Ten more homicides have reportedly occurred within the first six months of 2012 in East Baton Rouge Parish compared to the same period last year. As of Saturday, the number reached 50. Fourteen of the homicides occurred outside the city limits and are being investigated by the Sheriff’s Office. Thirty five are being investigated by the Baton Rouge Police Department.

In most of the cases, the motive for killing is unknown, though nine were killed in domestic-related incidents, three of which were murder-suicides. Two other cases involved children. Eight died during a fight, three during drug-related incidents, and one during an armed robbery.

Authorities aren’t clear what is behind the increase in homicides, though some common characteristics have been identified. The high number of domestic cases, they say, points out the need for more to be done in the early stages of such cases.

Among the policies police have adopted in the last few years in domestic violence cases is not to drop charges at the request of the victim. The police department also tracks the most violence domestic violence offenders and requests an increase in their bail amounts. These and other policies, though intended to help victims, can sometimes have the effect of making it harder for an innocent defendant to clear their name and get back to their normal life.

Those facing criminal charges need to understand that officers and prosecutors are not likely to go easy on defendants. Both in the investigation and prosecution stages, criminal defendants have need for strong advocacy and protection of their rights.

Source: The Advocate, “Significant increase seen in murders outside BR city limits,” Kimberly Vetter, July, 4, 2012