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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dirti... dirtiekittie

wow. i can't imagine putting myself in their shoes. neither of them were right, and it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach to even try and imagine it.

i hope the little girl who survived is in a stable home with all the love and support she could ever need. how horrific. 

Kayla... KaylaMillar

Neither one of them were right but i can see why he had then anger he did. For you to do that as a mother, their has to be something seriously wrong. I dont care how mad my kids make me or how much i need a break i could and would never do anything to harm them! Such a sad situation!

Snark... Snarkymom

I think this could definitely be classified as "temporary insanity".  He should be allowed to raise his surviving child, so she doesn't lose everyone she loves.

Renee Larsen

The idea of someone hurting my children terrifies me. I'd want to get ahold of that person and hurt them too probably. If someone were to kill my children, I don't think I could handle it rationally. If I didn't kill the person responsible, I may be so heartbroken that I'd kill myself. It's just such an awful situation, you don't know how you'll react. And any reaction in that moment is definitely not a decided rational response. He does need to be held accountable for his actions, but not while in prison. Anyone who witnessed their wife trying to commit suicide and what they thought were their two children laying dead would be in immediate need of therapy. Thank goodness one of his children survived. Can you imagine the trauma that poor little girl is suffering from? I pray he will be allowed to remain free and raise his daughter. They need eachother.

nonmember avatar hs

Do we know for sure he's telling the truth? Is it possible he killed them all and is making it seem like the wife did it? I mean, she's not around to tell her side. Especially if he really is a coke user...

spark... sparklyvamp

I completly agree with Renee. Though two wrongs don't make a right, I couldn't imagine the immense pain and anger he felt at that moment, and in a way it is understandable. I pray for the little girl. Hopefully she can find some sort of security and love through this.

All in all, it is so unbelievably sad.


I wouldn't be rational at that point.

sodiu... sodium_chloride

That's not an "understandable reason." What is wrong with you? Two wrongs don't make a right. It won't fix what happened in fact, it makes it worse. 

zandh... zandhmom2

My first thought was the same as hs...are we sure he didn't do it and blamed her?

LikeA... LikeAVirgin

My twins make me so frustrated sometimes but I would never take it out on them!!! If I came home to someone who had hurt them, I would lose all rational thoughts. I'm not saying that what the husband did was right, but I can see where he's coming from.

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