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The Craigslist case is the latest example of that phenomenon.Craigslist is an innovative and valuable resource, which frankly, is being unfairly smeared because it is an Internet site." Susan Brenner, a professor of law and technology wrote that "Is it a cybercrime for John to meet Mary on the Internet, correspond with her and use e-mail to lure her to a meeting where he kills her?Internet homicide can also be part of an Internet suicide pact or consensual homicide.Serial killers are murderers who target three or more victims sequentially, with a "cooling off" period between each murder, and whose motivation for killing is largely based on psychological gratification.In a case that might be regarded as a quasi-consensual homicide, "John," a teenage boy from Altrincham, England, allegedly tricked another teenager into killing him using long conversations in an online chatroom.The other teenager, Mark, apparently believed he was being recruited by some female Secret Service agent.
Mark pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced to two years supervision. As an article in the New York Daily News explained in 2009, "Long before there was a craigslist or dot-com dating, there were places where men and women who were too shy or busy to meet face to face could find romance.
Calling themselves "matrimonial bureaus," these organizations were known mostly as the "lonely hearts clubs," and they flourished through the middle of the 20th century." It was in venues like these—print media such as newspaper classified ads and personal or lonely hearts club ads—that 20th century murderers such as Harry Powers, the so-called "Matrimonial Bureau Murderer," met their victims.
Electronic advertising has gradually replaced printed ads and the internet is now a venue where murderers who employ a similar modus operandi can meet their victims; in Schecter's Encyclopedia, the entry for "Ads" mentions internet dating and the use of internet ads by the so-called "Internet Cannibal" Armin Meiwes.
Since 2007, several suspected and convicted perpetrators have met their victims or solicited murder through Craigslist.
Of those cases, two were convicted for crimes in the three-month period encompassing February to April 2009 and a further four were accused of crimes during the 13-month span of March 2008 through April 2009.
Although, by definition, Craigslist will have been the initial contact point and a killing will have taken place in order for the suspected, accused, or convicted perpetrator to be dubbed a Craigslist killer, the actual motivations of these criminals are varied.