Criminal Law Homicide Essays, Thesis, Topics & Questions

Looking for a criminology homicide Essay or paper? People engage in criminal activities all over the world, including activities that result in loss of life. Homicide is one of the most crucial criminal activities that researchers have studied for a long time. These studies have been centered on determining the reasons why people kill others. Read more and learn about homicide research topics and how to buy a homicide essay online cheaply

Homicide Thesis Statement

Criminology is a branch of social science concerned with investigating crime and criminal activities. This report intends to investigate the homicide case presented. As such, the report starts by establishing probable suspects that could have been involved in the murder case.

The report then discusses what could have been the motive behind the homicide. In discussing the reasons for the murder, this essay uses various criminology theories and hypotheses to explain the case.

The Offender: Criminal Career

The criminal activity victim is said to be a psychologist in his mid-twenties. He was a shy individual with an introverted personality since he would keep to himself and talked little with other people. Introverts are known to keep to themselves and only open up whenever they are under influence or they want to communicate important issues. The victim’s personality could have been shaped by his career as a psychologist. Over the past few months prior to the homicide incident, the victim had frequented the bar and thus could have been earmarked by the perpetrator of the crime.

From the information provided by one of the homicide department detectives, there were a few people who expressed their dislikes for the victim, although they did not express their feelings vocally. Since he was an introvert, it is hard to tell who these people were as he did not disclose his issues to anybody in social gatherings.

Therefore, these individuals (who had expressed their dislikes for the victim) could be the first suspects for the murder. However, there needs to be substantial evidence that could link their dislike for the victim to the homicide incident (Maguire, Morgan & Reiner, 2012).

Which type of homicide was involved here?

The victim was shot three times; one shot was aimed directly on his head while the other two were directed to the middle body. From the sequence of events, it is highly probable that the people who were seen chatting with the victim a few moments before the crime was committed could have lured him into the restroom before they could shoot at him.

Since the restroom attendant was yet to arrive, one hour after the crime was committed, the perpetrators must have known the operating schedule for the bar and thus wanted to finish their mission long before the restroom attendant could arrive.

Therefore, the offender is well versed with the operations of the bar as well as the victim’s schedule. The crime was not a spontaneous one, but rather a well planned and executed work.

The close range shots and the body dragged to block the entrance to the restroom indicate that the offender did a clean job to ensure that there was limited evidence that could be trace to his involvement.

The main homicide suspect is thus one of the people who engaged in conversation with the victim or all them since they could have acted in such manner in order to avoid any suspicion of the impending crime.

The suspect first of all should have arrived earlier in the bar before their target could arrive. Since they had studied his personality and mastered his drinking behavior, they would wait until he has taken the first drink before approaching him.

While timing the arrival of the restroom attendant, the criminals maximized the use of the restroom before the attendant could arrive to his work station. The victim was then led into the restroom for a ‘quick discussion’ concerning a certain issues, may be relating to his work at the hospital or his expected educational advancement.

Armed with the .22 caliber pistol, the suspects could have immediately shot the victim before any alarm could be raised. They seems to be professional shooters since they purposely chose the restroom because of the room’s proximity to the noise.

This would prevent the gun noise from being detected by other revelers. Also, the wooden floor acted as sound proof and would absorb most of the sound coming from the shot.

Since the restroom had only one entry and exit point, the suspect (s) could have dragged the dying victim towards the door and closed it slowly behind them, so that no one would readily smell the blood or sight that spilt on the floor.

Therefore, the individuals sited conversing with the victim a few minutes before his death could be the primary suspects for the homicide incident.  The perpetrators are experienced sharpshooters and could have been hired to eliminate the victim.

Reasons for Committing the Crime

Why was the crime committed? In criminology, it is critical to establish the motives behind any crime committed as this will assist criminologists in determining crime trends and how to avoid such activities.

In an effort to determine different reasons as to why people commit crime, many theories have been advanced, either by individual postulators or collectively, as they seek to determine the best most appropriate explanation for criminal activities.

In trying to ascertain the reasons why the homicide in case study was committed, we are going to subject our analysis to various theories in criminology that explains why people commit crime. There is a number of alternate theories and hypotheses that can be used to explain why people kill.

The Byproduct Hypothesis

The Byproduct Hypothesis is an evolutionary explanation of why people kill proposed by Daly and Wilson in 1988. According to Daly and Wilson homicide can be seen as an overactive mistake and a byproduct of psychological adaptations that are designed for no-lethal outcomes.

For instance, a husband may end up killing his wife because of unfaithfulness. In this case, the theorists have argued that the male mechanism for jealousy and the control for his mate may slip leading to the man killing the wife.

