The Phenomenon of Serial Murder
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Murder, namely the act of taking another’s life, has been with us since the birth of mankind. People kill to protect their shelter or food source, to gain power, or out of sheer hatred. Today, murder is a criminal act in every legal system in the world because the right to life, as the predominant value, is protected to the highest degree. Murder is a material crime, and therefore for an act to be recognized as such a crime, its effect has to constitute the taking of another’s life. In the current wording of the Polish penal code of 1997, Article 148 defines basic murder (“the killing of another person”), qualified murder (“murder carried out with particular cruelty; murder involving abduction, rape, or robbery; murder earning particular condemnation; murder with the use of firearms or explosive materials), and in the third paragraph the penalty determined as a minimum of 12 years imprisonment, 25 years imprisonment, or a life sentence for “one who kills more than one person in a single act or has a previous murder conviction.” However, the said third paragraph does not cover all the possible types of multiple murders that exist in reality. As a matter of fact, the legal norm included in this provision refers to mass murder or a repeated act of murder.