How do I become a professional killer

Contract killer: what it costs to have a person killed

It took five police officers to handcuff Richard Kuklinski on December 17, 1986. The man, who is almost two meters tall and weighs 135 kilograms, also known as the "Iceman", already suspected what was in store for him - and fought hard. He knew: once in prison, he would never come out. Two hours before his arrest, he fell for undercover agent Dominick Polifrone, who was secretly recording his conversation with Kuklinski.

There was someone he absolutely had to get rid of, the agent had told Kuklinski. “Would you be interested in an order?” Kuklinski replied: “If the price is right, then I'll talk to everyone.” But how exactly he wanted to do the whole thing, asked the agent. "Well, there is always a way," replied Kuklinski. "Where there is a will, there is also a way, my friend."

Kuklinski had worked for the Mafia in New Jersey and New York as a hit man for 30 years. He didn't exactly know how many people he had on his conscience - in any case more than 100, maybe even 200, he said in an interview for the US television station HBO in 2001. If he had an assignment, he gave up no rest until this was done.

"I would move heaven and hell - and everything in between - to find you," he said. "You wouldn't be safe anywhere." He shot, stabbed, strangled, burned or poisoned his victims. In order to blur the time of death, he often put his victims in a freezer afterwards - hence his nickname "Iceman".

He did all of this while his wife Barbara and his three children were sitting in their family house and thought that Kuklinski was a successful businessman who just had to leave a lot. And he did all of this with no sign of remorse or compassion. “What I liked most was the hunt, the challenge. Killing was secondary for me. "

Almost nothing is known about hired killers

As bizarre and horrific reports as these may be, they are extremely rare - and therefore of considerable importance for the police and everyone involved in investigating murders. Because scientifically almost nothing is known about the procedure and the psyche of contract killers. The criminologist David Wilson and his colleagues from Birmingham City University in the UK have therefore set out to look for traces that various contract killers have left behind either in public or on police files between 1974 and 2013.

They scoured electronic press archives, conducted interviews with detained perpetrators and studied court documents. “This enabled us to identify recurring characteristics and behaviors of contract killers in the UK,” said Wilson. "We examined demographic data, the victims, the murder weapon, the price for the act and also whether the perpetrator was already known to the police."

In the specialist magazine "The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice" the scientists are now reporting on the sometimes surprising results. "Contract killers in films and video games kill in dark bars or on the roofs with expensive sniper rifles," says Wilson. “The reality couldn't be more different. British contract killers are more likely to murder their victim while walking their dog or shopping in their neighborhood. "

The 35 contract killers examined were on average 38 years old, most frequently used a gun for the murder, and often came from the same area as their victim - which often led to their arrest as witnesses recognized them or traces of the crime can easily be traced back to them let. The motives for the contract killing were mostly failed or quarreling business relationships or love affairs as well as disputes between different gangs.

A human life costs £ 15,800