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Contract killing

Contract killing

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Contract killing is a form of murder, in which one party hires another party to kill a target individual or group of people. It involves an illegal agreement
Illegal agreement
An illegal agreement, under the common law of contract, is one that the courts will not enforce because the purpose of the agreement is to achieve an illegal end. The illegal end must result from performance of the contract itself...

 between two parties in which one party agrees to kill the target in exchange for consideration, monetary, or otherwise. The hiring party may be a single person, a group of people, a company, or any other kind of organization. The hired party may also be one person, such as a hitman
Hitman
A hitman is a person hired to kill another person.- Hitmen in organized crime :Hitmen are largely linked to the world of organized crime. Hitmen are hired people who kill people for money. Notable examples include Murder, Inc., Mafia hitmen and Richard Kuklinski.- Other cases involving hitmen...

, or a group of people, or an organization.

Throughout history and in many different parts of the world, contract killing has been associated with organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 and also vendetta
Feud
A feud , referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud, vendetta, faida, or private war, is a long-running argument or fight between parties—often groups of people, especially families or clans. Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another...

s. For example, in recent United States history, the gang Murder, Inc.
Murder, Inc.
Murder, Inc. was the name given by the press to organized crime groups in the 1920s through the 1940s that resulted in hundreds of murders on behalf of the American Mafia and Jewish Mafia groups who together formed the early organized crime groups in New York and...

, which committed hundreds of murders in the 1920s to the 1940s on behalf of the National Crime Syndicate
National Crime Syndicate
The National Crime Syndicate was the name given by the press to a loosely-organized multi-ethnic organized crime syndicate. Its origins are uncertain....

, is a well-known example of a contract killer.

Contract killing provides the hiring party with the advantage of not having to be directly involved in the killing. This makes it more difficult to connect that party with the murder.

United States and the United Kingdom


In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and many other countries, a contract to kill a person is void, meaning that it is not legally enforceable. Any contract to commit an indictable offense is not enforceable. Furthermore, both the actual killer and the person who paid the killer can be found guilty of murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

. In some U.S. jurisdictions with capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

, a contract killing may be a special circumstance that allows for a murder to be tried as a federal crime
Federal crime
In the United States, a federal crime or federal offense is a crime that is made illegal by U.S. federal legislation. In the United States, criminal law and prosecution happen at both the federal and the state levels; thus a “federal crime” is one that is prosecuted under federal criminal law, and...

.

Statistics


A study by the Australian Institute of Criminology
Australian Institute of Criminology
The Australian Institute of Criminology is Australia's national research and knowledge centre on crime and justice. The Institute seeks to promote justice and reduce crime by undertaking and communicating evidence-based research to inform policy and practice.The functions of the AIC include...

 of 162 attempted or actual contract murders in Australia between 1989 and 2002 indicated that the most common reason for murder-for-hire was "the dissolution of an intimate relationship". The study also found that the average payment for a "hit" was $12,700 and that the most commonly used weapons were firearms. Contract killings accounted for 2% of murders in Australia during that time period.
Contract killings make up a relatively similar percentage of all killings elsewhere. For example, they made up about 5% of all murders in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 from 1993 to 2002.

See also

  • Nothing Personal
    Nothing Personal (TV series)
    -External links:*...

    , a television documentary series that focuses on stories of contract killings.