17 Crim. Just. & Behavior 420 (1990)
Circumstances Surrounding Homicides by Older Offenders

handle is hein.journals/crmjusbhv17 and id is 405 raw text is: 



Kent State University

This article reports the findings of an extensive study of nonjustifiable homicides committed by
persons age 60 or older in three large American cities. The relationship between victim and
assailant (spouse, relative, or acquaintance) and the circumstances surrounding the homicide
event, including location, situation leading up to the assault, use of alcohol or drugs by either
the victim or assailant immediately before the incident, and mode of assault or weapon used,
are described. Analysis of the homicide-suicide phenomenon is also included. Of particular
interest is the fact that all homicide-suicide incidents reported involved a suicide by a husband
after murder of his wife.

A s the graying of America continues, with an ever increasing
      percentage of the U.S. population comprising elderly persons,
the problem of criminal activity by those age 60 and older will take
on increased importance. This phenomenon poses dilemmas far be-
yond the apprehension of offenders and the prosecution and dispo-
sition of their cases. Mental health professionals must explore the
possibility that elderly persons may suffer from organically based
disorders that reduce their culpability or from personality disorders
that have intensified with age. Lawyers and judges, in addition to
taking into account the possibility of diminished mental capacity when
dealing with elderly offenders, must consider the ramifications of
dispositions which might be routinely given for certain offenses. A
sizable fine imposed on a person dependent on a small income from

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of both Ann
Goetting, who collected the Detroit, Michigan portion of the sample, and Dr. Donald B.
Walker, who assisted in the case analysis.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND BEHAVIOR, Vol. 17 No. 4, December 1990 420-430
 1990 American Association for Correctional Psychology


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