This paper will talk to you about characteristics, motives, different phases, and the correlation between behavior and aggression. "I didn't want to hurt them, I only wanted to kill them." This is a quote from David Berkowitz, A.K.A., the Son of Sam. David Berkowitz and all of the other serial killers tend to think in unique ways. Serial killers like everyone else have certain characteristics that set them apart. To be considered a bonafied serial killer you must murder at least three to four people with a cooling off period between each murder. These killings are usually one on one and are repetitive, occurring with greater or lesser frequency over time ("Characteristics of Serial Murder"). Serial killers usually don't have a connection with the victim and they very rarely if ever have a rational motive. The serial killer likes to murder people in the same pattern, usually with a high degree of overkill. This degree of overkill sets them a part from different serial killers. .
Serial murderers also have different motives for their murders. One of the most obvious is that they turn to murdering for a sense of power (Forwood). For this sense of power they usually attack societies weakest members and those weaker than themselves (Forwood). This includes the homeless, impaired, and usually the young of both sexes. When they kill the homeless and impaired they are usually acting on the Missionary Motive. This is when they feel that it is their responsibility to rid society of its unwanted inhabitants. There are also Visionary killers that are usually instructed to kill by the voices that are in their head (schizophrenia). The last type of these motives is the Hedonist. They kill because it brings them the pleasure to do so. This group is separated into three sub-categories, which are lust killers, thrill killers and gain killers. Lust killers kill for sexual pleasure. They are usually sexually underdeveloped and they kill for sexual gratification.