“48 Hrs. Mystery”

Periodically bloggers get ‘tips’ or notice of an interesting article or crime situation and when I can I like to write on stories that others have found interesting. Every once in a while we get notice from a TV station or a print publisher. If they are appropriate to this blog, I do sometimes write those up also. Today I got an email from “48 Hrs. Mystery” about their show tomorrow night. They cover a crime from the crime to the trial and frequently the crimes they cover are related to domestic situations. Tomorrow’s broadcast is just such a situation. I didn’t cover this one and I haven’t followed it so it will be especially interesting to me.

Here is the press release for the show that gives the details for Tues. Jan. 28. Check your local listings for the time.

                                                                       48-hrs.jpg Photo courtesy of “48 Hrs. Mystery”

Caption: Jenny Eisenman (R) claims she killed her husband Drew (L) in self defense.

A SWEET, SOFT-SPOKEN WIFE AND TEACHER KILLS HER HUSBAND –

WAS IT SELF DEFENSE OR MURDER?

“48 HOURS MYSTERY” ON TUESDAY, JAN. 29, 2008

In May 2004, Jenny Eisenman shot her husband Drew six times, killing him instantly, an act she claimed was self-defense. Drew was handsome, athletic and fun, while Jenny was slender, pretty and sweet. Living in Houston , both shared an interest in children and education – Jenny was an elementary school teacher, while Drew was a high school basketball coach. But behind the scenes, their fairytale relationship was quickly deteriorating. Jenny discovered that Drew was having an affair while she was pregnant with their first child. Worse, when their son was born, Drew brought his mistress to Jenny’s hospital room to hold the baby. Jenny and Drew separated a few months later.

Both Drew and Jenny attempted to maintain a civil relationship for the sake of their son, but all that changed one night in May 2004 when police were summoned to Jenny’s apartment after a frantic 911 call in which she admitted to shooting Drew. Expecting to find a homicide scene, police were in for two surprises – a pristine apartment with no sign of struggle or blood and the discovery of Drew’s body outside on the curb stuffed into a storage tub, the same one used to store the family Christmas tree.

Jenny claimed the shooting was an act of self defense against a brutal beating, and told police that Drew had abused her repeatedly in the past. Despite numerous bruises on her legs, police were convinced otherwise. They discovered there was something Jenny didn’t tell them: about an hour after the shooting she had gone to Wal-Mart to pick up spackle and paint to hide the bullet holes. But it was a series of provocative and sexual emails that Jenny sent Drew during the time that he was allegedly abusing her that helped convince a jury that this was not an act of self defense.

Although it would seem that this would be the end of the story, it is far from it. Did Jenny kill Drew in self defense or was it a calculated murder? Jenny Eisenman speaks on camera for the first time and tells her story to 48 HOURS MYSTERY.

Richard Schlesinger reports 48 HOURS MYSTERY: “Trigger Point,” on Tuesday, Jan. 29 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. This broadcast is produced by Marcelena Spencer and Jenna Jackson. Judy Tygard is the senior producer and Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.

Editors’ Note: Click here for a preview of the broadcast. CBS News 48 HOURS MYSTERY broadcasts are now available on iTunes.com.

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In the Eisenman show one thing really stood out for me. It isn’t uncommon for persons who have been abused to try to hide that abuse. Whether it is not talking to anyone about it,  outright denial that abuse is occurring or making excuses for the bruises. Allegedly this happened in the Eisenman marriage, abuse occurred and she didn’t tell anyone. She didn’t make a report and did not in any way document any abuse. Allegedly abuse happened that night and her claim in court was that she was defending herself. Very little was said in the trial about any abuse because there was reportedly no documentation.

Now it only stands to reason that if you are in an abusive relationship and planning to remain in that relationship that you may not want to make an official report or file charges (I don’t agree with it, but can understand it if you are remaining in the relationship.) But there are ways to document the abuse. Keep a diary. Make sure to record your thoughts and fears as well as any abuse. Take pictures of any bruises. And if possible talk to a friend or relative and tell them what is happening. This may be a safety problem so you want to make sure it is well hidden or try to keep the documentation at a trusted friend or relative’s home. Make sure that one trusted friend or relative knows where to find that documentation. Also if you use a computer to save the documentation remember that most computer activities can be tracked. Hopefully you will never need the documentation. But if you do need it, you will regret it if you don’t have it.

