Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 44–51 | Cite as

Crime Scene Staging in Homicide

  • Louis B. Schlesinger
  • Ashley Gardenier
  • John Jarvis
  • Jamie Sheehan-Cook
Article

Abstract

A nonrandom national U.S. sample of 946 homicide crime scenes--supplied by the FBI Behavioral Science Unit for purposes of research--was studied to delineate the prevalence, types, levels, and motives for staging in domestic, nonserial sexual, serial sexual, and general felony homicides. Stagers were found to be a relatively small group who employ a variety of methods to alter the crime scene in an attempt to redirect the investigation away from themselves as logical suspects. Results also suggest that different types of homicides have different staging rates based primarily on the relationship (or connection) between offender and victim. Implications for investigations and understanding this type of crime scene behavior are discussed.

Keywords

Homicide Staging Crime scene Investigation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their gratitude to the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit for coordinating access to the data used in this study. The authors' opinions, statements, and conclusions should not be considered an endorsement by the FBI or the Department of Justice of any policy, program, or service.

References

  1. Adair TW (2002) The reconstruction of a staged sexual assault. J Forensic Ident 52:137–143Google Scholar
  2. Dietz PE, Hazelwood RR (1982) Atypical autoerotic fatalities. Med and Law 1:301–319Google Scholar
  3. Douglas JE, Burgess AW, Burgess AG, Ressler RK (1992) Crime Classification Manual. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  4. Douglas JE, Munn C (1992) Violent crime scene analysis: Modus operandi, signature, and staging. FBI Law Enfor Bull 61:1–10Google Scholar
  5. Geberth VJ (1983) Practical homicide investigation. Elseiver, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Geberth VJ (1996) The staged crime scene. Law and Order 44:1–7Google Scholar
  7. Geberth VJ (2003) Sex-related homicide and death investigation. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FLGoogle Scholar
  8. Geberth VJ (2010) Frequency of body posing in homicides. Law and Order 58:29–31Google Scholar
  9. Gross H (1907) Criminal investigation. Lawyers Cooperative Printing Co., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Hazelwood RR, Dietz PE, Burgess AW (1983) Autoerotic fatalities. Heath, Lexington, MAGoogle Scholar
  11. Hazelwood RR, Napier N (2004) Crime scene staging and its detection. Int J Offender Ther Compar Crim 48:744–759CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hazelwood RR, Warren J (1995) The relevance of fantasy in serial sexual crime investigation. In: Hazelwood RR, Burgess AW (eds) Practical aspects of rape investigation, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp 127–138Google Scholar
  13. Hoffman W, Headley L (1992) Contract killers. Thunder's Mouth Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Keppel RD, Weis JG (2004) The rarity of "unusual" disposition of victim bodies: Staging and posing. J Forensic Sci 49:1308–1312PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Meloy JR (2000) The nature and dynamics of sexual homicide: An integrative review. Aggress Violent Beh 5:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Meloy JR (2001) Spousal homicide and the subsequent staging of a sexual homicide at a distant location. J Forensic Sci 47:395–398Google Scholar
  17. Morton RJ, Hilts MS (eds) (2008) Sexual murder: Multidisciplinary perspective for investigators, F.B.I., U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  18. O'Connell J, Soderman H (1936) Modern criminal investigation. Funk & Wagnalls, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Ressler RK, Burgess AW, Douglas JE (1988) Sexual homicide: Patterns and motives. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Safarik ME, Jarvis J, Nussbaum K (2000) Elderly female serial sexual homicide. Homicide Stud 4:294–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Saferstein, R. (2011). Criminalistics: An introduction to forensic science (10th ed.), Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  22. Schlesinger LB (2001) The contract murderer: Patterns, characteristics, and dynamics. J Forensic Sci 46:1119–1123PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Schlesinger LB, Kassen M, Mesa VB, Pinizzotto AJ (2010) Ritual and signature in serial sexual homicide. J Am Acad Psychiatry and Law 38:239–246Google Scholar
  24. Svensson A, Wendel O (1974) Techniques of crime scene investigation, 2nd edn. Elsevier, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Turvey BE (2000) Staged crime scenes: A preliminary study of 25 cases. J Beh Profiling 1:1–14Google Scholar
  26. Warren J, Hazelwood RR, Dietz PE (1996) The sexually sadistic killer. J Forensic Sci 41:970–974PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. U.S. Department of Justice (2010). Crime in the United States: F.B.I Uniform Crime Reports, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louis B. Schlesinger
    • 1
  • Ashley Gardenier
    • 2
  • John Jarvis
    • 3
  • Jamie Sheehan-Cook
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forensic PsychologyJohn Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.John Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Behavioral Science UnitFBI AcademyQuanticoUSA

Personalised recommendations