Hidden Away

Donna Finkbeiner, 57, and Victor Lippy, 46, had been dating for about 2 1/2 years, they lived together for a part of that time. Lippy seemed to be prone to exaggerated gestures to prove his love, as he once bleached “Victor and Donna” into the sidewalk, a friend said he wanted everyone to know they would be together forever. Finkbeiner, described as a person who liked to take care of others reportedly bought cars for Lippy and friends and relatives say she would buy new clothing for Lippy, yet shop at thrift stores for herself.

Yet the relationship had ‘problems’ and Lippy allegedly was getting increasingly abusive. Finkbeiner asked him to leave the home, and she also changed the locks. Family says there were multiple complaints to police about the violence and that Finkbeiner had tried to get a protection order in the past.  There was no protection order in effect.  Reportedly she wanted the relationship to be over. But she liked her job so didn’t want to flee the area.

Lippy had reportedly had some brushes with the law recently, he had been charged with DUI on both Oct. 7 and Oct. 10 th, the last DUI also involved an auto accident. On Oct. 8, Donna Finkbeiner had filed a complaint with police alleging that Lippy had stolen her credit cards and the keys to her safe deposit boxes.

 Lippy had previously served time for repeated DUI convictions in 2002 and 2003. Since 1994 Lippy was arrested for various crimes including probation violations. He had previous convictions for burglary, forgery, theft and driving under the influence, indecent assault, delivery of a controlled substance. 

And he also had a domestic violence history. In 2002 two different women filed for protection from abuse orders on Lippy, and both stated he had broken into their homes and both stated he had threatened them. One woman reported that he had raped her.

On Sat. a friend of Finkbeiner’s says that Lippy showed up at her home asking for a key to Finkbeiner’s home. She refused to give it to him and he left, but returned later the same night and showed her the keys.

Sunday about 7 pm, police were called to the home for a reported burglary. Officers sighted Lippy through the window and reportedly one officer recognized him. Within 15 minutes, they heard a gunshot. When they entered the home they found Lippy dead from a gunshot wound. But Findbeiner wasn’t there.

Reportedly they found her blood and drag marks on the floor. There were also signs that Lippy may have tried to clean up the scene. It was several hours later that police discovered a door to the basement, hidden behind some furniture.  “The access to the basement was not an obvious access. Objects and furniture in the home were manipulated to disguise the access.”

In the basement police found the body of Donna Finkbeiner. Police have not released how they believe she died or how long she had been dead before she was found. But the family has said she had been beaten  with the fireplace poker, they believe she may have died Saturday night before Lippy went back to the friends and showed her the keys. They believe he may have entered the home by removing an air conditioner unit from a window.

publicopiniononline.com                             nbc25.com   

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There are lethality risk assessment tools available to domestic violence agencies and law enforcement, and Lippy would most likely have met quite a few of the criteria. I don’t link to the assessments, as I believe that in order to make a serious assessment, it should be done by persons with the training and experience in using the tools.

But when in an abusive relationship it can be hard to assess how often it happens or how severe it is. One site listed something interesting for abuse victims that could be helpful in realizing the actual extent of the abuse and could be helpful to the domestic violence agency if you should ever decide to use their services.

They suggest using something like a daily calendar. Then enter each each abusive incident on the record by using a ranking system. Rank the incidents from 1= no injuries or lasting pain, to 5= severe, use of a weapon. There is a tendency in an abusive relationship to drift from day to day, and to try to forget about previous incidents. Using something similiar can be an eyeopener for the victim, and can be useful for a domestic violence agency in determining risk.


Writing the exact nature of each incident could cause problems if it is found by the abuser, but by entering only the rankings, it can be more easily explained (how the day went, or how your mood was that day).

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