Tuesday, May 26, 2009

When Fathers Kill Their Children

My brother, who's a lawyer in New York City, says that infanticide is a lot more common than parricide, especially if a man's children are living apart from him with an estranged spouse. There have certainly been some disturbing cases recently of fathers who murder their children, or are accused of murdering their children.

Fifty-nine-year-old William Parente is one of these dads. This tax and estate planning lawyer murdered his wife and his two daughters (ages 11 and 19) in a Sheraton hotel room in Maryland before taking his own life last month. Apparently he cut himself and bled to death in the bathroom. A cleaning lady found the four bodies. The New York Daily News reported that the deaths did not happen quickly.

No one is sure why he did this but an investigation has made it clear that Parente's finances were in ruins. I can only think he killed his family with the mistaken idea that he would be saving them from the shame of bankruptcy? He was obviously mentally deranged at the time but the story is so sad and so bizarre.

Still, ascribing some kind of charitable motive to this father who murdered his family makes little sense given that Parente, who was apparently a deeply religious Catholic, beat the shit out of his wife and daughters before strangling them to death.

Another absolutely mortifying story of a father turning on his family is the Chris Coleman case, which has been reported on Fox News.

Thirty-two-year-old Coleman is accused of strangling his wife and two sons, Gavin and Garret, in their home in Columbia, Illinois. He has pleaded not guilty. I can't help thinking that if he isn't guilty (what motive could he possibly have for killing his family?) the fact that he's been arrested while grieving for the loss of his family and branded as a murderer is even more devastating to an already shattered life.

When Parenting published an article about moms being mad at their spouses by Martha Brockenbrough, it was so widely read that the New York Times blogged about it. But the recent news suggests the opposite: that dads are so mad at their wives, and their families, that they are sometimes willing to commit murder.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i can't imagine what there is to say about this. 'that's too bad?' i can't see how it could possibly be relevant to parenting, because these people were homocidally insane--they didn't just have a bad day and blow off some steam. it's just disturbing. reading the graphic details about beating their families to death, and strangling, sickened me and made me feel like i'd just seen Silence of the Lambs.