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The Previous History

Let’s go back to a date in Mar. of last year. Mar. 6, 2006. Police receive a call to the address. They may or may not have recognized the address, but it was the address of a county special deputy. Or they may have recognized the address through previous calls. The history indicates there had been 6 times in the last 2 years.  

Nikki Henderson, 29, lived there with her husband Ray Spradley, 42 and at least one child, Nikki’s 7 year old daughter. And despite the 2 year history of domestic violence, the couple were newlyweds only married a few short months. Of the previous calls to the home, Ray Spradley made 4 of those calls with allegations that he was being beaten. Nikki Henderson was arrested once, and was given a diverson program. Spradley at one point had a restraining order against Nikki Henderson.

So on Mar. 6 when police arrived they found the body of Nikki Henderson. She had been shot, allegedly there were a total of 11 shots fired. The defense attorney has stated the events occured like this:

“Ray took the gun away from Nikki. Nikki took the gun away from Ray. Ray took the gun away a second time and then fired 11 times at Nikki Henderson,”

After the shooting Spradley left the home. It was up to the 7 year old child to go to a neighbor for assistance and make contact with police. Some articles indicate the child witnessed the shooting.

Now it is almost two years later and the case is coming to trial. Spradley has been in jail without bond since he turned himself into police shortly after the shooting. He is expected to testify in his own defense. It has been indicated that he intends to claim “battered husband” as a defense. According to the defense attorney:

“We believe that given the circumstances and the fact that there had been other instances of violence between the two persons committed by her — we think the evidence will show that he took the only course of action available to him under the circumstances,”

theindychannel.com         theindychannel.com    theindychannel.com         indystar.com

Now that is going to be an interesting trial. The defense attorney of course gets his information from his client. His client is claiming that Nikki had the gun, then he got it, then Nikki got it, then he got it back. Now this is just my opinion- but whoever holds the gun has more control of a situation. And if this story is true (hopefully there will some evidence at trial to prove or disprove that)- that would mean that Henderson had control at first, Spradley second, Henderson third and Spradley had the final control. The way I am seeing it, whoever had the gun had the means of leaving the situation. I would like to know why when either of them had the weapon did they not use that to keep things in control long enough to leave? Yet neither did. Instead possession of the weapon seems to have been the priority.

HSH guilty of gender bias? I had a lot of trouble writing this one. I found myself questioning if he may have had the knowlege and experience to perhaps turn any abuse complaints to his advantage. I found myself questioning why he stayed with her and why they married if there was previous abuse (sound familiar? the cliche often used when females claim abuse and don’t leave the relationship.) And I found myself wondering if his allegations that Nikki Henderson was the one to introduce the gun were really what happened. And I found myself thinking that if I had heard this as the female doing the shooting that perhaps, just maybe in some ways it could be “self-defense” but a man?

And I realized that if it had been the female who had done the shooting instead of the reverse, I wouldn’t have been as questioning. So yes, even I sometimes have some gender bias. That is something I work on. Maybe he is slanting the story to excuse the shooting. Or maybe he is being truthful. One thing I did note is the number of shots. 11 shots, they wanted them dead. Overkill. Yet that is something that I often hear about when a woman who has been abused does kill her husband/boyfriend. As if once they get started, they don’t or can’t stop. There have actually been studies showing that the abused person sees the abuser as all powerful and they continue because they think that is needed to make sure they are safe. Or it is a sign of extreme rage.

I think this trial will be interesting because the evidence will say a lot, his testimony will say a lot. But the biggest factor is going to be how the jury perceives it. And traditionally juries don’t accept “battered wife syndrome” very well, so what will they do with “battered husband?” But no matter what the gender, one thing that will be looked at is did they have a way to leave the violent episode. And having possession of the gun and not leaving will probably be looked at.

All this reportedly happened in front of a 7 year old child. A 7 year old child that in spite of her fear of the events, in spite of the sight of her mother and in spite of her age had to seek out a neighbor for comfort and assistance. Children who lose their parents at this young age do suffer a lot of anguish at the loss of a parent. But this child will have more- she not only lost her mother, she lost her through violence and she saw it happen. And with 11 shots being fired, she could also have been endangered if not directly by the gun going off during the struggle, then by a stray bullet.

