“Last Chance”

Tracy and Nancy Floren had been married for 20 years. They lived in an “upscale” community and both were employed. Reportedly they didn’t have any history of domestic violence reports. They had plans to build a “dream home” for their retirement. Tracy, 64, reportedly did have a problem with alcohol and sometimes that was a “battle.” Reports indicate that was a problem in the marriage. Reports indicate that Tracy had said in treatment that he got angry at her when she attempted

“to control his money”

and he also worried about her leaving him.

Nancy’s friends have told police that Nancy, 56, had told them that he was getting his

“Last chance”

when he recently enrolled in his latest treatment program. 

 On Sept. 2, 2007 a little after 6 am the alarm went off at their home. Police arrived to investigate the burglar alarm and found Nancy lying alone in the home, she was dressed in a robe and had two gunshots to her head. A gun lay beside her but that weapon did not match the gun that had fired the shots to Nancy’s head and tests showed it had not been fired.

Police were beginning their investigation when Tracy Floren pulled up to the home. Police say that immediately Floren established his alibi with them, he had been to an early morning AA meeting. He reportedly showed them a sign in sheet for the AA meeting and pulled out a receipt for a cup of coffee he had purchased that am. He told police his wife was alive when he left home that morning. Police say he didn’t appear to be concerned about what his wife’s condition was and gave his alibi even before he was told his wife had been found dead.

Investigation of the scene revealed that a window of the back door had been scored leaving a square hole. A backdoor was unlocked. There were signs that someone had climbed the back fence and walked through the field behind their home leaving a trail. Near the fence investigators found two florescent earplugs.

Months went by with no arrests in the murder of Nancy Floren. Tracy Floren gave away the family pets, retired from his job, sold the family home and spent time overseeing work on the “dream home.” Police say that is where they found him on Friday.

During the police investigation they found glass in Floren’s vehicle, on his clothing and shoes that they believe matches the window that had been scored. Grass like from the back field was also allegedly found in the vehicle. Police say the green ear plugs found in the field matched plugs that Floren used while recreational sport shooting, and also were stained with his DNA. Though Floren had given his alibi as being at an AA meeting that morning starting at 5:45 am, police say that other attendees have told police that he didn’t arrive until about 6:20 am.

Tracy Floren has been arrested and charged with 1st degree murder in the death of his wife Nancy Floren. Police say that Floren stood to benefit from his wife’s death. She had a $250,000 life insurance policy and the couple had a $500,000 retirement account. Police say the murder weapon has not been found. And they also say they believe the crime scene was staged to look like a burglary.

seattlepi.nwsource.com      seattletimes.nwsource.com   komotv.com

seattlepi.nwsource.com      konp.com        seattletimes.nwsource.com    seattlepi.nwsource.com

20 years of marriage. They shared a lot of living in 20 years. Most likely they had many times they agreed and many times they disagreed during that time. Couples married for 20 years can almost tell each other’s stories and finish their sentences. They can frequently predict their spouses reactions to events. Yet no matter how well they may think they know each other, they cannot usually read what is in their spouses private thoughts. She most likely wasn’t aware of the danger she was facing when she gave him one last chance. She most likely never thought he was capable of this action. He allegedly complained that she was controlling “his” money, though they both earned money for the household. Now he stands to profit from her death- if he is not convicted of killing her.

Almost 6 months went by. He reportedly made major changes in his life after she was killed. He retired, he sold the home they shared and was building the “dream home.” Six months probably seemed like a breathing time after the death of his wife with no arrest in sight. But police investigations are quiet. The go about talking to people, collecting evidence and testing. Police are able to read a lot from a crime scene, but sometimes that testing can take time.  

Edmond Locard was a forensics scientist that developed the Forensics Exchange Principle that in effect says that

“with contact between two items, there will be an exchange”

Any evidence that Floren was in the home can be explained by the fact that he lived in the home. But what police will be trying to prove is that Floren had evidence on him that could only come from the crime at the time of his wife’s death.


Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool mark he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood or semen he deposits or collects. All of these and more, bear mute witness against him. This is evidence that does not forget. It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It is factual evidence. Physical evidence cannot be wrong, it cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value.
– Professor Edmond Locard

Police have reported they found glass and grass from the crime scene on Floren. They also report they found Floren’s DNA at the crime scene by way of the DNA on the earplugs found near the home. Many times they will also have other evidence that will not come out until the trial. If it is proven that Floren did commit this murder, he may very well have had his “last chance” to live in society.

Do you live in California?

I’ve been contacted by Alexis Moore of Survivors in Action and asked to make you aware of a new domestic violence law that has been proposed in California.

If you live in California, you may already be aware of this proposal. If you are not aware, then I hope to give you some information about it so that if you can be informed and if you choose you can offer your support. I have long thought that this kind of bill needs to be made and needs to be available in all states. California seems a good place to start.

When a woman meets a man, neither wears a sign on that gives a warning that they may be abusive. If one of the persons hears that the other person has been convicted of a domestic violence, the other will usually have a nice neat answer for that. “It was just an argument that got out of hand,” “one party was angry and retaliated” “it was the other’s fault” or something similar. So how do you find out what kind of person you just met, are they someone you would feel comfortable dating, and what really happened that they were convicted of domestic violence?

You can search the internet, but many states don’t put court info online. You can search out new stories, but many domestic violence incidents don’t make the news stories unless someone dies. You can ask their family or friends about it, but can you really trust what you are told? So how can a person find out if this person they may be dating, may be getting serious about is a good choice or someone to be wary of?

A law has been proposed in California to establish a database containing the names of persons who have been convicted of domestic violence. This database would be online and public. And after finding a name, if there are any questions about what really happened in that domestic violence case, the court will be required to release additional information about the case…. free of charge.

In addition, a person seeking a protection order against the named person will be able to use those previous convictions as grounds for obtaining the protection order.

If you choose to support the bill, you can write or fax your support t

Contact person for bill:           Catalina Hayes-Bautista

Legislative Aide

Office of Assemblywoman Fiona Ma

P:916-319-2012

F:916-319-2112

Fact Sheet for CA AB 1771

Summary: AB 1771 will provide Californians with an online database of convicted domestic violence offenders, require the Court to provide information regarding domestic violence convictions to requestors free of charge, and allow individuals to use prior convictions as basis for securing restraining orders.

Background: The need for this bill was brought to our attention by Jim Hammer, a former San Francisco prosecutor, in response to a double murder he prosecuted. In 1995, Nadga Schexnayder and her mother were shot to death by Ronnie Earl Seymour, a former boyfriend of Nadga who had a 20-year history of violence against women. The family had suspicions of Seymour’s violent behavior but could not prove their suspicions.

Information about previous domestic violence convictions is already available to the public but difficult to obtain. One must have both the time and the resources to obtain such information. AB 1771 seeks to remedy this.

Problem: According to the California Attorney General’s Crime and Violence Prevention Center, California law enforcement received 176,299 domestic violence calls in 2006 – 80,946 of which involved weapons.

In 2006, 134 murders were the result of intimate partner violence in California. 110 women were killed by their husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends, and 24 men were killed by their wives, ex-wives or girlfriends (California Department of Justice [DOJ], Criminal Justice Statistics Center [CJSC]).

California can reduce the number of domestic violence incidents by providing

information about prior convictions online, and by providing potential victims with useful tools to avoid violence or a potentially violent partner.

Solution: Specifically, AB 1771 would require the following:

1) The Attorney General would develop an online database that would report the name, date of birth, county and date of conviction for individuals convicted of felony domestic violence or multiple counts of misdemeanor domestic violence. The database would keep updated information available for 10 years.

2) Superior Courts would be required, without charge, to provide additional information to a requestor about a domestic violence conviction.

3) A restraining order may be secured based on evidence that the person against whom the order is to be issued has previously been convicted of a crime of domestic violence.

4) A new assessment would be placed on domestic violence convictions to provide additional funding for domestic violence programs.

5) AB 1771, as amended on March 10, strengthens the privacy protections for domestic violence survivors, as well as for minor children who may be in a household when domestic violence strikes.

