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The Beltway Snipers Case Essay


The case of Beltway Snipers is more than fifteen years old. However, it is one of the examples of FBI work. It happened so that in the course of a month, ten people were killed and three injured. There was no connection between the killings except for the weapon used. They were murdered with a gun. These people were doing their daily routines when a sniper reached them. Then the case was investigated by the Montgomery County (Maryland) Police Department with the support of the FBI (“The Case of Beltway Snipers”).

The separate attacks were linked to one investigation involving 400 agents to collect evidence from the population. Then evidence experts digitally mapped the crime scenes, and behavioral analysts were working on the profile of a criminal. Fortunately, the criminals themselves helped the investigation. The ballistic expertise helped to link the cases into one investigation. Also, a magazine found in one of the crime scenes had fingerprints which were detected since the criminal named Lee Boyd Malvo has been previously arrested in Washington State (“The Case of Beltway Snipers”).

The record revealed his connection to John Allen Muhammad. Thus, the investigators had two suspects. Further investigation showed that Muhammad owned a Bushmaster 223 rifle, which was involved in the case. Finally, it was detected that Muhammad had a car. The car data were spread, and it helped to find and arrest the criminals. Both criminals were pled guilty and sentenced to life. Moreover, Mohammad got the death penalty in the State of Virginia (“The Case of Beltway Snipers”).

The reason for the murders was definitely not stated. During the pre-court investigation, there was a supposition that Muhammad intended to conceal the murder of his ex-wife within the series of other murders. However, this version was not supported because of the lack of evidence. The version of jihad expressed by Malvo in prison was not proved as well. The final testimony of Malvo was that they intended to kidnap children and teach them to terrorize their locations.

Since no distinct motive was detected, it is hard to state which theories can be applied to this case. One of the probable is a biological theory or the theory of born criminal. Lombroso (qtd. in Akers 36) believed that some “physical features identified the convict in prison as a “born criminal.” However, the case of Beltway Snipers looks more connected with modern biological theories of crime and delinquency (Akers 42). The theory of testosterone and criminal aggressiveness can be considered here. Booth and Osgood (qtd. in Akers 45) speak of adult male deviance. It is based on the indirect effects of testosterone levels, which are influenced by the peculiarities of their social integration and delinquency in adolescence. Adult deviance is revealed in “fighting, police arrests, and passing bad checks” (Akers 45). The case can go under this theory since the criminals have been previously arrested. Moreover, the testosterone level is connected with aggressiveness, which relates to the fact that the criminals killed people without a definite motive.

As for the victimization theory, there is no obvious connection with the case. The victims were selected randomly, without any particular system. The locations of crime scenes were different, and there were both men and women as well as a teenage boy among the victims. The only connection between them is that most of them lived not far from the criminals.

Works Cited

Akers, Ronald L. Criminological Theories: Introduction and Evaluation. Routledge, 2013.

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IvyPanda. (2020, September 9). The Beltway Snipers Case. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-beltway-snipers-case/

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"The Beltway Snipers Case." IvyPanda, 9 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/the-beltway-snipers-case/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Beltway Snipers Case." September 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-beltway-snipers-case/.


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IvyPanda. "The Beltway Snipers Case." September 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-beltway-snipers-case/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Beltway Snipers Case." September 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-beltway-snipers-case/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Beltway Snipers Case'. 9 September.

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