Murder-suicides Occur At Home In Close Relationships Says Study
When it comes to most studies these days we are used to them usually being conducted with a narrow time frame with anything beyond 10 years being pretty rare, especially when it comes to drug trials it seems. So when you hear of a study that is conducted with data collected over a 145 year period you can be pretty sure that the researchers have plenty of data to deal with.
This is the case Ball State criminal justice professor Kiesha Warren-Gordon, along with criminal justice faculty Bryan Byers and Stephen Brodt, collaborated to produce a study on murder suicide titled “Murder Followed by Suicide: A Newspaper Surveillance Study Using The New York Times”, and published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences. In the examination of 166 murder-suicides reported by The New York Times from 1858 to 2003 found that most murder-suicides involved a male perpetrator using a firearm.
“Murder-suicides are rare but are usually highly publicized by the media,” she said. “It is not surprising that males use a gun to kill. These are fairly easy to obtain, can be used at close range and are particularly lethal. In fact, research has shown us that males use a gun to commit suicide in the majority of cases.
“In nearly every case, such acts include people who are very well known to each other. It is usually a husband or boyfriend who shoots his wife or girlfriend. This usually happens in a private residence or home, allowing for the murder-suicide to occur in relative privacy.”
Some of the other interesting that the study found include:
- The majority of murder-suicides occur in December, followed by August and then September
- Firearms are used in about 78 percent of the murders and 77 percent of the suicides
- In contrast knives are used in about 9 percent of the murders but only 6 percent of the suicides
- 77% of the victims are women and if there are multiple deaths the victims are typically children
- 80% of the time a private residence it the location of the murder-suicide with businesses accounting for 9 percents and 7 percent in a public place.