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cmkim
10-26-2010, 02:38 PM
Scenario: The murder victim has been killed in his own home with his own gun after it was wrestled away from him. The killer is a stranger that has no relation to the family. The victim’s wife might be the main suspect, at least at 1st, since two days prior to his death she was drunkenly announcing to the entire family over Christmas dinner that she knows he’s been cheating on her and wants a divorce. It's well-known that they're an unhappily married couple.


The wife left the night of the dinner with her sister and at the time of the murder she’s 4 hours away in Miami. The body is found 2 days later by the oldest son who I guess would be the one to contact his mother and younger brother with the news.


Questions: After the body is discovered and the family learns about his death, I’m wondering how the investigation would proceed from their point of view. Would the mother and younger son be expected to be physically present for questioning? If they’re expected to return to town, would they go to the sheriff’s office for questioning?


Also, just how much of a suspect would the wife really be? There really are no other suspects (the actual killer will be untraceable by the police) so how far would it be logical for them to push her as being guilty? While she has an alibi, would they accuse her of hiring someone to kill her husband if they have no other leads or is that too far-fetched?


I've been going crazy trying to find answers to all the questions that are coming up while writing this story. Any help at all would be cool, sweet relief.

LBlankenship
10-26-2010, 03:29 PM
>There really are no other suspects (the actual killer will be untraceable by the police) so how far would it be logical for them to push her as being guilty?

If there's no evidence, it's not going to hold up in court. People can get convicted on ridiculously flimsy evidence -- but it depends on who they are and what society as a whole thinks about them.

>While she has an alibi, would they accuse her of hiring someone to kill her husband if they have no other leads or is that too far-fetched?

If the killer is "untraceable" -- which I take to mean that there are no fingerprints, no stray hairs, no DNA at the scene that can't be explained -- then that may take on a certain look of being a "professional" job. But if there is no evidence of the wife having any contacts with contract killers, and all of the obvious suspects are accounted for, then the trail is cooling off fast.

dirtsider
10-26-2010, 04:24 PM
There would have to be evidence that appears to link her to the crime, even if she had nothing to do with it. Drunkenly announcing that she wants a divorce isn't just cause to accuse her of murder. Having her make threats to kill him - that would be more of a motive to consider her a prime suspect.

I would suspect that once they prove she has a solid alibi, can account for her movements and whereabouts, as well as figuring out that she didn't contract the killing, then they probably wouldn't consider her a prime suspect. They would then move on to other possible suspects - the lover, other members of the wife's family, any criminals on the loose, someone pissed off at the victim (other than family). If all of them come up with solid alibis, then they'd probably consider it a random crime and it would probably go cold unless they can connect it to another crime. One of the questions the police are trained to ask is who would have the motive and access to the person. Basically, if it's not family, what enemies did the victim have? Or was it random, a chance break in that escalated?

jclarkdawe
10-26-2010, 05:51 PM
Scenario: The murder victim has been killed in his own home with his own gun after it was wrestled away from him. There will be evidence of this. He'll have powder burns on his body, weird angle for the shot, his fingerprints on the gun, body position, abrasions on his fingers, and probably others. The killer is a stranger that has no relation to the family. The victim’s wife might be the main suspect, at least at 1st, since two days prior to his death she was drunkenly announcing to the entire family over Christmas dinner that she knows he’s been cheating on her and wants a divorce. It's well-known that they're an unhappily married couple. They'll look at her seriously, but I'm not sure for how long. This is probably going to be obvious a unplanned killing.


The wife left the night of the dinner with her sister and at the time of the murder she’s 4 hours away in Miami. That's going to be pretty much it for her as a suspect. The body is found 2 days later by the oldest son who I guess would be the one to contact his mother and younger brother with the news.


Questions: After the body is discovered and the family learns about his death, I’m wondering how the investigation would proceed from their point of view. Would the mother and younger son be expected to be physically present for questioning? Absolutely. And the questioning would be rather long, at least an hour. If they’re expected to return to town, would they go to the sheriff’s office for questioning? Where else would they go? Although the sheriff could meet her in Miami. They can't force her to return to her hometown, but would put a lot of pressure on her to do so.


Also, just how much of a suspect would the wife really be? Once they check out her alibi, probably not much of one. There really are no other suspects (the actual killer will be untraceable by the police) so how far would it be logical for them to push her as being guilty? Lots of murder cases have no luck in finding the killer. While she has an alibi, would they accuse her of hiring someone to kill her husband if they have no other leads or is that too far-fetched? They would probably accuse her of this, but the physical evidence doesn't support this theory. A contract killer having to use the victim's gun?


I've been going crazy trying to find answers to all the questions that are coming up while writing this story. Any help at all would be cool, sweet relief.

A confession, in and of itself, is not enough for a conviction.

Motive, in and of itself, is not enough for a conviction.

The prosecutor needs other evidence that supports the confession and/or motive.

She'd probably be investigate for a few days, waiting on the autopsy results and checking out her alibi, but it would be very unobtrusive. Although the main suspect in a spousal killing is the surviving spouse, I think it's only something like 20% of the time that it actually is.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

cmkim
10-26-2010, 06:27 PM
Thank you so much for your replies. This is exactly what I needed to know and will help a great deal in continuing forward. Up till this point I honestly had no idea how seriously she could be considered a suspect, even recognizing the lack of evidence. This really clears up a lot.