Sponsor:

Survivors in Action

Staff contact:

Catalina Hayes-Bautista 319-2012

Sample Support Letter

The Honorable Fiona Ma

Assemblywoman, 12th District

State Capitol, Rm. 2176

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Assemblywoman Fiona Ma,

I am writing to express my strong support for Assembly Bill AB 1771 (Ma), which will provide Californians with an online database of convicted domestic violence offenders, require the Superior Courts to provide information regarding domestic violence convictions to requestors free of charge, and allow individuals to use prior convictions as basis for securing restraining orders.

This legislation is long overdue. According to the California Attorney General’s Crime and Violence Prevention Center, California law enforcement received 176,299 domestic violence calls in 2006 – 80,946 of which involved weapons.

According to the California Department of Justice and Criminal Justice Statistics Center, 134 murders were the result of intimate partner violence in California in 2006. 110 women were killed by their husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends, and 24 men were killed by their wives, ex-wives or girlfriends.

Existing laws do little to prevent or deter domestic violence. With AB 1771, California can do more to curb the dangerously high numbers of domestic violence incidents by providing information about prior convictions online, and by providing potential victims with useful tools to avoid violence or a potentially violent partner.

Sincerely,

Or, if you are going to write and if you have a personal connection to DV through yourself or someone in you family you may wish to explain how this information might have helped in your situation.

If you have any questions, thoughts or comments on the issue I would be interested in hearing them even if you do not live in California.

The Fear, The Terror

Cindy L. Bischof, 43, wore many hats. She was a realtor, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a colleague. And due to recent experiences in her life, she told family and friends she was considering putting on another hat. She was thinking of becoming a domestic violence advocate.

Cindy knew what domestic violence was like. She had been married, but her divorce was amicable and she remained close to her in-laws. Then she began dating. About three years ago she began dating 60 year old Michael L. Giroux. The two ended up moving in together and for a time things were good. But last year there were problems and the two decided to separate last May. And then more problems developed.

Bischof came home one day to find her home vandalized. She got a restraining order. She found Giroux on her patio one day trying to hang himself. He was arrested. She moved out of her home for a time, she had cameras installed. He showed up at her office and other places she went. Giroux was arrested for violating the protection order at least three times. At one point Giroux was reportedly in a psychiatric unit via a court order for several months, but he was released in Nov. At one point Cindy reportedly came home and found Giroux in her dark garage.

According to her brother

“This was eight months of terror,” “She had a constant fear for her life. She tried everything. The system failed my sister.”

In Nov. Giroux was also convicted of a violation of the protection order. He was sentenced to 63 days in jail, 60 days of home confinement and 2 years of intensive probation. Since then, things had been quieter. Cindy’s mother has told media that the end of Feb. her daughter did hear from Giroux. He called and apoligized for what he had done. Because the call appeared harmless, Cindy didn’t report it.

Giroux finished his term on home incarceration just this month. On Mar. 7 th Cindy Bischof was leaving work. As she tried to enter her car she was shot. After shooting her, Giroux turned the weapon on himself. Giroux was pronounced dead at the scene. Cindy Bischof was taken to a hospital where she later died.

Now her family and friends are left to pick up the pieces. And they remember what Cindy said about becoming a domestic violence advocate. Since she can no longer become an advocate, the family has decided to do it in her name. They are determined to become advocates on women’s issues and they are starting with the need for electronic monitoring in similar situations. They also want to make protection orders more effective, and try to come up with ways to make the victims safer as they try to get out of the situations.

According to her brother

“There are going to be a lot of people like Cindy, after Cindy, unless things change,” Mike Bischof said.

dailyherald.com          dailyherald.com    chicagotribune.com

chicagotribune.com    chicagotribune.com

She asked for protective orders, she followed through, she got cameras for her home, she moved out of her home and stayed elsewhere. She did everything she could to help herself short of disappearing.

And the system actally worked as far as it goes. Police actually made the arrests. Prosecutors actively prosecuted the cases. Judges did impose sentences including jail time. He was even sent for a psychiatric evaluation. Still Cindy Bischof died.  This case, along with others, illustrate how desperately domestic violence laws need to be strengthened, and how new technology needs to be incorporated into the laws. Had electronic monitoring been made available, there would have been an alert to the fact that Giroux was in the vicinity of her workplace.

Cindy Bischof’s Memorial page and the beginning of the domestic violence foundation. If you live in Illinois and wish to help, they have listed contact information. If you live in another state and are thinking of doing something similar, you may wish to make contact also.

