What I’ve Learned Watching Murder

By Andy Betz

The best murderers have an array of tactics, but heavily rely on just these strategies.

The KISS principle:  There is no need for exotic chemicals, disguises, or elaborate plans when committing murder. A simple shiv between the ribs is easy. A lateral thrust between the third and fourth true ribs with a sharpened plastic knife, breaking the knife, leaving the blade embedded in the chest cavity without a chance for removal is better. However, this leaves the knife blade as evidence. Substitute the plastic knife with a fresh icicle and thus, no murder weapon (or fingerprints upon melting), even if left at the scene.

Patience: Murders are usually the result of passion or accident. Rarely does premeditation surface as a motive with the intelligent murderer. Why? Patience. If the object of your nefarious affection cannot be dispatched to the 7th or 8th or 9th Circle of Hell today, then the profligate in question will still be equally as guilty in your eyes tomorrow.

Murphy’s Law: If any manner of ultimate demise hinges on a single critical point, then that critical point will ultimately fail, at the worst possible time, and in the worst possible way. Firearms jam. Poisons have antidotes. Someone may be strolling by just when they have no business strolling by.  An author who publishes a novel about murder may be interviewed to explain his perfect plot on a TV show your mark is currently watching. Cars get stuck in traffic. NYC Police arrested David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) because of a parking ticket (he parked in front of a fire-hydrant).

Ego:  You are not the mastermind of your state or a legend in your own time. No one will read your 1000 page manifesto or care if you were abused as a child. Murder is for those who can look their mark in the eyes and watch their last breath leave their lips.

Bragging:  The first rule of Murder Club is you never speak of Murder Club. If you want to talk to others or have to talk to others, then DO NOT COMMIT MURDER!  You are your own worst enemy. Shut up. Take a walk. Get over the slight. Go home.

Retro-Active Analysis:  This is where the work begins. To kill someone, work backwards by first answering these questions.
Do you have an alibi? Is it believable? Can it be corroborated? By whom?
Do you trust them?  Do you have more than one place to dispose of the body?
Can you move the body by yourself?
Does anyone know you can move a body by yourself? Why do they know this?
Can you kill a mark that struggles? Can you knock him out? What if he has a gun?
Do you have a gun? Does it have paperwork? Where will you dispose of it?
Will it be missed?  Have you researched your mark? When does he go to work? Where?  For how long? How does he get to work? Does he go to work alone? Does he work alone?  Live alone?  What are his leisure activities? Is he any good? Are you?  Care to leave DNA to prove it?  Is he allergic to peanut butter or shellfish?  What is an epi-pen? Does he have one?  Are there CCTVs near your mark’s home? Ride? Work? In his work? Anyone watching you right now?  Do you have a job that permits you to be unaccounted for during normal business hours?  Did you recently acquire such a position?  Would you wonder if someone begins to wonder why?  Do you stand to financially profit from your actions? Does someone know if you will?  Can they keep silent? Could you kill them also?

If none of these questions or strategies has removed you from the Murder Inc. employment pool, then please continue reading.

I have seen people die in front of me and have removed people in various unfortunate circumstances to the custody of the proper authorities.  If I wanted someone dead (in a murder mystery), here is how I would write about it.

Slip/Trip/Fall:  Preferably on a common slippery surface (bathroom, ice, oil spot, etc.), most people do not immediately move after a fall. If you require a moment to finish them off, this is your time to act.

Push or Bump into Traffic: You were pushed. They were pushed. They were closer to the oncoming bus than you were. Everyone can verify your story if you can sell it.

Fire Death: This usually coincides with a slip/trip/fall. Do not restrain your victim or injure them in any way. Even a novice coroner would notice. A fall with a fire is suspicious, but it does work if executed (no pun intended) well.

Hanging when combined with a Bankruptcy: Leave a short suicide note from a composite of his previous writings. Set him up for a financial loss. Do not take the money. Wear gloves and a mask. Leave the DNA or hair of your next mark on the premises. Do not touch anything.

Disappearance: This is my favorite if you cannot physically move the victim without assistance, without touching him. This is best accomplished when he is on a business trip or vacation. If he has a discreet rendezvous to attend, permit him. His murder should occur afterward. No one knows of his whereabouts. If done correctly, no one ever will.

I hope this helps.  These deaths I have witnessed did not have the benefit of such a thorough analysis.  The ones I did not witness perhaps did.  Perhaps, that is not by chance.


Bio: The works of Andy Betz are found everywhere a search engine operates.  Andy has written many great things that have been posted to The Yard: Crime Blog, including, “Water” with Jaysa Brown, “The Less You Have, the More It Hurts To Lose It”, “I Knew Her as Tigist“, “How My New Life Began“, “Et Tu“, “Senny” with Dounia Saunders, “Oleander“, “The Best Advice I Ever Got“, “If I Ask Your Opinion“, “As the Sun Sets“, “Walter,” “The Saddest Lies“, “By Morning”, “Nicole and Julia: Death at Poolside”, “Julia and Katherine” “The Caretaker”, “The Carlton Theater” with Samantha Fowler, “minus“, and “Starting Over Again“.  He has also been interviewed.





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Publishing Editor for The Yard: Crime Blog.

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