Torture murder

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Torture murder is a loosely defined term to describe a murder where death has been preceded by the torture of the victim. In many legal jurisdictions a murder involving "exceptional brutality or cruelty" will attract harsher sentences.


One of the criteria for a judgement of "murder in the first degree" in the laws of the State of New York is that:

...the defendant acted in an especially cruel and wanton manner pursuant to a course of conduct intended to inflict and inflicting torture upon the victim prior to the victim's death. As used in this subparagraph, "torture" means the intentional and depraved infliction of extreme physical pain; "depraved" means the defendant relished the infliction of extreme physical pain upon the victim evidencing debasement or perversion or that the defendant evidenced a sense of pleasure in the infliction of extreme physical pain...[1]

Similar positions are taken in the laws of Italy, Germany and Norway and others (see, Country-specific murder law).

In many U.S. states, the fact that a murder is "especially heinous, cruel, or depraved" is an aggravating factor making it punishable by the death penalty. This was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Walton v. Arizona (1990), provided that the factor receives a narrow definition such as "involving some kind of torture or physical abuse".[2]

List of torture murders[edit]

Some notable perpetrators and victims include the following. The dates indicate the time of the crime or crimes. This list includes those in positions of power.

Torture murderers[edit]

Torture murder victims[edit]

See also[edit]

Lethal methods of torture[edit]


  1. ^ Law § 235.20 PEN Part 3 Title H
  2. ^ "Walton v. Arizona 497 U.S. 639 (1990)". Retrieved June 4, 2016.