Stop spouse-on-spouse killings (Part 11)

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:12:35 +0000


A British singer warns in his song that If you can’t make up your mind and you’re torn between your lover and the love, you’re headed for disaster”.

These words are in a song entitled ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’ written by Brian May of the famous rock band, Queen.

I find these lyrics relevant to the spate of killings of spouses by their own partners who are supposed to be their life-long lovers.

Indeed, in their endeavour to take the ‘till death do us part’ vow to completely another level, some couples engage in love tussles leading to deaths in some cases.

Last week, we looked at the current spate of killings of husbands by their wives in Zambia and other pats of the world.

It is only fair that we also look at killer husbands.

A new study conducted in the United States of America suggests that men who kill their wives share a number of traits that, if recognised, could prompt interventions to prevent these tragedies from happening.

The study says more that one-third of women murdered in the United States are killed by their male partners.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, men are predominantly responsible for family murders with 80 percent of fatal family violence being committed by men.

“Some of these cases involved men who were overcome with emotion and ended up committing what are considered as unplanned domestic homicides,” says the study.

The Northwestern University researchers focussed on men who committed spontaneous murders of loved ones and found that these men have a distinct psychological and forensic profile from those who killed people they did not know.

The study whose findings were published recently in the Journal of Forensic Sciences looked at 153 male and female killers charged with or convicted of first degree murder in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Colorado and Arizona.

“Men involved in spontaneous domestic homicides are more likely to have severe mental illness, few previous felony convictions, lower intelligence and more cognitive impairment than seen in other types of murders,” says lead research author, Dr Robert Hanlon, Director of Forensic Psychology Research Laboratory at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“These murders are in the heat of passion and generally involve drugs and they are often driven by jealousy or revenge following separation or a split by the couple. He may grab the kitchen knife out of the drawer in a fit of passion and anger and stab her many times.”

Frequently, partners and family members have been subjected to violence but do not consider the possibly that their loved ones would kill them.

In this case, Dr Hanlon suggests that it is especially critical that a family member contacts authorities when they fear potential harm looming.

“These crimes are often preventable if family members are more informed about the potential danger from having someone who is severely mentally ill in the home and who may have shown violent tendencies in the past,” according to Dr Hanlon.

He adds that some family members may reassure themselves into a state of false beliefs thinking that ‘My son would never hurt me’ or ‘My husband may have a short fuse (high temper) but he would never seriously harm me’.

Adding on to Dr Hanlon’s expert remarks on the need for free-flow of information in families, one cannot help but understand why elderly people on a visit usually sit down their host young couples and ask them a simple question: “Mwikala shani kuno? (Bemba), Munkhala bwanji kuno? (Chinyanja),  Muina cwani kwanu? (Lozi) or How do you live here?”

This is a probing question and depending on the issues advanced by each partners, the elderly guest would counsel the couple before bidding farewell and return home.

Nowadays these vital counselling sessions are not held in most homes, perhaps due to affluence, education advancement, or so-called progress.

Indeed, how could they be held when some of our young couples accommodate their elderly visitors in garages or other inappropriate spaces? What a shame.

This type of treatment leaves the visitor with no room to manoeuvre and offer counselling.

Some visiting elders may just enjoy the delicious food, sleep in comfortable beds, drink well chilled beverages, and then depart with pockets filled with bank notes without offering any form of counselling to the hosting couple.

These snap marriage counselling sessions are vital in dealing with marital problems and may go a long way in preventing spouse-on-spouse killings like the ones we are currently witnessing in Zambia.

Last week, we looked at incidents of wives who have killed their husbands worldwide and today we turn to husbands who have murdered their wives in varying circumstances.

At their wedding reception soon after being pronounced wife and husband on the evening of October 7, 2014, Dr George ‘Scott’ Samson, 54, and Kelly Eckner, 50, a nurse, begun arguing.

As the argument between the newly weds grew intensely bitter, guests began leaving the couple’s Terre Haule mansion in Ohio in the United States.

The police arrived at about 01:20 hours the following morning in response to a distress call from a neighbour only to find both George and Kelly dead with gun shot wounds.

An eye witness reported that Dr Samson was heard shouting at his new wife that “You’ll never get your hands on my money”. He shot his wife dead before turning the weapon on himself.

One night in 2013, Arizona resident, Eugen Maraventono, 67, stabbed his wife dead in her sleep at their home and tiptoed to the other bedroom and repeated the act on his 27-year old son.

Asked by the police why he committed the double murders, Maraventono said he believed he had infected his wife, Janet, 63, with HIV/AIDS from his earlier encounters with prostitutes.

Apparently, two days earlier, his sick wife had tested negative for cancer and Maraventono believed she had HIV/AIDS he believed he had infected her with.

On his son, Barry, Maraventono said he killed him also with the same 14-inch kitchen knife because he thought the young man was disabled and that he would not make it in life on his own as he did not have a girlfriend and a job.

However, in August this year, a judge ruled Maraventono mentally incompetent to stand trial and sent him to a behavioural health facility for evaluation.

The deaths of first and second wives of Methodist pastor, A. B. Schirmer of rural Reeders, Pennsylvania also in the US were both considered tragic accidents until the police had a second look in 2008.

Schirmer’s first wife, Jewel, died in 1999 after allegedly falling down the stairs while his second wife, Betty perished in a car crash two years later.

But fresh investigations revealed that the man of the collar had staged the two tragic incidents which led to the deaths of his wives.

Indeed let us do something and let God help us to halt spouse-on-spouse killings.

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