Elliott Leyton

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Elliott Leyton Ph.D. (born 1939 in Leader, Saskatchewan) is a Canadian social-anthropologist, educator and author who, according to the CTV television news network, is amongst the most widely consulted experts on serial homicide worldwide.[1]

Professor Leyton has held faculty positions at Queen's University of Belfast in Ireland (where he is a research Fellow), and at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario; University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland; Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel; and at Memorial University of Newfoundland where he currently is Professor Emeritus of anthropology.[2]

Professor Leyton has served as president of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association.[3]

Leyton earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of British Columbia then went on to obtain his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Toronto in 1972. During his ensuing career, he dedicated himself to the analysis and research of social ills such as juvenile delinquency and the psychology behind perpetrators of serial killings. Leyton's achieved level of expertise has led to his giving lectures at the College of Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa.[4]

The author/editor of eleven books and numerous scholarly essays for academic journals, Professor Leyton 's 1986 landmark study Hunting Humans is an international bestseller in multiple languages that was reprinted in 1995 and again in 2005.[5] It won the 1987 Arthur Ellis Award for best new crime book.[6] Professor Leyton travelled to Rwanda in the fall of 1996 where he studied the Rwandan genocide that spawned his 1998 book, Touched By Fire: Doctors Without Borders in a Third World Crisis.

In 2004, a National Film Board of Canada film about Professor Leyton's life's work titled The Man Who Studies Murder, was premiered at the Montreal Film Festival and aired on CBC Television’s The Nature of Things. Frequently consulted by the media, Professor Leyton was interviewed by CBC Newsworld on September 14, 2006 about the Dawson College shooting in Montreal. He stated that because all three such murderous rampages in Quebec involved a killer who was either an immigrant or a child of immigrants, it warranted an examination of government and societal attitudes that can profoundly impact immigrant perceptions and hence their conduct. The following day, Professor Leyton was the guest expert on CBC Radio One's program The Current that analyzed the Dawson College shooting by Kimveer Gill.[7]

Books (partial list)[edit]

  • Dying Hard (1975, 1996)
  • The Myth of Delinquency (1979)
  • Hunting Humans (1986, reprint: 1995) First US edition titled "Compulsive Killers."
  • Sole Survivor (1990)
  • Violence and public anxiety: A Canadian case (1992)
  • Touched by Fire (with photographer Greg Locke) (1998)
  • Serial Murder: Modern Scientific Perspectives (with Linda Chafe) (1999)
  • Men of Blood (2002)
  • Hunting Humans (revised and expanded edition 2005)


  1. ^ CTV - Looking into the minds of serial murderers Archived August 11, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Elliott Leyton's Home Page, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  3. ^ Biographies of Keynote Social Science Festival Participants
  4. ^ Memorial University of Newfoundland: Famous Alumni
  5. ^ Memorial University's Department of Anthropology website
  6. ^ McClelland.com: Awards for Elliott Leyton's Hunting Humans: The Rise of the Modern Multiple Murderer
  7. ^ Your Interview: Anthropologist and author Elliott Leyton on the Virginia Tech shootings