Criminology and Forensic Psychology/multiple facial stab wounds


other than some heightened emotional attachment, does the multiple stabbing in the eyes of a victim by one perpetrator have any general significance?

If this involves an Un-Sub (Unknown Subject), without knowing many details of the crime scene, it is hard to say, and I am limited to speculation. Even knowing details of the crime scene, it would be hard to say. This is part of criminal profiling- attempting to ascertain motive from the crime scene, and it is of limited reliability and validity. So here is my speculation:

1)   In a premeditated homicide, using a knife as a weapon typically means the killer wanted to terminate their victim up-close and personal. Firearms are far more efficient, and provide an emotional distancing from the victim. Multiple sharp-force trauma typically indicates rage, and if the repeated trauma was not needed to kill the victim, then overkill was involved- the use of force in excess of what was needed to terminate the victim. Deliberately stabbing in the face or eye sis even more personal and angry. Our eyes and face our are identity. It could be said that the killer wanted to take the victimís identity;  to erase them from existence by cutting up their face. Stabbing to the eyes deliberately and repeatedly intensifies this intention.

2)   The eyes of the deceased are the subject of folklore- the eyes are believed by some cultures to retain the last images in life and that the killer would be visible in the victimís eyes, if the eyes were left undamaged.

3)   This started as an assault and ended as a homicide. The assailant thought that they might be able to render their victim incapable of resistance by quickly by cutting their eyes, or this was intended as a disfiguring/permanently disabling action. The victim thrashed around and the assailant panicked and kept up a repetitive action Ė stabbing in the eyes- in an effort to stop their victim from struggling. This type of repetitive just- do- it- over- and -over type of  behavior can be demonstrated when someone is under extreme stress, and they get into a cognitive loop where they do the same behavior repeatedly, harder and faster, trying  to make it work.

4)   Yet another possibility is the killer was a sadist, and wanted to inflict the most suffering and pain on their victim.

Criminology and Forensic Psychology

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David A. Porter


I can answer questions related to criminal and victim psychology, serial homicide, offender rehabilitation, sociopathy, sex crimes, , drug addiction and crime, and careers in criminal justice or Substance Abuse/Mental health care. I cannot and will not answer personal legal questions, or questions related to immediate personal safety.


I have 18 years teaching undergraduate criminal justice and psychology courses, concurrent with 13 years of practice in psychotherapy, mostly seeing patients referred by the state Dept. of Corrections, or County (Youth) Court Diversion program

BA, Psychology MA, Counseling Psychology LADC ( Licensed Alcohol/Drug Counselor)

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