Domestic Violence Homicide Report


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Domestic Violence Homicide Report: 2000-2008, Data were collected on 169 different domestic violence-related homicide incidents between 2000 and 2008, involving 180 victims and 173 perpetrators.

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Domestic Violence Homicide Report

  1. 1.       Domestic Violence  Homicides in Utah  2000 through 2008                                  Christine Mitchell, Ph.D.  Benjamin Peterson, Ph.D.  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice   
  2. 2. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        Table  of  Contents   Table of Contents Background……………………………………………………………………………………… 3 Executive Summary………………………………………………………………………….... 4 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………......…. 7 General Precipitating Factors for Domestic Violence……………………...……………..….........… 7 Intimate Partner Homicides…………………………….………………...………...................………. 7 Domestic Homicides of Children…………………………….………...………....................………. 10 Other Domestic Homicides …………………………….………...………..........................………. 12 References…………………………….………...………...............................................………. 13 Methods………..…………………………………………………………………………........ 15 Results………..………………..…………………………………………………………........ 16 Incident Characteristics………………………………………………………………….........… 16 Victims……………………………………………………………………………...……….........………. 17 Perpetrators……..………………………………………………………………...……….........………. 17 Perpetrator Suicide…………………..…………………………………………...……….........………. 18 Victim-Perpetrator Relationships……………...………………………………………………….………. 19 Criminal History and Outcomes..……………...………………………………………………….………. 20 Intimate Partner Homicides………….………...………………………………………………….………. 22 Parent Homicides with Victims 10 Years of Age or Less……………...……………………….………. 26 Other Types of Domestic Violence-Related Homicides…..…………...……………………….………. 29 Factors Influencing Conviction Outcomes……………...………………………………….…….………. 31 Utah Violent Death Reporting System……………...………………….…………………..…….………. 33 Conclusions……………………………………………...……………………………....……. 34 October 30, 2009               Page 2
  3. 3. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        Background   Background The mission of the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) is to promote broad philosophical agreement about the objectives of the criminal and juvenile justice system in the state; to provide a mechanism for coordinating the functions of various branches and levels of government concerned with criminal and juvenile justice; and to coordinate statewide efforts to reduce crime and victimization in Utah. To accomplish these goals, the Commission includes a diverse membership representing a wide range of organizations playing a role in justice issues in Utah. The CCJJ Research and Data Unit conducts and coordinates research on pertinent criminal justice issues and serves as the Statistical Analysis Center for the state of Utah. The CCJJ Research and Data Unit conducts Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program and coordinates research on criminal justice for their invaluable assistance with this project. issues and serves as the Statistical Analysis Center for the state of Utah. The authors of the Funding for this project and report was provided 2006 Crime Victimization Survey are Christine by grant 2008-BJ-CX-K033 awarded by the Mitchell, Director of Research, and Benjamin Bureau of Justice Statistics, United States Peterson, Research Consultant. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in this publication The authors wish to thank Teresa Brechlin and are those of the authors and do not necessarily Anna Fondario from the Utah Department of reflect the views of the Department of Justice.   October 30, 2009               Page 3
  4. 4. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  2000 through 2008  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Data were collected on 169 different Relationships between perpetrators and domestic violence-related homicide victims ranged from spouses to aunt- incidents between 2000 and 2008, nephew to ex-husband of victim’s involving 180 victims and 173 daughter. perpetrators. Intimate partners killed their current or 9 incidents involved multiple victims killed past spouses or boy/girlfriends in 85 by a single perpetrator—7 with 2 victims (46.2%) of the cases reviewed. Romantic and 2 with 3 victims—and 4 involved a rivalry played a part in the homicide in an single victim killed by two different additional 7.1% of the cases. perpetrators. Parents or boy/girlfriends of parents killed Between one-third and one-half of all a child in 31.5% of the cases. Utah homicides during the study time period were domestic violence-related. Other relationships were involved in 15.3% of the cases. Close to half of the 184 incidents (46.1%) involved a firearm and an additional The average age of the 180 victims was 12.5% involved a knife. 28.5 years, ranging from less than a year old to 83 years of age at the time of the The remaining 41.4% of the cases homicide. involved child abuse or neglect, an accidental drug overdose, an ax, beating, 109 of the victims were female and 71 drowning, automobile homicide, fire, and were male. Two-thirds of adult victims strangulation or suffocation. were female. More than 80% of the perpetrators were male. Perpetrator Suicides Almost one-quarter of the perpetrators 4 parents committed suicide after killing a committed suicide and more than 90% of child—in two of these cases, the parents the suicides were committed by male killed 2 of their children; in another, a perpetrators. father killed his child, his live-in girlfriend, and her child; and in the final one, a Suicides were more common in intimate father killed his child and his wife. partner homicides than parent homicides, and suicide perpetrators were older than In 5 of the 9 cases in which a perpetrator those who didn’t commit suicide. killed more than one victim, the perpetrator committed suicide. October 30, 2009               Page 4 
