Spousal Murder (US, 1988) and Sentencing

This document (US_BOJ_DV) provides some data, collated in US by statisticians for its Ministry of Justice, relating spousal murder and sentencing from the year 1988:

In 1988 the justice system in the Nation’s 75 largest counties disposed of an estimated 540 spouse murder cases. Husbands charged with killing their wife outnumbered wives charged with killing their husband. Of the 540, 318 (or 59%) were husband defendants and 222 (or 41%) were wife defendants.

… Wives received shorter prison sentences than husbands (a 10-year difference, on average) even when the comparison is restricted to defendants who were alike in terms of whether or not they were provoked. The average prison sentence for unprovoked wife defendants was 7 years, or 10 years shorter than the average 17 years for unprovoked husband defendants.

Some of the their data is summarized in this diagram:

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Domestic violence: Gemma Hollings

[From BBC, 5 December 2014] “A man, whose ex-girlfriend left him with life threatening injuries, has spoken for the first time about the domestic violence he suffered.

Mark Kirkpatrick was found on a street in Lancashire seven months ago after his former partner Gemma Hollings attacked him with a pole, hammer and a glass bottle. Mark still bears the scars – on his face and body – of the attack which Lancashire police described as one of the worst cases of domestic violence they’d ever seen.

Hollings was jailed for eight years in October. Speaking softly he says he met her four months earlier. 

“She was alright in the first few weeks. I thought it was a passing thing when she became controlling. She started telling me not to wear shorts. She wouldn’t let me have my hair shaved even though that’s how it was when she first met me. It got violent about three or four weeks into living at hers. We argued over something. I got up to leave the house, she pushed me back on the stairs and put her hands round my throat. She tried to strangle me.”

The controlling and violence continued until one evening on Friday 2 May 2014 when things took a turn for the worse.

“She wanted some money. I rang my mum, she refused. And then she [Gemma] got violent. She pushed me against the wall, squeezed my testicles, she picked up a metal pole hit me all over the body. Then she picked up a hammer hit me in the head and all over the body. She picked up a penknife and sliced me in various places.”

Mark says he didn’t react or call the police. He went to bed to try and calm the situation down but the violence erupted again Saturday morning.

“There was blood everywhere, she asked me clean it up. Obviously I was in no fit state, so I didn’t do it, and she didn’t like that. She got a bottle, smashed it and stabbed me in the neck with it.”

Mark ran out onto a street where a passer-by stayed with him and insisted he go to the hospital. When police found him they said he was so traumatised he did not realise how badly injured he was. They said he could have died.

“I had a shattered eye socket, and had to have a metal plate fitted. I had four or five deep cuts in my heads which now have stitches and staples.”

He lied to the officers about what had happened and said he avoided speaking to them about the violence he was suffering.

“In a way I was worried about coming forward, about it getting out, what people would think ‘Oh he’s been beaten up by a woman’. In a way I loved her. I just wanted to sort it out and move on.”

Statistics from the 2013 Crime Survey suggest usually takes 30 incidents before a victim of domestic abuse comes forward. In the end he told the police what was happening.

“Looking back on it now I’m glad police got involved.

“If they hadn’t she could’ve got away with it. She could’ve done a lot worse to someone else, she could’ve done a lot worse to me.”

In October, Gemma Hollings was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm and assault after a five-day trial at Preston Crown Court. Looking back Mark explains why he didn’t defend himself.

“I get asked that question a lot. Why didn’t I hit her back? I just didn’t. I don’t hit girls. I’m not like that.”

Although the number of reported cases for women are much higher at 1.2 million figures from the 2013 Crime Survey suggest around 700,000 victims of domestic violence in 2013 were men. Mark says:

“Men are probably scared to come forward because they’re scared what people will think. You don’t hear it that often of men but they shouldn’t have to suffer. No one should – men or women.”

The ManKind Initiative is a charity that provides support to male victims. Mark Brooks is the chairman who tells us one in five people going to police are now men.

“While awareness of male victims is improving it is still several decades behind awareness of female victims. All domestic abuse awareness campaigns and policies must include and give equal status to male victims as female victims. If there are female only campaigns that is ok as long as there are male campaigns as well.”

In the next few months the government is expected to make domestic violence a specific criminal offence and that includes emotional and financial abuse.

