An empirical analysis of 30 years of U.S. juvenile and adult sexual homicide offender data: race and age differences in the victim-offender relationship.
ABSTRACT Little is known about the racial patterns of crimes committed by sexual homicide offenders (SHOs). This study examined race and age influences on victim-offender relationship for juvenile and adult SHOs. A large sample (N = 3868) from the Supplemental Homicide Reports (1976-2005) was used. Analyses of victim-offender patterns included examining victim age effects (child, adolescent, adult, and elderly). The findings revealed several race- and age-based differences. Black offenders were significantly overrepresented in the SHO population. This finding held for juveniles and adults independently. White SHOs were highly likely to kill within their race, "intra-racially" (range 91-100%) across four victim age categories, whereas Black SHOs killed both intra-racially (range 24-82%) and inter-racially (18-76%), with the likelihood of their killing inter-racially increasing as the age of the victim increased. This study underscores the importance of considering victim-offender racial patterns in sexual murder investigations, and it offers practical implications for offender profiling.