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.

No Longer a Normal Day

Thursday was just another week day like any other week day. Families got up and prepared to begin their day just like all the other weekdays that came before. Parents to work and kids to the 5th grade. Just routine. Maybe the kids liked school, maybe they didn’t. Maybe they liked their teacher, or maybe they didn’t. Just routine for 5th grade kids. They had no way of knowing that today would be no where near normal or routine.

Traditionally teachers don’t discuss any problems with their private life with their students, so the kids may or may not have known the teacher Christi Layne, 53, had separated from her husband. She filed for divorce on Jan. 25. Police had reportedly been involved in a domestic dispute around that time. Most likely they weren’t aware that she had also obtained a restraining order on Jan. 15. In the restraining order that was requested on Jan. 15 Christi Layne stated that her husband Michael Layne had threatened her and her son and that:

“He said I better enjoy myself because it will be soon,” she wrote in a restraining order request. “I am afraid that he will hurt me or my son when he is mad.”

Reports now indicate that at some point Christi Layne moved out of the home she shared with her husband and had a security system installed in the home she moved to.

Most likely neither the kids nor their teacher were aware of a stabbing that happened not far from the school about 9:12 am. Stephanie Loop, 22, was reportedly outside her home when a man came out of nowhere and began stabbing her. Her cousin was also there and indicates that the man was Michael Layne.

Not long after school began and shortly after the knife attack on Stephanie Loop word got out that there was a shooting at the school. Police were notified at 9:16 am. They report they were at the scene by 9:18 am. Parents began to gather near the school. Unable to get into the school because it was in lockdown for the children’s safety and it was a crime scene. The parents unable to get to the children and not knowing exactly what happened or whether their children were safe. Cell phones ringing and rumors flying. Most likely each parent was eager for any bit of news, but how do you know which rumor was true? Were the kids ok, what had they seen or heard, were they safe, had any of the kids been hurt, how are the kids, what is happening, are the kids ok?

Finally after what must have seemed like an eternity, the kids were escorted out of the school. Some were probably crying, some were probably in shock. But all were physically ok. Some had seen a man enter the school and approach the teacher. Some fled the room others headed for a nearby closet. They heard a gunshot. Some saw their teacher lying on the floor bleeding as they were escorted from the room by police officers.

Michael Layne was found at his home. During the three hour standoff at his home, several shots were heard. Layne fired several, police did shoot out a security system camera at the home. When attempts to make contact with Layne failed police did enter the home and found Michael Layne dead from what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Much of this is still being investigated today, a lot of what was happening or why is still not known. Early media reports said that Stephanie Loop who was stabbed near her home was possibly the mother or sister to Christi Layne. Today’s reports say that Michael Layne considered Stephanie Loop his girlfriend. At least one report indicates that Stephanie Loop had been at Michael Layne’s home the night before and requested someone to come and get her. Stephanie Loop was taken to a hospital and her condition is is reported as critical but stable. Her exact relationship to Michael Layne is not known, but police have said she was not related to Christi Layne. It is unknown what the motivation for her stabbing was. There were witnesses to her stabbing.

Christi Layne was taken to the hospital and remains in critical condition. Early reports indicated that she had been shot. Some children reported hearing a shot. Today’s reports indicate that she had been stabbed and maybe shot.

wdtn.com     timesreporter.com   portsmouth-dailytimes.com

 chillicothegazette.com     portsmouth-dailytimes.com

portsmouth-dailytimes.com          portsouth-dailytimes.com

I began watching media reports on this one soon after it had occurred. And what stuck in my mind was those parents standing in the cold not knowing. I know I am a parent that will not be satisfied that my child is ok until I actually set eyes on them. But for the child’s own safety the children couldn’t be brought out until police were satisfied there was no further danger to them. Standing and waiting, not sure…. it had to have been terribly difficult.

Much of the information about what happened is still unknown. If you follow media reports about a crime you will find that sometimes the information will change and evolve. Police usually can not and will not give out the results of their investigation until they are satisfied they have all the information they can get and can reasonably prove what they know. Media gets their info in pieces from what they see, what little they can get from police and from witnesses, relatives, neighbors and friends that they can get to talk to them. They will also check background records such as court records. So often media reports will seem to change and evolve as more info becomes known.

Trench has also blogged this at the Chronicles and you can find those posts here, here and here.

I will be blogging another case today that sharply contrasts with this case so stay tuned or check back later.

