Essay Example on Criminal Law: Serial Offenders

Published: 2023-09-28
Essay Example on Criminal Law: Serial Offenders
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  United States Violence Criminal law Criminal justice
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 666 words
6 min read

Samuel Little is one of the most famous serial killers in American history. He is said to have killed 93 people in over ten states in the years between 1970 and 2005 (FBI, 2019). According to the FBI (2019), Little is the most prolific serial killer in the history of the United States. The crimes committed by Little make him an ideal subject to study by comparing him with other serial murder offenders and applying a typology. Homes & DeBurger (1998) provided typologies that divide serial killers into four primary categories. There is power/control, mission-oriented, visionary, and hedonistic. Based on Samuel Little’s profile, he is a hedonistic serial killer because he targeted certain kinds of people.

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Early Life and Serial Offence Tendencies

The hedonistic serial killer typology applies to Samuel Little because of his early life encounters. Walsh & Hemmens (2008), whose books discussed various kinds of crimes and theories behind such actions, explored serial killers and the motivation behind their actions. According to Walsh & Hemmens (2008), serial killing is a drawn-out process that comes to be through a combination of congenital propensity and environmental stressors. In this case, one of the environmental stressors is Little’s early life, which contains a series of misfortunes that might have pushed Little towards becoming a serial offender.

Little had a troubled childhood that contributed towards pushing him to a life of crime. Little’s biography indicates that he was born from a teenage prostitute in 1940 in Georgia. Biography, which documents the life story of various prominent figures, indicates that his mother abandoned him in early childhood (Biography, 2020). The authorities believe Little might have been born in jail and had to be raised by his grandmother (Biography, 2020). Life was harsh to him from the onset, and that caused him to drop out of high school and started a life of crime.

Profile of His Victims

It can be argued that there is a strong relationship between Little’s early childhood and his hedonistic tendencies. Nearly all of Little’s victims were women, particularly of the black race. His preferred mode of execution was strangling, and he rarely tortured his victims or inflicted any other kind of torture. One thing that stands out in Little’s criminal record is his perverted sexual activity. According to Editors (2020), Little would often masturbate while strangling his victims, which should not come as a shock because of his criminal record that contains rape. It shows that killing was part of perverted sexual activity that gave him arousal.

As a hedonistic killer, Little killed for the pure thrill and joy of it. Most of Little’s victims belonged to the lower, mostly neglected echelons of the society. Editors (2020) indicate that Samuel Little’s victims and alleged victims were on the fringes of society. They included sex workers, homeless people, and drug addicts. According to the FBI (2019), Little did not believe that he would ever get caught, and one of the reasons for holding such a belief was because of the type of people he targeted. It shows that Little did not target women in the fringes of society because he was mission-oriented, he instead targeted them because he believed he was less likely to get caught if he went for those whom no one would notice their absence.


An analysis of the type of crimes and nature of his crimes indicates that Samuel Little fits within the hedonistic serial killer typology. He derived emotional and sexual pleasure in the murdering of his victims. Which means he killed for the pure thrill and joy of it.

References Editors (2020, April 7). Samuel Little.

FBI. (2019, November 20). Top 10 American Serial Killers.

Holmes, R. M., & DeBurger, J. E. (1998). What is serial murder? The characteristics and the extent. Contemporary perspectives on serial murder, 1-4.

Walsh, A., & Hemmens, C. (2008). Introduction to criminology: a text/reader (1st ed.)

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