SOC 2760 Lecture Notes - Altruistic Suicide, Nail Gun, Homicide
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Homicide Exam Notes
Chapter 8: Intimate partner homicide
-Until the 1980’s it was considered a private matter for a man to beat his wife and he was only
charged with a misdemeanour instead of a felony.
Intimate partner violence-The killing of one’s current or former sexual partner, including
homosexual couples and common law couples.
Uxoricide-the killing of a wife by a husband
Spousal Homicide-Killing of a married partner.
-Men kill their female intimate partners 3.5 times more often than women kill their male intimate
partners. 1/3 of female homicide victims were intimate partner homicides but only 5% male
homicide victims were intimate partner homicides.
-Cohabitating couples are 10 times more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence than
married couples. Blacks are more likely to be victimized by intimate partners then Natives then
whites and Asians are least likely to be victimized.
-Men are most likely to be victimized late 30’s-50’s and offend between 35-39yrs whereas
women are most likely to be victimized 20’s-50’s and offend between 25-29. Also the age gap
between the couple is a factor, men are more likely to be victimized if the women are
significantly older or younger than them but women are more likely to be victimized if the men
is older than them.
-The SROK is 60-70 for women who kill men compared to every 100 of men who kill women.
-The amount of male victimization dropped almost 70% whereas women dropped only 20%.
Dowry Death-Is in countries such as India where woman are killed by their husband because
their family cannot or will not pay the dowry agreed upon. Approx 7000 women were killed for
this reason in 2001.
-One lady shot her husband in the head and said she was trying to do a sexy dance, dropped the
gun and shot him by accident. The neighbours said that they had heard them rowing, courts
believed the neighbours and sentenced her to 16yrs.
-Women are more likely to be killed via intimate partner homicide and to have been subjected to
years of abuse beforehand often for control of the victim. Men are more likely to commit
familicide, suicide and kill a cheating spouse and their lover. Women most often, but not always,
kill in self-defence, however, women are more likely to have a lover accomplice.
-Warning signs of intimate partner homicide are; history of domestic violence, separation,
depression, his unemployment, threatens to kill themselves or their partner, victim believes the
perpetrator will kill them, stalking, escalating behaviour, violence involving choking, male
partner arrested for violent crimes, male partner is suicidal, firearm in the home, presence of
victims children from previous relationship.
-Can split them into instrumental (with a clear goal in mind such as insurance money) or an
expressive kill (emotion fuelled) but this is hard to categorize in most cases.
-Jeff Dennis gave conflicting information regarding where he was when his wife committed
suicide and it was found that he actually killed her. Pescador killed his wife by taking a nail gun
to her head he said it was because she was cheating and abusing one of their kids. People
testified and said she actually wasn’t doing either of these things and that he was just jealous.
-Threatening to leave can actually spur the murderous attack because men have more to lose in a
patriarchal society if a woman leaves him.
-Gloria Hernandez killed her husband by stabbing him but was not prosecuted because her
daughter testified that he regularly beat Gloria and that at the time of the killing he had
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threatened her with the knife and choked her. Many women are sentenced to time in prison for
-Knives are most often used in intimate partner homicide closely followed by firearms; however,
there are no boundaries to what can be used. E.g. nail gun, car, i-pod.
-The rule of thumb is that a man can beat his wife with whatever as long as it is no thicker than
his thumb. People charged with intimate partner homicide are more likely to be convicted
probably because they are more likely to plead guilty.
Exploring racial variations in the spousal sex ratio of killing by Regoeczi
-Spousal ration of Killings (SROK) is the number of wives who kill their husbands per 100
husbands who kill their wives. 75 in US, 31 in Canada.
-Wilson and Daly found SROK in America 131 blacks, 43 whites, 29 Latino’s but in Canada 15
blacks, 24 whites, 76 natives. This can be explained maybe not by race but more of the social
-Nature of the relationship-cohabitating couples have more homicides by both sexes than dating
or married partners. Previous couples are more likely to be killed by males. Wilsona dn Daly
found SROK to be 102 for couples within 10yrs of each other in age, 117 when the wife as at
least 10yrs younger and 57 if the wife was 10yrs older. Can explain higher SROK for aboriginals
-Male sexual jealousy and proprietariness are motives for many female spouse homicides and
can explain Aboriginal homicide as the men are less likely to act possessively of their women.
-The high female/male ratio could be higher among Aboriginal women simple because they are
victimized more often by their partners and thus engage in more self defence. May be shown
through studying a white man and aboriginal female couple.