Instead of one of them using their control of the situation through possession of the weapon to leave, we have a mother dead, a child endangered and motherless, and a man in jail and facing a possible prison sentence. Nobody ever wins in a domestic.

A big thank you to DP for the tip on this one.

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Thanks to J we have an update. Ray Spradley was found guilty of the charge of voluntary manslaughter, not murder. He now faces sentencing which could be 20 to 50 years in prison.

theindychannel.com               indystar.com

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Now we have more information. During the trial an expert defense witness hired by the defense testified that Spradley did show signs of “battered spouse syndrome”, but a psychologist hired by the prosecution testified that he also showed signs of some characteristics of an abuser.

Spradley had taken a protection order out against Nikki Henderson. But at one point Nikki Henderson had taken out a protection order against Spradley. The defense brought up the previous police reports of injuries that Spradley alleged he recieved from slaps, bites and punches from Nikki Henderson- but police noted the injuries were minimal.

It was also noted during the trial that Spradley first fired three shots into Nikki Henderson’s front and she fell face down. But after she tried to speak, he then fired eight (8) shots into her back.

Spradley told police the argument began after Nikki Henderson learned that he had been given cologne as a birthday gift from a co-worker.

Family has also said they had heard Spradley verbally abuse and ridicule Nikki Henderson.

indystar.com

Possessive

It’s 5 am on Sunday morning and police get a call. Shots fired in an apartment building. When they arrive the find Georgia Lee dead on the floor. Also in the apartment on the second floor, they find Georgia’s 15 year old brother and her two children ages 6 and 16 months old. The children were not harmed.

An investigation had to be done, two children and a teen had to be cared for and protected. At least one report indicates that Georgia Lee’s body was near the entry to the apartment. The children were taken out of the home through a second story window and down a ladder to safety. They were placed in the custody of Child Protective Investigative unit until family could reached.

Police say they determined the shooter was 45 year old Winston Calder and that he had fled the home after the shooting. Police were able to locate and arrest Calder. He has been charged with 1st degree murder.

A friend has talked about Georgia Lee and her relationship with Calder.

“She just said she was going to leave him because he’s so possessive,”

The children’s father was contacted and arrived to take custody of the children. A hearing was held and temporary custody of the children was granted to the father pending a background check by the Dept. of Children and Families. According to the judge

“I’m very, very concerned about the children,” said Judge Joseph Murphy, “and I think they have been through the worst thing that they ever experienced, and they’re going to need all the support from the family they can get.”

orlandosentinel.com     sun-sentinel.com      cbs4.com      local10.com

sun-sentinel.com    sun-sentinel.com    winknews.com    nbc6.com

5 am. That time of the morning is the time when most children will sleep the deepest. A sudden loud noise, very frightening to anyone let alone children. The sights, the sounds, the loss and the fear they felt that night, those children’s lives have changed forever. At 16 months the little girl won’t even remember her mother’s love. At age 6 if the little boy remembers, his memories will be vague. At 15 the brother will probably never forget his last sight of his sister and the events of that night. I don’t know if those children saw what happened, but they would have definately heard it and are deeply affected by it.

The term possessive in relation to a relationship is interesting.

Possessive is defined in the Free Dictionary as:

1. Of or relating to ownership or possession.
2. Having or manifesting a desire to control or dominate another, especially in order to limit that person’s relationships with others: a possessive parent.
3. Grammar Of, relating to, or being a noun or pronoun case that indicates possession.

Domination and control. Two terms that are very closely related to DV. To exert ownership- like of a object or item that is owned. And what do you do with an item or object that is no longer wanted or needed or is not serving the purpose for which it was intended?

Fridays

I don’t know how it is at your house, but Fridays at my house always seemed more relaxed. Not that there was any less going on, but due to the break in routine.

 School was over for the week. The work week was also over. There was more time available for taking care of the home and spending with family. This could have been what it was like at the Veillette home on Friday evenings. They would have had another reason for a special feeling also. The husband and father Michel Veillette worked out of town much of the time, but family members say they spoke with him on Friday evening…. he was rushing home to see his children before they went to bed.