  5. 5. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        Criminal Justice Outcomes Almost 60% of the perpetrators were Close to half of the perpetrators had a ultimately convicted for charges relating prior arrest recorded in Utah’s criminal to the homicide and 85% of these were history tracking system, and 15% had sentenced to a prison term. been arrested for a felony level offense. Intimate Partner Homicides Most of intimate partner homicides Almost half of these perpetrators had a involved a male perpetrator and female prior criminal record and a quarter had an victim (87.1%). arrest for an assaultive offense. The average age of the victims was 41.6 Boyfriends were more likely to have a years. Two of the victims were teenagers criminal record than spouses, and and three were in their 80’s, with a range perpetrators who committed suicide were of 15 to 83 years. much less likely to have a prior criminal record. Suicide was very common in these cases—36.5% of the perpetrators also Firearms were used in 61.2% of the killed themselves, and suicide was more cases, with an additional 16.5% involving common for male perpetrators. a knife. 47.8% of spouses or ex-spouses Spouses or ex-spouses were more likely committed suicide compared to 17.2% of to use a firearm than boy/girlfriends or ex- boyfriends or ex-boyfriends. boyfriends. Perpetrators who did not commit suicide More than 80% of the homicide-suicides were likely to go to prison. Only one involved a firearm compared to about half offender who was convicted of an offense of incidents without a suicide following the related to the incident did not receive a homicide. prison term. Parent Homicides with Child Victims Less than 10 Years of Age 23 of these victims (43.4%) were less parent perpetrators killed more than one than a year old at the time of the child. homicide. In the 56 relationships involved in these Just over half of these victims were male, homicides, there were 29 fathers, 13 but almost three-quarters of the mothers, 1 step-father, 2 foster-mothers, perpetrators were male. and 11 boyfriends of the mother. Two of the incidents included involved a Suicide was much less common among multiple homicide with both a parent and parent perpetrators than intimate partner an intimate partner homicide, as perpetrators and only occurred in described in the previous section. Five multiple-victim homicides. October 30, 2009               Page 5 
  6. 6. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        Sentences received by parent of these boyfriends had some arrest prior perpetrators were generally lower than in to the homicide. intimate partner cases, although three- quarters were sent to prison. 10 of the perpetrators had a prior arrest for driving under the influence and six had One-third of parent perpetrators received been arrested for some type of drug sentences with a maximum of life violation, for a total of 14 perpetrators compared to two-thirds of intimate partner with a prior substance abuse arrest. perpetrators. Weapon use in parent homicides was About 40% of the parent perpetrators had much less common than in intimate some prior criminal arrest. partner homicides, and this helped to explain differences in sentencing One startling finding is that of the 11 compared to intimate partner homicides. situations in which a child was killed by his or her mother’s boyfriend, 9 (81.8%) Other Types of Domestic Violence Homicides 43 incidents fell into the “other” category, 14% of these perpetrators committed which included parent homicides when suicide. the victim was an adult, other types of family members, and romantic rivals. More than 80% of those who were convicted for the crime were sentenced to The average age of these victims was prison. 35.8 years, with a range from 1 to 72. Close to half of these perpetrators had Three-quarters of the victims were male been arrested at some time prior to the and almost 90% of the perpetrators were homicide. male. Factors Influencing Conviction Outcomes More severe sentences were received by A multiple regression analysis showed male perpetrators who killed adults rather that when all these factors—victim age, than children, who killed women, or who victim gender, perpetrator gender, and used a weapon in the commission of the weapon use—were combined with prior crime. arrests, only weapon use emerged as a significant predictor of the level of severity of the sentence. October 30, 2009               Page 6 
  7. 7. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        INTRODUCTION AND General Precipitating Factors BACKGROUND for Domestic Homicide Domestic violence is a serious issue in Utah A great deal of research has been conducted and across the United States. In particular, by government agencies and academics on violence against intimate partners and domestic violence, and domestic homicide in children can have a major impact on families particular. A full review of this literature is and individual victims, as well as the criminal beyond the scope of this report. In the justice system that investigates cases and following, however, we provide a summary of attempts to deal with the problem. While some important factors that may contribute to general violence of varying degrees between domestic homicide, including those that may family members is fairly widespread, this also distinguish between abusers and killers. This brings with it the potential for fatalities in selective review also differentiates between some cases, both intentional and accidental. certain categories of domestic homicide, with In a recent report on family violence, the an emphasis on homicides involving intimate Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS, 2005) partners and children as victims. Within each analyzed all murders committed in 2002 and category, precipitating factors are organized found that 28.9% involved family or other according to background characteristics of intimate partners (i.e., boyfriends or perpetrators and victims, as well as important girlfriends). In Utah, although the murder rate features of the context surrounding the is low, a larger percentage of these are incident, including family and relationship domestic-related. Beyond these numbers characteristics. While there are important and rates, many different factors can play a differences between these two homicide role in domestic homicide, and it is important categories, there are key similarities as well. to both understand these factors and more closely examine the cases of domestic It is important to note that none of the factors homicide in our state to identify common discussed below cause domestic violence themes in background and context. homicide. Many of these factors may also be present in individuals and relationships that The purpose of this report is to provide this do not end in homicide. But, as more of background and closer analysis of domestic these factors are present in any given violence homicide incidents in Utah. A better perpetrator, victim, and/or relationship, the understanding of the factors contributing to level of risk for domestic homicide should domestic homicide of various types, as well increase. In fact, these risk factors are often as the limitations on the information we have highly correlated. available about these incidents, may help to inform policy decisions regarding domestic Intimate Partner Homicides violence and interventions for victims at early A large percentage of domestic violence stages in the cycle of violence. homicides involve intimate partners, including spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, ex- In the rest of this section, we will summarize spouses, and ex-boyfriends/girlfriends. In the some general precipitating factors that BJS family violence report, an estimated research has shown to contribute to 15.9% of all 2002 murder victims were domestic homicide. Then, we will provide an current or former intimate partners of their analysis of incidents in Utah according to assailant (8.6% spouse, 7.3% available data from various sources that boyfriend/girlfriend). Intimate partners identify some of these factors. October 30, 2009               Page 7 
