Common Motives of a Serial Killer II

Ted BundyA serial killer that kills because the murder causes them pleasure in some sort of way is described as a hedonist. In this article, you will also learn about thrill killers and those who wish to gain power through their crimes.


To look at Dorothea Puente, you’d never think that she was a cold-blooded murderer. The elderly woman now over 80 years old killed nine people from 1982 to 1988 when she ran a house that took in the homeless and drug addicted. She is not only a hedonistic killer, but is also classified as a “comfort killer” because she murders to fulfill her desires of gaining something monetary. In Puente’s case, she desired the finer things in life and killed tenants after they became resistant to her taking their social security money and other benefits. This type of killer is not usually aggressive and tends to murder quietly. In addition to a comfort killer, there are two other sub-categories of a hedonist killer: lust and thrill.

Thrill Killers

The thrill or experience of taking another life is what motivates a thrill serial killer. Causing someone pain or creating fear in their victims is one of the main reasons that a thrill killer murders. The act is stimulating for them and they crave this type of excitement. The stalking, hunting and killing of victims provides an adrenaline rush that they become addicted to. Usually, a thrill killer does not prolong their murder and does not have a sexual aspect to their actions. Sometimes, a killer will become obsessed with constructing the perfect crime and believe they will never get caught.

Robert Hansen (known as the Zodiac Killer) is an example of a thrill killer. He would take his victims to an isolated location, where he would let them loose. As they ran for their lives, he would hunt them down and kill. Another murderer Coral Watts (known as the “Sunday Morning Slasher”) would get visibly excited and hyper with the prospect of attacking his victims. He was known for using a variety of methods to kill, including slashing, stabbing, hanging, drowning, asphyxiating, and strangling his victims.

Power Seekers

A power seeker is a type of serial killer who murders because they wish to have control over the life and death of others. The main goal is to gain and exert power over another individual. A common characteristic of this type of killer is that they were abused as a child, which left them with feeling of powerlessness. They often feel inadequate when they reach adulthood.

One of the most common ways that a power seeker will assume dominance over a victim is through sexual abuse. They differ from a hedonistic or lust killer because they do not want sexual excitement from their crimes, but wish to overpower another against their will. An example of this type of murderer is Ted Bundy, who used his good looks and charm to find women that he could control.