Man Beats His Wife to Death for Understandable Reason

There are almost no occasions in which beating a spouse to death is an appropriate response. But for one father in New Hampshire who returned to find his children seemingly murdered by their mother, it kind of makes sense.

Last year, Christopher Smeltzer returned home one day to find his 4-year-old son strangled to death, his 7-year-old daughter seemingly also strangled (though she was only unconscious), and the guilty party -- his wife, Mara Pappalardo -- trying to hang herself.

Understandably, the man lost control. And what he did next may make him spend the next decade in prison. He picked up a flashlight and he beat his wife to death. Is it bad that I don't even blame him?


Beating someone to death is never the rational, intelligent way to handle a situation, but Smeltzer wasn't in his rational mind. Other reports claim he was using cocaine, which, admittedly, would make a person a bit more irrational. But even if he were completely sober, can any parent really believe they wouldn't do the same?

Putting myself in his shoes is a sickening task, but the idea that I might return home one day to find my children strangled by their father is almost too painful to bear. Would I kill him? Maybe. It's hard to say. 

The rage I would feel would be unbearable. Can you imagine? No one could suggest that he was in his right mind. He had just found his tiny son cold and lifeless and the murderer was standing right in front of him. Spouse or not, it's hard to imagine a person who wouldn't do the same.

Our children are everything to us if we're good parents. I love my husband, but in that moment, I could see being so blinded by rage that good sense and love flew out the window.

This wife clearly had major, major problems. And yes, he handled it incorrectly. But who can really blame him and who can say how they would react given the same scene? I have to think that seeing my two children dead would make me want to kill, too. Was he right? No. But was he wrong? Maybe not that either.

Do you think he was wrong?


Image via labormikro/Flickr

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