Domestic Homicide: Neuropsychological Profiles of Murderers Who Kill Family Members and Intimate Partners

Robert E. Hanlon*, Michael Brook, Jason A. Demery, Mark D. Cunningham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Domestic homicide is the most extreme form of domestic violence and one of the most common types of homicide. The objective was to examine differences between spontaneous domestic homicide and nondomestic homicide offenders regarding demographics, psychiatric history, crime characteristics, and neuropsychological status, utilizing neuropsychological test data from forensic examinations of 153 murderers. Using standard crime classification criteria, 33% committed spontaneous domestic homicides (SDH) and 61% committed nondomestic homicides (NDH). SDH offenders were more likely to manifest psychotic disorders, but less likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder or to have prior felony convictions. SDH offenders manifested significantly worse neuropsychological impairments than NDH offenders. The mean number of victims was lower for the SDH than the NDH group and only 14% of SDH offenders used a firearm, whereas 59% of NDH offenders used a firearm. These findings corroborate the notion that spontaneous domestic homicide may represent a discernible criminological phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-170
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Domestic homicide
  • Forensic science
  • Intimate partner
  • Murder
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • Psychosis
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Domestic Homicide: Neuropsychological Profiles of Murderers Who Kill Family Members and Intimate Partners'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this