False accusers: Michelle Rossiter

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 19.04.30

[From The Daily Mail, 29 May 2014] “Woman, 34, who lied about being raped by an innocent man jailed for three years

  • Michelle Rossiter made false allegations between July 2010 and May 2011
  • Produced fake evidence to police to support her story
  • But later admitted to officers that some of her claims were untrue
  • Was convicted of perverting the course of justice at Preston Crown Court

A woman has been jailed for three years after making up rape allegations against an innocent man. Michelle Rossiter, 34, made a series of false claims to police between July 2010 and May 2011, alleging she was sexually abused by the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, for almost a year. She also produced false evidence to support her story, but later admitted to officers some of her claims were untrue. Rossiter, of Preston in Lancashire, denied perverting the course of justice but was convicted by a jury of 11 men and one woman at Preston Crown Court.

Mark Humphries, deputy head of the Crown Advocate Unit for the Crown Prosecution Service North West said:

She had the opportunity to withdraw the complaint but instead she went a step further and produced false physical evidence to support her allegations. She eventually admitted to falsifying some of the claims during a further police video interview some months later. In the meantime, an innocent man had been arrested, detained in police custody and questioned over an 11-hour period. He then had to endure the weight of allegations for a significant amount of time.

The Crown’s case was that all of the allegations she had made were false. The jury, after carefully considering all the evidence at the trial, convicted her of perverting the course of justice. False allegations of rape have a devastating effect on those who have been wrongly accused, their family and friends and, potentially, their future lives. They also take up valuable police resources and have a detrimental effect on the public’s confidence in genuine reports of rape and sexual offences.

The CPS and police take all allegations of rape and sexual offences extremely seriously and hope that this case will not discourage anyone from coming forward with genuine complaints to the police in the future. We will support victims of such offences in every way possible throughout the process.’

But despite historically low conviction rates for rape, Valerie Wise, director of Preston Domestic Violence Service, said malicious allegations are rare. She added:

‘It is very regrettable when people make false claims but we should not get this out of proportion. I believe 99 per cent of people who make complaints are telling the truth but it is difficult to prove. We mustn’t let cases like this affect how rape cases are viewed. The fact is rape is massively under-reported because it is difficult to report and there is such a low conviction rate. I would urge the public not to believe that most people are making false claims. I think public perception is making it harder for victims. The CPS doesn’t proceed to prosecution if they believe there is a less than 50 per cent chance of conviction – the standard is very high.’

A spokesman for Lancashire Police added:

‘In instances where the evidence suggests malicious allegations are made, then consideration will be given to prosecute. Lancashire Police would always urge all genuine victims to come forward and report any cases of sexual offences and we assure them that all reports are investigated fully.’

Transgender Murders

I list some cases of transgender murders during 2018-19 in the US. As sources, I used:

From 2018 (quotes are from the first two websites):

  • Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, “was found dead in her home on January 5 in North Adams, Massachusetts. Steele-Knudslien organized and produced the Miss Trans New England and other pageants, and was loved and known by many in both the local and national trans community”.
  • Viccky Gutierrez, 33, “a transgender woman from Honduras was stabbed and had her body set ablaze inside her Los Angeles home on January 10. Friends described her as ‘a young trans Latina immigrant woman whose warm smile would give anyone comfort’.”
  • Celine Walker, 36, “was fatally shot in a hotel room on on February 4 in Jacksonville, Florida. It was not known for several days that Walker was trans because local police claimed to not refer to victims as transgender. Investigators are still looking for a suspect in her death”.
  • Tonya Harvey, 35, “was fatally shot on February 6 in Buffalo, New York. A friend of Harvey’s expressed her condolences on Facebook, writing: “I knew her since I started transitioning, she was so sweet and loving.” Police have confirmed they are looking into the incident as a possible hate crime.”
  • Zakaria Fry, 28, “went missing in New Mexico in mid-January. Her body was later found 40 miles outside of Albuquerque on February 19. Albuquerque Police arrested and charged Charles Spiess with two open counts of murder. Fry’s loved ones shared condolences on Facebook with one friend saying: “You were my older sister. You took care of me and loved me like family. I’ll forever love you. I’m sorry’.”
  • Phylicia Mitchell, 45, “was shot and killed outside her home on February 23 in Cleveland, Ohio. On April 10, Cleveland.com reported that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Gary Sanders. Sanders was charged with aggravated murder in Mitchell’s death. Her longtime partner, Shane Mitchell, described her as ‘funny and kind” and that “everyone loved her’.”
  • Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28, “was fatally shot at a local motel on March 26 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Few details are known about the crime, and police report they have no suspects or persons of interest at this time”.
  • Sasha Wall, 29, “a transgender woman of color, was fatally shot on April 1 in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. The FBI is assisting with local investigators, and are analyzing phone records and collecting DNA evidence. Donovan Dunlap, a friend of Wall’s, expressed condolences on Facebook, writing, ‘I will miss you my beautiful sister. I cannot sleep, I hope they find who did this’.”
  • Karla Patricia Flores-Pavón, 26, “was found choked to death in her apartment in Dallas, Texas, on May 9. Dallas Police arrested 24-year-old Jimmy Eugene Johnson III on May 17, charging him with Flores-Pavón’s murder. “It hurts a lot, you were a good-hearted person. Sister, fly high. We will remember you with love. Your beautiful smile will stay with us,” a friend posted on her Facebook page.”
  • Nino Fortson, 36, “was fatally shot in Atlanta on May 13. City police were nearby executing a traffic stop and rushed to the scene, but Forston later died at the hospital, said transgender advocate Monica Roberts.”
  • Gigi Pierce, 28, “was fatally shot on May 21 in Portland, Oregon. When officers arrived they tried to administer aid, but Pierce died at the scene. Police investigators say they believe that Pierce was shot during an altercation with Sophia Adler, who has been charged with Pierce’s murder, according to KGW-TV.”
  • Roxana Hernández, 33, ​”passed away on May 25 while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after fleeing violence and discrimination in Honduras. After an autopsy report strongly indicated Hernández was beaten in ICE custody before her death, the agency is falsely claiming its press release announcing her death constitutes its report and is disputing the accuracy of eyewitness accounts of abuse from detainees held with her in custody prior to her death.”
  • Antash’a English, 38, “was fatally injured in drive-by shooting in Jacksonville, Florida on June 1. On her Facebook page, English described herself as an “independent” transgender woman who “thrives on being the best person” she can be. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has declared an active murder investigation and asks anyone with information to contact their office.”
  • Diamond Stephens, 39, “was found shot to death on June 18 in Meridian, Mississippi. In interviews with a local television station, family members said that Stephens had an “incredible personality.” As is too often the case in the reporting of anti-transgender violence, Stephens was originally misgendered in local police statements and media reports, which delayed our awareness of this deadly incident.”
  • Cathalina Christina James, 24, “was fatally shot in Jacksonville, Florida, on June 24. In an interview with First Coast News, James’ mother described her daughter as having a “big and bold” personality, saying she loved to dance and travel. James is the third transgender woman murdered and the fourth shot in the Florida city this year.”
  • Keisha Wells, 54, “was found dead with a gunshot wound to her abdomen in the parking lot of an apartment complex on June 24, according to Cleveland.com. A longtime friend of Wells described her as ‘the nicest person ever’ but also a ‘tough cookie’.”
  • Sasha Garden, 27, “was found dead with signs of trauma in Orlando, Florida, early July 19. Originally from Wisconsin, Garden is remembered by loved ones as a “firecracker” who “didn’t hold anything back.” Friend and local transgender activist Mulan Montrese Williams recalls that Garden was a talented and aspiring hair stylist and had been saving money to fund her transition.”
  • Vontashia Bell, 18, “was fatally shot on August 30 in a neighborhood of Shreveport, Lousiana. The Louisiana Trans Advocates organization released a statement condemning the shooting and calling on the city’s leaders to help curb the violence against the trans community.”
  • Dejanay Stanton, 24, “was found with a fatal gunshot wound to the head on August 30, according to media reports. After an autopsy, her death was ruled a homicide and the investigation is ongoing. “Every time you saw her she had a smile on her face,” said LaSaia Wade, executive director of Brave Space Alliance. ‘She was just trying to live her best life as a young girl’.”
  • Shantee Tucker, 30, “was found with a fatal gunshot wound in the back in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 5. Friends and family honored her life and mourned her death on Facebook, recalling that she was like “another big sister” to them and remembering her “beautiful spirit and fun aura’.”
  • Londonn Moore20, “was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds in a remote area of North Port, Florida on Sept. 8. Moore is remembered by her family and other loved ones, who described her as “hilarious” and someone who “made everyone laugh all the time.”
  • Nikki Enriquez, 28, “was one of four women killed in Sept. in what local officials describe as a “serial killing spree” allegedly carried out by an intel supervisor for the U.S. Border Patrol. Enriquez, who also went by the name Janelle, is survived by numerous loved ones that were “sad and in disbelief” at her death. Cousin Veronica Castillo described her as a “very outgoing” person who loved to party and was beloved by the local LGBTQ community.”
  • Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, 31, “was fatally stabbed and her body left behind an abandoned building by a man with whom she was arguing on October 3 in Chicago. As reported in the Sun Times, Chicago police declared Frazier’s death a homicide after appearing on the scene. She is remembered by friends and loved ones, who said that she will “always be missed’.”
  • Regina Denise Brown53, “a trans woman of color, was found dead in her burning home in South Carolina on October 7. Authorities charged Jenkins with murder in November after he confessed to killing Brown during a physical altercation. Brown was described as a “great lady with a big heart” to PinkNews.”
  • Tydi Dansbury, 37, “a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Baltimore on November 26. Few details are known about the circumstances of her death, and the Baltimore Police Department is urging anyone with information to come forward.”
  • Keanna Mattel, 35, “a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Detroit, Michigan on December 7. In 2015, Mattel, who also went by the name Kelly Stough, spoke against anti-trans violence epidemic, noting that “police are unaware with our struggle so they have no sympathy for us.”  Friends remember Mattel as ‘a sweetheart and beautiful character’.”