As such, homicide is an over-reactive mistake and a byproduct of mechanisms meant to serve other functions. When this explanation is put in the case context, an individual may commit homicide because there are some other interests that they are trying to protect, but the person who is killed happens to stand in the way between the people trying to achieve this goal.

In their 1995 journal article, Wilson and Daly argue that using homicides as a form of an evolved psychology of interpersonal conflict should not be seen as a presupposition that killing in itself is adaptive. This would mean that homicide is neutral in terms of selection.

When we apply this hypothesis to our case study, we can state that the assailants probably had intentions of persuading the victim into agreeing into certain terms or conditions but the victim was reluctant to yield to their persuasions.

This could have led the offender(s) to resort to extreme measures such as shooting the victim so that he could agree to their propositions. From the investigative details, there seems to be no signs of intensive struggle, meaning that both the offender and victim were initially in a negotiation process but due to the breakdown in negotiations, the offender was forced to pull the trigger. Therefore, the killing could have been an overactive mistake and a byproduct of psychological adaptations that were designed for non-lethal outcomes.

However, there have been critics of this hypothesis as a means through which an act of homicide can be explained. For instance, (Carruthers, Laurence & Stich, 2004) states that Daly and Wilson did not address the relationship between behavior with negative selective consequences and evolutionary history.

Nonetheless, the critics propose two possible alternative explanations. Firstly, the overall benefits of psychological adaptations that result into homicide as a byproduct have outweighed costs of killing over the evolutionary period.

Secondly, selection has resulted in the elimination of homicide as a byproduct in instances where it is considered too costly to kill. This hypothesis is closely related to the evolved goal hypothesis.

Evolved Goal Hypothesis of homicides

The Evolved Goal Hypothesis is another evolutionary explanation to homicide and states that human beings have their evolved specific goals that are associated with certain quest for productive success.

  • These goals are not generalized goals but rather specific goals such as to strive for status.
  • Such goals are achieved through the use of evolved problem solvers which figures out the means of achieving these goals.
  • The strong form of this hypothesis states that killing or homicide is not the main reason behind the achievement of these goals, but an individual would commit homicide if it is apparent that it is the only means through which their goals can be achieved.
  • On the other hand, the weak form of this hypothesis postulates that there may be some form of psychological adaptations specifically for homicide, such as the strong desire to kill certain persons.
  • However, the processes that are undergone in determining whether or not to kill is accomplished through general problem solving mechanism.

Although this hypothesis seems to be more applicable to the case under consideration, little literature has been written on the same. This presents limited information on the hypothesis and its applicability. Similarly, the limited information on the hypothesis makes it hard to determine the criticisms and counter-criticisms levelled against the hypothesis. However, putting the hypothesis into perspective results into credible scenario.

The victim could have had individuals either at his place of work or at the social joint. Because of job-related rivalry, the offender could have perceived them victim as a potential threat to their career advancement. As such, the only means through which the offender could secure his position was to either persuade the victim to back down or be eliminated. This explains the reason why the victim had to be taken into a secluded place for the purposes of negotiation before the worse could be done.

The Choice Theory applied in Criminology

The choice theory arises from classical school of criminology, which holds reasons why individuals commit crime. According to this theory, people freely choose all their actions guided by their behaviors.

As such, motives such as greed, need, revenge, anger, lust, thrill-seeking jealousy and vanity are all expressions of free will and personal choice. Secondly, this theory advances that choices made can be controlled by fear of punishment.

As such, an individual will weigh the potential benefits and costs resulting from a criminal activity, and that most people find the risk of being punished is not worth the pleasure they would derive from committing a crime.

Lastly, the more swift, certain and severe consequences resulting from the criminal act, the greater will be its ability to control a criminal behavior.

In the world of criminal justice, choice theories are associated with the development of policies intended to control the behavior of criminals. In this perspective, policies such as get-tough tactics, problem-oriented policing, police crackdowns, selective incapacitation and deterrence strategies.

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As such, criminologists such as Siegel state that choice theories are popular since they do not encourage rehabilitation as a cornerstone for criminal justice. There is an increasing number of choice theorists who regards rehabilitation as a waste of time and taxpayers money.

Their central argument is that criminals make their choices as to whether to engage in the heinous activities and thus they commit such offences knowing their consequences just too well. Siegel (2006) notes that it is a waste of time to rehabilitate a cold, hardened criminal.

When we reason within this perspective, it emerges that the assailant had clear motive to eliminate the victim. This theory provides that the person committing a crime does not need to have sound reasons as to why they does so, but nay chose to act according to their choice.