  8. 8. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        accounted for 55.4% of all domestic violence to control the partner (i.e., after attempts homicides in this report (combining family to leave). members and girlfriends/boyfriends). • Jealousy/Controlling Behavior: Males Not surprisingly, intimate partner homicide who murder their intimate partners (or (and violence generally) has drawn the most who are murdered by their intimate research attention. Below is a summary of partners) often display high levels of some of the factors that have been found to jealousy regarding the activities of their contribute to intimate partner homicide. Most partner, sometimes termed “morbid of this research either closely examined a jealousy.” This jealousy most often is sample of domestic violence homicides, or related to presumed sexual infidelity (real compared relationships resulting in homicide or imagined), though it may also extend with those involving nonfatal domestic to other social connection attempts by the violence (see the Reference list at the end of partner outside the relationship (i.e., this section for some representative research friendships, work). Additionally, the articles on the topic used in this summary). presence of jealousy may lead to coercive and controlling behavior. These Victim/Perpetrator Factors. Some elements controlling behaviors may include within the background of the perpetrator nonlethal violence. It is rare to find such and/or victim may serve as risk factors for thoughts and behaviors in female intimate partner homicide. The most perpetrators (though presence in their prominent of these is sex (i.e., men are more victim may contribute). likely to be perpetrators and women victims), • Criminal History: It is common for though other factors such as criminal history, perpetrators of intimate partner homicide substance abuse, age, education, and to have criminal histories, especially a personality can contribute to or exacerbate previous violent offense. But it is these sex differences in homicide potential in important to recognize that, while intimate relationships. previous violence in general is indicative • Sex: Research has consistently shown of potential for lethal violence, many men that males are much more likely to kill may only be violent within their intimate their intimate partners. For example, relationships. Additionally, in a small some estimates show that, in the United percentage of intimate partner homicides, States, around 60 females murder a male this was the first incident of violence on intimate partner for every 100 males that the part of the perpetrator. Criminal murder a female partner. On the other history is not as predictive of homicide in hand, homicides by females are much female perpetrators. less common in general, and intimate • Substance Use/Abuse: Alcohol and partner homicides make up a larger drug use, both long-term abuse and use percentage of overall homicides for prior to/during the incident, have been females than males. The motivation and found to contribute to intimate partner circumstances surrounding the homicide homicide, though the support for this also differ. While females are most likely factor is a bit mixed. Several studies have to murder in self-defense (i.e., reaction to found illicit drug use by the perpetrator long-term abuse), male homicides of within a conflictual relationship intimate partners more often occur in the contributes to the potential for homicide. context of ongoing violence and attempts Some studies have also shown that October 30, 2009               Page 8 
  9. 9. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        alcohol abuse is an important contributing (see above), rigid attitudes and beliefs, factor (e.g., Sharps et al., 2001), while selfish behavior, and lack of empathy. others have found that it is not as important as other factors (e.g., Campbell • Age Difference: Some research has et al., 2003). With alcohol, the extent of found that there is a greater risk for abuse and frequency of intoxication may intimate partner homicide when there is a be most important. Additionally, in a large large discrepancy in the ages of the two percentage of cases, one or both of the partners. partners have been found to be intoxicated (or under the influence of Contextual Factors. In addition to factors in drugs) at the time of the incident. the individual perpetrator and/or victim backgrounds, there are also various • Education: Like substance abuse, contextual factors that are often more education (or lack thereof) is a factor that important than individual factors. These are has been found to have mixed predictive usually related to dynamics in the value. Some research has shown that relationship, though also extend to the lack of education (i.e., less than high proximal and distal circumstances school) in both the perpetrator and victim surrounding the incident and even to the can be a risk factor for homicide in an greater economic and sociocultural context already conflictual relationship, but this is inconsistent. Additionally, college • Prior Domestic Violence: Research education in victims of domestic violence consistently finds that a large percentage has been found to be a protective factor of female victims and perpetrators had against homicide. experienced violence and abuse from their partners, often over long periods of • Personality/Mental Health: While not time. A recent review found that studies usually considered one of the most have reported a range of between 25- important factors in intimate partner 76% of male killers of their intimate homicide, personality and mental health partners had previously been violent in problems may increase the risk of the relationship (Aldridge & Browne, homicide in the presence of some of the 2003). Apart from the presence of contextual factors discussed below. previous violence, the type of violence Some research has found that a majority has also found to be important. In of males who kill their intimate partners particular, attempts to choke or have a personality disorder of some kind. strangle the victim appear to be a Personalities that are hypersensitive and significant risk factor. Additionally, the overcontrolled, such as dependent, frequency and severity of violence, and borderline, and narcissistic, have been how recent the previous attack was, are those most often identified. These better predictors than presence of (especially dependent) may be violence alone. particularly problematic following separation. Additionally, there is mixed • Separation/Estrangement: A large evidence of the importance of depression percentage of intimate partner homicides and paranoia for homicide, with occur following separation (or after a depression being more prevalent in cases partner is informed of intent to separate), of homicide-suicide. Other factors related or during periods of estrangement. This to personality that have been researched factor is often related to the individual include jealousy and possessiveness factor of jealousy and control, and it is October 30, 2009               Page 9 
