The psyche of men who kill their spouses or girlfriends is a growing concern in Minnesota, where a spike in domestic homicides has provoked a jump in calls to domestic abuse shelters, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. At least nine boyfriends or husbands have allegedly killed their partners so far this year. The state is on pace to double the 2012 total of 14 deaths. “The level of violence I'm seeing? Things are getting worse, not better,” said Heidi Carlson, who leads the men's counseling program for the Domestic Abuse Project in Minneapolis. The profile of a typical abuser is a man who has been victimized himself in childhood and has developed such insecurity that he has an overwhelming desire to control everything around him — especially the routines and whereabouts of his spouse or girlfriend. The abuser who is more likely to kill owns a gun, and brandishes it during arguments. He is likely to have made death threats to his partner in the past, and to have raped or choked her.
A less common but telling risk is when an abuser hurts a pregnant partner, said Neil Websdale, a Northern Arizona University professor and an expert on domestic homicide. “Pregnancy is a tender time between couples. A man that is willing to assault and abuse his pregnant partner, I think, is logically more dangerous.” Recent Minnesota cases have involved men with warning signs such as gun ownership, but no history of aggression, said Aaron Milgrom, director of therapy for the Domestic Abuse Project. “These appear to be emerging as the guys who are most lethal,” he said. “The police were never called on them. They never went to treatment. The neighbors thought they were OK or just kept to themselves. And then they burst forth into the news. [ ] t's really problematic for us.”