Proxy murder

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A proxy murder is when someone commits any type of homicide, most likely by one person ordering another person, or through the use of a third party.[1]

Hit men[edit]

A common example of this would be a person contracting a hit man,[2] or a hired killer. Hit men commit the act of murder on a specific target or targets, and may receive payment in exchange for the murder or murders committed. This is what is known as contract killing.[3] Hit men are most often associated with organized crime, e.g., The Mafia, street gangs, and they have also recently been found on the dark web advertising their services.[4]

Honor killing[edit]

Honor killing is a type of proxy murder when a male member of the family kills a female member of the same family for tarnishing the family image. The order is given out by the head of the family, usually the father, instructing a brother to kill his sister. The image can be tarnished by the female for having premarital relations, or simply by trying to get out of an arranged marriage. Honor killing is almost always premeditated, or thought out before the act takes place. In some very rare cases, hit men have been hired to perform the honor killings.[5] Honor killing is an ancient tradition but is still seen in dozens of countries today. Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Ecuador, Morocco, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, the Balkans, Sweden, Holland, Germany, Italy, Yemen, and India have the most reported honor killings. Most honor killings arise from women defying dress codes set by governments, meeting men not related to them, defying their father or brother. Usually, the cause is a woman having premarital or extramarital relations. These relations can be consensual or non-consensual, meaning a woman can still be killed for tarnishing her family’s image from being raped. Scholars look at honor killings as a gender-specific crime for obvious reasons. Any act a male sees as dishonorable can result in an honor killing. Any act a male suspects might be taking place can also trigger an honor killing. This is not only culturally accepted but morally sanctioned. If a male refuses to punish a female relative, he is seen as weak and unmanly by other males in the community.[5] To prevent a woman from dishonoring her entire family, the males must reclaim their honor by killing her.[6] In many cases, a woman may support honor killing another woman to protect her own honor as well.[5] Honor killing is illegal in most first world countries because at its core, it is still murder. Some people argue that honor killing is an expression of religion, however most advanced nations see it as just a man killing a woman. Many scholars have started to view honor killings as an extreme form of domestic violence.[5]

Famous cases[edit]

John Bodkin Adams[edit]

A famous case involving proxy murder was that of John Bodkin Adams. John Bodkin Adams was an Irish physician who was investigated from 1946-1952 when 152 of his patients died mysteriously. Out of the 152, 130 of them mentioned Adams in their will, leaving him various amounts of money and items. Adams was accused of having his assisting nurses give lethal doses of opiates. Adams was arrested and tried for several counts of murder. He admitted to helping his nurses deliver morphine to patients, but he said it was to ease their passing, not to kill them. Adams was acquitted for several of the murders, and many others were withdrawn because the cases were not strong enough to hold up in court. In the end, Adams was convicted of fraud for lying on cremation papers.[6]

Charles Manson[edit]

The person instigating a proxy murder can and can not be legally guilty of the crime of murder. This legal distinction varies where in the world the murder takes place. The person who instigated the murder is usually guilty as well. They may be charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and may also be charged with accessory to murder. An example of this is Charles Manson and the Manson Family Murders. Manson was the leader of the Manson Family cult that resided in California in the late 1960s. In 1969, the Manson Family committed nine murders across a five-week span. One of the more notable people murdered was actress Sharon Tate. Charles Manson did not commit any of the murders himself, but instructed the members of the Manson Family to do it instead. In 1971, Manson was convicted on the charge of conspiracy. The court ruled that Manson had as much guilt tied to him with that of his followers. Manson is currently serving 9 concurrent life sentences at the Corcoran State prison in California.[7]


  1. ^ "proxy murder". Retrieved 2016-12-04. 
  2. ^ "hitman". The Free Dictionary. 
  3. ^ "contract killing". Retrieved 2016-12-04. 
  4. ^ Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell delivers remarks at the ABA's national institute on bitcoin and other digital currencies. (2015). (). Lanham: Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc. Retrieved from
  5. ^ a b c d Deol, S. S. (2014). Honour killings in Haryana State: A content analysis. International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, 9(2), 192-208. Retrieved from
  6. ^ a b Ramsland, Katherine,PhD., C.M.I.-V. (2009). Francis camps: Inside the palace of truth. Forensic Examiner, 18(2), 80-82. Retrieved from
  7. ^ Library, C. N. N. "Manson Family Murders Fast Facts -". CNN. Retrieved 2016-12-04.