<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 29, Issue 1, March 2021

Rom J Leg Med29(1)20-27(2021)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine


A. Roncallo, R. Barranco, G. Molinari, M. Drommi, F. Ventura

Abstract: Homicide-suicide is an act in which the murder of a victim is followed by the suicide of the perpetrator usually within a week. Despite being a rare event compared to committing murder alone and scarcely studied and reported in literature, homicide-suicides have attracted major media attention. Between 2007 and 2018 in the province of Genoa, 11 homicide-suicide episodes were registered for a total of 29 deaths, or 16% of murders that occurred in the same province. The most represented age group was the elderly (>60 years), both for the victims and the perpetrator. The victims were 12 women (67%) and 6 men (33%), while the murderer was a man in 10 of the 11 cases investigated. Firearms were found to be the most commonly used weapon for both committing the murder (67%) and the suicide (55%), with gunshots almost always aimed towards the cranial district. They were familicides in 82% of the cases (9 episodes) and the most common crime was uxoricide, that is, the killing of one’s wife (8 out of 18 victims). Almost all of the homicidal events (16 out of 18 murders) took place in the home, specifically in the bedroom. The most significant motives for the crime were the so-called “pietatis causa” (4 out of 11 cases), elderly individuals who kill their spouses and then take their own lives either in an attempt to end suffering, or for economic reasons or pathological jealousy. The homicide-suicide rate was found to be 0.11 for every 100,000 inhabitants, a disturbingly high figure that should encourage the introduction of procedures and initiatives to reduce the risk of such events from happening.
Keywords: homicide-suicide, forensic pathology, suicide, uxoricide, homicide, violence

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