Homicide is a major social issue that has been studied by many researchers worldwide. The vast literature available, however, has avoided distinguishing homicide characterized by excessive wounds as a particular category or type of murder. This is what is often referred to as overkill. It has been observed in a variety of incidents, but it has not been systematically defined or examined in the literature in regard to why it occurs. This study aims to define "overkill" based on the number and extent of injuries for LGBT homicides between the years 1969 to 2018 (provided by Dallas Drake, co-founder of the Center for Homicide Research) and, in doing so, develop a classification of characteristics of overkill. The purpose of this research is to gather information from literature and exemplary cases, which imply excessive wound infliction and may aid in defining and analyzing data on overkill. Developing a definition can help facilitate examinations of lethal incidents and encourage the exploration that overkill has to an individual person's death. This exploratory study will discover cut-off points per category (firearm, sharp instruments, and blunt force trauma) of the number of wounds that are to be labeled as overkill. A binary logistic regression analysis will focus on variables that will be used to formulate a definition of overkill. Results indicate cut-off points for firearms to be 3 wounds, sharp instruments 17 wounds, and blunt force trauma 6 wounds. Regarding excessive wound infliction, analysis reveals significant relationships in the use of blunt objects and the presence of multiple offenders.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Martins, Traccy, "Overkill: A First Run Definition" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6530.