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Note: Varies by jurisdiction
Note: Varies by jurisdiction
|By victim or victims|
A torture murder is a murder where death was preceded by the torture of the victim. In many legal jurisdictions, a murder involving "exceptional brutality or cruelty" will attract a harsher sentence.
Notable individual incidents and successfully prosecuted cases are listed below but torture murder is much more common than this list may suggest. Lynching in the United States—extrajudicial killing by a mob, which often served as a means of racial terrorism—frequently involved public torture of the victim or victims, and was in many instances followed by human trophy collecting, too. Moreover, since industrial acid became available in quantity during the 19th century, acid attacks have become a globally widespread method of murder.
In the 21st century, many of the murders of foreigners in and citizens of Iraq and Syria committed by members of the terrorist organization Daesh were preceded by torture. Film footage of the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar documents the aftermath and testimony of torture murder by government forces, and evidence has demonstrated torture murder associated with many other massacres, war crimes, and genocides, both contemporary and historical.
Murder laws worldwide vary a great deal, but a murder involving torture will generally attract a harsher penalty than a murder alone. Legal mechanisms of penalty enhancement vary between jurisdictions. In the laws of Italy, Germany, Norway, and many parts of the United States, there are two or more "degrees" of murder, with wording such as: "...inflicting torture upon the victim prior to the victim's death" typically used to rule that the highest degree should apply. In other jurisdictions, it may be that even if there was just one crime of murder, the sentencing practices and guidelines are such that the aggravating circumstance of any torture will nevertheless allow for a harsher than normal penalty.
List of perpetrators and victims
Some notable perpetrators and victims include the following. The dates indicate the time of the crime or crimes. This list includes people in positions of power.
- Empress Lü Zhi (China, 202 BC to 180 BC)
- Gilles de Rais (France, 1435 to 1440)
- Vlad III the Impaler (Wallachia, 1448; 1456 to 1462; 1476)
- Elizabeth Báthory (Kingdom of Hungary, 1602 to 1610)
- Delphine LaLaurie (New Orleans, Louisiana, 1775 to 1842) (alleged)
- H. H. Holmes (Chicago, Illinois 1893 to 1895)
- Albert Fish (New York City, New York, 1910 to 1936)
- "Mad" Sam DeStefano (Chicago, Illinois, 1950s to 1970s)
- David Parker Ray (Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, 1950s to 1999)
- Richard Kuklinski (Metropolitan New York, United States, 1960s to 1980s)
- Ian Brady and Myra Hindley (Moors murders) (Greater Manchester, England, 1963 to 1965)
- Gertrude Baniszewski (Indianapolis, Indiana, 1965)
- Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Bobby Beausoleil (Los Angeles, California, 1969)
- Dean Corll, Wayne Henley, and David Brooks (Houston, Texas, 1970 to 1973)
- Randy Steven Kraft (California, Michigan, Oregon, 1970s to early 1980s)
- John Wayne Gacy (Chicago, Illinois, 1972 to 1978)
- Lenny and John Murphy, William Moore, Robert Bates, and Sam McAllister (The Shankill Butchers) (Belfast, 1972 to 1982)
- Rosemary and Fred West (Gloucester, England, 1973 to 1979)
- Dennis Rader (Wichita, Kansas, 1974 to 1991)
- Hamida Djandoubi (Marseille, France, 1974)
- Hillside Strangler (Los Angeles, California, 1977 to 1978)
- Andrei Chikatilo (Russian SFSR, Ukrainian SSR, Uzbek SSR, Soviet Union, 1978 to 1990)
- Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris (Metropolitan Los Angeles, California, 1979)
- Robin Gecht, Edward Spreitzer, and Andrew and Thomas Kokoraleis (The Ripper Crew) (Chicago, Illinois, 1981 to 1982)
- Paul Luckman and Robin Reid (Kingscliff, New South Wales, Australia, 1982)
