Crime

South Carolina ranks fifth in the country with highest rate of women killed by men

The six women that have allegedly been murdered by men in Horry County so far this year. Top row: Pictured left to right - Shemeria Smith, Donna Major, Linda McAllister. Bottom row: Pictured left to right - Katie Skeen, Latosha Lewis, Jadasia Myers.
The six women that have allegedly been murdered by men in Horry County so far this year. Top row: Pictured left to right - Shemeria Smith, Donna Major, Linda McAllister. Bottom row: Pictured left to right - Katie Skeen, Latosha Lewis, Jadasia Myers.

Men murdered 46 women in South Carolina in 2015, which means the state ranks fifth in the United States with the highest rate of women killed by men, according to a recent study by the Violence Policy Center to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In Horry County alone, six women have been allegedly killed by men so far in 2017. This only includes the homicides in which the alleged offender could be identified. More cases remain unsolved.

This is the sixth year in a row the Palmetto State has ranked in the top five states for highest rates of women murdered by men.

The study found that nationwide, 93 percent of women killed by men were killed by someone they knew and that the most common weapon used was a gun.

Data from 2015, the most recent year for which information is available, reveals that the homicide rate of women murdered by men in S.C. is 1.83 per 100,000 women. The national rate in 2015 was 1.12 per 100,000.

The study covers homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender, and uses data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report.

Age

The average age of the women killed in S.C. was 43-years-old, the study states.

Out of the 46 murdered, 17 percent of those were 65-years-old or older.

Race

Twenty-three of the victims were white, 22 were black and one was Asian of Pacific Islander, according to the statistics.

Weapons used

For murders in which the weapon used could be identified, the study revealed that 53 percent of the victims were shot and killed with guns. That’s 23 women out of 43.

Of those women, 65 percent were killed with handguns.

There were 13 women killed with knives of other cutting instruments, two killed by a “blunt object” and three killed by bodily force.

Relationship to killer

For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 91 percent of the women killed in S.C. were murdered by someone they knew, making that 39 out of 43 women, according to the study.

Four were killed by strangers. Of the women who knew their killers, 72 percent, or 28 victims, were married to or at some point had been in a relationship with the offenders.

“Women killed by men are most often killed by someone they know and more than half were killed by an intimate partner,” Legislative Director Kristen Rand said in the release. “Much more must be done to identify and implement strategies to prevent these tragedies. More resources are needed at the federal, state, and local levels to help keep women safe.”

Circumstance

For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 74 percent, or 20 out of 27 women, were not related to the commission of any other felony crime, such as rape or robbery, the study explains.

Of these, 95 percent (19 murders) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.

Recent Horry County homicides

So far, six women have allegedly been killed by men in Horry County this year.

Five of those six women were shot to death.

May 2017

The first woman murdered in Horry County this year was in May, when 19-year-old Shemeria Smith, of Myrtle Beach, was reportedly held against her will by a man who crashed a car with her inside it.

Justin Penn, of Alabama, was charged with murder and kidnapping.

July 2017

In July, 64-year-old Linda McAllister, of Conway, was shot and killed along with her husband.

Kenneth Wayne Carlisle and his girlfriend Jordan Hodge, 21, each face murder charges in connection with their deaths.

August 2017

Three women were shot and killed in August.

On August 15, Latosha Nicole Lewis, 31, was found shot to death inside a car near Green Sea, close to the North Carolina border.

Jakeem Bryant, of Tabor City, N.C., was charged with murder and use of a firearm during the commission of violent crime in connection with Lewis’ death.

Less than a week later, two women were shot and killed during a Conway bank heist, one of the nation’s deadliest bank robberies in recent years.

Kathryn “Katie” Davis Skeen, 36, of Green Sea and Donna Major, 59, of Conway were murdered during the August 21 robbery.

Authorities say 32-year-old Brandon Michael Council, of Wilson, N.C., shot and killed them.

He was indicted Sept. 20 on federal charges of armed robbery resulting in death, using a firearm in a violent crime that resulted in murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

September 2017

On Sept. 24, Jadasia Myers, 22, was shot in the neck during the melee at the Carver Street Apartments on Spivey Avenue in Myrtle Beach.

She was five months pregnant at the time and the baby girl, who would have been named Harmony, died as well.

Jordan Pyatt, 21, is facing several charges, including murder, child death in utero, two attempted murder charges and weapons charges in connection to that incident.

Michaela Broyles: 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles

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