Prosecutor: Elderly man killed himself in front of police after fatally beating wife with hammer

Authorities say an elderly New Jersey man called the police to report he had beaten his wife to death at their home, then fatally shot himself after police arrived.

Ocean County prosecutors say 82-year-old Ernest Greaves called 911 from his Lexington Drive home in the Whiting section of Ocean County’s Manchester before 1 a.m. Sunday. Police initially couldn’t contact anyone at the home but entered the residence after finding the front door unlocked.

They saw the body of 80-year-old Beverly Greaves and soon encountered her husband, who was sitting in a recliner holding a handgun to his chin. Officers told him to drop the weapon but he fired it instead, fatally wounding himself.

Investigators say Beverly Greaves died from blunt head trauma her husband inflicted with a hammer found at the scene. Her death was ruled a homicide.

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Domestic violence for senior couples “is becoming all too common,” Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said in a news release.

“Our partnering agencies want to make it clear to Ocean County’s large senior population that there are many options for help,” he said. “Domestic abuse can never be justified no matter how many years of marriage a couple shares.”

Help is available from the following organizations:

Providence House Domestic Violence Services
24 Hour Hotline
(732) 244-8259
(800) 246-8910

Adult Protective Services
Board of Social Services
(732) 349-1500

St. 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)


The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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