  10. 10. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        quite rare to see a woman murder a man vary according to other individual and following separation. In such situational factors. circumstances, the separation can be a very salient loss of control. Some studies • Gun Possession/Access: Research has have shown that the period immediately consistently shown that homicide is more after the separation or estrangement (i.e., likely in an abusive relationship when 1-2 months after) is of particular risk to there is a gun in the house or easy the woman. In many cases, however, access to a gun on the part of the leaving or not cohabitating can decrease perpetrator. Beyond access to a firearm, subsequent violence – it is important to use of such a weapon in the course of an see many of these risk factors as assault greatly increases the likelihood of occurring in combination. In other words, death. for most women, there is a lot to gain by • Unemployment: While some leaving a dysfunctional relationship, but researchers have downplayed the also potential risks. influence of unemployment, Campbell • Threats: Threats to kill should be taken and colleagues (2003), for example, very seriously, as a large percentage of found that a male partner who is perpetrators who make such threats unemployed (and not seeking a job) was ultimately follow through. While many one of the best predictors of homicide in homicides occur without a prior threat on their large sample of abuse and homicide the life of the victim, such threats have victims. been found to be an important factor that • Presence of Children: This factor has distinguishes between perpetrators of been studied by some researchers, and it homicide and nonlethal violence against differs according to the sex of the an intimate partner (Campbell et al., perpetrator. Males tend to be less likely to 2003), particularly threats to kill and, murder their intimate partner if they have more generally, threats with a weapon. a child with the partner that is living in the Not surprisingly, threats often occur in the house, though there is increased risk to context of a potential separation (or to the partner if she has a child from a discourage such actions). previous relationship living in the house. • Agency Contact: Research generally In contrast, females have been found to shows that over half of women who were be more likely to murder their partners in murdered by their intimate partner had the context of a long-term abusive made some contact with the criminal relationship when there are children justice system in the 12 months prior to involved. the murder. This most commonly involved the reporting of an assault or stalking Domestic Homicides of Children incident. Additionally, in a large Another major category of domestic violence percentage of intimate partner homicides homicide involves children killed by parents (by both males and females), the police or other caretakers. In the BJS report, an had previously been called to the estimated 5.5% of all 2002 murders involved residence to investigate a domestic a victim who was the son or daughter of the incident and/or the female had sought or perpetrator (19% of all domestic/intimate received a protective order against her partner homicides). But, this number does partner. Again, such measures often help not include other relationships in this to reduce future violence, though this will category, including boyfriend/girlfriend of October 30, 2009               Page 10 
  11. 11. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        parent, that likely push this rate of domestic accidents from maltreatment. In terms of violence homicide of children higher. perpetrators, young mothers have also been found to be more likely to kill their There is less research on domestic violence child. homicides of children than on intimate partner homicides, as it is often harder to • Criminal History: Prior criminal record is access records related to the circumstances also a risk factor for domestic child of these homicides. Below is a summary of homicide, with fathers or male caretakers some of the factors that have been found to who kill their children more likely to have contribute to the domestic violence homicide criminal histories. of children (see the Reference list at the end • Substance Use/Abuse: Alcohol and of this section for some representative drug use are often involved in domestic research articles on the topic used in this violence homicides of children, though summary). some (e.g., Websdale, 1999) have argued that the causal role of substance Victim/Perpetrator Factors. abuse may be overestimated in many • Sex: Unlike intimate partner homicide, cases. Substance abuse is also often there is not as evident of a sex difference related to larger issues of mental health in in perpetration of child homicide. While many perpetrators. men are more likely to kill than women in • Mental Health: Women who kill their general, women are responsible for a children are much more likely to be much higher percentage of deaths of labeled mentally ill (i.e., depressed) than children under 12 (~43%). Homicides by men, and are somewhat more likely to women are more likely to involve commit suicide following the murder. maltreatment of a child under 5 years of Some research has shown that suicidal age or infanticide, and are more likely to ideation on the part of the parent may put involve the use of hands or feet as the child at greater risk. A small subset of weapons. Men are more likely to use domestic child murderers may experience weapons, to kill a child that is not their acute psychotic episodes. Postpartum own, and to kill a child and an intimate depression in the mother is also a factor partner together. In terms of victim sex, in some infant killings. there is no evidence that either male or female children are killed at higher rates. Contextual Factors. • Age: Most research shows that infants and younger children (under 5) are at • Parental Relationship: In most studies, greater risk for homicide by parents and biological parents make up over half of caretakers than older children. The the perpetrators of domestic violence greatest risk is for children under age 1. child homicide. Some research has This may also be related to the fragility documented the greater risk for homicide and dependence of infants and young of a child by a stepfather or boyfriend of children, as well as lack of knowledge on the mother (though no corresponding the part of the caretaker and increased increase in risk from stepmothers or stress. Even with their higher rates, girlfriends of the father). deaths of infants and young children may • Prior Child Abuse/Neglect: As with still be underestimated, due to the intimate partner homicide, prior history of difficulty in distinguishing some cases of abuse is one of the best predictors of October 30, 2009               Page 11 