There is a lot of good information coming out in the above articles. For instance information about risk factors

Studies of women killed by an intimate partner have identified common traits among the perpetrators. Among them: access to a gun, previous threat with a weapon, estrangement from the partner, stalking, forced sex, abuse during pregnancy, drug abuse and unemployment.

“When individuals are unemployed or they start spiraling downward … then that’s a huge, huge red flag,”

In certain cases, however, no jail sentence — no matter how long — would dissuade someone from harming their intimate partner, experts say.

That’s why women who face abuse or harassment are encouraged to seek help outside the legal system. Domestic violence agencies can assist victims in creating comprehensive safety plans, which can include changing their name and even relocating.

Sometimes only the most extreme measure works, said Kathy Doherty, executive director of Between Friends, which provides legal advocacy to domestic abuse victims.

“We’ve helped some women disappear,” she said.

chicagotribune.com

It doesn’t seem fair that the victim should have to be the one to change her lifestyle in order to survive. But until a better system is developed, it may be best to start  over somewhere new and make the changes, than to live with the fear and the terror or to not survive. And sometimes that is the only choices you have.

Meanwhile, there is a need to fight for stronger laws, better technology, more effective treatment for offenders.

The Standoff

Robert Kowalski, 46, lived in a home with a roommate. But he was reportedly dating Lorraine Kay Morin, 45, who lived a few houses away. On Sunday Kowalski reportedly told his roommate that he had killed Lorraine Morin and was feeling suicidal himself.

The roommate called the sheriff about 11 am. He was away from the address at the time of the call. The sheriff’s department confirmed that Lorraine Morin was found dead in her home and by 2 pm SWAT was surrounding Kowalski’s home.

Reports indicate there were no signs of life in the home. Calls to the home went unanswered. Around 7 pm law enforcement broke some windows in the home and used a pole to pull the drapes back. At that time officers report they knew that Kowalski was alive in the home because he swore at officers. Hours passed with Kowalski still refusing to talk with negotiators. About midnight officers report that Kowalski fired one shot, but about 3 am Kolalski was seen moving around in the home.

The standoff continued throughout the night with the latest media coverage being 4 hours ago indicating that the standoff continuing through late Monday morning. Police have indicated that Kowalski has a history of domestic violence. St Rt 35 has been closed due to the standoff.

Lorraine Morrin was a mother of 6 children ages 9 to 28 years old. The younger children are now reported to be with the older children.

montananewsstation.com          dailyinterlake.com **       helenair.com

montananewsstation.com           kulr8.com                      flatheadbeacon.com

** Per a commenter at the dailyinterlake this may not be the first time for Kowalski. Per the commenter Kowalski’s first wife died at his hands. This info has not been confirmed in any media articles as yet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday evening around 6:08 pm police threw cans of tear gas into the home and Kowalski came out and surrendered peacefully. The standoff lasted for 31 hours. Murder charges had been filed against Kowalski on Monday and he was arrested after he surrendered.

Friends and a past girlfriend have told media that Kowalski suffered from bipolar disorder and had problems when he was off his meds. He also became worse when he was drinking. They have said he has been suicidal in the past and there is also a history of domestic violence. The Daily Interlake recounts some of Kowalski’s history and there is no mention of the fate of his first wife.

dailyinterlake.com             kxmc.com        missoulian.com

Vacation Time

I am going to be taking a short vacation and will be away from the blog for a little over a week.

In the meantime, I am going to be turning the comments to moderated. So if you leave a comment and notice that it doesn’t appear right away, please be patient. When I have a chance to get online, I will be looking at the comments and posting them as soon as possible.

While I am away you might want to check out the Coalition of Crime Blogs for further reading. Each Coalition Blog is listed on the left under the heading Coalition of Crime Blogs.

I am going to say something now that I haven’t said for too long. Each and every day everyone has some chance to do a random act of kindness. It may be for a neighbor, a stranger, a co-worker, a friend, or a family member.

It doesn’t have to be a big thing (although it can be) but even something small like a smile to someone who needs it or a visit to a shut in. Take the time to do that every day. It really isn’t just for them, it makes you feel good too.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 51 other followers