A whole set of societal questions have come along with the combination of aging baby boomers and advancements in modern medicine, the result of which has drastically increased the population of senior citizens. Often overlooked are the occasions in which the judicial system must decide the fate of an elderly criminal.
The cases that are a part of this investigation were gleaned from fifteen years of the FBI's supplemental homicide reports dating back to 2001. They involve killers as old as 93. On par with the rising prevalence of murder-suicide among the elderly, according to studies by the Violence Policy Center and others, a dozen of the cases involved incidents in which no one was left to prosecute — the cases were ruled murder-suicides. In a couple others, the acts were deemed justifiable.
But in those instances in which someone came under investigation, the conclusions offer a glimpse into judicial empathy for the elderly. They are stories of fed-up spouses, neighborly disputes and attempted murder-suicides in which the assailant survived. They are stories about what happens when you go your whole life without shooting or stabbing someone, and then one day, you do.
They are stories that raise the question of whether, at a certain age, you can get away with murder.
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