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American Homicide

American Homicide

First Edition

Other Titles in:
Homicide | Sociology | Violent Crime

288 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 compressive text takes a balanced approach combining scholarly research and theory with compelling details about recent cases and coverage of current trends.
CHAPTER 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

CHAPTER 2: Who's Killing Whom and How Much

What We Measure

How We Measure

Studying Homicide Situations

Data Challenges

CHAPTER 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

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

Individual Explanations

Social Structural

Life Course, Lifestyle, and Routine Activities Theory

CHAPTER 5: Confrontational Homicide

Victim Precipitation

Honor Contests

Road Rage




Girls, Women, and Confrontational Violence

Investigative Considerations

CHAPTER 6: Intimate Partner Homicide
Introduction and Definitions


Dynamics of Intimate Partner Homicide

Theories to Explain Intimate Partner Homicide

Lethality Assessment

Fatality Review Teams

Prosecution of Intimate Partner Homicide

CHAPTER 7: All in the Family


Parents and Children

Other Family Killings

CHAPTER 8: School Killings
Introduction—Perception and Prevalence

Mass Shootings and Attacks

The Killers

Motivations of Those Who Kill

Policy Responses

CHAPTER 9: Workplace Mass Killings

Workplace Violence

Workplace Victims

The Workplace Killer

Assessing Violence Potential

Policy Implications

CHAPTER 10: Tool of Terror

Definition and History

Acts of Terror

Who are Terrorists?

Hate Crimes and Killing

Role of the Media

Stopping Terrorists

CHAPTER 11: Serial Killing

Myth and Mayhem


Profiling Serial Killers

Female Serial Killers

Medical or Healthcare Serial Killers

Team Serial Killers

Catching Serial killers

CHAPTER 12: Cults and Gangs

Cult Leaders and Followers

Assessing Impacts

Policy Implications

Gangs and Killing

CHAPTER 13: Solving Homicides

First Officer on the Scene

Investigator Arrives


Collection of Evidence

ME or No ME?

Prosecutor: Who Needs ‘Em?


Case Personnel

Working With the Media

CHAPTER 14: Murder in Court

Stages in Homicide Cases

Building the Case and Charging Decisions

Evidentiary Issues

Defense Attorney Functions and Tactics

Ethical Issues



CHAPTER 15: Victims, Society, and the Future

Victim Impact

Public Health Perspective

Criminal Justice System Response and Legislation

Societal Issues

Predicting Violence


About the Authors


Instructor Site
Calling all instructors! It’s easy to log on to SAGE’s password-protected Instructor Teaching Site for complete and protected access to all text-specific Instructor Resources. Simply provide your institutional information for verification and within 72 hours, you’ll be able to use your login information for any SAGE title! Then, you pick and choose from this list, depending on what each site offers.

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:
  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank, is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. 
  • Teaching notes summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions.
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter are included.

“My students love true life examples, and this book has plenty of those…The chapters are long enough to inform the student of the subject matter, but not too long to discourage reluctant readers…Very well written and thought out.The author speaks on great authority on the subject matter.”

Stephen Ruegger
Mercer University

“Well written to keep the student engaged throughout the chapter…The book does an excellent job organizing the current and past explanations of IPH.”

Shawn Keller
Florida Gulf Coast University

“The text would be a great companion piece for a profiling or criminal investigation course. If a program offered a “murder” themed course, would be an excellent fit.”

Cathryn Lavery
Iona College

“Clear and concise writing, combination of academic and practitioner’s points of view and pedagogical features used.”

Gordana Rabrenovic
Northeastern University

“I found it to be very thorough and well organized. I felt the selection of case studies were good and up-to-date.”

Cathryn F. Lavery, PhD
Iona College

“Wide variety of topics”

Christian Bolden
Loyola University New Orleans

A good solid text that covers many areas of homicide. Good PPT support, that matches up well for instructor's added ease in when using in building the course. Students feel comfortable reading the text, while not being overwhelmed as a data driven book, but one with real-life application to theory and understanding.

Professor Mike Grabowski
Criminal Justice Dept, Sonoma State University
September 22, 2017

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Richard M. Hough Sr.

Dr. Richard Hough has taught criminal justice and criminology courses in the college and university setting for twenty-five years and he has taught investigative methods and other law enforcement and corrections topics in the academy and in-service law enforcement setting for thirty years. This is added to the author’s extensive professional experience including investigating homicide. Dr. Hough has held increasingly responsible positions in law enforcement and has served as director of law enforcement and corrections in sheriff’s offices, as well as superintendent of detention centers for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Dr.... More About Author

Kimberly Dianne McCorkle

Kimberly D. McCorkle is a former state prosecutor and currently serves as Vice Provost and Professor at the University of West Florida, where she has been on the faculty since 2002. As a prosecutor, she worked as a specialized domestic violence (DV) prosecutor and conducted over 50 misdemeanor and felony jury trials as lead counsel. In that position, she also trained law enforcement officers on the legal aspects of investigating domestic violence crime. Over the last 20 years, she has been interviewed numerous times by local and national media as an expert on domestic violence crime. Her primary research focus is intimate partner and... More About Author

Also available as a South Asia Edition.