Domestic Violence a Big Part of High Homicide Numbers

Domestic Violence a Big Part of High Homicide Numbers

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Ed Yeates Reporting So far this year, Utah crime tallies show the state has seen more than 40 murders. Domestic violence often accounts for a large percentage of homicides, in this case more than 30-percent.

Advocates and community members who want to march against domestic violence are going to be walking to the Ogden Municipal Amphitheater tonight. They want people to be aware of how often domestic violence occurs, which state advocates say is all too often.

The 2005 New Year had barely started when Utah recorded its first homicide. On January second, after an argument, police say a man shot and killed his ex-wife before turning the gun on himself.

Ned Sears, Office on Violence Against Women & Families: “A few years ago the high points was the physical abuse, and now we're having people end up being killed because of the relationship with someone they love."

That one on January 2 was the first of 15 domestic violence-related homicides this year, according to the Domestic Violence Council. That's the same number they counted in all of last year.

Ned Sears: “I think domestic violence the last few months has really changed dramatically because of the severity of what's happening to individuals."

In April police arrested a man for allegedly killing his live-in girlfriend with a knife and dumping her body near a reservoir. The next month a man called his son to say he'd just killed the boy's mother. That same week, Lindsay Fauson was shot to death in front of her child and sister. Police arrested her ex-boyfriend.

Ned Searle: “I think one trend that's been disturbing to us as committee members is the trend of how many children have been witnesses to these murders."

At least 13 children watched or were home during a domestic violence homicide, like a woman who was killed in front of her three young children and teenage brother.

Ned Searle: “It's just incomprehendable to me to even think what those kids would be going through."

Searle says he hopes people listen to the statistics and pay heed.

Ned Searle: “I think what it teaches people that are in an abusive relationship is that it could be them."

The program at the amphitheater tonight will include domestic violence survivor stories and a balloon launch and candle ceremony to remember Utahns who have died.

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