A look inside the minds of killers in light of rash of murder-suicides

Carol Lee
Carol Lee
Kim Batoon
Kim Batoon
Grineline James
Grineline James
Della Dikito
Della Dikito

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Five murder-suicides in less than five months - domestic violence groups say it has been an unusually brutal year for Hawaii. Question is, why so many?

Local experts give some insight into the minds of murderers.

April 25th - Della Dikito of Ewa Beach

May 26th - Marissa Dumlao of Halawa.

July 1st - Grineline and her son Michael James of Mililani.

August 31st - Kim Batoon of Lanai City.

And September 4th - Judy Shimamoto of Aiea.

All are victims of murder-suicides committed in 2008.

"This is the worst year we've had in a very long time," said Carol Lee, Executive Director of the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

"The most common thread among the murder suicides is usually what we call separation violence where the battered woman was leaving the relationship and as a result of her leaving, he decided that he would rather see her dead and see himself dead than to live without her," Lee said.

With the exception of mental disorders, experts say, the killers in murder-suicides typically can't handle stress, and simply snap.

"Frequently it's a spur of the moment kind of rage that they just can't seem to get under control," said Dr. Mitzi Simonelli, a psychology professor at Chaminade University who also works with inmates.

Dr. Simonelli says the economy also plays a role.

"The concept of so much stress today because of the downturn in the economy, people not feeling secure at all about their income or their jobs, or losing their house," she said.

And in nearly all the murder-suicides in Hawaii this year, the ones that lose out the most are the children left behind.

Dr. Simonelli says the solution is early education - teach kids as early as Kindergarten about domestic violence and how to handle stress.

She says right now, coping skills and conflict resolution are rarely taught in schools.