The family had had it rough in the last year. Originally from Canada, they had moved to Ohio to live and work. And when Michel Veillette’s family came for a visit in 2006, upon leaving they had a car accident. He lost his father in that accident, his mother was injured.

 What happened after he arrived home Friday is not known. No motive has been determined as yet. But by 10 pm a passerby was calling 911 reporting the home was on fire. Police and fire depts. headed to the home to do what they could.

Michel Veillette was found outside on the lawn suffering stab wounds. Police say he had jumped from a second story window. Inside the home they found 5 people.

Nadya Ferrari-Veillette, 33, has been described as an “amazing parent.” She worked part time, had taken pastry baking classes at a nearby college and planned to help open a new sweets shop. She also worked part time and volunteered at her children’s school. She had recently asked for help from the school’s teachers in learning some Spanish phrases in preparation for an upcoming wedding anniversary- she and her husband were planning a trip to an island off the coast of Spain.

Marguerite was a third grader, 8 years old. She spoke fluent English and French, she was also learning Spanish. She participated in “American Girl” fashion shows, and was expected to audition for this year’s show on Sat. morning. Many have talked about her ready smile.

Vincent was 4 and attended preschool. According to the family sitter he loved football. He couldn’t wait until he was 7 years old so that he could play.

“He was a great kid, he always had lots of energy,” she said. “He never wanted to go to bed.”

There were two others found. Jacob and Mia. Twins, they were age two.

“The twins were great,” Nalepa said. “When they were kind of starting to talk, it was half French and half English, so it was impossible to understand them, even more than regular baby talk.

Nadya Ferrari-Veillette and one of the children was pronounced dead at the home. The other three children were taken to the hospital where they were later pronounced dead. Michel Veillette was also taken to the hospital, the fire department quickly put out the fire and the fire marshall and police began an investigation.

Following the autopsies, it was announced that an accelerant was used in the fire at the home. However, no one died from the flames themselves. Nadya Ferrari-Veillette reportedly died from stab wounds. All four children died from smoke inhalation.

During his hospital stay Michel Veillette was charged with 4 counts of aggravated murder, and one count of arson in the deaths of his wife and children and under 24 hour guard at the hospital. He was released today and went from the hospital to court.

At court Michel Veillette reportedly spoke little. He did say that he didn’t have a defense attorney and requested that one be provided him, and he asked for corrections to be made in the name of one daughter and the children’s ages.

news.enquirer.com news.cincinnati.com middletownjournal.com    news.enquirer.com ap.google.com wcpo.com canada.com local12.com

What was the motive? At this point no one knows. Did he act out of illness or anger in the death of his wife and his children’s mother? No one knows. Did he intend the death of the children perhaps not wanting to leave them without parents, after allegedly committing murder and attempting suicide? Or after the alleged murder of their mother, did he block out the memory of the children in the home? No one knows.

You have all heard me say it. Domestic violence is not a so called “couple’s problem” domestic violence is a community problem. And this community is suffering. From friends, teachers, fellow employees, church members and acquaintances to community members who never knew the family. Parents who are facing telling their children about the death of a schoolmate and dreading the questions they will ask. Children who will learn that their friends died, at the hands of a parent. Even the fire department, police department  and the coroner’s office- all deal with death on a regular basis but all are having problems dealing with the deaths of a family and children. Domestic violence affects a couple, but it also affects the children and the community. The death of 5 children and a mother will not be forgotten for a long time.

At this point I am not seeing any previous history of abuse in the home. They were reportedly a happy family. From what I have read, Michel Veillette was a proud and loving father. But like so many other domestic violence murders, what happened is incomprehensible.

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Police have reported that Michel Veillette and his wife had argued over money problems and over Veillette’s mistress. Reportedly he had purchased expensive jewelry for a stripper he had met in Canada and planned to move her to South Carolina.

