Overkill is an extreme form of homicide. Its presence may be a clue to the perpetrator.

Overkill is the term used when the type and number of injuries are far in excess of that needed to kill the victim.


Features of overkill:

(1) almost all cases are committed by men

(2) associated with extreme rage that may be associated with jealousy, betrayal and/or anger

(3) the perpetrator may try to exert power, control and possession, trying to restrict the victim

(4) the relationship may be abusive

(5) most perpetrators are not insane or severely mentally ill

(6) the perpetrator may become frenzied during the attack


The victim may be:

(1) an intimate partner, especially during or after a breakup

(2) an unknown person if the perpetrator is angry at a gender, race or religion

(3) a family member

(4) a transgressor in a criminal organization or autocratic regime


Exclusion: post-mortem mutilation intended to conceal the victim's identity

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