-Sample is homicides between 1961-1983 generated by Canadian centre for Justice Statistics,
Stats Can. Drawn from summaries of police reports but does not have limitations associated with
official statistics because homicide is almost always reported.
-Analysis tests Wilson and Daly’s hypothesis that type of marriage, marriage status and age
disparity as well as homicide motive and inter-racial homicide patterns relate to SROK.
-Found there were 1475 male perpetrated and 407 female perpetrated spousal homicides. 1389
white, 42 black, 355 aboriginal. SROK of 23, 15 and 57.
-General SROK was 28. Shown that SROK has varied between 27-37 for the past 35 yrs.
-SROK is inaccurate info because races may be the same in the rate of husbands killing wives
but differ in which wives kill husbands. Races may kill husbands at the same rate but kill wives
at different rates or races may differ in both rates.
-Women are always more likely to be the victim.
-Common law SROK was 39 and 23 for legally married. 56% spousal homicides by Aboriginals
were common law, 30% whites, 33% blacks.
-Separated killing are more often male. SROK of 26 when co-residing but 8 when separated. 3%
aboriginals, 17% whites and 21 black homicides from separation.
-SROK for aboriginals with wife 10yrs younger or more was 73 but other couples was 47.
Aboriginals have the highest percentage of killings where the wife was 10yrs younger (22%
compared to 14% white and 19% black).
-SROK is much lower is you only look at jealousy motivated crimes. Aboriginals have the
lowest jealousy motivated crimes.
-SROK with ethnic offender and white victim is 12 but white offender and ethnic victim is 93.
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Intimate femicide followed by suicide:examining the role of premeditation by Dawson.
-Most homicides followed by suicides are by men who kill their female partners.
-2 perspectives; passion killing followed by suicide when they realize the consequences of their
actions or premeditated homicide as an extension of the suicidal thoughts/efforts.
-West 1965 believed males who were paranoid about partners ifidelity were at greater risk of
homicide suicide usually with the idea of just suicide but kills his partner.
-Palermo suggested this was more an “extended suicide” where the man cannot take the
betrayal/rejection so they kill their partner as an extension of their personal selves.
-There is also altruistic suicide where they kill as not to leave their partner defenceless and
unprotected when they kill themselves.
-Stack said that the attachment to the intimate partner causes greater loss and guilt felt after the
homicide so they commit suicide. Gillespie said that connection to society is also important.
-Found that older offenders were premeditated in the homicide/suicide but the jealousy fuelled
-Hypothesis of the study is that femicide followed by suicide is more likely to show
premeditation than cases where suicide does not follow and cases of femicide followed by
suicide often involves motivation of jealousy, illness and bad health.
-Data is drawn from a larger study on female homicides from official and unofficial sources.
1206 murders against women, 703 intimate partners, 194 committed suicide after.
-3 classifications, evidence of premeditation, no evidence of premeditation and possible evidence
-Indicators of homicide/suicide; offender waylays the victim as she leaves her home/workplaces,
offender breaks into the victims home, victim was sleeping when killed, offender previously
threatened to kill the victim or himself, offender brought a gun to the location of the victim,
offender bought a gun/weapon immediately prior to killing, suicide note indicating intent to kill
himself and female partner and other indicators not including the above that occurred once or
twice such as changing wills or making funeral arrangements.
-Half of femicide suicides were classes as premeditated whereas 1/5 just femicides were. Those
motivated by jealousy or sickness were more likely.
-Femicide suicides were more likely to be 55 or over but were less likely to have prior criminal
record. Less likely to involve drugs or alcohol but more likely to use a gun and occur in the home
-Femicide suicides were 5 times more likely to plan the event. Jealousy were 2 times as likely
but sickness motivated were 7 times more likely.
Intimate partner homicide: a review of the male proprietariness and the self-defence
theories by Serran and Firestone.
-Between 1979-1998 10 wives and 3 husband per million couples in Canada were victims of
spousal homicide. This has declined from 15-7 per mil in 1998 of wives and 5-2 of husbands.
-Domestic violence is still a huge issue. Women are 3 times more likely to be injured by a spouse
than men and 5 times more likely to be choked.
-Men choke, beat and punch women whereas women slap, kick and throw things. Men are more
likely to use a weapon.
Male sexual proprietariness theory-Wilson and Daly suggest marriage must be understood as a
way for men to purchase their wives productive and reproductive capacities. Historically and
cross culturally men were awarded damages, divorce or violent revenge if the woman was not
faithful. Although the law now does not discriminate based on sex, men and women still react
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