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The troubles with DV murder statistics


-----Original Message-----
From: Dr. Charles E. Corry [mailto:ccorry@mail.pcisys.net]
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2001 10:47 AM
To: comments@ejfi.org
Subject: RTD bus driver kills her husband with boyfriend's pistol, claims she suffered from "battered woman syndrome"

    After putting out the story Murder Will Out I received a spate of e-mails from women with exaggerated claims of how rarely women kill their domestic partners.

    The best data I have found for intimate homicides by gender of victim is summarized in a graph by the Bureau of Justice that can be found at http://www.dvmen.org/dv-101.htm#pgfId-1072935

    The graph shows homicides by both men and women at near parity in 1976 at a rate of about 1500 each when they began collecting the data. Since then women have been killing their male partners at a steadily decreasing rate, and the rate stood at about 450 men killed per year in 1997, for which one might thank, in part, the current DV laws.

     That is an unanticipated consequence of laws intended to protect women.

     However, men killing their female partners remained at about the same rate of 1500 per year until 1993 when that rate began to decrease as well, standing at about 1250 per year in 1997. That decrease continues so that the present best estimate is that roughly two intimate female partners are killed by men for every man killed by a female intimate partner.

     But, as Dr. Warren Farrell has pointed out in his Twelve Female Only Defenses, since historical times women have used poison as their favored weapon. As was the point with the Murder Will Out story, poison often goes undetected, and death is ascribed to other causes. Also, women commonly use a boyfriend or a third-party to do their killing for them. Such killings are not tabulated by the Justice Department as intimate partner homicides. Thus, for these and other reasons Dr. Farrell refers to as The Six Blinders: "It is impossible to know the degree to which the sexes kill each other. The only thing we know for certain is that both sexes kill more men than they kill women."

     I now list 35 cases of female homicides in Colorado at http://www.dvmen.org/dv-103.htm and estimate that for the years 1998-2000 the tabulation presently includes, at best, one in ten of the actual killings by females of domestic partners that occurred in Colorado.

    However, as with Murder Will Out, I often find out about these murders only many years later. As with the following story, they are then added to the compilation. One reason for doing so is in an attempt to show how cold-blooded and deliberate women can be when killing their male partners, a far cry from claims that women only kill or are violent in self defense.

      Incidentally, the following story is the second I've found in Colorado of a wife shooting her husband and then going out dancing. The first such story I found is at http://www.dvmen.org/dv-103.htm#pgfId-1020100

      A number of points are evident in these stories and the available data:
  • The rate at which women kill their intimate partners is indeterminate. The official rate could quite easily be low by a factor of two or more.

  • The numbers of men killed by their intimate partners has been steadily decreasing since 1976 and the rate is presently about one-third of what it was in 1976.

  • Since 1993, the rate at which men kill their female partners has been steadily decreasing.

  • Present DV laws have lowered the rate at which women kill their intimate partners.

  • When women do kill, they are as cold blooded and deliberate about it as men, if not more so.

  • When women do kill they are much less likely to be detected or prosecuted for their crime.

  • If women are prosecuted they are given shorter sentences for the same crime and are much more likely to have their cases dismissed on appeal or commuted, e.g., see the article by Glenn Sacks.

  • Shooting at the messenger isn't going to fix the problem. If you have better data and references I would really like to see it.

  • It really isn't important how you might feel about these killings or about me. The problem is how to further reduce them.

     Our objective remains to fix the problem, not the blame. That won't happen until it is universally recognized that domestic violence is a human problem, not a gender issue. [My note]

                   Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A.

P.S. For the record, I love most women. Thus, misogyny isn't at the root of this work. Please don't bother to send me more e-mails telling me this all stems from my hatred of the gentle sex. Such epistles only illustrate your own lack of insight into the problems and expose your own prejudices. I have heard from, and known far too many women who hate all men, and only a very few men who hate women.


RTD bus driver kills her husband with boyfriend's pistol, claims she suffered from "battered woman syndrome"

According to trial testimony, on November 9, 1990, Peggy Sue Saiz used a pistol obtained from her boyfriend to shoot her husband, George, four times, killing him. Then, in order to simulate a burglary, Peggy Sue collected items from their home and took them to her mother's house and boyfriend's residence.

Witnesses said that after Peggy Sue shot her husband she went to a bar with her sister. There she met and danced with another man and later the trio went for a late-night snack. After which her sister called 911 from the Saiz home while Peggy Sue faked hysteria in the background.