The assailant could thus have acted in order to avenge for something the victim had done against him. The murderer must have evaluated the cost associated with the action versus the benefits that he would derive from doing so.

The benefits must have outweighed the costs since the offender seems to have been sure that the act would be concealed.

The Conflict Theory of Criminology

The conflict theory of crime is s social structured approach to criminology and charges crime as a result of conflicts between various social classes. Thus, the conflict theory is based on the perspective that causes of crime are economic and social forces operating within a society.

This is aggravated by the view that criminal justice system operates on behalf, and for the benefit of the rich and powerful social elites with policies being developed and enforced to contain the poor. According to the proponents of the conflict theory, the focus of legal standards established by the elites is on separating them from the have not so that the latter do not steal from the former.

This is evidenced from the manner in which street crimes, including minor monetary ones, are severely punished relative to large scale financial crimes that are treated with more leniency. The manner in which such justice is applied results in a conflict between the higher and the lower social classes.

The conflict theory of criminology suggests that laws developed and enforced within a society emerge out of conflict rather than a consensus.

  • It states that there are no fundamental differences between criminals and the general population and that laws are developed by a group that is in power with an intention to control those who are not in power.
  • Further, the criminology theory of conflict disdains the premise that the society can clearly be subdivided into criminals and non-criminals and terms such notions as a dualistic fallacy.
  • Theorists who align their views with this theory state that distinguishing criminals from the general society should be guided by the societal reactions to those individuals who deviate from the generally accepted societal norms.
  • In general terms, conflict theorists argue that those members of the society who are in destitute circumstances are more likely to be labelled as criminals relative to those majorities or more convenient individuals.

The conflict theory is extended by critical theory, which was developed in an attempt to explain the root cause of contemporary social disorder in 1970s (Carruthers, Laurence & Stich, 2004). According to the critical theory of criminology, criminal behavior in the society results from economic and social inequalities within a society. As such, this theory postulates that crime cannot be tackled efficiently and be eliminated within a capitalist system. Just like the conflict theory of criminology, the critical theory argues that minorities and those individuals who are in destitute circumstances are more likely to be labelled as criminals than the majority.

This theory can be used to understand the general causes of crime and criminal activities within a given geographical region. However, subjecting the case under study to this theory will yield minimal information about the cause of the death. It is most probable that the suspect and the victim belongs to the same social class, or in any case there is a deviation, then it is slight. Therefore, this theory has limited application to the case.

Although these theories explain the causes of criminal activities in the society as a result of inequality in resource distribution within a social set up, it is inadequate to explain why an individual would wrong another person within the same social status. These theories would suffice in explaining certain actions, such as civil rights protesters being locked up in cells because they are threat to social orders. However, the conflict and critical theories of criminology cannot be used to explain why a person would murder his family member or a person from the same social class.

Strain Theory for Criminology and Homicide

In criminology, strain theory states that an individual may be forced into committing a crime because of the existing social structures within the society. Strain theory suggests that an individual may turn into a criminal when he or she is strained or when they are unable to achieve the goals of the society.

According to this theory, strain may be either structural or individual oriented. Structural strain refers to the manner in which the society shapes and affects the manner in which an individual perceives his or her needs.

For instance, if certain social structures are inadequate, an individual will change his or her perceptions as to the means or opportunities arising from such structures. Individual strains refer to the frictions and pains suffered by a person as s/he looks for alternatives to satisfying their needs.

For instance, if the societal goals become very significant to the individual, achieving such goals will be more important than the means adopted to achieve them.

In explaining the strain theory Robert Merton states that anomie is very similar to the meaning of the word strain and proposes that strain is a situation in which societies brings to bear strain to persons that leads to rule-breaking.

In accordance, this pressure is caused by the discrepancy between culturally defined goals and the institutionalized means of achieving these goals. The theory advances that the institutionalized means of achieving societal goals are education and hard work.

This means than an individual who does not undergo the relevant education system through hard work is incapable of fulfilling these goals and is labeled as lazy or defective.

Merton further argues that the problem with this system within a society is that the legitimate procedures of achieving material success are not evenly distributed and that individuals from upper social class have considerably more access to legitimate means than those economically disadvantaged.

As a result, a strain is developed within the disadvantaged class in which some strategies must be adopted in order to deal with the pressures brought to bear on them.

Although the strain theory of criminology continues to plan a critical role in sociological theorization of crime, critics have identified various limitations to the theory. Albert Cohen provides the first criticism by claiming that there are many criminal activities that are non-utilitarian, negativistic and malicious.

