Family murder-suicides associated with depression, control, abuse

By: Jessica Floyd Email
By: Jessica Floyd Email

News 12 First at Five, November 28, 2007

AIKEN, SC - An Aiken man shoots and kills his two daughters and then turns the gun on himself.

It happened in Aiken Tuesday afternoon -- less than a month after a similar incident in Edgefield County where Robert Herring shot and killed his wife and stepdaughter before killing himself.

Kay Mixon is the Director of the Aiken County domestic abuse center. She says most times abuse plays a factor in suicides.

"It's not rare to see a suicide after a domestic because he knows then that he's gone too far and that he's going to spend the rest of his life, maybe, in prison. So, he takes himself out," says Mixon.

The man responsible for the double murder-suicide in Aiken, Alton Beasley, and his wife were getting a divorce.

In court papers filed by Alton's wife, Willa Beasley, she says she was divorcing her husband because of physical and verbal abuse.

On Tuesday afternoon Alton's wife and two daughters were eating lunch at their grandmother's house when Alton showed up unexpected -- shot and killed his two daughters and then himself.

"They will follow you in an automobile and go anywhere you're going and when that happens and calling you also -- you really need to run," says Mixon.

Cam Varner deals with suicide prevention and says sometimes the holiday season brings out the worst in people.

"What we especially see during holiday season and during the winter months when there's less sunshine is a greater degree of depression," said Varner.

Varner says divorces can often trigger suicidal behavior. Mixon adds --a divorce for an abuser is a sign of losing control -- and abusers can't handle that.

"They have to have control. They have to have it. And therefore, if you take it away from them, they have nothing," said Mixon.

For the Suicide Prevention Hotline, you can dial 211 from anywhere in the CSRA. If you're in an abuse relationship and need help getting out, contact the Cumbee Center of Aiken at 803-641-4162 or Safe Homes in Augusta at (706) 736-2499.


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  • by Rick Location: In. on May 27, 2008 at 09:17 AM
    Biase and discrimination is one of the terrible stressors in life. Ever been chewed and spit out by a judge over lies. Ever been ordered to give everything you got to someone lying about you to everyone they can. The human brain can only take so much. Many men desert there kids, fall into alchol, etc. The family courts perpetuate depression and conflict. Dont be so nieve not to believe what I say.
  • by Molly Location: NC on Dec 1, 2007 at 10:10 PM
    Alright Jon, if your friend was so decent why did he kill his own 2 children, and then kill himself? Even if his wife spent his money that is no excuse for killing his children,leaving kids without a mother or an aunt.
  • by jon Location: aiken on Nov 30, 2007 at 02:31 AM
    The comments as to the possible reasons for the murders/suicide as in this case full of caca...I've known Alton Beasley for a great many years... He weas never to my knowledge abusive in any manor to his wife, or kids (I was very frequently at his home and witnessed the interactions ... So much BS has been written about when an abuser loses "controll" of a situation; what about a poor man having his wife continually spending his hard earned money on luxury items such as horses 1000s at a time without ever even consulting or discussing these purchases with him prior to these aquisitions... For gods sake he was married to this woman for over 40 years and I've had a close relationship with them both for many years,never onbce witnessing any sort of spousal or substance abuse.. GET THE FIGGING FACTS BEFORE SLANDERING THE MEMORIES OF A GOOD AND DECENT MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by b Location: aug on Nov 28, 2007 at 08:09 PM
    This is sad! You r in our prayers! My belief in stopping all this violence with guns is 2 do away with them. Charge more 4 the bullets. Something. These murders everyday is not called 4. People need 2 wake up an realize life is short enough without someone else taking it away from you. May GOD bless everyone an prayers 4 all!
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