Certain features of a homicide may indicate that it was performed by a professional killer. The killer will have no connection with the victim, unless the victim is a member of an organized crime organization.


Features of a professional killing:

(1) The method of killing will be simple, fast, direct and efficient.

(2) The weapon is untraceable and may be stolen. It may be left at the scene so that the killer will not be caught with it. There will be no fingerprints or evidence on it.

(3) Staging will either be absent or very elaborate, with no inconsistencies.

(4) There will be no evidence other than that left intentionally.

(5) The person may use specialized equipment such as a silencer or special ammunition.

(6) There may be either no witnesses or several who are unable to identify the perpetrator. A person who comes upon the scene by accident may be executed.

(7) The body may be left at the scene or made to disappear without a trace.

(8) The killer will have a reliable and safe getaway that cannot be traced.

(9) Arson may be used to obscure evidence. This will usually involve a sophisticated accelerant.

(10) Evidence of premeditation, showing familiarity with the person's habits, usually to select the most opportune time and place.


Features that are typically not found:

(1) overkill

(2) depersonalization of the victim

(3) sexual mutilation

(4) sexual assault with evidence from the perpetrator

(5) items that are stolen (jewelry, money and valuables are left intact) - the killer will not risk being caught with evidence

(6) superficial wounds or ones that are unlikely to be fatal


NOTE: Often a person who is hired to kill someone else is a simple thug. Such a person will often lack the skill of a person who has been trained and who kills for a living.


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