From 2019:

  • Dana Martin, 31, “a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Montgomery, Alabama, on January 6. Reports stated that she was found in a roadside ditch in her vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd, an Alabama-based trans advocate, said that ‘she was a person that was loved by many’.”
  • Jazzaline Ware, “a Black transgender woman, was found dead in her Memphis apartment in March. Her death is being investigated as a homicide, according to The Advocate.  “Our community in Memphis is mourning the death of Jazzaline Ware, a Black trans woman and beloved friend,” said the Transgender Law Center in a press release. Further details are unknown as of May 31, 2019.”
  • Ashanti Carmon, 27, “a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on March 30. Few details are yet known about the crime, and the investigation is ongoing. “Until I leave this Earth, I’m going to continue on loving her in my heart, body, and soul,” said Philip Williams, Carmon’s fiancé. “She did not deserve to leave this Earth so early, especially in the way that she went out’.”
  • Claire Legato, 21, “a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Cleveland on April 15. Local media reports that Legato was shot in the head after an argument broke out between her mother and the suspect. She was taken to a nearby hospital and died from her injuries on May 14. Friends and family took to social media to mourn Legato’s death, remembering her as someone who was “full of life’.”
  • Muhlaysia Booker, 23, “a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Dallas on May 18. Local media reported that Booker was found dead, lying face down with a gunshot wound near a golf course in east Dallas. In April, Booker was viciously attacked in what Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings described as “mob violence.” Officers say that there is no indication as of this point that the April attack is linked to Booker’s killing.”
  • Michelle ‘Tamika’ Washington, 40, “a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Philadelphia on May 19. Police responded to reports of shots fired in North Philadelphia’s Franklinville neighborhood, according to the Philadelphia Gay News. Washington, who was also known by the name Tameka, was found with several gunshot wounds and transported to Temple University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She is remembered by friends and loved ones as a beloved sister and “gay mother’.”
  • Paris Cameron, 20, “a Black transgender woman, was among three people killed in a horrific anti-LGBTQ shooting in a home in Detroit on May 25, according to local reports. Alunte Davis, 21, and Timothy Blancher, 20, two gay men, were found dead at the scene and Cameron was taken to the hospital, where she died from her injuries. Two other victims were also shot but survived. “This case illustrates the mortal danger faced by members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community, including transgender women of color,” Fair Michigan President Alanna Maguire said.”
  • Chynal Lindsey, 26, “a Black transgender woman, was found dead in White Rock Lake, Dallas, with signs of “homicidal violence” on June 1, according to police. The Dallas Police Department has reached out to federal law enforcement to aid in the investigation. As of June 4, no further details were are available.”
  • Chanel Scurlock, 23, “a Black transgender woman, was found fatally shot in Lumberton, North Carolina, on June 6. Few details are yet public about the crime, but police told a local news outlet they have “great leads” in their investigation. “RIP baby,” wrote a friend on Facebook. “You [lived] your life as you wanted. I’m proud of you for being unapologetically correct about your feelings and expectations of YOU’.”
  • Zoe Spears, 23, “a Black transgender woman, was found lying in the street with signs of trauma near Eastern Avenue in Fairmount Heights, Maryland, and later pronounced dead on June 13, according to local reports. While officials have not yet released her name, transgender advocate Ruby Corado, the founder and executive director of Casa Ruby, identified Spears as the victim. “She was my daughter — very bright and very full of life,” Corado told HRC. “Casa Ruby was her home. Right now, we just want her and her friends and the people who knew her to know that she’s loved’.”