Motives for murder
The cost of a hit varies widely as well, the researchers found. The cheapest kill, in 2010, cost 200 British pounds ($331.72 in today's U.S. dollars), paid to Santre Sanchez Gayle, a 15-year-old, for killing 26-year-old Gulistan Subasi. Gayle was a "novice" hit man who was caught because he bragged about the killing later.
The highest fee for a contract killing was 100,000 pounds ($165,860 in today's U.S. dollars). The only female contract killer in the study, a New Zealander named Te Rangimaria Ngarimu, charged 7,000 pounds ($11,610 in today's dollars) to kill the business partner of two men who hired her from prison in 1992. According to news reports about her trial, she only received about one-seventh that amount.
One "dilettante" hit man, Orville Wright, became known as the hit man who lost his nerve. Wright was sentenced to two years in prison in 1998 after he threatened to kill a London woman at the behest of her ex-boyfriend. After breaking into the woman's flat and talking to her, Wright was unable to go through with the murder.
The tales hint at how pedestrian most contract killings are. While television hits usually involve shady conspiracies or megalomaniac masterminds, real contract kills are far less melodramatic.
"The motivations to pay a hit man the relatively small amount to carry out a murder were often depressingly banal," Wilson said in a statement. "Spouses fell out, business deals fell apart and young gang members wanted to impress their elders."
Or as Sherlock would say: "Boo-ooring."
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