When police arrived Peggy Sue first told police a burglar had killed her husband. When that story didn't stand up, she admitted shooting her husband but then claimed she was a battered wife and had killed him in self defense.

But, in addition to her infidelity, Peggy Sue had taken out large insurance policies on her husband before killing him.

Dr. Kathy Morall, a forensic psychiatrist, testified during Peggy Sue's trial that the defendant was not suffering from battered woman's syndrome or post traumatic stress disorder at the tiime she shot her husband.

During the trial Peggy Sue's attorney, Walter Gerash, attempted to call as witnesses two public defenders to challenge Dr. Morall's credibility, but the trial court denied that request. As an aside, it is usually only possible to call attorneys as witnesses under special circumstances, and apparently the defense attorney's request did not meet those conditions under Colorado law.

Peggy Sue Saiz was then sentenced to life in prison for the cold-blooded, premeditated murder of her husband.

Mrs. Saiz's case was appealed all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court and was denied. Then her case was appealed to Federal court. According to the July 23, 2001, edition of the Denver Post (p. 2B) U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel granted Mrs. Saiz a new trial based on the trial court's refusal to allow the public defenders to be called as witnesses as to the "character and reputation for truthfulness of government witness Dr. Kathy Morrall."

Mrs. Saiz's second trial is scheduled for January 7, 2002, in Adams County District Court.


Disclaimer

NOTE: If you would like to be removed from our mailing list please respond to this message with REMOVE in the subject line.

You are receiving this message because (1) you asked to be added to our mailing list; (2) you sent the EJF an e-mail or requested help from us; (3) you are known to work on issues related to men's or father's rights; (4) you are known to be interested in civil liberties and equal justice for all; or (5) your name and address appeared as an addressee on e-mail sent to us.

The mailing list of the Equal Justice Foundation is not distributed to third parties. Occasionally members are put in touch with other individuals on our mailing list when there are known common interests or problems. In normal circumstances permission is requested of the third party before disclosing their e-mail address. Prior permission is not sought if referral is made to another group or individual working on the same, or related problems, and that group or individual is known to seek such referrals.

Comments or criticisms of our policies or Web site should be addressed to mailto:comments@ejfi.org.

Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A.

President, Equal Justice Foundation http://www.ejfi.org            
455 Bear Creek Road     
Colorado Springs, CO 80906-5820             
Telephone: (719) 520-1089
Facsimile: (509) 472-5275
Instant Messenger: drcecorry
Domestic Violence Against Men: http://www.dvmen.org
Curriculum Vitae: http://www.pcisys.net/~ccorry/CorryBook-82.htm
Personal home page: http://www.pcisys.net/~ccorry


Note by F4L: Only a little over 60% of murder cases get solved.  The vast majority of unsolved murder cases (about 80%) involve men as victims.  If we assume that about 10% of diagnosed but unsolved murder cases are DV murders – as is the case with solved murders – then it would follow that we may have good reasons to add at least about another 3% to the total of men murdered in incidents of DV– to reflect those unsolved murders that may have been committed by men's wives — and about 0.76% to the number of solved DV murders involving women as victims. 
   That would bring the respective totals for the sexes into closer proximity of one another for the year 1997:  463 men-victims and 1,260 women-victims respectively.
   If all of the unsolved murder cases were DV murders, which is not entirely impossible, the figures would then be in the order of 967 and 1,379 for men and women respectively.
   But what would the figures be if all DV murders were to be diagnosed as murders and if we knew without any doubt which sex committed any given DV murder?   
—F4L

See also:

Women in intimate relationships are frequently portrayed by modern society as “the victim” when violence or a homicide occurs in intimate partnerships. These women continue to be seen by American culture as weak individuals who suffer at the hands of domineering, powerful, over-controlling men. The myth that spousal murder is committed almost entirely by husbands who kill their wives must be dispelled. In addition, there are discrepancies within the legal system, where a female is treated more leniently for murdering her husband, than when a man murders his wife. The criminal-justice system has failed to see equality in the crimes in the sexes, allowing for biased views that women are less malevolent than men and more prone to victimization. The stigma is intractable that women are more likely than men to feel remorse for what they’ve done. While this may be true for some women; for others, the truth is much farther away than many suspect. [Full story]

__________________
Posted 2001 08 19
Updates:
2004 06 18 (added reference to article on intimates murdered by women)
2013 03 08 (removed reference to dvstats.org -- website no longer functions)