Self-Report Justifications for Serial Sex Murder An Exploratory Study of Neutralization Techniques

Thirty-eight out of seventy-five convicted serial sex murderers returned a survey which asked them to indicate their reasons for committing the crime of first degree murder along with at least one sexual act. Matza and Sykes’ theory on the techniques of neutralization was then applied to their answers. Their responses are highlighted here in this article. This brief exploratory, qualitative pilot study revealed that most of the subjects excused their behavior by indicating that they were not responsible for their crimes (denial of responsibility) given the wide array of sociological and psychological tragedies that they had suffered while growing up.

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