  12. 12. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        subsequent child homicide. Again, since unplanned pregnancy, and conflicts with many domestic violence child homicide other family members. Such stressors are victims are very young (i.e., under age 1), often accompanied (and magnified) by a abuse on the part of the parent or lack of coping mechanisms and parenting caretaker has a higher likelihood of skills. causing lethal harm. Some research shows that males are more likely to kill in It should be noted that a small subset of the course of battering. Many cases of domestic violence homicide incidents may child homicide can be classified as abuse involve multiple victims, often including an or neglect taken too far, and may not be intimate partner and child. In most cases, very different conceptually than sublethal research has shown that the killing of the abuse cases. child is often an extension of the intimate partner killing. Thus, the primary target is • Parental/Caretaker Domestic Violence: more likely to be the intimate partner, and Not surprisingly, the toxic situations in such homicides fall more in line with the which domestic violence child homicide intimate partner factors. often occurs involve not only abuse of the child, but also violence between the parents (or the mother and stepfather or Other Domestic Violence Homicides boyfriend). Research shows a While the majority of domestic violence relationship between woman battering homicide cases tend to involve intimate and child battering in males. Also, partners or children as victims, there remain common background and contextual other incidents that may be classified under factors tend to promote both types of the category of domestic homicide. These violence. include the killing of a sibling or parent within a family, as well as the killing of a romantic • Agency Contact: Reviews of research in rival in an extension of intimate partner this area report findings in the range of disputes. 25-50% of domestic child homicides had involved some prior contact between the These other categories of domestic violence family and child protective services. homicide have not received as much research attention as intimate partner • Unemployment/Poverty: Unemployment homicide or domestic violence child and financial hardship are commonly homicide. Some intimate partner research, found in the family situation of children however, does address the “rivalry” killings who are murdered by parents or that sometimes occur in intimate partner caretakers. While this data is often hard relationships that have ended. By far, males to find, one study found that almost three- are most likely to pursue and kill another quarters of cases of domestic violence male who is involved with their former child homicide in which data were intimate partner (sometimes in the course of available involved a family that qualified killing the former partner herself). Cases of as “poor” (Websdale, 1999). women engaging in similar actions are • Other Stressors: Many cases involving extremely rare. For the killing of siblings, both female and male perpetrators also some data on the national level show that point to other life stressors as influential such homicides are most likely to occur in the situation leading up to the child between teenage or young adult male homicide, including financial and marital siblings as a result of an argument. difficulties, limited social support, October 30, 2009               Page 12 
  13. 13. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        Summary References This review has attempted to provide some important factors that should be considered This reference list represents the sources when examining cases of domestic violence that were consulted for the above review of homicide, based on previous research. Once precipitating factors, and may also be used again, these factors should not be looked at for further information on the topics. It is by in isolation, but rather in combination with no means a comprehensive list of research each other in the context of conflictual and on domestic homicide. dysfunctional relationships. Obviously, not all males or substance abusers, for example, General Domestic Violence will end up killing their intimate partners. But, Homicide males who have previously abused their intimate partners and who have jealousy and Bureau of Justice Statistics (June 2005). control issues, are frequently intoxicated, are Family violence statistics: Including in the process of separating from their statistics on strangers and acquaintances. partner, and who have easy access to a gun, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of may have a high likelihood of committing Justice (NCJ 207846). homicide (or even being the victim of homicide at the hands of their partner). The Websdale, N. (1999). Understanding same is true for the factors described in domestic homicide. Boston: Northeastern relation to domestic violence homicides of University Press. children. Intimate Partner Homicide It is important to emphasize here the combination of individual and contextual Adams, D. (2007). Why do they kill? Men factors when studying domestic violence who murder their intimate partners. homicide. Often, various factors in the Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. background of perpetrators and victims put Aldridge, M.L., & Browne, K.D. (2003). them at risk for lethal violence when various Perpetrators of spousal homicide: A contextual and relationship factors are review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 4, present (and vice versa). As we will see in 265-276. examining the cases in Utah, many of these factors (especially contextual) are difficult to Block, C.R., & Devitt, C.O. (June 2000). obtain from official records. Thus, we present Chicago Women’s Health Risk Study at a the information in the following sections that glance. Chicago, IL: Illinois Criminal we were able to find through official records, Justice Information Authority (NCJ and then briefly discuss some potential 187781). methods for obtaining this missing information in future research. Breitman, N., Shackleford, T.K., & Block, C.R. (March 2003). Is age discrepancy a risk factor for intimate partner homicide? Illinois Criminal Justice Authority Research Bulletin, 1, 1-8. Browne, A., Williams, K.R., & Dutton, D.G. (1999). Homicide between intimate partners: A 20-year review. In M.D. Smith & M.A. Zahn (Eds.), Homicide: A October 30, 2009               Page 13 
