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Such murders are similar to the usual meaning of execution, which is the taking of life by due process of law. Execution-style killing is most often a shot to the head, and victims sometimes are killed kneeling.
The terminology may derive from the process of binding the victim and killing him/her at close range while conscious. Some thrill killings have variously been described as execution-style murders.
An example of an execution-style murder was the 1929 St. Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago, where a number of assailants posed as police officers. Color of authority, however, is not a defining component of the event, as the crimes of Stanley Williams and Dennis Rader also fall into this category.
The weapon involved is often a handgun. Long guns, blunt instruments, bombs, and bladed weapons have also been used in killings labeled as execution-style, such as the 1993 murder of Bobby Kent in Hollywood, Florida, where Derek Kaufman delivered the fatal blow with an iron club.
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