For years, her name was treated as a shorthand joke: Lorena Bobbitt, the angry, crazy wife, a 22-year-old Ecuadorian immigrant who had cut off her husband John Wayne Bobbitt's penis with a kitchen knife while he slept in their Northern Virginia home. The June 1993 incident served as international tabloid fodder for months.
Rickey Ray Rector always had a troubled mind—as an adolescent, he fought regularly with peers, and by 17, he was a career criminal. But over the course of four days, his disturbing behavior reached its peak when Ray shot five people with a .38-caliber pistol.
The defendant, 22-year old Brandon Joyner, was charged with assaulting his 60-year old neighbor, David Turner, leaving him paralyzed and unable to speak. Joyner claimed he acted in self-defense—that Turner was drunk, belligerent and abusing his own disabled son-in-law when Joyner intervened. Joyner’s fate would hinge on multiple subjective factors in the murky and still-evolving world of self-defense laws in the U.S.
On January 27, 2018, 34-year-old Bryan Lawson shot and killed his wife, Beth Lawson, in their Tennessee home, the explosively violent climax to their abusive relationship. Many would assume Bryan was the abuser, inflicting brutality against Beth. But it was actually Beth—a former National Guard service member—who regularly assaulted Bryan, who was disabled.