Case ReportFeatures Characteristic of Homicide in Cases of Complete DecapitationTürk, E E. MD; Püschel, K MD; Tsokos, M MDAuthor Information From the Institute of Legal Medicine, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany. Manuscript received June 16, 2003; accepted July 29, 2003. Reprints: Dr. E. E. Türk, MD, Institute of Legal Medicine, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Butenfeld 34, 22529 Hamburg, Germany. E-mail: [email protected]. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: March 2004 - Volume 25 - Issue 1 - p 83-86 doi: 10.1097/01.paf.0000113921.06940.1d Buy Metrics Abstract Four cases of complete decapitation connected to homicidal acts are presented. In 3 cases, decapitation was inflicted postmortem after killing the victim. The motives for decapitation were considered defensive, aggressive, and a possible combination of the 2 in one case each. In one case, decapitation was a vital injury and accounted for death. In this case, an offensive motive for mutilation was suspected. The combination of death scene findings and autopsy results will in most cases distinguish between homicidal and other modes of death. © 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.