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We do not, for example, refer to killings orchestrated over the telephone as 'tele-murder' or by snail mail as 'mail murder.' It seems that this is not a cybercrime, that it is simply a real-world crime the commission of which happens to involve the use of computer technology," but she conceded that "there may be reasons to treat conduct such as this differently and to construe it as something other than a conventional crime." The following individuals have been arrested and/or convicted of crimes in which police claimed that Internet services such as chat rooms and Craigslist advertisements were used to contact victims or hire a murderer.
Despite sharing a similar method of contacting victims, they apparently have varied motivations.
In the list below, the victims' deaths may have been premeditated, especially if the perpetrator is a serial killer, but they may also have resulted from a robbery, insurance fraud, or a sexual encounter that turned violent.
The theme of internet homicide has proven popular in fiction, with examples seen in books, television shows, and movies, in a number of which the murderer is referred to as "the Internet Killer" by other characters.
A legal theorist pressed for an "internet angle" on a murder by a journalist related that "I asked her whether, if I called her up and asked her out on a blind date and murdered her, she would think it was a "telephone-related murder"? Leslie Harris, CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology said of the term "Craigslist Killer" that "A great many of the tragic incidents that tangentially involve the Internet have little or nothing to do with the Internet itself.
The Craigslist case is the latest example of that phenomenon.
Depending on the venue used, other terms used in the media are Internet chat room killer, Craigslist killer, Facebook serial killer.
Internet homicide can also be part of an Internet suicide pact or consensual homicide.
Since 2007, several suspected and convicted perpetrators have met their victims or solicited murder through Craigslist.
Felix Alexander, from Worcester, was 17 when he killed himself after years of bullying, much of it exacerbated through internet attacks.
Pupils dubbed him ‘the most hated person in school’ and even after changing institutions, the mental damage he suffered left him unable to trust people and make friends.
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 accused and convicted killers have contacted victims through advertising services such as Craigslist, a popular classified advertising website.