Motives for Murder & Other Crimes

It's Monday & What Better Way to Begin: What is your motive for murder, uh-em, I mean, what is your character's motive for her crime?

Is there a perfect crime?
What is it?

Let me begin by stating that in many jurisdictions, including Louisiana, motive is not an element of the charged crime. What that means is that the prosecutor is never required to prove to the jury, what the accused's motive was for committing the crime. Having said that, it has been my experience that while a jury is told that they cannot and may not require the prosecution to prove a motive: The jury still expects it. We all do. . We all want to know why a person does what they do. This of course, carries over into our novels. We all know how important it is for us to show our readers what motivates our characters. It's human nature.

There are many different types of motives for various crimes. I will focus today on the common motives for murder.

There are three major factors that law enforcement look at when investigating a crime or a suspect:

Means, Motive & Opportunity:

Modus Operandi, which is the Latin phrase for M.O. Method of operation. This is better known as the habits or traits or signature of a particular criminal.


Cover up- another crime

Frame- to frame someone else for a crime
Mental Illness
Protecting someone else from being convicted of a crime
Self Defense
Serial Killer

I am sure that there are other motives, but those are the one that come to mind.

So, how can you win today's $25 Amazon e-gift card? It's simple, really. In the comment section, use one of the listed motives or one of you own that you come up with and briefly describe a fictional scenario, using your chosen motive for murder or any other crime. The most clever (and in choosing the most clever- one of many deciding factors will be the likelihood of your fictional character getting away with or stumping the detectives on the case), motive/crime scenario wins  $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Okay my clever, blogger, fictional criminals, put your minds to work and get busy creating your crime. Remember, to win, you must connect your crime to your chosen motive for the crime. Winners be announced on Tuesday.

I also need your help in another matter. You may or may not be aware, that D.L. Hammons is hosting his own blogging challenge within the 2013 A to Z blogging Challenge.

Today's recipient of the Blog Blitz is Erin Funk, who has been blogging for less than a year and has under fifty followers. Please take a minute and pop over to Erin's blog and help us blitz her with comments and new followers. Come on, that's the way you do it: Show your blogging hospitality. I'm counting on you.


  1. Is wanting some peace and quiet a good motive for murder? If so, my whole family is in big trouble.

  2. OK Melissa, I'm going to have to have a think about my perfect crime as I go about my day today, and get back to you! This should be fun. :)

  3. OH I am constantly searching for motives within myself and others. So so true.

  4. What a neat writer's blog! It's always great to find a good source of information and tips and challenges :D Thanks a lot for stopping by my blog. Glad I stopped by yours!

  5. A good post for mystery writers. We thank you.

  6. Boy, it sounds like you got them all covered. Sometimes what motivates one person makes no sense to another, so even when you know why it still makes no sense. It's been interesting to read your posts. :-)

  7. I was about to ask if you were an attorney when I saw your about me. Congrats on your book! I'm a law school drop out but don't remember much! I may have to hit you up for tips. (I've done a couple of YA romantic suspense and one of them has A LOT of legal things in it).

  8. What a great list of motives. Personally knowing why a person acts like they do makes a huge difference. And as far as characters go, knowing they why just might change how we connect to them.

  9. What a great list of motives. I may save this off for future reference. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and I will go show Erin some blogger love.

  10. Great blog! I write romantic suspense, so I'm really enjoying your theme :)

  11. OH how fun! can't wait to read more from you! For my fake crime, it'd be a scenario where a sociopath is sick to death of the decrepit area in which said sociopath lives. Let's say she (a twist!) starts off with the homeless folks, and completes her first murder by targeting the oldest beggar she finds and gives him a cup of coffee with castor-bean-sourced ricin in it. A little dab'll do. She considers it a mercy and begins an "angel of death" campaign to put people out of their misery, but since she's often away on business at toxicology conferences, she has to do most of her work in the cities she's visiting.

  12. I love it. Sounds like you write interesting mysteries.

  13. Great. Thanks for stopping by. I love romantic suspense.

  14. Thank you and I am sure Erin will appreciate it as well.

  15. Great. I hope I can help and I look forward to reading your work.

  16. You got that right and sometimes the motives make absolutely no sense.

  17. Well stop back by and play the motive game.

  18. I hope you do, Nick. I know you'll come up with a complex motive for dubious crime. I look forward to reading it.

  19. Could be. sadly, parents have been know to kill or harm their kids for that very reason. I've tried a few cases with young moms who just lost it because they were alone, all the time with a crying baby and they snapped. It is horrible,

  20. No motive has to be proven? Interesting.

    And already Blitzed Erin this morning!

  21. I love murder mysteries, Melissa! Can't think of anything right now, but I wanted to stop by and say "hello" from the challenge...


  22. This is a cool thing...In am going to have to think on it and make a return visit.

    And I was the one who commented about the Monkey Fist way back in the early days of this challenge.

    at Apocalypse

  23. Where was this fabulous list of means, motive, and opportunities back when I was writing crime? Awesome post for mystery and crime writers! I've blitzed Erin as well.

  24. Melissa, thanks so much for promoting my blog and also for stopping by to comment for the Blitz! I really appreciate it! I love your A-Z blogging challenge theme. I wish I could come up with a motive for your contest but my head is still spinning from all the action over at my blog today. Thanks again!

  25. we are complicated creatures, aren't we?

  26. Melissa Sugar (it's so fun to say your name),

    Here's a quick one:
    Eileen had been emotionally abused by her husband for 42 years. She acted meek and mild, but on the inside she hated him. She also hated his five dogs that slobbered on her floor and shed on her furniture. Ed let them lay on the couch, the bed, anywhere they wanted. To Eileen, Ed and the dogs were one and the same.

    One morning, she baked "special" muffins for them all. She left them on the kitchen counter and pack up her things and left. She knew when Ed came home that he'd eat a couple and that he'd give each dog one too. She smiled as she pulled out of the drive way. She was finally free.

  27. I tried to come up with something.... nothing. My mind has been sucha blank lately!

  28. I also want to know motive. I guess it's just human nature to want to know why.

  29. Oh, these are great! Bloggers won't visit me...I shouldn't have done the recycled crafting crap. I commented on a ton of blogs, like this one. In fact I will visit all the A-Z bloggers and say woe is me. Some will visit, some won't, but those who stop by will be caught in my snare. I have this virus see and once you drop on by...well, it alters your hard drive and your dna-my title Murder by Malware. You won't know what hit you?! ;D I'm joking-April Fool and it is a contest right?! lol

  30. There are certainly a lot of motives for crimes. I'm wondering what the motive for the Boston bomb was.

  31. I know, that's why I made that comment on your blog post about the Monkey Fist. I remembered your comment and thought it was cool when I read your M post.

  32. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for blitzing Erin.

  33. I'm glad your blog blitz was such a success. Thanks for stopping by. I know you had quite a few blogs to visit.

  34. Very creative . I hope you write mysteries.

  35. I know. I've had so many jurors tell me after a trial that even though the law doesn't require it, they still do.

  36. Terrorism is my guess. It's awful. The bombs weren't too sophisticated so probably not big named terrorist. Regardless of motive, some people are just evil. I don't know if they born that way or if is is because of childhood trauma, but I truly believe there are evil people in the world who cannot be reformed.

  37. Privileged, upper world or upscale criminal practices, whatever descriptor you pick, reflect planned deliberate purposes to execute "withdrawn" unlawful practices on the greater part.תלחצו נהיגה בשכרות עורך דין תעבורה בישראל

  38. The respondent recounted two distinct tales about what occurred. She said it was a mischance and she didn't intend to slaughter him. She was arraigned for murder and taken to preliminary.Traffic lawyer


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