Category Archives: Self-Defense

Spouse Murder Defendants in Large Urban Counties

An interesting 1995 study. Some highlights:

While most persons arrested (70%) for spouse murder were charged with first-degree murder, most persons convicted (52%) of spouse murder had negligent or nonnegligent manslaughter as their conviction offense.


The average prison sentence for unprovoked wife defendants was 7 years, or 10 years shorter than the average 17 years for unprovoked husband defendants.


Wife defendants had a lower conviction rate than husband defendants
* Of the 222 wife defendants, 70% were convicted of killing their mate.

By contrast, of the 318 husband defendants, 87% were convicted of spouse murder.


* Of the 100 wife defendants tried by either a judge or jury, 31% were acquitted. But of the 138 husband defendants tried, 6% were acquitted.


Self-defense as possible explanation for wives’ lower conviction rate
In certain circumstances, extreme victim provocation may justify taking a life in self-defense. Provocation was more often present in wife defendant cases, and wife defendants were less likely than husband defendants to be convicted, suggesting that the relatively high rate of victim provocation characteristic of wife defendant cases was one of the reasons wife defendants had a lower conviction rate than husband defendants. Consistent with that, of the provoked wife defendants, 56% were convicted, significantly lower than either the 86% conviction rate for unprovoked wife defendants or the 88% conviction rate for unprovoked husbands

An unusual case of self-defense

Just noting this for future reference.

A cook who stabbed an off-duty bouncer to death during a confrontation downtown has been released from jail after prosecutors declared that he was acting in self-defense, a decision sparked by the revelation that the man who died was also armed with a knife.


According to witnesses and police, Viri was at Johnny V’s bar and night club when the cook entered but not before checking his attache of kitchen knives at the door. Johnny Van Wyk, the bar’s namesake owner was among several bar occupants who said the cook was acting erratic and upsetting female patrons, which eventually prompted management to tell him to leave.

The cook complied, got his knives back and started walking west on the north side of Santa Clara Street toward First Street. That’s when Viri left the bar and walked quickly after the man who just left, according to witnesses.

A brief fight broke out, and within seconds, Viri was on the ground with a slash wound to his neck. Bar staff and patrons caught up the scene and tried to render aid to Viri, while other witnesses pointed police toward the cook, who ran off toward the SAP Center. He was quickly caught and arrested.

See also

Another case here here  ( Jennifer Turner was killed by her husband Kirk Turner ).

See also