Several things struck me about the case. First of all, why is it such big news? I don't mean to sound macabre, but don't people kill their spouses all the time? The suburban woman was white and fairly good looking. I can't help but wonder how much attention would have been paid if she had been an inner city black, or even a less attractive woman.
But the part that most piqued my interest was the heading on one story that read something like "Her dismemberment worse than her death." Really? Is she more dead because her arms and legs were cut off following her murder? Do you think she cared that she was dismembered following her death?
Our culture is pretty picky about the care of corpses. If a body is handled improperly, the family can become very upset. I don't fully understand it. Don't get me wrong - I realize that mutilation and dismemberment of a corpse show significant pathology in the perpetrator, but why do other people care so much? I don't think there's much in religion that makes it important that a dead body is kept whole. If you're Christian and believe in the eventual resurrection of the dead, well, a God that can raise people from the dead is surely powerful enough to put a couple of arms and legs back on the body. If you're Hindu, for example, the body is cremated anyway. And if you're atheist, it's just a body, a mass of dead protoplasm.
We run into this attitude sometimes when requesting consent for an autopsy. I can understand parents feeling squeamish about the thought of their child's body being cut open and so on, but I also think that when you really think about it, people can realize that it doesn't matter to the dead child. Sometimes it's just too hard, though, or the death is too fresh. I've had parents say to me sometimes when declining permission for an autopsy, "He's been through enough already."
It sounds like the dismembering guy in the above story will spend the rest of his life in jail. If I'm not mistaken, his state does not have the death penalty. The woman's family will get over the body mutilation. A far greater tragedy is that the couple's two young children have suddenly lost both their parents.