Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dr. Dean Dabney

Second Advisor

Dr. Brent Teasdale

Third Advisor

Dr. Joshua Hinkle

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Lisa R. Muftic


Victim precipitated homicide is a phenomenon generally credited to the seminal work of Marvin Wolfgang (1957, 1958, 1967). While a limited number of studies have been conducted supporting this concept, limited understanding exists of the event dynamics of homicidal transactions in general and victim precipitated homicides in particular. In this study, the presence of an audience and alcohol impairment are treated as catalysts that influence the dynamics of the homicide event. It is hypothesized that homicide events are more likely to take shape as victim precipitated transactions when audience members are present. It is further hypothesized that the victim’s consumption of alcohol serves as a moderator between the presence of an audience and victim precipitated homicide. These hypotheses were tested using a dataset of 473 homicides occurring in Dallas, Texas from 1988 to 1997. The author found support for the first hypothesis postulating that the presence of an audience increases the odds of a victim precipitated homicide, but found little support for alcohol as a moderating factor. Potential theoretical and policy implications and future research are discussed.