I certainly wanted for my mother a nice, quiet easy death like everyone else wants.

— Ed Kemper
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Kehler Typology – Detailed Description


is typically intelligent, manipulative, highly organized, and patient; they plan their activities with great care. They usually begin their criminal career after age 25 and therefore bring a good deal of maturity and patience to the planning and commission of their crimes. Black Widows rely on their ability to win the confidence and trust of their victims as a precursor to any attack. For this reason, they are seldom viewed as a suspect, even after they have committed several murders. Then they start a decade or longer cycle of systematically killing spouses, partners, family members, and indeed, anyone with whom they develop a personal relationship. The typical cycle is 6-8 victims over a period of 10-15 years, although in places where law enforcement is lax, the victim count may go up as high as 13. Poison is the preferred weapon of choice, dosing the victim with a wide variety of lethal substances to mimic more medically appropriate and diagnosable illnesses to collect life insurance & inheritance proceeds.

usually begin their criminal career at age 21 and operate in a localized setting, typically a nursing home, hospital, or other place where death is a regular occurrence. In such places, murder can be easily disguised, the offender enjoys the power of selecting who will live or die, and there is easy access to all sorts of life-sustaining and life-threatening equipment and supplies. The typical cycle is 8 victims over a 1-2 year period, although if the offender is mobile, the number of victims may be 16 or more. Their short careers are usually due to a tendency to brag about their actions.

that are female and act alone are so rare that there has only been one in U.S. history. To their credit, the Kelleher’s (1998) attempt to make comparisons with cases in other countries, but the question remains whether the case of Aileen Wuornos was only the tip of the iceberg or a portend of things to come. This is speculation, but like their male counterparts, female sexual predators are usually in their 30’s or middle-aged, geographically mobile, suffer from a fantasy-driven compulsion to kill, and usually have at least 6 victims before being caught sometime in their average 3-year career.

killers that are female and repeat offenders are rare. More common are one-time crimes of passion motivated by revenge. What makes the revenge serial killer different is that they are driven by a deeper, more overwhelming anger, bordering upon the pathological, with little or no cooling-off period, implying a certain kind of obsessive attachment to the darker qualities of revenge that goes beyond what we normally mean by “motivated by revenge”. Such persons usually begin their criminal careers at age 22, and their victims are either family members or symbolic of an offending organization. There is a noticeable consistency in the victimology. The typical pattern is about 3-4 victims over an average period of 2 years or less, although some careers may extend up to 5 years in length. Although the revenge killer is usually able to control their passions enough to successfully conceal their crimes, they are also sometimes careless and demonstrate a lack of planning. Ironically, when apprehended, they show great remorse, almost as if to compensate for their excessive flights into the darker realms of revenge.

killers who are female and repeat offenders are rare or unknown. Some of them are presumed to be organized contract killers available for hire if someone wants to have their spouse or business competitor murdered. Others have set up a localized scam operation to rob victims of their assets and lives. They are considered to be the most intelligent, resourceful, and careful serial killers. Their career usually begins around age 25 or 30 and lasts for about 10 years. They usually claim about 10 victims before they make enough to retire, but greed may drive the total upwards to as high as 25. They use a variety of methods to kill, and are highly dispassionate about the murders they commit. There are more known cases of this type overseas than in the United States.

represent about one-third of all female serial killers, and they come in 3 forms: (1) male female teams, (2) female teams, and (3) family teams. The male female team is the most common, and the crimes are often sexual in nature, with the female member typically being about 20 years of age and the career being a short 1-2 years. All-female teams tend to be active for 2-4 years, and the members are usually older, around 25 years of age. Family teams tend to be short-lived, about 1 year or so, and the female members are typically young, about 20 years of age. For all three categories of team killers, the average victim count is 9-15, and a variety of methods are used, including guns and knifes.

killers who are serial offenders and female are few in number. Angel of Death offenders are most capable of launching a successful insanity defense, especially if the psychological disorder is Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a common symptom among this type. In general, however, the insanity defense strategy in a serial killing case is rarely successful. A lot depends upon which insanity test is used, and whether the jury can be understanding or not.

female serial killers are motiveless killers. Neither themselves nor the authorities can come up with an explanation for why they did it.

female serial killer cases are similar to cases like “the Green River Killer” or the “Zodiac Killers” which were never solved. The most common feature is that the cases have stumped officials for years like the nonserial Black Dahlia case.