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Reports indicate that Stephanie Loop has been released from the hospital.

wowktv.com

After the alert

Last Wednesday 23 year old Crystal Tijerina left her parents home and they were concerned about her. By Thursday a public alert was issued asking for reports of her whereabouts. It was believed she might be suicidal and armed.

She was heard from next when a report came in from her ex-husband’s home. A neighbor knew of the alert and had seen her enter the ex-husband’s home so he called police. She had showed up at the home in violation of a protective order against her. Police responded at 5:45 pm, but when they arrived she was gone. Police say that visit had been relatively non-confrontational. There was a 2 year old child in the home at the time and the ex-husband had family pick the child up as a precaution. The protection order also covered the child.

Less than 30 minutes later the boyfriend stumbled out of the home with a bullet wound to his neck and was seen by the neighbor. Police were called back to the scene. Tijerina had returned to the home and this time showed a handgun. As the ex-husband attempted to flee the home, she fired. Though the  ex-husband had heard a shot as he was leaving the home, police had to wait for a swat team to arrive. The swat team surrounded the home and as a precaution some neighbors were evacuated from their homes. But when police made entry to the home it was determined that Crystal Tijerina was dead, police say her death was at her own hands.

Police have announced that Tijerina’s family were not aware of any danger to her ex-husband. The ititial alert was from a concern for Crystal’s safety. There was concern that the ex-husband’s injuries might be serious because of the location of the wound, but he was taken to the hospital, treated and released.  

There was a history of previous domestic violence complaints. Crystal Tijerina was arrested several times in 2006.

sltrib.com                sltrib.com               heraldextra.com            desertnews.com

The majority of domestic violence seems to be perpetrated by men against women. More women die than men. But men do not go unscathed. Men do die from domestic violence also. In this one he was lucky and survived. But just like any other victim of domestic violence- he is left with the memory and the scars of that day.

I know it may not seem macho or manly. But men do sometimes need to take out protective orders. And men who do need to take that step also need to take precautions for their safety. Any time there is a dispute and one party of the dispute becomes suicidal, then the other party needs to take precautions.

This is purely speculation. The 2 year old child that has been mentioned has not been mentioned as her child. But I do wonder if the child was their child in common and if this was over a child custody dispute?

New Story- Second Time

July 18, 2006 I wrote about a case in the post All over a television program. About a couple who got into an altercation and both persons were ultimately arrested. Anthony Miller, one of the arrested persons, came in and said what he had to say about the altercation and advised the charges were ultimately dropped.

Now just over a year later, I took note of some links that were coming in on the story. It seems that the couple are back in the news.

Sept 25, 2007 911 got a call from Sarah Consorti. She advised 911 that she had been held as a hostage in handcuffs by her ex-boyfriend since 5am. She also advised that he had a shotgun.

Police investigated and found that Sarah Consorti and the 11 month old daughter she had in common with her ex-boyfriend Anthony Miller, were kidnapped from their home and taken to Miller’s home. There Sarah Consorti was allegedly blindfolded, handcuffed and held in a basement. Allegedly she was held at gunpoint at times. Finally about 5 hours later she was able to escape and kept knocking on neighbors doors until she found someone home and she called police. She was reportedly still wearing the handcuffs when she escaped.

When police arrived Miller was in his home with the 11 month old daughter and a 6 hour standoff occurred with negotiators maintaining contact with Miller. Miller did surrender and neither the child nor Miller were injured. Reports indicate that Miller had not threatened the child and that he did care for and feed the child through the day.

Reports indicate that Sarah Consorti had filed for a protective order in May.

Anthony Miller has been charged with 2 counts of 2nd degree kidnapping, violation of a no contact order and possession of marijuana.

desmoinesregister.com                  kcci.com                  kcci.com                     wcfcourier.com 

There is an interesting discussion of the case taking place at the Des Moines Register.

He was out on bond

Terry Stoess, 49, and his unnamed girlfriend is reported to be between the ages of 35-40. They resided together with the girlfriend’s mother Bobbie Eagle, 72. Neighbors have said they didn’t know the family well as they had only moved into the neighborhood within the last year.

Two weeks ago the girlfriend took out a restraining order against Terry Stoess. She reported that the two had been in an argument and Stoess had hit her on the arm. She tried to get to a phone to call her sister- but allegedly Stoess pulled the phone cord out of the wall. When she attempted to use other phones, the same thing happened.

Allegedly Stoess threatened to kill her then left the home.The girlfriend then noted that Stoess’s gun was missing.

