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American Homicide

American Homicide

Second Edition

September 2019 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
American Homicide examines all types of homicide, and gives additional attention to the more prevalent types of murder and suspicious deaths in the United States. Authors Richard M. Hough and Kimberly D. McCorkle employ more than 30 years of academic and practitioner experience to help explain why and how people kill and how society reacts. This brief, yet comprehensive book takes a balanced approach, combining scholarly research and theory with compelling details about recent cases and coverage of current trends. Comparative coverage of homicide types and rates in countries around the world shows how American homicide statistics compare internationally. 

1. Introducing You to Homicide

Homicide: What Most People Think They Know

Organization of the Book

Historic and Contemporary

What This Book Is Not

Policy Implications

2. Who’s Killing Whom and How Much

What We Measure

How We Measure

Studying Homicide Situations

Data Challenges

3. Murder by the Numbers

Victims—Who Dies

Offenders—Categories and Demographics

Location, Location, Location

Weapons Used in Violence

Other Circumstances

Trends and Patterns

Homicide Internationally

4. Why We Do It: Theories of Homicide
Introduction: Sociological and Criminological Perspectives

Individual Explanations

Social Structural

Life Course, Lifestyle, and Routine Activities Theory

5. Confrontational Homicide

Victim Precipitation

Honor Contests

Road Rage




Girls, Women, and Confrontational Homicide

Investigative Considerations

6. Intimate Partner Homicide


Dynamics of Intimate Partner Homicide

Theories to Explain Intimate Partner Homicide

Lethality Assessment

Fatality Review Teams

Prosecution of Intimate Partner Homicide

7. All in the Family


Parents and Children

Other Family Killings

8. School Killings

Mass Shootings and Attacks

The Killers

Motivations of Those Who Kill

International Incidents

Policy Responses

9. Mass Murder in Public and the Workplace

Public Places

Workplace Violence

Workplace Victims

The Workplace Killer

Assessing Violence Potential

Policy Implications

10. Killings by Groups: Gangs and Cults

Gangs and Killing

Cults and New Religious Movements (NRM)

Cult Leaders and Followers

Assessing Impacts

Policy Implications

11. Tool of Terror

Definition and History

Acts of Terror

Who Are Terrorists?

Hate Crimes and Killing

Role of the Media

Stopping Terrorists

12. Serial Killing

Myth and Mayhem


Profiling Serial Killers

Female Serial Killers

Medical or Health Care Serial Killers

Team Serial Killers

Catching Serial Killers

13. Solving Homicides

First Officer on the Scene

Arriving With Caution

Locard’s Exchange Principle

Investigator Arrives


Collection of Evidence

ME or No ME?

Prosecutors: Who Needs ‘Em?


Case Personnel

Working With the Media

Cold Case Investigations

14. Murder in Court

Stages in Homicide Cases

Expert Witness Testimony

Building the Case and Charging Decisions

Evidentiary Issues

Defense Attorney Functions and Tactics

Ethical Issues

Plea Bargaining


15. Victims, Society, and the Future

Victim Impact

Public Health Perspective

Criminal Justice System Response and Legislation

Societal Issues

Predicting Violence



This text is an all-around approach to the topic of Homicide. It clears up what a Homicide is which many students have differing opinions. It shows the student data on the prevalence of this crime which many have an erroneous view of.  It does a great job discussing the different types of homicide. This is often neglected in many other texts.

Thomas S. Alexander
University of Maryland, College Park-Shady Grove

A well thought-out and organized text on homicide. It combines elements from the academic and practitioner point of view providing a well-rounded aspect. This text also has relevant cases and offers opportunities for the students to discover information on their own through the “Try This” component. It is student and faculty friendly allowing for more in-depth classroom discussion while simultaneously being comprehensive on its own.

American Homicide
American Homicide
Melissa J. Tetzlaff-Bemiller
Augusta University

This text provides a multidisciplinary and balanced overview of homicide and is presented in a clear, well-organized, and student friendly manner.

Mark Winton
University of Central Florida

Covers the topics inclusively

Dr Anita Black
Criminal Just Criminology Dept, Lincoln Memorial University
March 31, 2020

I selected to list this text as selective reading, and not mandatory.

Professor Todd Douglas Hand
Law, Unity College In Maine
September 30, 2019
Key features

In the second edition of the book you will find the following new topics:

  • Expanded coverage of the UCR (Chapter 2)
  • New trends in violent crime data (Chapter 2)
  • Violent crime trends in Chicago (Chapter 3)
  • Expanded discussion of traumatic brain injury and connections to violent behaviors (Chapter 4)
  • Factors to consider when attempting to predict violence (Chapter 5)
  • The connection between intimate partner homicide and strangulation (Chapter 6)
  • Intergenerational transmission of violence (Chapter 7)
  • Juvenile murderers (Chapter 7)
  • The role of school size in school violence (Chapter 8)
  • The role of school leaders and staff to prevent violence (Chapter 8)
  • New technology in school safety, such as facial recognition technology (Chapter 8)
  • Legislative responses to recent school shootings (Chapter 8)
  • Indicators of workplace violence (Chapter 9)
  • Policy implications of violence in public spaces (Chapter 9)
  • Expanded discussion of American Right-Wing and Left-Wing terrorism (Chapter 10)
  • Added emphasis on hate-motivated murders (Chapter 10)
  • Impact of technology, including the use of social media on solving homicides (Chapter 13)
  • Cold case investigations, including the use of DNA and genealogical databases and methods (Chapter 13)
  • Expert testimony in homicide cases (Chapter 14)
  • Expanded discussion of violence prevention initiatives (Chapter 15)

New "Why Would They Do It" boxes examine recent case studies, such as:

  • The Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting
  • The 2018 shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill
  • Recent terrorist attacks and hate crimes
  • The Golden State Killer cold case investigation and apprehension
  • Church shootings and security
  • Gun access policies

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Introducing You to Homicide

Sage College Publishing

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Go To College Site

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