Monday, June 14, 2010

Barbara Kay: First, kill the husband. Second, claim sympathy as a widow

Barbara Kay: First, kill the husband. Second, claim sympathy as a widow
It used to be that the definition of chutzpah was a man who had murdered his parents pleading for mercy from the court because he was an orphan.
We have for our delectation an update on this definition out of Sacramento, California, in a story about a woman – the wife of a police detective, to add spice to the narrative — who, disgruntled over the loss of custody of her children to the husband (and going by the stats on this subject, she must be a piece of work to begin with to have lost custody in today’s mother-friendly courts) hires a motorcycle gang hit man to off her husband.
Or she thinks she did. Members of the hit man’s gang tape damning conversations with her and alert the police, who arrest her and eventually convict her for solicitation to murder. The story doesn’t say why, but I’m thinking the gang probably has enough problems with the police, and don’t need the aggravation of a furious vendetta from their proposed victim’s colleagues.
But get this: Later in divorce court, after being released from prison in 2004, the would-be murderer is awarded half the couple’s property, $70,000, just as though they were any other divorcing couple with, say, “irreconcilable differences.” I guess you don’t get more “irreconcilable” that when one partner tries to whack the other and fails.
The husband isn’t too thrilled about this, and presses for changes to the divorce laws. As a result, tomorrow the state legislative committee will hear arguments for a change to the no-fault divorce laws that will close this little loophole, stating that folks who try to murder their partners won’t be eligible for financial rewards in divorce proceedings. I hope we can assume this will be one of those no-brainer, unanimous-vote kinds of bills.
The story raises an interesting sidebar. Most people are unaware of the fact that although women rarely kill their intimate partners directly, that doesn’t mean they don’t harbour intentions that are equally murderous. Women are far more likely to use surrogates to kill their boyfriends or husbands than men. They either hire hit men, or get their male relatives or new boyfriends to do the deed.
But here’s the rub: When these murders succeed, the homicide is not classified under the heading of Domestic Violence, but as a general homicide. As a result, the stats on spousal homicides don’t reflect a true picture. Following on the passage of this Sacramento legislation, it would seem like a good idea to review the classification criteria regarding spousal homicides to reflect the reality so vividly illustrated in this story.

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