Stoess was arrested the same day on charges of terroristic threats and 4th degree assault.  He was out of jail on bond the next day.

Fri. night a friend stopped by their home. Inside the home she found three people with gunshot wounds. Terry Stoess and the girlfriend’s mother Bobbie Eagle were pronounced dead in the home. The girlfriend was alive but in critical condition.

Police say the girlfriend’s mother had multiple gunshot wounds and Terry Stoess had one. His wound is believed to have been self inflicted.

Police and neighbors have said police have been called to the home for domestic issues in the past.

I did not see any indication as to whether Stoess had returned to the home after the restraining order. But police were checking out a vehicle located a block away which may have belonged to one of the household members.

wlky.com                      lex18.com                 kentucky.com   

wave3.com                                               courier-journal.com

Out on Bond. How I hate that phrase. Yes, I know that prior to a trial all persons are presumed to be innocent and thus are eligible to be released if they can post a bond (or sometimes on their own recognizance.)

But we are talking about an angry person. Many times a rage filled person, made angrier by their arrest. An angry person who knows their victim’s home address, workplace and schedule. And often knows who they will seek out for support and safety.

Some communities have electronic monitoring that a judge can order for a person accused of some crimes- including domestic violence. Some do not. Sometimes it is offered and sometimes not.  Sometimes it helps to ask if it is available.

If someone is arrested for domestic violence offenses, be prepared. They will get out quickly. Sometimes mere hours after the arrest. So a decision to seek a safe place does have to be made and acted on quickly.

As a crime victim (yes, domestic violence related incidents are crimes) you have certain rights. Victim rights can differ from state to state. Ask what your rights as a victim are. If you have had someone arrested for DV, ask if you can be notified if/when they get released on bond. 

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The surviving girlfriend’s condition has been upgraded from critical to serious.

whas11.com         whas11.com

A Bizarre Twist

Fielder, 30, had been known to have problems with mental disorders and aggression since the teen years. As far back as 1998 Fielder’s mother took out a restraining order, she says she had been hit over the head with a chair and threatened as well as threats made against other family members.   Four months later Fielder allegedly violated the order and was court ordered into mental health treatment as well as probation. There were other incidents of criminal charges of including tresspass and attempted assault.

In 2004 Fielder was convicted of harrassment and theft and spent 5 days in jail and was ordered into anger management treatment.

Eight months ago Fielder met someone named Kellerman, 36, and the two began to date. But friends say there were problems in the relationship. They say that Fielder was obsessively jealous and constantly accusing Kellerman of being unfaithful- but friends say that was not true. The relationship between Fielder and Kellermann ended about 6 months ago because of the problems.

There are also reports of problems since that time. Friends say that Fielder began stalking Kellerman and the behavior became bizarre. Allegedly Fielding made death threats, made multiple calls to Kellerman’s workplace and other attempts to make contact with Kellerman.

On May 18 Kellerman finally applied for a restraining order. The order was approved on May 21. Kellerman told the court that Fielding

“threatened to kill me in front of co-workers, . . . came to my home . . . blocked my car in driveway. Kicked door. . . Used security code to enter my truck. Waited for me to get in.”

Kellerman said that police had not been called as Fielder was not thought to have a weapon. Kellermann also said that Fielding might be suicidal.

Then word came to Kellerman that Fielder was dead from a drug overdose. Police say that Fielder had tricked some into believing she had committed suicide. Word of the alleged suicide had reached Kellerman.

On Wednesday at 5:30 am Michael E. Kellermann was leaving his home to go to work. Police say his ex-girlfriend Jacqueline Kay Fielder was waiting outside his home. Police say that Fielder began to shoot at Michael Kellerman, and he ran from her and the weapon. Allegedly Fielder chased after him.

Michael Kellermann finally collapsed and died a few houses away from his home. He had five shots in his chest. Police say that Fielder continued to shoot even after he collasped. Fielder fled the scene.

“Based on information from witnesses, the victim had apparently been grieving the loss of Fielder. All indications are that the victim would have been shocked to find the suspect alive when he saw her (Wednesday) morning.”

Police called her cell phone and tried to talk her into turning herself in or telling them where she was, but she refused. But a State Police trooper did have a sighting on her car at 7:40 am. When police attempted to stop her a high speed chase began.

She managed to evade a couple of sets of spike strips, hit another vehicle and a guardrail and reached speeds of almost 100 miles per hour before she finally hit another spike strip.

Fielder left the car and took off. Police were attempting to negotiate with her when they say she shot herself in the head.

