Incaprettamento: An Unusual Homicide by Ligature Strangulation

Ignazio Grattagliano, Giuseppe Troccoli, Carmen Zelano, Roberto Catanesi


Abstract: This case study regards the murder of a Tunisian national residing in a small town in southern Italy who was murdered by fellow Tunisian citizen, also living in Italy. The victim was found hogtied and hanged by a cord that was suspended from an iron staff situated between two concrete electrical poles. This method of killing is known as "incaprettemento". It is an unusual type of strangulation whereby a rope is passed around the victim’s wrists, ankles, and throat causing suffocation. This results in a very slow and painful death. Typically, it is a method employed by Italian organized crime groups, but it has also been used in the execution of war crimes. This means of killing is meant to impart a particularly degrading and humiliating revenge on the victim. It may also serve as sign of intimidation and a warning to others. There is very little written about incaprettamento in the literature, but it has, nonetheless, important psychological, anthropological, and cultural implications in the field of criminology. The perpetrator underwent psychodiagnostic evaluations, and was ultimately deemed fit to stand trial.


Incaprettamento, Ligature strangulation, Hog-tie, intra-ethnic homicide

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ISSN: 1929-4409