Profiling Jack the Ripper
Student: Criminal Behavior: Profiling Violent Offenders
Profiling Jack the Ripper
The term modus operandi is most commonly used in criminal cases. It is sometimes referred to by its initials, M.O. The prosecution in a criminal case does not have to prove modus operandi in any crime. However, identifying and proving the modus operandi of a crime can help the prosecution prove that it was the defendant who committed the crime charged. Modus operandi evidence is helpful to the prosecution if the prosecution has evidence of crimes committed by the defendant that are similar to the crime charged. The crimes need not be identical, but the prosecution must make a strong and persuasive showing of similarity between the crime charged and the other crimes. The prosecution may introduce evidence from prior or subsequent crimes to prove modus operandi only if the other crimes share peculiar and distinctive features with the crime charged. The features must be uncommon and rarely seen in other crimes, and they must be so distinct that they can be recognized as the handiwork of the same person. For example, assume that a defendant is on trial for armed Robbery. In the robbery the defendant is alleged to have brandished a pistol and ordered the victim to relinquish cash and valuables. Assume further that the defendant has committed armed robbery in the past by brandishing a pistol and demanding cash and valuables. A prosecutor might be able to introduce the evidence into trial to show the defendant's motive, intent, or state of mind, or to identify the weapon used in the crime. However, the prosecutor could not argue to the judge or jury that the robberies were so similar as to demonstrate that it was the defendant who committed that particular robbery, because it is not unusual for a robber to brandish a pistol and demand cash and valuables in the course of an armed robbery. When offering evidence to prove...
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Keppel, R. D., & Birnes, W. J. (2009). Serial violence: Analysis of modus operandi and signature characteristics of killers. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Keppel, R. D., Weis, J. G., Brown, K. M., & Welch, K. (2005). The Jack the Ripper Murders: A Modus Operandi and Signature Analysis of the 1888–1891 Whitechapel Murders. Journal of Investigative Psychology & Offender Profiling, 2(1), 1-21.
Modus Operandi. (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2014, from Legal Dictionary website: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/modus+operandi
Whiticker, A. (2005). Twelve crimes that shocked the nation. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: New Holland.
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