There may not be a definitive answer on whether divorce increases domestic violence or reduces it, but one thing social scientists have proved is the link between divorce and crime. The effect on children has already been established, but studies and statistics are showing a correlation involving the adults too. Whether its violence towards the ex spouse, their children or other family members or their property, you only need to look at some of the following cases to see that divorce crime is a real phenomenon.
The mother who drugged her son
In Chicago in 2011, Cheryl Luchetta gave her 7-year-old son a combination of drugs before slitting her own throat. Luchetta later woke up and, after hospital treatment, they both survived. She initially blamed the incident on an intruder, before admitting that she wanted to kill herself because she was “going through a difficult divorce.”
The divorce papers that were used to start a fire
Also in 2011, Shawn Gawronski was arrested after he used his divorce papers to start a fire that burned down his estranged wife Jennifer Warner’s beauty salon on the day the papers were due to be filed. She already had a restraining order against Gawronski, who admitted to spreading gasoline across the property and using the papers to start the fire.
The man who stabbed his wife to death
After a 37-year marriage, Anthony Novellino and his wife Judith divorced in 2011. 11 days after and the ex security guard stabbed his ex 84 times. In the terms of the divorce, Novellino was ordered to give his ex half of his retirement fund, leading him to call her ‘a pig’ to his neighbours. After he killed her, he put a pig mask on her.
The man who shot his mother-in-law
George Delva shot his mother-in-law before killing himself in 2011 as he blamed her for the breakup of his marriage. Luckily, she survived. Research has found that two thirds of divorcees have said their mothers played a part in their decision to end their marriage.
The murder suicides
In Maryland in 2015, on the day she was due to sign her divorce papers, Kelly Shortt-Hamilton was shot and killed by her husband Daniel Shortt, before he turned the gun on himself. Before the murder, he had also set fire to the apartment building his estranged wife had moved into with her new boyfriend.
Marrying in 1987 and separating in 2015, Diane Carroll was shot and killed by her husband Shawn Carroll, after she filed for divorce. Carroll then shot and killed himself.
In California in 2015, Luis Salazar murdered his wife before committing suicide the day after their divorce papers were finalised. The pair had been married for over 25 years.
Former policeman Gary Weddell shot and killed his wife after she’d discovered he’d had an affair and asked him for a divorce. While out on bail, Weddell then murdered his mother-in-law, who was due to give evidence at the trial, before killing himself.