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Criminal and Behavioral Aspects of Juvenile Sexual Homicide

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 43 Issue: 2 Dated: March 1998 Pages: 340-347
W C Myers; A W Burgess; J A Nelson
Date Published
8 pages
This article examines a descriptive, systematic study of juvenile sexual homicide.
Fourteen incarcerated juveniles were assessed using a structured diagnostic interview, a clinical interview, and a review of correctional files and other records. Five of the offenders' victims survived the homicidal attack, but their cases were nevertheless included in the study as the offenders' intent was clearly to kill their victim, whose survival was merely by chance. All victims were female and all offenders were male. The crimes typically occurred in the afternoon, and involved a low-risk victim of the same race who lived in the offender's neighborhood. The sexual component of the crime was vaginal rape in more than half of the cases. Weapons, typically a knife or bludgeon, were used in all cases but one. The youths typically were characterized by a history of violence; previous arrests; chaotic, abusive backgrounds; poor adjustment in school; a conduct disorder diagnosis; and violent sexual fantasies. Findings of this study suggest that juvenile sexual murderers comprise less than 1 percent of juvenile murderers, and are likely to be an emotionally and behaviorally disturbed population with serious familial, academic and environmental vulnerabilities. Tables, references


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