When Women Kill

By Coramae Richey Mann

Subjects: Corrections
Series: SUNY series in Violence
Paperback : 9780791428122, 230 pages, February 1996
Hardcover : 9780791428115, 230 pages, February 1996

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Tables

List of Figures


1. Introduction

2. The Research Design

3. Ecological and Other Circumstances of the Homicide

4. The Murders of Intimates

5. Other Murder Victims

6. Are Women Getting Away With Murder?

7. A Profile of Today's Female Killer

Appendix A. The Research Protocol
Appendix B. Codebook
Appendix C. Offenders' Prior Misdemeanor and Felony Arrests and Convictions
Appendix D. Variables in the Regression Analysis of Prison Time



A fascinating profile of female homicide offenders emerges from this analysis of the characteristics of women murderers in six cities in the United States, including the circumstances of the murders, the role of the victims, the role of the perpetrators, and their fates in court.


The volume explores every aspect of females who murdered—from arrest through sentencing—and provides descriptions of ecological and other circumstances of the murders, the victims, the motives of the perpetrators, and their fates in court. The generous utilization of case examples dramatically reveals the homicide scenarios.

This exploratory, descriptive study compares 296 females arrested for homicide in six urban areas—Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York City—in 1979 and 1983. During field trips to these cities, which have the highest murder rates in the country, both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from police files, homicide records, F. B. I. reports, and criminal court information. Research analyses reveals a fascinating profile of today's female murderer. When Women Kill presents a comprehensive, yet highly readable, overview of this previously neglected subgroup of homicide offenders.

Coramae Richey Mann is Professor of Criminal Justice at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the author of two books, Female Crime and Delinquency and Unequal Justice: A Question of Color. Mann is the recipient of the 1995 Bruce Smith Sr. award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.


"The author has a data base that is rich in detail and unique in character. A study of this type is clearly needed and will make a major contribution to filling a void in the literature. It represents a sophisticated level of analysis on the subject of white, African American, and Latina homicide offenders. " — Paula D. McClain, Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia