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Concept: Homicide


Homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women aged ≤44 years.* In 2015, homicide caused the death of 3,519 girls and women in the United States. Rates of female homicide vary by race/ethnicity (1), and nearly half of victims are killed by a current or former male intimate partner (2). To inform homicide and intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention efforts, CDC analyzed homicide data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) among 10,018 women aged ≥18 years in 18 states during 2003-2014. The frequency of homicide by race/ethnicity and precipitating circumstances of homicides associated with and without IPV were examined. Non-Hispanic black and American Indian/Alaska Native women experienced the highest rates of homicide (4.4 and 4.3 per 100,000 population, respectively). Over half of all homicides (55.3%) were IPV-related; 11.2% of victims of IPV-related homicide experienced some form of violence in the month preceding their deaths, and argument and jealousy were common precipitating circumstances. Targeted IPV prevention programs for populations at disproportionate risk and enhanced access to intervention services for persons experiencing IPV are needed to reduce homicides among women.

Concepts: Domestic violence, Death, Demography, United States, Violence, Homicide, Causes of death, Murder


Firearm homicide is a leading cause of injury death in the United States, and there is considerable debate over the effectiveness of firearm policies. An analysis of the effectiveness of firearm laws on firearm homicide is important to understand optimal policies to decrease firearm homicide in the United States.

Concepts: United States, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Appeal, Suicide, Homicide, Law of the United States, Nelson Erazo


Legal in some European countries and US states, physician-assisted suicide and voluntary active euthanasia remain under debate in these and other countries.

Concepts: Medical ethics, Death, Homicide, Euthanasia, Assisted suicide


When a body is found in suspended position, not only suicidal hanging has to be considered but also an accident or homicide. These alternatives and the criteria to be applied for their differentiation were already extensively discussed in the old medico-legal literature. Nevertheless, it is still a challenge for detectives and forensic experts to prove a homicidal assault when a suspended body is found. In the presented case, the findings collected at the scene and during autopsy seemed to be consistent with the assumption of suicide at first and the case has only been elucidated by supplementary inquiries and a secondary evaluation of the photos taken at the scene and during the autopsy. The victim, a 47-year-old woman, had been manually strangled in her flat. Subsequently, the perpetrator took her up to the attic and tried to hang her in order to simulate suicide.

Concepts: Critical thinking, Death, English-language films, Suicide, Homicide, Hanging, Suicide methods, Nelson Erazo


The distinction between self-inflicted blade wounds and blade wounds inflicted by another can be difficult in situations where there is little available history or context. We reviewed homicides and suicides in the past 10 years at the Vermont Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to define the characteristics of homicidal and suicidal blade wounds. All homicides and suicides involving blade wounds, not just those in which blade wounds were the cause of death, were included. Information regarding victim demographics, location and type of injuries, toxicology, and evidence of suicidality was gathered. Blade wounds were the cause of death in 85.7% of homicides but only in 36% of suicides. Hanging and gunshot wounds were the cause of death in 28% and 24% of suicides, respectively. Multiple stab wounds were found in 10% of homicides and in 0% of suicides, whereas multiple incised wounds were found in 60% of suicides and only 10% of homicides. However, several unusual instances of suicide were found, including suicides with clothing damage or bone or cartilage injury from blade wounds. No characteristics of blade wounds were definitive for homicide or suicide. History and circumstances of the scene are thus crucial in determining the manner of death.

Concepts: Death, Injuries, Injury, Wound, Suicide, Homicide, Hanging, Coroner


Homicide of children is a global problem. The under-5-y age group is the second largest homicide age group after 15-19 y olds, but has received little research attention. Understanding age and gender patterns is important for assisting with developing prevention interventions. Here we present an age and gender analysis of homicides among children under 5 y in South Africa from a national study that included a focus on neonaticide and infanticide.

Concepts: Infant, Gender, Child, Infanticide, Homicide, Infancy, Murder, Nelson Erazo


In the USA, homicide is a leading cause of death for young males and a major cause of racial disparities in life expectancy for men. There are intense debate and little rigorous research on the effects of firearm sales regulation on homicides. This study estimates the impact of Missouri’s 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law on states' homicide rates and controls for changes in poverty, unemployment, crime, incarceration, policing levels, and other policies that could potentially affect homicides. Using death certificate data available through 2010, the repeal of Missouri’s PTP law was associated with an increase in annual firearm homicides rates of 1.09 per 100,000 (+23 %) but was unrelated to changes in non-firearm homicide rates. Using Uniform Crime Reporting data from police through 2012, the law’s repeal was associated with increased annual murders rates of 0.93 per 100,000 (+16 %). These estimated effects translate to increases of between 55 and 63 homicides per year in Missouri.

Concepts: Law, Criminology, Homicide, Causes of death, Police, Firearm, Crimes, Murder


In 2015, an average of 103 motor vehicle injury deaths, 121 suicides, and 49 homicides occurred each day. Motor vehicle injury deaths were more likely to occur on Saturdays and Sundays and least likely to occur on Tuesdays. The highest number of suicides occurred on Mondays and Tuesdays and the lowest on Saturdays. Homicides peaked on Sundays, followed by Saturdays; homicides were less likely to occur on weekdays.

Concepts: Death, Injury, Average, Suicide, Homicide


Criminal investigations of suspected murder cases require estimating the post-mortem interval (PMI, or time after death) which is challenging for long PMIs. Here we present the case of human remains found in a Swiss forest. We have used a multidisciplinary approach involving the analysis of bones and soil samples collected beneath the remains of the head, upper and lower body and “control” samples taken a few meters away. We analysed soil chemical characteristics, mites and nematodes (by microscopy) and micro-eukaryotes (by Illumina high throughput sequencing). The PMI estimate on hair 14C-data via bomb peak radiocarbon dating gave a time range of 1 to 3 years before the discovery of the remains. Cluster analyses for soil chemical constituents, nematodes, mites and micro-eukaryotes revealed two clusters 1) head and upper body and 2) lower body and controls. From mite evidence, we conclude that the body was probably brought to the site after death. However, chemical analyses, nematode community analyses and the analyses of micro-eukaryotes indicate that decomposition took place at least partly on site. This study illustrates the usefulness of combining several lines of evidence for the study of homicide cases to better calibrate PMI inference tools.

Concepts: Death, Logic, Homicide, Radiocarbon dating, Murder


Objectives. We estimated the association of an individual’s exposure to homicide in a social network and the risk of individual homicide victimization across a high-crime African American community. Methods. Combining 5 years of homicide and police records, we analyzed a network of 3718 high-risk individuals that was created by instances of co-offending. We used logistic regression to model the odds of being a gunshot homicide victim by individual characteristics, network position, and indirect exposure to homicide. Results. Forty-one percent of all gun homicides occurred within a network component containing less than 4% of the neighborhood’s population. Network-level indicators reduced the association between individual risk factors and homicide victimization and improved the overall prediction of individual victimization. Network exposure to homicide was strongly associated with victimization: the closer one is to a homicide victim, the greater the risk of victimization. Regression models show that exposure diminished with social distance: each social tie removed from a homicide victim decreased one’s odds of being a homicide victim by 57%. Conclusions. Risk of homicide in urban areas is even more highly concentrated than previously thought. We found that most of the risk of gun violence was concentrated in networks of identifiable individuals. Understanding these networks may improve prediction of individual homicide victimization within disadvantaged communities. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print November 14, 2013: e1-e8. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301441).

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logit, Sociology, Individual, Networks, Community, Homicide, Victimisation