“A serial killer typically uses sex as a vehicle for tempting to gain a sense of power and dominance and control,” said Jack Levin, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University in Boston and a co-author of the 2008 book, “Extreme Killing.”
“In most cases, it includes torture,” he said. “Martorano was right in court when he suggested that a typical serial killer enjoys his work. The more he makes the victim feel inferior, the more superior he feels. And so he tortures and sodomizes and dismembers and eviscerates and strangles his victim, taking the last breath from his dying body. That’s what makes them feel so good.”
Martorano, who has been a free man since 2007 after he cut a deal with the government to testify against Bulger, testified, “I didn’t enjoy killing.”
Levin said criminologists might agree the term is misused when it comes to gangland killers.
“Those who study serial murder are concerned about overusing the term and that it becomes diluted and loses its value,” he said.
He theorized that those in organized crime are more like “domestic terrorists.”
“What happens is a mobster terrorizes a community so that he gets shopkeepers and others to comply,” said Levin. “He used terror in a way that is politically motivated.”
He compared Martorano and his partners in crime to the Washington, D.C., snipers who had the city in “the grip of terror” to make $10 million.
“It’s not an end — it’s a means or tactic used by some criminals for personal gain,” he said.