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Divorce can be murder

An article in the Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture entitled "Monstrous Arrogance: Husbands who Choose Murder Over Divorce," by Cynthia Lewis, PhD, examines a dozen convictions in murders where husbands have murdered their wives to save themselves from some consequences of divorce that they perceive as “too costly.” How murder could become a viable alternative to divorce is either an indicator of the collapse of moral compass in our society, or an indication of the need for divorce reform, or perhaps both. The article points out that, instead of the emotional crimes that you expect to see in spousal murders, it was a “practical matter;” so much so that most of the women never had a sense of how much danger they were in. Article also mentions Australian divorce-related murder.

I usually pick an important subject to wrap a story around. This time, I thought that the subject would be a little lighter, but I was very surprised when I did a little Internet research to find just how common spousal murder was.

According to a 2014 article in the Huffington Post, at least 1/3 of all women murdered in the United States are killed by their male partners.

Now, with the baby boomer generation approaching retirement, according to an article in Saultstar.com, divorces in the after-55 crowd often involve fat retirement funds and paid-off houses, making alternative solutions (albeit insane ones like murder) attractive. Hiring a hitman (or woman) becomes an irresistible and economic alternative for some amoral people who feel that they are trapped in long marriages.

The article cites that 3.2% of murders are done on a commercial basis. Citing straightdope.com, the article states that “most contract killings are carried out by small-time freelancers hired by ‘schlubs.’ The perpetrators in these arrangements are often caught by undercover policemen and FBI agents posing as hired killers. The article reports that an Australian Institute of Criminology study estimates the average costs of a hit to be $12,700; which is significantly less than the cost of an attorney in a contested divorce.

According to a 1995 study by the U.S. Department of Justice, husbands are convicted more often than wives of spousal murder, and the convicted men are more likely to receive a prison term than convicted women. In 44% of the cases of husband killing, the husband had assaulted the wife at the time of the killing. Assaulted wives were convicted 56% of the time, compared to 86% in the case of unprovoked wives and 88% in the case of unprovoked husbands.

Another article in the Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture entitled Monstrous Arrogance: Husbands who Choose Murder Over Divorce, by Cynthia Lewis, PhD, examines a dozen convictions in murders where husbands have murdered their wives to save themselves from some consequences of divorce that they perceive as “too costly.” How murder could become a viable alternative to divorce is either an indicator of the collapse of moral compass in our society, or an indication of the need for divorce reform, or perhaps both. The article points out that, instead of the emotional crimes that you expect to see in spousal murders, it was a “practical matter;” so much so that most of the women never had a sense of how much danger they were in.

According to the article, this type of murderer often projects confidence and an ability to win the trust of others, yet is “atypically devoid of feeling,” “icy and calculating,” and self-centered to the point of narcissism.

Statistics from the Department of Justice claim women are the perpetrators in 41% of all spousal murders. The most common method used by the females is cited as poisoning, with hiring a professional killer as second. The third is persuading a boyfriend to do the killing. These last two methods are classified not as a woman killing a man, but as “other killings,” but the fact that there are four times as many husband victims as wives probably indicates that the statistic should be much higher.

Kenneth Eade (http://kennetheade.com) author of the Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series and Involuntary Spy Espionage Thriller Series, has been hailed by critics as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene.” His latest novel is “Decree of Finality.”