Fielder was taken to the hospital and died on Thursday.

oregonlive.com    bendbulletin.com    kgw.com    ktvz.com

oregonlive.com     kgw.com    bendweekly.com   ktvz.com

Obsessive, abusive or controlling behaviors do not belong exclusively to men. We hear it happening with men more often, but it is theorized that men do not report as frequently. Michael Kellerman reportedly waited months before applying for a restraining order.

Few shelters take men. There are few resources available to them. And frequently people do not take a report of violence from a woman as seriously as from a man. I have never seen the reports of height and weight for suspect and victim in any report of domestic violence crime except this one. Yes, he was taller and weighed more. But when you add a weapon vs. an unwillingness to harm another- that can even out any differences in physique.

It is just as important for a man to take precautions and seek assistance and legal protection in a domestic violence relationship as it is for a woman. Because whether it is male or female, the results can end up the same.

A big thanks to D.P. for posting this one on CrimeNe.ws

The system failed

Her name was Yana and she was a Russian citizen living in Russia. She and her husband had a baby boy and she was attending college. Then her husband was murdered. Yana dropped out of college and with her mother’s help, set about raising her baby son.

With a young boy to support Yana looked for options. Some reports say that she was a “mail-order” bride through a Russian romance site, others say she met Scott Huss on the internet. Scott Huss visited Russia a couple of times, then the two decided to marry. She came to the U.S. in 2003 and the two married soon after.

Things were not easy. She had difficulty with the language. Relatives have said that Huss forbade her to speak Russian with her son. Soon after their marriage, the first report of abuse saying that Scott Huss fired several shots and threatened to feed her

“to the alligator’s.”

Yana’s mother moved to Holland and the two kept in touch regularly by telephone and the internet. Use of a webcam allowed the grandmother to stay in contact with the grandson she had known in Russia and to help get to know  the new granddaughter that Yana had with Scott Huss. In Dec. 2006, Yana took the children to Russia to meet their relatives. Yana was working as a nursing assistant and going to the community college, studying for a nursing license.

In the years since 2003, there were reportedly multiple calls to police regarding complaints of domestic violence (one report says 20 or more.) It is difficult to determine what happened with the charges, media says they were dismissed. On the ones for which Huss was arrested, charges were reportedly dropped. There are allegations that little was done to investigate the complaints despite circumstantial evidence available in some of the reports. Yana did recant her allegations at times. Allegations are that Huss repeatedly threatened to have her deported back to Russia at various times.

Charlotte County Sheriff John Davenport said it is possible that deputies missed opportunities to arrest her husband for violating restraining orders. He said deputies can become “complacent” when dealing with the vague accusations common in domestic violence cases. “We’re not perfect,” he said.But he said his deputies responded appropriately in most of the situations with the Husses.

Twice, Yana took her son to the hospital with injuries- staff there called authorities regarding a suspicion of child abuse. Yana allegedly denied the boy had been abused- but staff says on one occasion the child said that Scott Huss had punched him. Authorities say they did not have enough evidence to file charges. Now the school is checking to see if staff was aware of any complaints of child abuse. There are rumors that they had been told.

Multiple restraining orders. According to at least one article, Huss denied any domestic violence in an online posting alleging immigration/marriage fraud.

Multiple stays in a domestic violence shelter including one right before she died.

By March, Yana decided to leave. She filed for another restraining order and a divorce.

In the last 30 days of her life, Huss called sheriff’s deputies eight times to say her husband was harassing her with phone calls, e-mails and instant messages.

In a visit to the police station to report more calls, her phone rang twice more. A deputy allegedly told her that was not proof that the calls were being made by Huss.

Eventually Huss was arrested for breaking the restraining order. He spent a night in jail and  was out on bond the next day. It was several days later that he went to the church. A priest alleges that Huss tried to get him to convince Yana to talk to him (Huss.)

Police did begin increased patrol’s near her home.

On April 25 Yana’s 8 year old son appeared on Scott Huss’s mother’s doorstep allegedly wearing a bloody shirt. At some point she allegedly found a suicide note from her son and called police. Police say the child did witness his mother’s stabbing.

Scott Huss, 48, was arrested at a bus station. He was initially arrested on a manslaughter charge.

