Legal Updates on Two Police Family Violence Cases

Two brutal police family violence cases, one in Ohio and another in Pennsylvania, have been making headlines this month. Luther McCormick, a former Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper, was sentenced earlier this week to 10 years in prison for shooting his wife in the face and critically wounding her. The case has drawn much controversy because McCormick’s wife, Tara, testified on her husband’s behalf, indicating that she believed that there was no way her husband would have intended to harm her. McCormick alleged that his gun accidentally discharged while he was unloading it. The jury, however, ruled that McCormick intended to harm his wife, evidenced by his unusual behavior after the incident – he left his home, while his bloodied wife made her way to a neighbor’s home to ask for help, and was found 20 miles away at a patrol post, casually chatting with police colleagues.

In a Pennsylvania police family homicide case, prosecutors have said that they will not seek the death penalty for Craig Knepper, a 12-year veteran of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania Police Department, who was charged in June with murdering his girlfriend, while the victim’s 4-year-old son watched. Knepper is currently being held without bail, and, if convicted of first-degree murder, will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Studies have shown that domestic violence is widespread in police departments, with estimates placing the rate domestic violence in police families at approximately 40%, compared with 10% in the general population.


Associated Press, 08/13/02; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8/14/02

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