The Link Between Domestic Abusers and Mass Killers — Strangulation

“So, while we’re offering up theories as to Kelley’s motives — he was an atheist, he was a liberal, he was mentally ill, he was a loner, he was a weirdo — we can also consider this single fact: He was a strangler.” Rachel Louise Snyder

A reader forwards this disturbing column by Rachel Louise Snyder from last week’s Washington Post, in which Ms. Snyder identifies the link between domestic abusers and mass killers — strangulation. This is relevant to because Kirk missionary Jamin Wight attempted to strangulate his wife after his serial abuses of Natalie:

[redacted] tried to walk past Jamin, but he pushed her with his open left hand against her right shoulder. [redacted] tried to leave again and Jamin grabbed [redacted] by her neck. Jamin used his left hand over the front of [redacted] neck with a thumb around the left side of her neck and his other fingers around the right side of her neck. With his hand around [redacted] neck Jamin pushed her backwards until her back was against the bunk bed. [redacted] said Jamin told her, “You are the most vile, selfish, stupid, pathetic, disgusting excuse of a person. I hate you. I wish you would just get out of my life.” [redacted] tried to get free but Jamin held her against the bunk bed for about a minute until [redacted] gave up and sat down on the bed. [redacted] put [redacted] back in bed. . . .

While speaking with [redacted] she said Jamin has choked her before. In the fall of 2010 Jamin violently choked her to the point she had severe bruising on her neck. Jamin was holding [redacted], who was about 2 years old at the time. Jamin took [redacted] into the bedroom and she heard Jamin yell, “Shut up.” [redacted] was in a separate room and said nothing so she went into the bedroom and told Jamin he was not to yell at their children and tried to take [redacted]. Jamin said I was yelling at you and grabbed [redacted] by the throat and pushed her against the wall. [redacted] said the next morning Jamin made her wear a turtle neck to church so nobody would see the bruises. [redacted] never told anyone at that time, and there is no photographic evidence of the bruises or any witnesses. (Affidavit of Latah County Sheriff’s Officer Ryan L. Weaver, March 4, 2013)

Here are excerpts from Rachel Louise Snyder’s WaPo piece:

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Which domestic abusers will go on to commit murder? This one act offers a clue.

Many mass killers have tragically similar histories.

By Rachel Louise Snyder

In 2012, while stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Devin Patrick Kelley assaulted his wife and stepson. Kelley was subsequently convicted of domestic violence and released early from the Air Force.

One important detail of the attack: In addition to fracturing the child’s skull and hitting and kicking his wife, Kelley strangled her. If the particular severity of his violence had been better understood and recognized in New Mexico, 26 people, including a 17-month-old baby named Noah, might not have been killed in Sutherland Springs, Tex., this month.

Strangulation inhabits a category all its own in domestic violence as a marker of lethality. A kick, a punch, a slap, a bite — none of these, though terrible, portend homicide like strangulation does. And while the link between mass shooters and domestic violence is increasingly recognized in the public arena, articles and op-eds, strangulation as a specific sign of lethality in the context of domestic violence remains largely unknown.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission recognized strangulation as a marker of dangerousness in a 2014 report and recommended increased prison time — up to 10 years — for those convicted of it. . . . Kelley, as we know now, served just one year for the assault on his wife and stepchild, after which he was discharged from the Air Force for “bad conduct.”. . .

Omar Mateen, the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooter, had also choked both his wives and was never charged, let alone prosecuted. He and Kelley should not have had access to guns, true enough, but more to the point, they should have been behind bars.

The list goes on. Take Cedric Ford, who in 2016 fatally shot three of his co-workers and injured 14 others in Kansas, but prior to that was charged only with misdemeanor domestic violence for choking his ex. Then there’s Esteban Santiago. He killed five and injured six in a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport early this year. He, too, had been charged with a misdemeanor after strangling his ex. . . .

Gael Strack, chief executive of the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention in San Diego, says the mere presence of strangulation in a situation of domestic abuse increases the chances of homicide sevenfold. It is a clear trajectory from escalating violence to homicide, of which strangulation is the penultimate act. “Statistically, we know that once the hands are on the neck, the very next step is homicide,” Strack said. “They don’t go backwards.”. . . Yet strangulation, as a signal of dangerousness, is not only overlooked by most law enforcement officers and prosecutors, it’s not always recognized by health-care workers. . . . It wasn’t that Kelley operated under the radar; it was that authorities failed to see and then act on the clues he was leaving.

So, while we’re offering up theories as to Kelley’s motives — he was an atheist, he was a liberal, he was mentally ill, he was a loner, he was a weirdo — we can also consider this single fact: He was a strangler. . . .

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Psychopathic behavior abounds at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, not by accident. All of the red flags were present when Jamin Wight committed his first felonies, but Douglas Wilson excused Mr. Wight, placing responsibility on Natalie’s parents. Even now Mr. Wilson pooh-poohs Jamin Wight’s crimes, which is itself a red flag.

No one will be surprised if and when Jamin Wight escalates his criminal behavior. And no one should forget who discipled him through it all. Remember, his theology comes out his fingertips.

One other thing: Jamin Wight has guns:

[redacted] told me Jamin has a couple of different hunting rifles, a couple of shot guns, a Glock pistol and another silver pistol. Jamin usually keeps a pistol under the mattress and one on top of the refrigerator. None of the firearms are locked up. (ibid.)

Ulysses | Sunday, · 5:57 PM | Jamin Wight