- Theresa Knorr (Sacramento, California, 1982 to 1983)
- Christopher Wilder (United States, 1982 to 1984)
- Adolfo Constanzo (Mexico, 1983 to 1989)
- Robert Berdella (Kansas City, Missouri, 1984 to 1987)
- Gary Heidnik (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1986 to 1987)
- "Er Canaro" Pietro De Negri (Rome, Italy, 1988)
- Westley Dodd (Vancouver, Washington, United States, 1989)
- Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka (St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, 1990 to 1992)
- Melinda Loveless, Laurie Tackett, Hope Rippey, and Toni Lawrence (Madison, Indiana, 1992)
- John Bunting and Robert Wagner (Snowtown murders) (Adelaide, South Australia, 1992 to 1999)
- Christa Pike (Knoxville, Tennessee, 1995)
- Junko Ogata and Futoshi Matsunaga (Japan, 1996 to 1998)
- Viktor Sayenko and Igor Suprunyuk (The Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs) (Metropolitan Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, 2007)
- Peter Scully (Philippines, 2011 to 2015)
- Luka Magnotta (Montreal, 2012)
Torture murder victims
- Sambhaji (Tulapur, 1689)
- Aurore Gagnon (Quebec, 1920)
- Black Dahlia (Los Angeles, 1947)
- Emmett Till (Mississippi, 1955)
- William "Action" Jackson (Chicago, 1961)
- Sylvia Likens (Indianapolis, 1965)
- Rubens Paiva (Brazil, 1971)
- Lisa Ann Millican (Alabama, 1982)
- Vladimir Herzog (São Paulo, 1975)
- Kiki Camarena (Mexico, 1985)
- Junko Furuta (Tokyo, 1989)
- Leslie Mahaffy (St. Catharines, Ontario, 1991)
- Shanda Sharer (Madison, Indiana, 1992)
- Kristen French (St. Catharines, Ontario, 1992)
- Suzanne Capper (Manchester, 1992)
- Kelly Anne Bates (Manchester, 1996)
- Pai Hsiao-yen (Taipei, Taiwan, 1997)
- James Byrd, Jr. (Texas, 1998)
- Matthew Shepard (Wyoming, 1998)
- Fan Man-yee (Hong Kong, 1999)
- Saurabh Kalia (Kargil, 1999)
- Jesse Dirkhising (Rogers, Arkansas, 1999)
- Kriss Donald (Glasgow, 2004)
- Ilan Halimi (Paris, 2006)
- Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom (Knoxville, Tennessee, 2007)
- Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel, and Tilmann Geske (Malatya, Turkey, 2007)
- Donna Jones (Ottawa, 2009)
- Jennifer Daugherty (Greensburg, Pennsylvania, 2010)
- Hamza Al-Khateeb (Daraa, Syria, 2011)
- Lin Jun (Montreal, 2012)
- Skylar Neese (Star City, West Virginia, 2012)
- Giulio Regeni (Egypt, 2016)
- Iana Kasian (West Hollywood, California, 2016)
Lethal methods of torture
- Hanging, drawing, and quartering
- Slow slicing
- Starvation as a capital punishment (e.g. as a result of immurement)
- Tharoor, Ishaan (September 27, 2016). "U.S. owes black people reparations for a history of 'racial terrorism,' says U.N. panel". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
Lynching was a form of racial terrorism that has contributed to a legacy of racial inequality that the United States must address. Thousands of people of African descent were killed in violent public acts of racial control and domination and the perpetrators were never held accountable.
- Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror (Report) (3rd ed.). Montgomery, Alabama: Equal Justice Initiative. 2017. p. 14. Archived from the original on 2018-05-10.
Public spectacle lynchings were those in which large crowds of white people, often numbering in the thousands, gathered to witness pre-planned, heinous killings that featured prolonged torture, mutilation, dismemberment, and/or burning of the victim. Many were carnival-like events, with vendors selling food, printers producing postcards featuring photographs of the lynching and corpse, and the victim’s body parts collected as souvenirs.
- "Myanmar's Killing Fields". Frontline. Season 36. transcript. 2018-05-08. PBS.
- Law § 235.20 PEN Part 3 Title H
- "Sentencing - Mandatory life sentences in Murder cases". CPS. Crown Prosecution Service. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
- "the offence involved gratuitous cruelty". Sentencing Bench Book. Judicial Commission of New South Wales. Retrieved 18 July 2017.