Real-Life Heros Who Helped in the Capture of Serial Murderers

Need inspiration? A boost? If so, this should do it!  What might a blond teenager from Southern California, a vision-impaired artist from Mississippi and a career white-collar investigator for the Veterans Administration have in common? They all ensured that serial murderers were put behind bars. Lynette Duncan First up is Miss Lynette Duncan.  Back in […]

Parents Can Manage Traumatic Grief in Kids with Finesse

Children overwrought with the murder of a family member, friend or other close adult too often grope in the dark alone. They’re seldom allowed to process their grief with a trusted adult in the family, or even observe healthy grieving from older loved ones around them.  They’re at risk of being lost in the shuffle. […]

Loneliness Following the Murder of a Loved One

There’s a common, persistent myth that homicide (and suicide) survivors receive immediate, lasting and meaningful support from extended family and friends.  When this fails to happen, people assume it’s them.  No. That is far from the truth.  It’s almost universal. What follows are five common reasons that estrangement develops between the homicide survivor and their […]

Categories of Murder Charges and Penalties Explained

Laws about murder vary across the nation.  What follows are the most common forms of murder charges, the maximum punishments, the usual time served and case example. Murders are always felonies.  Homicide survivors usually want the harshest charges available.  But the prosecutor must consider what is winnable.  It’s not unusual for a harsher charge to […]

Insulation from Mortality Hampers Grief Support

You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Why do we avoid talking about terminal illness and dying? Death will happen. We know this abstractly but give it the cold shoulder. Our discomfort with talking about death undercuts our ability to support people who are grieving. It also entices us to behave aimlessly. The truth is […]

The Eight Faces of Grief from Homicide

Kaleidoscope eyeglasses

Not all grief is the same.  Turns out there are at least eight different forms.  The distinctions help us understand subtle differences and anticipate when they will show up. Mourning is multi-faceted. Each will be described in alphabetical order, along with an example.  (These generalities may not apply to children, people born outside the United […]

The Death Penalty from the Perspective of Involved Homicide Survivors

entrance to death row unit in a prison

Much of what is written and debated about the death penalty is from the perspective of the law profession, social ethics, or the incarcerated.  This post will offer a different perspective – from the admittedly subjective view of homicide survivors who are pulled into the sentence decision by the prosecution in capital cases. Not all […]

The Weapon Used for Homicide Tells a Story

VIew of a casket inside an old church next to a window

The murderer’s weapon of choice is a story within a story. It can yield a horrifying glimpse into our loved one’s last moments. It sheds light on the relationship with their killer (or lack thereof). We hope the death of our loved one was swift and painless.  Better yet, we hope they never saw it […]

Forgive the Murderer of our Loved One?

Black and white image of a man rubbing his eyes.

In time you will be asked, “Have you forgiven the murderer of your loved one?”  Many of us ponder this before answering.  I was caught completely off guard the day the newspaper reporter asked me, tape recorder in hand.  The questioner is rarely from someone who has been on the other side of homicide grief.  […]

The Geography of Murder in the U.S.

Map of the U.S.

How much does geography influence the homicide rate? A lot. A whole lot. Did you know that half of all violent crime in the U.S. is concentrated inside 13 zip codes?  Furthermore,  2/3 of U.S. zip codes report zero to one homicide per year.  That means that 66% of the country is quite safe from […]