Duke Southard

Author, Educator, Lecturer

Motive versus Intent

One need not research the subject too deeply to find a plethora of postings, blogs, articles, and expositions explaining the legal differentiation between a motive to kill someone and the intent to kill someone. Can anyone argue that Stacey Burns’ murderer intended to kill her? Stabbing someone multiple time would make that question irrelevant. Motive, however, is a different story.

Before  writing the first draft of the chapter on motive, means, and opportunity in Murder in a Small Town: The Tragic Death of Stacey Burns, I made a chart of possible motives for committing a homicide. The list was drawn from many sources but contained nothing new. Anyone could do the same thing by visiting the FBI murder statistics web page. Try this sometime. Take each of the possible suspects in the murder of Stacey Burns and assign motives to each one. For my suspects, I used statistics that indicate an overwhelming majority of known murderers knew their victims.

Here is a list of just a few motives to get you started.

1. Financial- Which of the suspects stood to gain financially from the death of Stacey Burns?

2. Revenge- Who felt humiliated, embarrassed, or angry enough to kill Stacey?

3. Jealousy- This motive covers many aspects of interpersonal relationships. (husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, other family members, infidelities, etc.)

More on motives and intent to come . . .

Duke

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I'm Duke Southard, author, educator, and lecturer.

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