skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 156831 Find in a Library
Title: Spouse Murder Defendants in Large Urban Counties: Executive Summary
Author(s): P A Langan; J M Dawson
Corporate Author: Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
US Dept of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 3
Sponsoring Agency: Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Washington, DC 20531
Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America

Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 179
Dept. BJS-236
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701
United States of America
Document: Agency Summary|PDF|Text
Agency Summary: 
Type: Statistics
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report summarizes findings from a study of 540 spouse murder defendants prosecuted in the Nation's 75 largest urban counties during 1988.
Abstract: Of the 540 defendants, 59 percent were husbands and 41 percent were wives. Blacks comprised 55 percent of the total sample; in 97 percent of the cases, both spouses were the same race. The age of defendants ranged from 18 to 87 years. Seventy percent of defendants were charged with first-degree murder. In these cases, 43 percent of spouse murder defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced, 44 percent pleaded not guilty and stood trial, and 13 percent were not prosecuted. Of those who stood trial, 84 percent were convicted either by a jury or judge. Of the 431 defendants convicted of killing their spouse, 89 percent were sentenced to a State prison, 1 percent to a county jail, and 10 percent to probation. The statistics show that wife defendants were less likely to be convicted and more likely to receive lenient sentences when convicted, possibly because self-defense was raised as a mitigating factor more often in defense of wives. Defendant's race and victim's race were unrelated to case disposition. 1 figure
Main Term(s): Statistics
Index Term(s): Courts; Dispositions; Male female offender comparisons; Marital murder; Offender profiles
Note: Bureau of Justice Statistics Executive Summary, September 1995.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.