Murder-suicide used to raise awareness, hope

After arriving at the scene of a grizzly murder, where a woman was slain with a hammer, Manchester Police Sergeant Joseph Hankins ordered a man seated in a recliner chair holding a handgun to his chin, to drop the weapon but the suspect shot himself as helpless officers watched.

That is the story revealed in a joint statement released by Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Manchester Police Chief Lisa Parker, who announced the results of an investigation into the deaths of two Manchester Township residents and said anyone feeling troubled can find help.

On Sunday, May 6, 2018, at about 12:57a.m., Manchester Township Police were notified regarding an emergency 9-1-1 call from a male caller at 9A Lexington Drive, Whiting, New Jersey, stating he killed his wife and was going to kill himself.

Manchester Township Police Officers responded and attempted to make contact with occupants inside of the residence with negative results. They subsequently discovered the front door of the residence unlocked and made entry into the residence.

Upon entering the residence, they observed the body of a female, who appeared to be the victim of a homicide.  The officers proceeded further into the residence where they observed a male, later identified as Ernest Greaves, 82, seated in a recliner chair in the living room area holding a handgun to his chin.

Manchester Police Sergeant Joseph Hankins verbally ordered the male subject to drop the gun at which time the male subject discharged the firearm, fatally wounding himself.

Emergency Medical aid immediately responded, but both the woman, who was later identified as Beverly Greaves, 80, and her husband, Ernest Greaves, were pronounced deceased.

The investigation by the Manchester Township Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Major Crimes Unit, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department (CSI) and the Ocean County Medical Examiner determined that Mr. Greaves caused Mrs. Greaves’ fatal injuries prior to taking his own life.

The Ocean County medical examiner ruled that Mr. Greaves’ death was caused by the gunshot and the manner of death was suicide.  Mrs. Greaves’ death was caused by blunt head trauma inflicted by a hammer found at the scene and that the manner of death was homicide.

Through this tragic event, Coronato and Parker hope to raise awareness of the fact that domestic violence for senior couples is becoming all too common.

Although experts say the numbers are tough to track for those over 45, there is no doubt many seniors in long-term relationships are suffering in silence without seeking help for domestic abuse.

Recently, more than 39,000 of the calls received in the last two years at the National Domestic Violence Hotline came from people over age 45, and it is clear that abuse can escalate as couples get older and their children leave home.

“Our partnering agencies want to make it clear to Ocean County’s large senior population that there are many options for help,” said Coronato.  “Domestic abuse can never be justified no matter how many years of marriage a couple shares.  There is help – below is contact information for agencies ready to help and that will keep your inquiry in the strictest confidence.”

  • Providence House Domestic Violence Services
    • 24 Hour Hotline
    • (732) 244-8259
    • (800) 246-8910
  • Adult Protective Services
    • Board of Social Services
    • (732) 349-1500
  • Francis Counseling Services
    • Sexual Abuse & Assault Program
    • 4700 Long Beach Blvd.
    • Long Beach Twp., NJ 08008
    • (609) 494-1090
  • General help/crisis intervention help line for Ocean County
    • (732) 240-6100
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    • 1-800-799-7233
    • 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

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