This indicates that not all crimes cannot be explained using this theory. For instance, although the theory can explain theft and fraud based on innovation, it is inefficient in explaining youth-related crimes which are committed for social status rather than material gains. The theory also fails to address issues such as race and gender.

Just like the byproduct theory explains, the strain theory could as well be applied to the case to explain the motive for the commission of this crime. Due to societal structures that makes it hard for some individuals to achieve their goals, these individuals may be forced to seek other means of achieving these goals.

Accordingly, the offender must have perceived the victim as a means through which he or she could achieve his or her objectives. In this view, the offender must have been hired to commit the said violence.

The manner in which the crime was committed and the limited evidence available to trace the suspect indicates that the suspect must be a trained sharpshooter. This is evidenced by the bullet shot in the head of the suspect and the additional two in his middle body to ensure that he was actually dead before the suspect flew.

Therefore, the goal of the assailant should have been to achieve some financial breakthrough, and this could be achieved by engaging in assassin activities.

Additional Theories not appropriate for the Case

We have explained appropriate theories that can be used to explain the motive of the assailants. However, there are other criminology theories which explain the reasons why people commit crime but cannot be used to explain the motive behind this particular case study. This section will discuss some of these theories and explain why they are not appropriate for the case.

The first theory under consideration is the Developmental Life Course theory. According to this theory, crime causation is considered in the lens of a development process that starts before an individual is born and continues throughout the life course.

As such, this theory postulates that there are some inherent individual factors that interact with the societal factors to determine the time when a person starts criminal activities, the lengths with which the crime will be committed and the time when the person will cease engaging in criminal career.

In this perspective, the key theoretical issues regard the continuity and change in crime. Some theories within this focus predicts continuity in crime across the criminal’s life course, others predict continuity for some offenders while others state that the criminal activities would continue or even change for some offenders (Gill, 2011).

Although this theory states that the reason why an individual would engage in a criminal activity is because they were probably born criminals. This theory may explain why some individuals commit crime but it would be far-fetched if we used this theory to explain the reason why the crime under consideration was committed. From the discussion provided in this paper and the case data provided in the case brief, it is quite clear that the offenders had well-organized motive to execute the victim and this was influenced by underlying factors, some of which are also discussed within this report.

The other important theory that can be considered when discussing criminology is Feminism Criminology theory. Crime cannot be well understood without taking gender into consideration. Feminist criminologists accentuate the subsidiary characterization of women in the society as far as criminal activities are concerned (Carruthers, Laurence & Stich, 2004).

Under this school of thought, women are still underrated and considered as inferior relative to their male counterparts and are not full accepted socially as equals to men. Crime is shaped by different social experiences such as power, and most of these experiences have been associated to the male society although a considerable number of women are in power. In the same measure, men would commit crime to show their symbol of masculinity, that they are ‘men’ as the society regards them. On the other hand, feminist criminologists argue that female criminal behavior and their representations is associated with mere commodity for sexual exchange in the industry.

Criminology Research paper Topics

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Although this is a significant theory that can be used to explain crime patterns in the society, the theory does not provide any direct link to our case analysis. It is probable that a woman could have been involved in the homicide case, but there are a limited aspect that links the murder to a lady involvement.

Similarly, bars are associated with alcoholism and sexual activities, and the victim could have been lured into the restroom by a lady. But the information provided indicates that the ladies restroom was far away from the point where the body of the victim was found.

Conclusion on Homicide Research Essay

In this report Argumentative Essay on Homicides, we have analyzed the information provided and tried to ascertain who could have been involved in the perpetration of the homicide. We have also discussed various criminology theories pertaining to the motive for committing criminal activities and related these theories to the case. In so doing, we established the reason why the offender could murder the victim. There are other theories that explain the motives behind criminal activities, although they do not directly explain the reasons why the offender committed the crime in the case study. These theories have also been discussed in the last parts of this report.

In so doing, we established the reason why the offender could murder the victim. There are other theories that explain the motives behind criminal activities, although they do not directly explain the reasons why the offender committed the crime in the case study. These theories have also been discussed in the last parts of this report.


Bibliography on Criminology Homicide Essay Sample and Topics

  1. Carruthers, P., Laurence, S. & Stich, S. (Eds.). (2004). The Structure of innate Mind. New York: Oxford University Press.
  2. Gill, C. E. (2011). Missing links: how descriptive validity impacts the policy relevance of randomized controlled trials in criminology. Journal of Experimental Criminology7(3), 201-224.
  3. Maguire, M., Morgan, R., & Reiner, R. (Eds.). (2012). The Oxford handbook of criminology. Oxford University Press.
  4. Siegel, L. (2006). Criminology (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

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