  14. 14. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        sourcebook of social research (pp. 149- Finkelhor, D., & Ormrod, R. (October 2001). 164). London: Sage. Homicides of children and youth. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Campbell, J.C., Webster, D., et al. (2003). Justice and Delinquency Prevention Risk factors for femicide in abusive (OJJDP Justice Bulletin), U.S. Department relationships: Results from a multisite case of Justice (NCJ 187239). control study. American Journal of Public Health, 93, 1089-1097. Friedman, S.H., Horwitz, S.M., & Resnick, P.J. (2005). Child murder by mothers: A Dobash, R.E., Dobash, R.P., Cavanagh, K., critical analysis of the current state of & Medina-Ariza, J. (2007). Lethal and knowledge and a research agenda. nonlethal violence against an intimate American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, female partner: Comparing male 1578-1587. murderers to nonlethal abusers. Violence Against Women, 13, 329-353. Liem, M., & Koenraadt, F. (2008). Filicide: A comparative study of maternal vs. paternal Gauthier, D.K., & Bankston, W.B. (2004). child homicide. Criminal Behaviour and “Who kills whom” revisited: A sociological Mental Health, 18, 166-176. study of variation in the sex ratio of spouse killings. Homicide Studies, 8, 96-122. Marleau, J.D., Poulin, B., Webanck, T., Roy, R., & Laporte, L. (1999). Paternal filicide: Johnson, H., & Hotton, T. (2003). Losing A study of 10 men. Canadian Journal of control: Homicide risk in estranged and Psychiatry, 44, 57-63. intact intimate relationships. Homicide Studies, 7, 58-84. Palermo, G.B. (2002). Murderous parents. International Journal of Offender Therapy McFarlane, J., Campbell, J.C., & Watson, K. and Comparative Criminology, 46, 123- (2001). The use of the justice system prior 143. to intimate partner femicide. Criminal Justice Review, 26, 193-208. Stanton, J., & Simpson, A. (2002). Filicide: A review. International Journal Of Law and McFarlane, J., Campbell, J.C., Wilt, S., Psychiatry, 25, 1-14. Sachs, C.J., Ulrich, Y., & Xu, X. (1999). Stalking and intimate partner femicide. Homicide Studies, 3, 300-316. Sharps, P.W., Campbell, J.C., Campbell, D.W., Gary, F., & Webster, D. (2001). The role of alcohol use in intimate partner femicide. Journal on Addictions, 10, 1-14. Domestic Violence Child Homicide Bourget, D., Grace, J., & Whitehurst, L. (2007). A review of maternal and paternal filicide. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, 35, 74- 82. October 30, 2009               Page 14 
  15. 15. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        METHODS Definition of a “domestic violence- related homicide.” Data were collected on all domestic violence- A murder committed by a family member related homicides in Utah occurring between or a current or former intimate partner 2000 and 2008 that could be identified as (including spouses, ex-spouses, and domestic-violence related using the definition boyfriends or girlfriends). The definition given in the box to the right. It is possible also includes romantic rivalry homicides that domestic violence homicides were that result less directly from intimate missed because the perpetrator could not be partner relationships, for example, an ex- identified which meant that a relationship spouse kills a new boyfriend or girlfriend between perpetrator and victim could not be of their ex-spouse. determined. homicide, and prior and subsequent arrests Data was obtained from a variety of and convictions for the perpetrators. No sources—including the Utah Violent Death source had complete data in these areas— Reporting System (UVDRS), the Utah for example, UDC only has data on Incident Based Reporting System (IBRS), the perpetrators and only on those perpetrators Utah Department of Corrections (UDC), the who have been convicted and sentenced. Utah Criminal History System (UCCH), the Supplemental Homicide Reports (SHR), the Where data sources had conflicting Utah Domestic Violence Council annual information, the following priorities were domestic violence homicide reports (UDVC), assigned: 1) UDC, 2) UCCH, 3) UVDRS, 4) and newspaper accounts of the homicides UDVC, 5) SHR, 6) IBRS, and 7) newspapers. and subsequent criminal cases. All sources More detailed data on the victim-perpetrator were used to identify cases which fit the relationship and the circumstances of the definitions and compile the data of interest. homicide were obtained from the UVDRS system and from the Intimate Partner Data were collected in the following Violence (IPV) sub-system of UVDRS. Much categories: victim demographics, perpetrator of this information was only available on demographics, homicide event information, more recent cases, which will be reflected in victim-perpetrator relationship, criminal the data analysis sections. charges and convictions resulting from the October 30, 2009               Page 15 
  16. 16. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        RESULTS More than half of the homicides in Utah in Percent of Domestic Violence Related 2008 were domestic violence-related. Homicides 53.5 55.3 60.0 48.8 % of homicides 50.0 41.8 40.0 36.2 38.6 Data were collected on 169 different incidents 40.0 32.6 31.9 30.0 between 2000 and 2008 involving 180 victims 20.0 and 173 perpetrators. 9 incidents involved 10.0 multiple victims killed by a single perpetrator—7 0.0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 with 2 victims and 2 with 3 victims—and 4 Year involved a single victim killed by two different perpetrators. More information on these incidents is given in the section on victim- perpetrator relationships. Number of Victims by Year 2000 through 2008 Domestic violence homicides account for a large 22 23 23 22 25 21 21 percentage of the total homicides committed in 20 17 17 Utah. In 2008, more than half of the homicides 15 14 occurring in the state were domestic violence- 10 related based on data collected through the 5 Uniform Crime Reporting system. 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Incident Characteristics The domestic violence homicides included in this study covered a vast array of situations and Method of Death resulted from a large variety of events. Close to Weapon # of Victims half of the 184 incidents (46.1%) involved a Firearm 84 firearm and an additional 12.5% involved a knife. Knife 23 The remaining 41.4% of the cases involved child Ax 1 abuse or neglect, an accidental drug overdose, Automobile 3 an ax, beating, drowning, automobile homicide, Fire 5 fire, and strangulation or suffocation. One Drug overdose 2 Water overdose 1 unusual incident involved a child homicide Other objects 3 committed by a mother forcing the child to drink Fight, fists, blunt force 9 large amounts of water as a disciplinary Drowning 1 technique. Suicide by the perpetrator was Strangulation or suffocation 14 common. Relationships between perpetrators Child abuse or neglect 34 and victims ranged from spouses to aunt- nephew to ex-husband of victim’s daughter. October 30, 2009               Page 16 
  17. 17. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        Victims Age Distribution of Victims 180 victims were killed in domestic violence Age Category # of Victims incidents between 2000 and 2008. The number Less than 1 year 23 of incidents has remained relatively constant 1-2 years 16 over this time period. During the same time 3-5 years 10 period, Utah state population has grown by 6-10 years 6 almost 23%. 11-20 years 9 21-30 years 33 31-40 years 29 The average age of the 180 victims was 28.5 41-50 years 25 years, ranging from less than a year old to 83 51-60 years 14 years of age at the time of homicide. 109 of the 61 and older 15 victims were female and 71 were male. Two-thirds of adult victims of domestic violence homicide were women. Victims fell into two distinct groups—child and Victim Gender by Age 80 adult victims—with different characteristics. 70 67.2 Younger victims were equally as likely to be 60 54.5 % of victims 50 45.5 male or female, while older victims were more 40 32.8 likely to be female. The average age of male 30 victims was 22.5 years compared to 32.4 years 20 10 for female victims. More than half of the victims 0 10 years of age or less were male (54.5%) Male Female compared to less than a third (32.8%) of the 10 years or less Over 10 years victims over 10 (χ2(1) = 6.92, p<.01). Perpetrators More than 80% of the perpetrators were male. The 169 domestic violence incidents involved Age Distribution of Perpetrators 173 perpetrators. 144 (83.2%) of the Age Category # of Perpetrators perpetrators were male and 29 (16.8%) were Under 18 4 18-20 years 11 female. Their average age at the time of the 21-30 years 61 murder was 36.5 years (age was missing in 5 31-40 years 40 cases). There was no difference in the average 41-50 years 26 age of male compared to female perpetrators. 51-60 years 13 61 or more 13 October 30, 2009               Page 17 