Early on Tues. Michel Veillette was found hanging from a bedsheet in his cell. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. The sheriff has said writings were found in Veillette’s cell, but they were not considered suicide notes.

western-star.com    news.enquirer.com     kypost.com

Just a little philosophy

I sometimes look to nature for inspiration in times of stress, just a little thing I do to try to cope. For instance if you look at a tree and think of all they go through- wind, rain, snow and ice. They may bend, but they return upright. They may sustain damage, but as long as that trunk, that core survives the tree will survive. So it is with people, during life we will face opposition and we may face damage, but as long as our core survives, we can survive.

Fire it is hot angry and destructive, sometimes even explosive. But eventually a fire will burn itself out when it devours all the fuel sources available to feed it. So it is with anger. It can consume us. However water is different. Water seems deceptively soft, if it hits a wall it will seek to go under or around the obstacle. And when that works, it is great. But water is not as soft as you might think. A steady stream of water pouring onto a stone will eventually erode the stone. With help from other streams, it can build enough strength to push over a house. Sometimes with faced with opposition, water is better than fire.

And today I learned a new one. I put up birdfeeders this year for the winter. I’ve done it before, but never really sat and watched the birds at the feeder. Today I sat and watched. There were finches, woodpeckers, and mourning doves feasting and seeming to be enjoying the feeders. Then a hawk showed up. As soon as the hawk appeared, all the other birds fled.

Now a hawk is big and a predator to the smaller birds. And no matter how much those birds were enjoying the feeder they did not stay to protect an easy food source, they were not going to stay around and be preyed upon. A bird has a small brain and survives on their instincts. When it became dangerous for them they fled- even if it meant they had to leave an easy feeder and seek out other food sources. They took the chance that the hawk might give chase, but that was their best option and they took it. The birds didn’t stop to think about where their next food source would be, or what would happen if the hawk caught them. They didn’t think about if the hawk would go hungry. By listening to their instincts and fleeing, those birds survived today. Tomorrow they will come back or they will find another feeder. When faced with a dangerous stranger most people will flee. But it is common in domestic violence to ignore the instinct to flee, and to let other things become priority. What would happen to the finches if they had done that?

Relationships

 Barbara Rush, 49, and her husband reportedly divorced in 2001. She and the couple’s son Robert P. MacMichael II, now 25,  remained in the family home that was owned jointly by the couple. According to the ex-husband there were times when Barbara Rush struggled financially and he stated that he had helped to pay some of the expenses at times. At some point Barbara Rush met Greg Bartee, 43, and later he moved in with Barbara and her son.

There were times when Bartee wasn’t working regularly and the couple were still struggling financially. They had made a decision that they were going to have to give up the home. A friend was going to move in and rent the home after they moved out, and that friend moved in before they left to help with expenses until they had gotten another place.

Barbara Rush’s son has told media that he stopped in to see his mother and Greg Bartee to wish them a Merry Christmas and give his mother a card. MacMichael II allegedly told media that since meeting Bartee his mother had been drinking more and that when he saw them on Fri. that his mother seemed depressed.

On Fri. after Christmas, the roommate reportedly had not seen the couple for a couple of days and he got curious as to why he had not seen them. Their room was locked but he managed to gain entry, found the couple and police were called.

According to police the couple had been beaten to death and they may have been dead in their room for about two days. A vehicle belonging to the roommate was missing from the home.

Police began looking for the vehicle and interviewing neighbors and others who might have information in the couple’s death. Reportedly one of the persons they wanted to interview was Barbara Rush’s son Robert MacMichael II. Yet the son admitted to media a few days after his mother was found that he had not called detectives back. According to media there was a warrant out for MacMichael II for not appearing on a drunk driving charge. MacMichael II’s father has said that he did want his son to call police. But he explained that his son had had other other arrests and he didn’t like police.

Police have made an arrest in the deaths of Barbara Rush and Greg Bartee. On Tuesday they arrested Robert MacMichael II, Barbara Rush’s son.

According to prosecutor’s MacMichael II had been staying in a motel part of the time since his mother’s death and the prosecution believes that he was trying to hide out during the investigation. He was not driving the missing vehicle, but that vehicle has also been found. Prosecution believes that MacMichael II drove the missing vehicle away from the scene.

columbusdispatch   10tv.com   columbusdispatch.com    msnbc.msn.com

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MacMichael’s father mentioned that his son had had previous arrests.

