An elderly man has been accused of attacking his wife with a hammer and beating her to death before killing himself in Manchester Township, NJ. The victim was 80-year-old Beverly Greaves; her husband was 82-year-old Ernest Greaves. The deadly incident occurred on Sunday, May 6, 2018. At 12:57 a.m., police received a 911 call from Ernest Greaves saying that he was going to kill himself. Manchester Township police officers rushed to the Greaves’ home and found the door unlocked. When they entered the residence, they found Beverly Greaves’ body on the floor. The police continued into the home and found Ernest Greaves sitting in a recliner chair in the living room and holding a handgun to his chin. Sergeant Joseph Hankins of the Manchester Township Police Department ordered Ernest Greaves to put the gun down. Greaves then reportedly pulled the trigger and killed himself.
Assuming the 82-year-old had survived, he would very likely be facing murder charges in connection with the death of his wife. In general, a person can be found guilty of murder in New Jersey if the actor purposely causes death or serious bodily injury resulting in death, or the actor knowingly causes death or serious bodily injury resulting in death. A person acts purposely when it is the person’s conscious object to cause death or serious bodily injury resulting in death. And a person acts knowingly when the person is aware that it is practically certain that his or her conduct will cause death or serious bodily injury resulting in death.
Murder is a crime of the first degree, however, unlike most first degree offenses, a person convicted of first degree murder faces between 30 years and life in prison; by contract, most first degree offenses in New Jersey expose individuals to 10-20 years in jail.
In this case, it is unclear if there were any previous instances of domestic violence between Greaves and his wife. It is also unclear if the victim had sought a restraining order against her husband at any point.