Contract Killing
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Contract Killing

Contract killing is a form of murder in which one party hires another party (often called a hitman) to kill a targeted person or multiple people.[1] It involves an illegal agreement between two or more parties in which one party agrees to kill the target in exchange for some form of payment, monetary or otherwise. Either party may be a person, group, or organization. Contract killing has been associated with organized crime, government conspiracies, and vendettas. For example, in the United States, the gang Murder, Inc. committed hundreds of murders on behalf of the National Crime Syndicate during the 1930s and 1940s.

Contract killing provides the hiring party with the advantage of not having to carry out the actual killing, making it more difficult for law enforcement to connect said party with the murder. The likelihood that authorities will establish that party's guilt for the committed crime, especially due to lack of forensic evidence linked to the contracting party, makes the case more difficult to attribute to the hiring party.

Contract killers may exhibit serial killer traits, but are generally not classified as such because of third-party killing objectives and detached financial and emotional incentives.[2][3][4] Nevertheless, there are occasionally individuals that are labeled as both a hitmen and a serial killer.[5][6][7]


A study by the Australian Institute of Criminology of 162 attempted or actual contract murders in Australia between 1989 and 2002 indicated that the most common reason for murder-for-hire was insurance policy payouts. The study also found that the average payment for a "hit" was $15,000 with variation from $5,000 up to $30,000 and that the most commonly used weapons were firearms. Contract killings accounted for 2% of murders in Australia during that time period.[8] Contract killings also make up a relatively similar percentage of all killings elsewhere. For example, they made up about 5% of all murders in Scotland from 1993 to 2002.[9]

Notable cases


Mad Dog Coll leaving court surrounded by police officers, 1931



In popular culture

Nothing Personal is a television documentary series that focuses on stories of contract killings.

Fictional cases of contract killing or "hitmen" are depicted in a range of popular fiction genres in the 20th and 21st century, including comic books, films, and video games (e.g., the video game series Hitman, wherein the player controls a hired hitman simply known as Agent 47, and Hotline Miami where the player controls a man named Jacket, who received calls to go to places where the Russian Mafia resides and kill everybody inside.)

See also


  1. ^ Frank Shanty; Patit Paban Mishra (2008). Organized Crime: From Trafficking to Terrorism. ABC-CLIO. p. 210. ISBN 978-1-57607-337-7.
  2. ^ Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi (2013). The Economics of Crime. Business Expert Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-60649-583-4.
  3. ^ Holmes & Holmes 1998, p. 7.
  4. ^ David Wilson; Elizabeth Yardley; Adam Lynes (2015). Serial Killers and the Phenomenon of Serial Murder: A Student Textbook. Waterside Press - Drew University. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-909976-21-4.
  5. ^ David Wilson; Elizabeth Yardley; Adam Lynes (2015). Serial Killers and the Phenomenon of Serial Murder: A Student Textbook. Waterside Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-909976-21-4.
  6. ^ RJ Parker, Ph.D.; Dr. Scott Bonn (2017). Blood Money: The Method and Madness of Assassins. ABC-CLIO. pp. 9-10. ISBN 978-1-987902-34-1.
  7. ^ Ronald M. Holmes; Stephen T. Holmes (2009). Serial Murder. SAGE. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-4129-7442-4.
  8. ^ "Lovers top contract killing hit list". CNN. February 5, 2004.
  9. ^ "Homicide in Scotland, 2002". Government of Scotland.
  10. ^ "With Over 100 Murders, Richard Kuklinski Was The Most Prolific Hitman In Mafia History". All That's Interesting. March 22, 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ Carlo, Philip (April 1, 2007). The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9781429902663.
  12. ^ "Interview: Charles Brandt, author 'I Heard You Paint Houses'".
  13. ^ a b Wilson, Michael (April 26, 2019). "Her 'Prince Charming' Turned Out to Be a Crazed Hit Man on the Run". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ "Hired Killer Sentenced". The Evening Press. Binghamton, NY. November 11, 1980. p. 7-A.
  15. ^ "'Hitwoman' charged in 6 slayings". Pacific Stars and Stripes. Japan. UPI. February 16, 1980. p. 7.
  16. ^ "Mob Boss John Gotti Is Dead". The Smoking Gun. June 10, 2002. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ Boyle, Robert H. (June 4, 1973). "End Of A Bloody Bad Show". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2013.
  18. ^ "Tim Lambesis Sentenced to Six Years in Jail for Murder-for-Hire Plot". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016.
  19. ^ Brulliard, Karin (January 22, 2020). "Zookeeper who killed tigers and tried to have rival murdered is sentenced to 22 years in prison". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2020.
  20. ^ Pelisek, Christine (November 22, 2017). "How Divorce Led to Diana Lovejoy's Murder-for-Hire Plot". Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ "Ex-husband in hit-man case says courts were wrong - Nova Scotia". CBC News.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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