Saturday, July 10, 2010

So it looks like there is an excuse for domestic violence...

There are most certainly times when someone in a relationship is being abusive and the abused person retaliates with with ends up being lethal force and it makes perfect sense. Someone is abusing you and fight back in self defense and end up killing your abuser. Makes sense. However I don't think that is what happened here.

In 2006 Claire Margaret McDonald was found not guilty by Victorian Supreme Court jury for the murder of her husband Warren John McDonald. In her defense McDonald claimed that she had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband and killed him in self defense. In short "battered wife's syndrome". Okay I'm not trying to say that it never happens but in this case this battered wife didn't kill him in the heat of the moment or anything like that.
The court was told that McDonald had donned camouflage gear and lay in wait with a high-powered rifle for her husband to approach. She fired six shots, mortally wounding her husband.
Yeah she posted up and sniped him with six shots.

How about this one.

Later that same year Susan Falls paid Anthony Cummings-Creed $5,000 to buy a 22.calibre pistol with silencer on the black market. After obtaining the gun she prepared a meal that she specifically knew their children would not eat and added some sleeping pills to it. After consuming the meal her husband, Rodney fell asleep in the recliner. Little did he know he would never wake up.

While Rodney was sleep Susan walked up to him with the pistol, pressed it against his temple and pulled the trigger. Two hours later she came back, placed the gun under his jaw and fired again just to make sure he was dead.

Three days after the murder Susan had three friends help her clean up and dump the body in Mapleton State Forest. Shortly after she reported him missing and gave a tearful public performance hoping for his safe return. After an intense search his body was found approximately a month after his death.

Just as shocking as the murder itself are the instructions given the jury by Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth.:
Justice Applegarth told jurors Mrs Falls' defence lawyers did not have to prove she was acting in self defence when she shot and killed Rodney Falls, but rather the prosecution must prove she wasn't acting in self defence at the time.
In short all Susan had to do what say she was acting in self defense and all the burden is put on the prosecution. She doesn't have to prove it but the prosecution is somehow supposed to prove that she was not acting in self defense. Mind you this is a situation in which the jurors only have access to one side of story (on account of the other person being dead) and they are supposed to presume that its true.

So it should be no surprise that she was found not guilty of murder, not guilty of manslaughter, and her accomplices were all found not guilty of being accessories to murder.

Stories like this, Clara Harris, Mary Winkler and many others are exactly what you get when the pendulum swings to the other side and instead of making sure women are abused get help they are literally given a free pass on committing murder. This is not the "domestic violence awareness" or "aide" that needs to be supported. This is nothing but vigilante justice and murder plain and simple.

But until people realize that it seems that it is now okay for women to kill their husbands for whatever reason and they have a ready made defense to apply if or when the truth comes out.

Tip of the Fro to Robert Franklin.


Leah said...

I think you are getting this domestic violence stuff all wrong, and I am a person who - especially having one of my male best friends abused in a domestic violence situation - fully understands that men being abused is just as horrifying. Domestic abuse is a situation where often, if the abused person tries to leave, the abuser will take retaliatory action and this occurrence is NOT rare. Couple that with the fact that the "justice" system is not on the side of the abused, while it isn't "right" I would still call it self-defense.

Also, you shouldn't make the Justice's comment to the jury "evidence" for men's oppression. That is simply what Judge's often remind the jury in ANY case - burden of proof is on the prosecution, ALWAYS.

Danny said...

I'm glad that you do recognize that DV is a problem regardless of the victim however given the way that specifically male victims are treated I do think its a matter of gender. When you have people who try to pass off the idea that men cannot be victims of DV because they are men, that's minimizing the damage done to men. When you have people who literally think women can't abuse men because they are women and "women don't do those things" its minimizing the damage done to men.

While there may be some chance that these particular cases might have been self defense I'm finding a hard time believing it. These women didn't kill their husbands in the middle of a fight or in some other random act. No they plotted and planned their actions. The first woman put on camo gear and posted up to snipe her husband. In the case of the second woman I might have gone with the abused wife syndrome if she had not killed him, put an extra round in him 2 hours later just to make sure, kept the body for three days, got some help to dump the body, go on tv crying about him being missing, and then only after all that happened and she got caught she comes with the self defense argument.

And it also doesn't help that despite people saying that its a matter of the justice system failing to side with the abused I tend to only hear that argument when I talk about violence against men. I spend a good bit of time on feminists and in those places its usually "the system hates women" this and "the system privileges men" that.

I agree that DV is a problem no matter the victim but its not going to get any better as long as people selectively switch back and forth between "its about helping women" and "its about helping the victims", whichever way helps with acting like male DV victims don't exist.

Leah said...

Desperation, dude. As I say, when you're in a situation where you're going to likely get stalked and killed if you try to leave, it matters little whether you're in the heat of the moment or not. It actually kind of traumatizes someone to get their ass kicked regularly in their own home, so I'm not about to judge the measures one takes to get out when they know that there are no other measures to take.

And please don't allude to "those feminists" when you talk to me. Do your reactionary (i.e. - arguments only based on a reaction to some perceived aggressor - I hate "feminist" arguments like this too) wherever else you want, but that's not the perspective I'm coming from.

uremo said...

Leah is wrong.

It is one of the DEFENSES for murder that one was acting in self defense. However, while the prosecution MUST prove the murder, in order to claim self-defense one must prove that one's life was in danger."Battered women's syndrome" , once again, is a defense, but again, at least in the USA one must adduce some evidence for it, not merely claim it. I am fully aware of the laws in this area, and I can assure you she is wrong.

And to the extent one can just SHOOT someone..and NOT have to prove self defense - then the law starts to allow murder and that is disgusting. I wish I could get my hands on the transcript of this trial. If no evidence was adduced by the miss for abuse or self defense then I hope this woman ends up murdered herself. Sorry but I have no truck with the cold blooded way these murders were done, esp. the second one. Camo..sniping from a least these things seemed to show some amount of fear. The second case cited is one of the most cold blooded and calculated murders I've ever seen, and makes whatsherface that murdered her preacher husband and cut the phone cord look like a minor leaguer in comparison.

Danny said...

"It actually kind of traumatizes someone to get their ass kicked regularly in their own home, so I'm not about to judge the measures one takes to get out when they know that there are no other measures to take. "

The problem is the only "evidence" that says she was being abused are her own words. I'm not saying self defense killings like that don't happen but I think in at least some of these cases people are way to quick to believe the self defense story and frankly I do think its gendered.

ZenTurtle said...

I agree in general with a legal presumption of innocence, but if self-defense is being used as a legal defense, there needs to be more evidence of abuse than simply the defendant's word when the killing of a human being is involved. The tearful ruse and cover up add more than a shadow of suspicion to it all.

Danny said...

That's what I'm saying she planned it, executed, hid it for a month, and faked a tearful plea for help. It might be possible that he was abusing her but the fact that move DV is male against is nowhere near enough to get me to just blindly believe her.