Homosexual Homicide and Arson: Is There a Connection?

Dallas Drake, Minnesota Gay Homicide Study

ABSTRACT
Criminal justice professionals have often asked if arson attacks were in any way associated with the victim having a homosexual orientation. Previous research has indicated there is a connection. This paper focuses on examining what is known about arson-homicide, and explores the symbolic role fire plays during attacks on homosexual, bisexual and transexual victims and its shared meanings. Arson, an extremely prevalent crime in Minnesota, was recently labeled the number one cause of fire in the state and is sometimes associated with death in heterosexuals. But arson is also implicated as an element in cases of homosexual homicide, along with overkill, or body mutilation. Sadism, the inflicting of pain for sexual arousal or sexual pleasure is a paraphilia that may help link the fire and homosexual connection. Mutilation by burning is commonly associated with "hate-arson" assaults. The literature has been searched to examine the prevalence of anti-gay arson cases and associated articles on this topic. Several cases will be offered as examples. The result shows a clear correlation between fire and homosexual homicide.

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Updated 05/20/2006