Dr. H. over at the General Blog of Crime posted some of her thoughts on the wanted now found dead Professor George Zinkhan case in Georgia:
…Then came news that the alleged shooter was not a student but a faculty member, George Zinkhan, and that one of the three victims was Zinkhan's wife -- and so the story unfolded as an all-too-familiar case of intimate partner homicide. But then Zinkhan disappeared, and a weeks-long manhunt turned up no trace of him until this past weekend when cadaver dogs discovered his body in a concealed grave he apparently dug for himself immediately before committing suicide.Why would the professor try to bury himself before committing suicide?
And then, I think, it became clear that this story is quite unlike others we've heard:
Zinkhan's body was found in a small dugout area in the ground, covered with leaves and debris, and it was apparent that he took significant steps to try to conceal his body from being located," a statement from Athens police said.
Law enforcement officials determined that Zinkhan, 57, committed suicide after killing his wife, Marie Bruce, 47, Thomas Tanner, 40, and Ben Teague, 63, outside a theater in Athens on April 25.
I don't really have much commentary to add, other than to say that I'm puzzled about why he went to such lengths to conceal his body. While suicide is very often the final result of male-perpetrated domestic homicide, I can't quite make out why he would have wanted nobody to find his body.
A final act of cowardice? The consequence of a deeply disturbed mental state? Who knows? It certainly is unusual, though.
How about this guess as to motivation: he wanted to be remembered as someone who may have not been guilty.
If he was apprehended, the trial would have most likely produced a guilty verdict. If he was located after committing suicide, everyone also considers him guilty.
In contrast, if he is never found, he would have a somewhat of a legacy. The possibility that he was not guilty would always exist (perhaps he was thinking of this specifically with his kids)--keeping the focus of the story on him alluding authorities rather than taking the blame for the violent crime that he was believed to be responsible for.
Deciphering human behavior is certainly difficult work.