Motives for Murder

News & SocietyNews

  • Author Cindy Visser
  • Published October 19, 2017
  • Word count 643

The motives for murder range from sometimes shocking to bizarre. let's have a look at what reasons people have to kill. You will notice many times the reason for murder is not clear-cut, and multiple motives can be present.

Financial reasons

Financial gain - The list of reasons people killed for profit is long and sometimes bizarre too. People have been killed for: Cars, mobile phones, houses, money in a person’s wallet, jewelry, etc. John George Haigh is the perfect example of a serial killer that murdered for financial gain.

Extreme Poverty - Parents would kill their children and themselves because they cannot feed them.


Drugs and alcohol make people do things they normally wouldn’t including murder. There have been cases where the murderer did not even know what they did at the time of being intoxicated/drugged.

Personal satisfaction

You will find that many serial killers fall into this category. They love to see the life drain from their victims eyes. John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy enjoyed killing and torturing their victims.


With political reasons nothing is sacred and people high up will do anything to stay on top from having someone assassinated to war.


One of the oldest reasons for murder and one that keeps the cycle of death going round and round.

Personal Vendetta

Some of the vendettas last for years between neighbors over silly things like trees and dogs barking. Sometimes the strain becomes too much for one of them, and murder ensues.

Defense Murders

Self-defense - Most people believe that self-defense is a justifiable reason for murder. Even though this may be the case, more and more people are opting for non-lethal weapons to protect themselves. There have been incidences where the "Self-defense" reason was used to cover up a planned murder.

In defense/protection of others - Would you do anything to protect the ones you love? This reason also begs the question, is it O.K. to murder someone to save another or is it just protection?

Class Conflict

A perfect example of class conflict as a reason for murder is the French revolution.

Religious Differences

Would you kill for your religious beliefs? Many do, this is where terrorism and many wars come into play.

Mental Anxiety/Instability

A lot of the serial killers use medical reasons to explain and avoid the death sentence or life in prison. From momentary insanity to depression and other mental disorders the list is almost endless.

Emotional Murders

As highly emotional beings it comes as no surprise that emotions motivate many murders. Here is our list of emotional reasons for murder:

Jealousy - Jealousy leads to self-doubt and insecurity. People with extreme cases of jealousy would murder a partner suspected of cheating or the person they thought interfered. Here is a great example: David Hotyat murdered a family because of this reason.

Anger - How many times have we heard? In the spur of the moment, he murdered his best friend, brother, mother, father, etc. Mark Rogowski murdered out of anger.

Hatred - When hatred consumes someone’s heart and mind that person can justify anything even murder. If they could only learn to forgive and carry on many murders could be avoided. Jane Toppan is a perfect example for hatred and jealousy.

Lust - Many times people are murdered after rape, and they will do anything to cover their lustful and sinful actions.

Sadness - Mercy Killings - When you love someone, the last thing you want to do is see them in pain. Many people have fought for the right to have assisted suicide; do you think it is good or bad?

This concludes our list of motives for murder. If you feel we should add more items please send us an email or tells us about it in the comments.

I am interested in True Crime, and my main aim is to study criminology. And to become a Criminologist.

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