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Contract killing is a form of murder in which one party hires another party (often labelled as a hitman) to kill a target individual or group of people. It involves an illegal agreement between two or more parties in which one party agrees to kill the target in exchange for some form of payment, monetary or otherwise. Either party may be a person, group, or organization. Contract killing has been linked to organized crime, government conspiracies, vendettas. and independent contractors. For example, in the United States, the gang Murder, Inc. committed hundreds of murders on behalf of the National Crime Syndicate during the 1930s and 1940s. Professional hitmen have never used anything that has been traced back to them, acquired easy access to weapons and explosives and other types of reliable enough training, gear, weapons and equipment, operate covertly and has developed thorough and/or detailed plans that will allow them to kill their planned targets and any personnel who is either a threat or an obstacle while maintaining clear, full anonymity while still avoiding detection, identification, suspicion and investigation from the authorities and civilians and are clearly equipped with a paramilitary background: field operatives for an intelligence agency, (SWAT) or are former military (combat engineer, military police, special forces, and/or infantry.

Contract killing supplies the hiring/hired party with the advantage of not having to carry out the actual killing, making it more difficult for law enforcement to connect any involved personnel/groups with the murder. The likelihood that authorities will establish that party's guilt for the committed crime, especially due to the lack/absence of forensic evidence and/or witnesses linked to the hiring/hired source, makes the case more difficult to attribute to the hired/hiring source.


A study by the Australian Institute of Criminology of 162 attempted or actual contract murders in Australia between 1989 and 2002 indicated that the most common reason for murder-for-hire was insurance policy payouts. The study also found that the average payment for a "hit" was $15,000 with variation from $5,000 up to $30,000 and that the most commonly used weapons were firearms. Contract killings accounted for 2% of murders in Australia during that time period.[1] Contract killings also make up a relatively similar percentage of all killings elsewhere. For example, they made up about 5% of all murders in Scotland from 1993 to 2002.[2]

Notable cases


Mad Dog Coll leaving court surrounded by police officers, 1931



In popular culture

Nothing Personal is a television documentary series that focuses on stories of contract killings.

Fictional cases of contract killing or "hitmen" are depicted in a range of popular fiction genres in the 20th and 21st century, including comic books, films, and video games (e.g., the video game series Hitman, wherein the player controls a hired hitman simply known as Agent 47, and Hotline Miami where the player controls a man named Jacket, who received calls to go to places where the Russian Mafia resides and kill everybody inside.)

See also


  1. ^ "Lovers top contract killing hit list". CNN. February 5, 2004.
  2. ^ "Homicide in Scotland, 2002". Government of Scotland.
  3. ^ "With Over 100 Murders, Richard Kuklinski Was The Most Prolific Hitman In Mafia History". All That's Interesting. March 22, 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ Carlo, Philip (April 1, 2007). The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9781429902663.
  5. ^ "Interview: Charles Brandt, author 'I Heard You Paint Houses'". amp-clickondetroit-com.cdn.ampproject.org.
  6. ^ a b Wilson, Michael (April 26, 2019). "Her 'Prince Charming' Turned Out to Be a Crazed Hit Man on the Run". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ "Hired Killer Sentenced". The Evening Press. Binghamton, NY. November 11, 1980. p. 7-A.
  8. ^ "'Hitwoman' charged in 6 slayings". Pacific Stars and Stripes. Japan. UPI. February 16, 1980. p. 7.
  9. ^ "Mob Boss John Gotti Is Dead". The Smoking Gun. June 10, 2002. Retrieved 2015.
  10. ^ Boyle, Robert H. (June 4, 1973). "End Of A Bloody Bad Show". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2013.
  11. ^ "Tim Lambesis Sentenced to Six Years in Jail for Murder-for-Hire Plot". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ Brulliard, Karin (January 22, 2020). "Zookeeper who killed tigers and tried to have rival murdered is sentenced to 22 years in prison". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ Pelisek, Christine (November 22, 2017). "How Divorce Led to Diana Lovejoy's Murder-for-Hire Plot". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ "Ex-husband in hit-man case says courts were wrong - Nova Scotia". CBC News.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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