An Analysis Of Serial Killing And Sexual Sadism Applying Robert Pickton As A Case Study

1976 words - 8 pages

Robert William “Willie” Pickton is currently serving a life sentence for the second degree murder of six British Columbian women. Although convicted for the murders of six victims, physical and forensic evidence for thirty-three women was uncovered at Pickton’s Port Coquitlam pig farm which served as the crime scene for his murders. Numerous other missing women, mostly marginalized prostitutes with chronic drug addiction, from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside area remain unaccounted for. It is not unreasonable to assume that they too, met the same disturbing fate as the other murder victims. Pickton’s modus operandi for the serial murders was the same; he would prowl the drug and poverty ridden Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver looking for potential victims, take the victims back to his Port Coquitlam pig farm, and then sexually abuse, torture, and murder them before mutilating and disposing their bodies. Most disturbingly, the victim’s remains were allegedly fed to the pigs on his farm, which were then slaughtered with the meat given out to associates of Pickton or to visitors of the farm (The Pickton Trial, CBC.ca/news).
What would cause an individual to behave in this rather heinous and macabre manner? Using Robert Pickton as a case study, this paper will explore the phenomenon of serial murder and apply research literature to help explain his behaviour and examine issues such as psychopathy, mental disorder, and substance abuse relevant to the Pickton case. In addition, the paper will explore the sexually sadistic nature of Pickton’s murders. Finally, the paper will explore the reasoning behind Pickton’s selection of drug addicted prostitutes as victims that enabled him to conduct his murders in relative anonymity. By examining these issues, perhaps we can comprehend how Robert Pickton became Canada’s most notorious serial killer.
Serial murder is defined as the murder of at least three victims accompanied with an intermittent “cooling off” period in between. Often during the “cooling off” period the serial killer fantasizes about his next potential victim and contrives a plan to enact said fantasy (Simons, 2001). The term “serial killer” was introduced into the English lexicon in the 1970’s and used to describe individuals who committed a series of murders under these pretenses. The typical age of onset for serial murder is usually in the mid-to-late twenties (Arndt, Hietpas, and Kim, 2004). It is difficult to determine when exactly Robert Pickton began his string of killing since much of his early life remains shrouded in mystery. The best way to examine the frequency of Pickton’s murders and the duration of the “cooling off” period between them then, is to examine data of women reported missing from the Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver. Using this data, it can be reasonably assumed that Pickton began his murders (at least within the context of his general modus operandi) sometime in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s (The...

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