A multidisciplinary approach in overkill: Analysis of 13 cases and review of the literature

Forensic Sci Int. 2019 May;298:402-407. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2019.03.029. Epub 2019 Mar 22.


The term overkill usually indicates the infliction of massive injuries by far exceeding the extent necessary to kill the victim. Only few articles or textbooks report this term that is mostly associated with sex-motivated homicides where injuries, generally stabbing, are directed to significant sexual parts of the body. The aim of this study is to shed light on the phenomenon of overkill by reviewing some cases personally analyzed by the authors from both a forensic pathology rather than forensic psychiatry views. The reported results coupled with the literature revision confirmed the importance of a complete analysis of all criminological elements for better defining overkill cases.

Keywords: Forensic psychiatry; Homicide; Mental disorder; Overkill; Stab wounds.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Homicide / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Insanity Defense
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Motivation
  • Multiple Trauma / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Weapons
  • Wounds, Stab / psychology