They can be you…or someone you love

Today’s post is by regular reader who has been following a DV case in her area. Claudia Rhone is one of those I missed, she was killed and the case against the man accused of murdering her is now in trial and I never caught it on this blog. D.P. has been following the case though and has been following it with a special perspective. Before her retirement she worked with women in domestic violence situations. So when she approached me with the case, I asked her if she would write it, and she has agreed to. So it is with special pleasure that I offer D.P. as a guest poster today and the case she has to share with us.

The apartment complex where Claudia Rhone was murdered less than a year ago no longer exists. The Iris Court Apartments were torn down recently to make way for a new development. I drove by there today and thought about how life just marches on. Gone are the balloons, flowers and other memorial offerings by friends and family that sat on the stoop of Claudia Rhone’s corner apartment. Gone are the neighbors, all moved away now. And for most, gone is the knowledge of the woman who lived in that corner apartment for sixteen years, and was brutally murdered right on the shared lawn of that complex by her estranged boyfriend. Claudia Rhone, who ironically, died just feet from a memorial tree planted for yet another woman murdered by a former boyfriend in that same courtyard twelve years prior. I thought, how sad that as much as everything seems to change, nothing really does.

Claudia Rhone moved into the Iris Court Apartments sometime in 1990. She has been described by all who knew her as a kind woman with a warm smile. Rhone’s boyfriend was Gilberto Pedroso. He had lived with Rhone for seven years, from 1996 to 2003. Pedroso has been described as an alcoholic who got very violent when drunk, and would beat Rhone to the point of hospitalization. When he moved out, Rhone filed a restraining order against him. In 2004, nearly a year after moving out, Pedroso was arrested on accusations of assault and harassment. Nothing came of the arrest. Neighbors have said that Pedroso wouldn’t leave Rhone alone and that he could be found some nights loitering on the corner across from Rhone’s apartment, just watching.

On May 2, 2006, Gilberto Pedroso, 63, brutally stabbed Claudia Rhone to death in full view of her neighbors on her own lawn. Six hours before Claudia was murdered, she made her first 911 call and told dispatchers that Pedroso intended to kill her. Police came out for the call, but Pedroso had taken off. Two and a half hours later, when Pedroso returned, Rhone made a second call to 911. Police again arrived to find no sign of Pedroso. Claudia Rhone’s third and final call to 911 was made two minutes before her death. Listening to the 911 recording, one can hear her screaming frantically and calling for help as she ran out of her apartment unit. One can then hear the sounds of Pedroso stabbing Claudia Rhone to death. She was 54 when she died.

To those who regularly read this blog, or know first hand how domestic violence has affected their lives, this case is very similar to most of the stories that we see here. Sadly enough, NOTHING really stands out about this case. Woman breaks up with man. Man is bitter. Man continues to harass woman and she gets a restraining order. Man ignores restraining order, and meets with no real consequences. Man threatens woman over and over. Man finally becomes homicidal and woman makes not one…not two, but three 911 calls…all to no avail. Her neighbors cannot (or will not) do anything to stop the attack. She is murdered in her own front yard.

Another dead woman.

How many times do we read this? How many times does this scenario become a reality for families? How many children mourn their mothers? These women are more than just blurbs on the back side of the newspaper. They are mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces. They are teachers, doctors, nurses and more. They are “kind people with warm smiles”. They can be you…or someone you love.

Earlier in this post, I mentioned that Claudia Rhone died not far from a tree planted for another victim of domestic violence. Her name was Kyra Woods and she was 24 when she was murdered. And the beat goes on.

oregonlive.com  kgw.com katu.com  portlandonline.com

First of all I want to thank D.P. so much. For offering the story to me, for agreeing to write it up, and for her time and dedication. I agree with D.P. It is just another DV murder, yet it is so much more. She was a person and no person’s murder should be forgotten or ignored.

D.P. thank you so much for sharing and for doing it so beautifully.

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5 Comments

  1. Soobs said,

    March 13, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Great writing of a horrible event. Thank you.

  2. D.P. said,

    March 13, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Thank YOU, Soobs.

  3. D.P. said,

    March 14, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Just wanted to update for those interested. Gilberto Pedroso was convicted Tuesday for the murder of Claudia Rhone. He faces 25 years to life when sentenced.
    http://snipurl.com/1czi1

  4. March 14, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks for the update D.P. Now she can rest in peace and the hard part comes for the family….getting used to the fact that she is no longer alive.

  5. Chemika said,

    July 10, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Claudia is my aunt & I received the news on May 3rd my daughters eight birthday. You can only imagine how tha day nw carries so many mixed feelings for myself and my mother (Claudia’s sister). I want to say thank you cause as I read and type I fight bcak the tears and try to clear my thought. I know that my aunt is at piece but we are left here to remind all the younger kids in the family what a wonderful blessing she was. Tell the boys not to take the same road as Golberto and the girls to watch for the signs and take them serious. I love my aunt, miss my aunt, and pray that the pain never goes away.


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