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Criminal behavior experts speak about fatal shooting of Australian in Duncan

Experts say the “thrill kill” of an East Central University student from Australia is a type of crime that is rare.
BY NASREEN IQBAL niqbal@opubco.com Modified: August 22, 2013 at 10:28 pm •  Published: August 23, 2013

The “thrill kill” of an East Central University student from Australia is a type of crime that experts say is rare.

While the facts in the shooting of Christopher Lane, 22, are still being investigated, police have said those accused seemed to have no real motive other than a vague notion of trying to relieve boredom. Police have discounted the idea that gangs or racism served as motivation.

The victim was white. One of those arrested in the case is also white, one is of mixed race and the other is black, the prosecutor said.

Other so-called thrill kills have involved gang initiation rites or racism, said Brent Turvey, an Oklahoma City University adjunct professor of criminology and justice studies and author of “Criminal Profiling an Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis.”

“Some gang initiations require the killing of civilians at random,” he said. “These people will usually ‘jump' a man or rape a woman; for them it's a point of pride. When the victim is a stranger, racism or classism is usually the motive.”

He also said the notion that boredom led to the crime is hard to fathom.

“Anybody who has a teenager knows that the excuse of boredom is nonsense,” he said. “Teens give that excuse all the time because they don't want to say why they did what they did.”

Dr. David Hartman, a Chicago forensic neuropsychologist, said the profile of a casual killer often includes a troubled background.

“The perfect storm, so to speak, really has to exist to cause someone to kill casually,” he said. “The perpetrator has to be in a neglectful, stressful, violent or abusive environment.

“There has to be a neurological trait, a gene or a family history of mental illness and of course they have to have access to the kind of weaponry that would allow them to execute the act.”

Police have said those accused in this case had previous run-ins with police, but details of criminal juvenile background haven't been released.

Hartman stressed that a combination of factors are usually involved in such homicides.

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Anybody who has a teenager knows that the excuse of boredom is nonsense. Teens give that excuse all the time because they don't want to say why they did what they did.”

Brent Turvey,
Oklahoma City University adjunct professor

of criminology and justice studies

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