• Graveyard Shift

Killers with No Discernible Motives

Anyone who's watched a television crime drama knows that when building a murder case, the police always look for a motive. But what happens when a killer has no motive? As this list of killers with no motives shows, sometimes people kill out of boredom, curiosity - or simply for no reason at all...

While murderers who commit their crimes for anger, jealousy, revenge, or profit are terrifying, these murderers with no motive are truly the stuff of horror movies.

  • Brenda Ann Spencer

    Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Wikimedia Commons / Fair Use

    In 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer began shooting at students who attended the elementary school across the street from her house. Eleven people were shot - eight kids and three adults - and two were killed. Spencer told a reporter that she started shooting because “I just don’t like Mondays… I did this because it’s a way to cheer up the day.”

  • Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use

    The Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs are two teenaged Ukrainian serial killers who killed 21 people in one month in 2007 for seemingly no reason. They recorded many of the murders in photos and video, and one of the videos ended up on the internet in 2008.

    Initially some theorized the killers were trying to profit from making snuff videos, but police found no evidence to support that claim. Instead, in an interview for a Russian news source that has been translated on Wikipedia, Detective Bogdan Vlasenko said, "We think they were doing it as a hobby," while Deputy Interior Minister Nikolay Kupyanskiy added, "For these young men, murder was like entertainment or hunting."

  • Photo: Federal Bureau of Investigation / Wikimedia Commons / Fair Use

    Israel Keyes confessed to killing eight people all over the United States, and he hinted that he had committed more murders. 

    Keyes traveled long distances to kill some of his victims, and he maintained weapons caches and body disposal kits in hidden spots all over the US. Yet despite that level of effort and preparation, Keyes could offer no real motive for his behavior. When asked why he killed, he would answer, "Why not?"

    Keyes committed suicide in prison while awaiting trial for one of his crimes.

  • Leopold And Loeb

    Photo: German Federal Archives / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

    Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were two highly intelligent, wealthy students who met at the University of Chicago, where they studied as teenage prodigies. In 1924, the pair kidnapped and murdered Loeb's cousin, a 14-year-old boy, in order to prove that they were capable of committing the perfect crime.

    Leopold and Loeb spent seven months planning every aspect of the crime - but despite all their preparation, they still made a mistake. Leopold left his eyeglasses at the crime scene, and police quickly traced them and apprehended the pair.

    When asked why they committed the murder, Leopold answered: "The killing was an experiment. It is just as easy to justify such a death as it is to justify an entomologist killing a beetle on a pin."