motive; Simon and Schuster, 1999.
  6. Levin, Jack: Serial Killers and Sadistic Murderers, Prometheus Books, 2008. p. 49.
  7. Levin, Jack & Fox, James Alan: Mass Murder: America's Growing Menace, Berkley Books, 1991.
  8. Fuller, John R. & Hickey, Eric W.: Controversial Issues in Criminology; Allyn and Bacon, 1999. pp. 36.
  9. Douglas, p. 192.

Further readin

  • Pantziarka, Pan (2000). Lone Wolf: True Stories of Spree Killers. Virgin Publishing. ISBN 0-7535-0437-5.