  18. 18. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        Perpetrator Suicide Almost one-quarter of the perpetrators committed suicide. 39 (22.5%) of the perpetrators committed Perpetrator Suicide by Age suicide. More than 90% (92.3%) of the suicides 100 were committed by male perpetrators. 76.3 % of perpetrators 80 64.9 60 The average age of the perpetrators who 40 35.1 23.7 committed suicide was 50.8 years. 35.1% of the 20 suicides were less than 40 years of age 0 compared to 76.3% of the perpetrators who did less than 40 years 40 years or more not commit suicide (χ2(1) = 20.40, p<.01). Of the suicide no suicide 9 pairs in which both the perpetrator and victim were over 60 years of age, 7 involved a perpetrator suicide. Suicides were more common in intimate partner homicides than parent homicides. Almost half of the suicides were committed by Number of Suicides by Type of Relationship husbands—46.2% were committed by husbands 30 26 # of perpetrators after killing their wives. If ex-husbands, 20 commonlaw husbands, boyfriends and ex- 10 5 6 4 boyfriends are added to the numbers, 29 out of 0 39 (74.3%) suicides were committed by men Spouse/ex- Boyfriend/ex- Parent Other after killing their current or ex-intimate partners. spouse boyfriend Note: Two perpetrators are shown in more than one category 4 parents committed suicide after killing a child—in two of these cases, the parents killed 2 of their children; in another, a father killed his child, his live-in girlfriend, and her child; and in the final one, a father killed his child and his wife. In 5 of the 9 cases in which a perpetrator killed more than one victim, the perpetrator committed suicide. Suicides were more likely when the perpetrator used a weapon to commit the Percent of Perpetrators Using Weapons murder. 100.0% 87.2% % of perpetrators 80.0% 60.0% 50.7% 34 (87.2%) of the suicides used a traditional weapon (gun or knife) to kill their victims 40.0% 20.0% compared to 68 (50.7%) of the non-suicides (χ2(1) =15.10, p<.01). 0.0% Suicide No Suicide October 30, 2009               Page 18 
  19. 19. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        Victim-Perpetrator Relationships About two-thirds of cases involved intimate Perpetrator's Relationship to the Victim partner relationships. parent 25.4 184 victim-perpetrator pairs were analyzed. boy/girlfriend of parent 5.9 spouse 24.9 Intimate partners killed their current or past ex-spouse 5.4 spouses or boy/girlfriends in 85 (46.2%) of the boy/girlfriend 9.7 cases reviewed. Romantic rivalry played a part ex-boy/girlfriend 5.9 in the homicide in 7.1% of the cases. Parents or roommate 2.2 boy/girlfriends of parents killed a child in 31.5% rival 7.0 of the cases. Other relationships were involved other 13.0 in 15.3% of the cases. These other 0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0 relationships included roommates, brothers and sisters, sons, cousins, an aunt, and in-laws, among others. Relationships in Multiple Victim/Perpetrator Homicides Multiple Victims/Single # of Multiple victims and/or multiple perpetrators Perpetrator Incidents occurred in 13 of the 184 incidents (7.1%). Father killed 2 children 3 Multiple victims with a single perpetrator were Mother killed 3 children 1 more common than multiple perpetrators with a Father killed his child, girlfriend, and 1 single victim. her child Father killed child and wife 1 Ex-boyfriend killed ex-girlfriend and 2 A male perpetrator with a female victim was her new dating relationship the most common pair. Ex-husband killed ex-wife and her 1 mother The 184 incidents were classified by the gender Single Victim/Multiple # of of the victim and the gender of the perpetrator. Perpetrators Incidents Ex-wife and her boyfriend killed ex- 1 4.3% involved a female victim with a female husband perpetrator, 56.0% a female victim with a male Mother and father killed child 1 perpetrator, 12.5% a male victim with a female Mother and step-father killed child 1 perpetrator, and 27.2% a male victim with a Mother and her boyfriend killed child 1 male perpetrator. In the female victim-female perpetrator pairs, 7 Gender of Victims and Perpetrators out of 8 involved a mother killing her child under Perpetrator 10 years of age. The other one involved a Victim Female Male Female 8 103 romantic rivalry. Male 23 50 Almost three-fourths of women or girls who were killed by men were victims of intimate Female Victim-Male Perpetrator partner violence. Relationships Spouse 37 Roommate 1 The 103 female victim-male perpetrator pairs Ex-spouse 9 Father 15 were more diverse. Intimate partners were Boyfriend 17 Boyfriend of mother 5 involved in 71.8% of these cases, romantic Ex-boyfriend 11 Son 5 rivalry in 1.0%, parents in 19.4%, and 7.8% fell Romantic rival 1 Other 2 October 30, 2009               Page 19 
  20. 20. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        into the other category. The average victim age was 33.9 years. About a half of men or boys killed by women were victims of intimate partner violence, and a third were boys killed by their mothers. The 23 male victim-female perpetrator pairs had an average victim age of 28.9 years. Just under Male Victim-Female Perpetrator half (47.8%) of these cases involved an intimate Relationships partner relationship, 34.8% were parent-child, Spouse 9 Roommate 1 and 17.4% fell into the other category. Ex-spouse 1 Mother 8 Girlfriend 1 Other 3 Parents killing their children accounted for almost half of the male victim-male perpetrator cases. The 50 male victim-male perpetrator pairs had Male Victim-Male Perpetrator an average age of 19.6 years. Romantic rivalry Relationships accounted for 22.0% of the cases, parents for Rival 11 Roommate 2 46.0% of the cases, other family for 28.0% of the Father 17 Other 14 cases, and roommates for 4.0%. Boyfriend of mother 6 Criminal History and Outcomes Close to 60% of the perpetrators were convicted on a charge related to the homicide. 101 of the 173 perpetrators (58.4%) were ultimately convicted for charges relating to the Convictions Received by Perpetrators Conviction Sentence # homicide and 86 (49.7%) were sentenced to a Capital Prison 10 prison term. The 101 perpetrators received the Life in Prison following sentences: 1st Degree Prison 40 • 10 received a capital conviction, which 20 Years to Life Unsentenced 1 carries a life sentence in prison 2nd Degree Prison 31 1 to 15 Years Probation/jail 5 • 41 received a 1st degree conviction, which Unsentenced 1 carries a 5 (or more) years to life sentence. 3rd Degree Prison 5 o 40 of these were sentenced to prison 0 to 5 Years Probation/jail 3 o 1 is still awaiting sentencing Misdemeanor Probation/jail 5 • 37 received a 2nd degree conviction, which 0 to 1Years carries a 1 to 15 year sentence. o 31 were sentenced to prison o 5 were sentenced to probation o 1 is still awaiting sentencing • 8 received a 3rd degree conviction, which carries a 0 to 5 year sentence. October 30, 2009               Page 20 
