THE CIRCULAR

Till death do us part; Why people kill their spouses

Penelope Jackson, 66, drove a knife into her husband of 24 years, David Jackson, 78, three times at their home in Somerset on 13 February 2021. The retired accountant claimed that she killed him because he was violent to her and belittled her. She had had enough. On 28 October 2021, at Bristol Crown Court, she was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 18 years. The killing happened after the pair had dinner with their daughter and son-in-law over zoom.

People who promise to love, cherish and protect each other sometimes find themselves killing their partners. All laws in the world go against murder regardless of who the killer and victim are. In most legal systems, killing someone else is termed murder or manslaughter. Regardless of which occurs, ending another person’s life has religious, societal, and lawful implications. In many countries, the punishment for murder is death or life imprisonment. These punishments, however, never bring back the victim.

Mariticide is a term for the murder of one’s husband, while uxoricide is for the murder of one’s wife. For some couples, it starts with domestic violence, while for others, it gives no warning. Many people who murder their spouses often have justifications for doing it.

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

Jealousy

The green-eyed monster, jealousy often comes up as a reason people murder their spouses. It causes anger and anxiety and damages the relationship between couples. Jealousy is often cited as one of the reasons domestic violence happens in a relationship.

Robert Leahy, Clinical Professor of Psychology at the Department of Psychiatry, Weill-Cornell University Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, said that incredibly jealous men are more likely to kill their wives. In contrast, fiercely jealous women are more likely to kill themselves and their children.

In the case of TikTok rising star Ali Abulaban, he allegedly fatally shot his estranged wife Ana Abulaban and her friend at their apartment. He had earlier broken into their home and installed a listening device on his 5-year-old daughter’s iPad to monitor the audio in their home. He heard his wife and friend laughing and got enraged.

Money

In some cases, people kill their spouses because of the financial benefit they can get. Many murder plots show how money can drive people to do something so extreme. Insurance and Wills have a way of turning people into monsters.

In the murder of Russ Stager in 1988, Barbara Stager, his wife, had forged Russ’s signature on his Will, bank cheques, bank documents and his insurance policy where she stood to benefit from about $170,000.

Cheaper than divorce

Most couples opt for divorce when things go south and divorce is ugly. People get divorced for several reasons. It may be money problems, addiction, incompatibility, and even painful reasons like falling in love with someone else or falling out of love with their partners. The fact remains that divorce is costly. According to Liston family law, a consented divorce in Ireland can cost about €2500, while a contested divorce can cost between €7500 and €20,000. There is also the alimony fee and the spousal support fee to consider.

Some people like Nance Latham are lucky to have survived a murder for hire plot by her husband Christopher Latham in the middle of a divorce case.

Death at the hand of a spouse is terrifying and shocking, but it still happens. It is a betrayal to share a life with someone and turn around and end their life. It is horrific to murder a person you promised to love and protect.

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