This ColumbusDispatch article outlines some of MacMichael’s criminal history which reportedly started as a juvenile and includes attempted murder, burglary and robbery as well as other charges as a delinquent. He also has previous drug and other charges as an adult and has a charge for theft pending according to the article. In Dec. 2006, Barbara Rush reportedly called police with an allegation that Robert MacDonald had grabbed her arm and refused to let her leave, MacMichael II was arrested but those charges were later dropped. MacMichael II also has a record of domestic violence charges for violence against a girlfriend.

Robert MacMichael II may be connected to a previous case that I have written about. In May of 2006 I wrote “This may be off-topic for this blog.” The story of the disappearance of Ashley Howley. In 2004 Ashley Howley went missing and has never been found. Her case is now a cold case but police say they are reopening it. It was questioned at that time that Ashley Howley’s boyfriend might have been connected to her disappearance. And police are now saying that Ashley’s boyfriend has been their primary suspect in that disappearance. Ashley Howley was dating Robert MacMichael II before she disappeared. Ashely Howley nor her body has ever been found.

10tv.com

Relationship violence is usually thought of as violence between two members of a couple who are either married, dating or living together. But there are many types of relationship violence and child/parent violence is one more type.

I want to give a big thank you to LiLO for the information on this post. She first brought this to my attention at the time of the original post and she also let me know there was new information on the case available.

Give the Dog a Break

Yes, I mean the canine dog. Not the other kind.

 A Washinton couple were reportedly taking care of the daily hygiene needs (I guess that is what they were doing) by preparing to shower together when a disagreement allegedly occurred.

According to what media is reporting, the boyfriend wanted his dog to join them in the bathroom, the girlfriend didn’t and that led to words between the couple. Allegedly the girlfriend said something to the effect that the dog was a dealbreaker in the relationship and either the dog went or she did. Allegedly the boyfriend indicated that he would keep the dog (or something to that effect.) I believe it is also reported that he also mentioned getting a girlfriend who could appreciate the dog.

More discussion and alleged name calling, things said- things replied to then allegedly there was a physical confrontation. Although the couple were allegedly in a naked state it reportedly wasn’t your typical naked confrontation. This wasn’t the actions of making up after an argument.

The boyfriend reportedly ended up with his face being punched, a struggle occured, the boyfriend reportedly suffered a dislocated shoulder, and suffered a cut from a broken picture frame.

Still no making up, the girlfriend was arrested for investigation of second degree assault, and taken to jail with bail being set at $50,000.

cbsnews.com   seattletimes.com  msnbc.com  news.yahoo.com

So let’s leave the dog out of it. He didn’t ask for the violence, he may well have enjoyed the togetherness time but most likely didn’t enjoy the violence that occurred and probably would have forgone the togetherness if that would have prevented the violence.

If you don’t like what is being asked of you by a boyfriend, it is best to state your piece- then leave peacefully. If your girlfriend gets angry, then state your postition and let her leave- peacefully. The dog would have been happier, the boyfriend would have been happier and the girlfriend would be happier.

This sounds like a bad joke doesn’t it? Unfortunately it isn’t. Female to male abuse does occur. Common couple violence where both members of a couple become physically violent does happen. It isn’t a joke, it is a serious situation.

If it happened in reverse, in a male to female situation the female would most likely claim abuse. In this situation however, it is female on male. And it is still abuse.

Now someone is going to tell me that he probably hit her first. But that is one of the first things police investigate. Who descended into violence first and then they will also look at who has the worst injuries. And then they determine who is the person who will most likely be charged. What happened after that will most likely be deemed self defense as long as the struggle did not escalate into a lethal or almost lethal situation.

Some will say that isn’t fair. Some may say he had probably hit her before. But that would be a separate issue and if that had occurred (and I am in no way indicating that that did occur, as this is entirely hypothetical) if that had occurred and she stayed with him, then that would not affect this situation as once you commit violence yourself, you effectively lose your voice over previous issues.

Basically I guess I am saying is that  old saying- what is “sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.” If you are a female and are physically violent with a spouse or boyfriend, you run the risk of being charged with a crime. Likewise, if you are in a relationship where violence is mutual, then you also run a risk of being charged with a crime. Because violence is violence- no matter which gender commits it.