  21. 21. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        o 5 were sentenced to prison o 3 were sentenced to probation and/or jail time • 5 were convicted of a misdemeanor and all were sentenced to probation and/or jail time. About 20% of the perpetrators did not commit suicide and were not convicted. The remaining 33 perpetrators who did not commit suicide and were not convicted had the following outcomes: • 12 had been arrested but had not been Outcomes for Perpetrators 120 101 convicted by July 2009. # of perpetrators 100 • 5 were found mentally incompetent to stand 80 60 39 trial. 40 12 • 4 homicides occurred on Federal land and 20 5 4 4 3 2 1 2 0 were handled in Federal courts. Di Su Fe Fu No Ju No Co Ar M ed en re de ve ici gi tg nv in st ta tiv de ni • 4 perpetrators were believed to have fled the ra fo ic ui ed lly e le l te lt y rm d In /D at co is io m m n is state. pe se te d nt • 3 were found not guilty or had charges dismissed. • 2 of the perpetrators were juveniles. • No information was found for 2 perpetrators. • 1 perpetrator died in jail before he was convicted. Close to half of the perpetrators had a prior criminal record. 79 of the 173 perpetrators (45.7%) had a prior Percent of Perpetrators with Prior Arrests arrest recorded in Utah’s criminal history 50 45.7 % of perpetrators tracking system and 26 (15.0%) had been 40 25.4 30 arrested for a felony level offense. These 80 20 17.9 17.9 17.9 10.4 offenders averaged 2.65 prior arrests with a 10 0 range from 1 to 16 prior arrests. The following Any Violent DUI Drug Property Other summarizes the types of charges against the Type of Charge perpetrators in these prior arrests. Note that an offender may have more than one type of arrest charge. Offenses which lead to an arrest are often entered under generic codes such as “assault” which may or may not have involved a domestic violence incident. Arrests were only counted as domestic violence if the records clearly indicated a domestic violence connection. October 30, 2009               Page 21 
  22. 22. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        Violence. 44 of the perpetrators (25.4%) had been arrested for a violent offense—40 of these Prior Arrests for Domestic Violence for some type of assault and 21 for a domestic Homicide Perpetrators # of violence assault. 3 had been arrested for sex Arrest Type Perpetrators crimes. Seven perpetrators had an arrest Violent 44 relating to a protective order violation. Nine Domestic Violence 21 perpetrators had been arrested for a weapons Assault 40 violation. Sex Crime 3 Protective Order 7 Substance Abuse Violations. 41 of the Weapon 9 Substance Abuse 41 perpetrators (23.7%) had been arrested for a Drug Crime 18 crime related to substance abuse. 18 had been Driving Under the Influence 31 arrested for a drug offense and 31 for Driving Property 31 Under the Influence (DUI). Other 31 Total with at least one arrest 79 Other Crime Types. 31 perpetrators had a property crime arrest and 31 had been arrested for crimes in the “other” offense category. These include public order and alcohol possession offenses. Five of the perpetrators had been in prison in Utah prior to the homicide and an additional 19 had been on probation with the Utah Department of Corrections prior to the homicide. Intimate Partner Homicides Most intimate partner victims were women and most perpetrators were men. Homicides involving current or former intimate Intimate Partner Perpetrators partners were analyzed separately. Relationships included in this category were husband 34 boyfriend 17 spouses, common-law relationships, ex- ex-boyfriend 11 spouses, boy or girlfriends, and ex-boy or ex- wife 9 girlfriends. 85 total incidents were included in ex-husband 9 this category, with 85 victims and 85 commonlaw husband 3 perpetrators. ex-wife 1 girlfriend 1 Five intimate partner homicide incidents had 0 10 20 30 40 multiple victims, only one of which was an Number of victims intimate partner. In two of these cases, the perpetrator was an ex-boyfriend of the victim and also killed her new boyfriend and himself. In the third case, an ex-spouse killed his ex-wife and her mother. In the fourth case, a husband October 30, 2009               Page 22 
  23. 23. Domestic Violence Homicides in Utah  Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice        killed his wife and their child, and in the fifth case, a boyfriend killed his girlfriend, her child, Intimate Partner Victim and Perpetrator Gender and his child. The incidents involving the non- 74 74 80 intimate partner victims are also included in the # of individuals 60 sections on parent homicides and other 40 domestic homicides. 20 11 11 0 The figure on the previous page shows the Male Female Victim Perpetrator relationship of the perpetrators in this study to their victims. 74 (87.1%) of the perpetrators were male and 11 female. Victims had the opposite distribution, with 74 female victims and 11 male. Age Distribution of Intimate Partner Victims Age Category Number of Victims The average age of the victims was 41.6 years. 15-19 2 20-39 41 Two of the victims were teenagers and three 40-59 31 were in their 80’s, with a range of 15 to 83 years. 60 or more 11 48.2% of the victims were between 20 and 39, 36.4% between 40 and 59, and 13.0% were over 60. The average age of the perpetrators was 44.5 years (age was missing in 2 cases). Age Distribution of Intimate Partner The range of ages was 18 to 88 years. Of those Perpetrators with known ages, 43.4% were between 20 and Age Category Number of Perpetrators 39 years of age, 41.0% were between 40 and 59 18-19 1 years, and 14.5% were over 60. 20-39 36 40-59 34 60 or more 12 Perpetrators committed suicide in more than one-third of these cases. Suicide was very common in these cases— Percent of Intimate Partner Perpetrators 36.5% of the perpetrators also killed themselves. Committing Suicide 60.0% Suicide was more common for male % of perpetrators 47.8% 50.0% 40.0% perpetrators, with 39.2% of male perpetrators 40.0% 27.3% killing themselves compared to 18.2% of female 30.0% 20.0% 11.1% perpetrators. (Small sample size makes 10.0% statistical analysis invalid). Suicide 0.0% boyfriend ex-boyfriend ex-spouse spouse perpetrators were older than those who did not kill themselves. The average age of suicides was 51.9 years, compared to 40.3 for others (t(81)=3.36, p<.01). It was much more likely for a spouse or ex- spouse (we have included common-law partners in the spouse category) to commit suicide after killing his or her partner than for a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend. 47.8% of spouses or ex-spouses committed suicide compared to 17.2% of October 30, 2009               Page 23