Her name was Yana. She was the mother of two and was 31 years old when she died.

sun-herald.com     heraldtribune.com     nbc-2.com

sun-herald.com    news-press.com      sun-herald.com

If you read any articles in this, I highly recommend that you read these two. One contains a timeline of the events that led up to the murder- and what evidence it is alleged that police had regarding the abuse. heraldtribune.com. The second is from a citizen. A man to whom I would like to extend a ‘virtual’ handshake. It is an opinion piece that asks the question of where authorities were when Yana asked for help. heraldtribune.com

One of Yana’s children was born in Russia and is a citizen of Russia. He is now 8 years old and saw his mother being stabbed to death. He is in foster care awaiting a court decision as to who should have custody of him. His grandmother has come to the U.S. to fight for custody of him and his sister.

Yana’s child with Scott is now 2 years old. She was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen. Her other grandmother is fighting for custody of her also. Yana’s son is her sibling, but so is Scott’s other children from previous relationships.

No matter which way this is decided, the chances are excellent that one of the children is going to be moved away from a sibling.

Yes, she recanted. She left what she knew in Russia and moved to the U.S. Then abuse began. She did what was right, she called police. Police are there to protect people, right? And prosecutors are there to prosecute crimes? But under alleged threats of deportation- she recanted as she would do at other times in the future. Struggling with the language, a stranger to the laws and the system. Once her daughter was born, it would have been even harder. Because her daughter was a U.S. citizen. She couldn’t be deported. So her status if her mother was deported could be frightening.

And it must have been frightening to her to make that call to police, and find him out of jail very quickly. Often that gives the victim the sense that pressing the charges is useless- because it doesn’t stop them, they are soon out of jail and even madder. Yes, she may have recanted. She was probably too scared not to.

She recanted. By changing her story, the charges got dropped. Several states have laws in place that if an officer sees evidence of domestic abuse, they are mandated to continue with the charges. This is not one of those states.

Never-the-less the law enforcement and prosecutor’s have the latitude to continue with the charges even if the victim refuses to file, as long as they have evidence of the crime. They chose not to do so. More than 20 times. Despite allegedly having some evidence of crimes being committed. From what I have been reading about the emails and telephone calls, I personally wonder why stalking charges were not brought against him- prior to the murder. Even without her consent.

I write about DV. I know that sometimes it can slip through the cracks. I know that sometimes if the victim doesn’t cooperate with law enforcement, that it can make it more difficult for them to prefer charges. And I know that a victim recanting even one time can make it more difficult for them to convince authorities of how serious their situation is. But still this one is shocking to me. You would think that after 20 or more complaints and more calls to the police- that someone might have asked “what is happening here?” And maybe would have thought to take a closer look at what was happening.

I cannot deny it. Sometimes the system drops the ball. Sometimes police and prosecutors use the reasoning that it is a ‘couple’s problem’. And that if the victim chooses not to prosecute, then it is the victim’s choice.

They seem to forget the ‘fear factor’ in domestic violence. The fact that the one person who scares them the most, the one person who knows their schedule, the places they go, and all of their contacts, and the things that scare them the most– is putting them under pressure not to prosecute.

I will tell you- this one is high on my ‘shocked me’ list.

It just isn’t fair

As Michelle Martinez, 26, set out to run some errands Thursday evening, a vehicle pulled up beside her and multiple shots were fired. Michelle Martinez was hit twice, once in the face and once in the shoulder.

In this day and age, this type of shooting is not unknown. A driveby shooting is fairly common to gang and drug activity. However, this one was different. This time the victim recognized her shooter. Neighbors called for assistance and when police arrived Michelle Martinez was able to give them information on her assailant. You see she was very familiar with him.

Though critically wounded she was able to tell police his name and to describe the vehicle he was driving. Police have not released his identity. But they say he does have a criminal history. Just last year he was in jail for forgery and assault. And he had a protective order against him.

According to reports, Michelle Martinez had filed for a protective order against him in Jan. when she said he had committed aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The shooter was allegedly her 41 year old ex-boyfriend. And according to police they believe the weapon used may have been the same weapon used in the earlier assault on her.

The alleged shooter is not in custody and police say they are looking for him and for the revolver used in the shooting.

Michelle Martinez was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but her current condition has not been released.

mysantonio.com     ksat.com    woai.com     ktsa.com

The articles do not specify if she had filed charges in the Jan. incident or whether the shooter had been arrested. It would not suprise me if she had. Until a case actually goes to trial, the facts are merely allegations and the suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. As such, they are often entitled to bond out of jail until the trial. If she had filed charges, then that is most likely what had happened. But it seems that someone forgot that the weapon allegedly used in the previous incident was still unaccounted for. Still she filed for the protection order. And according to federal law, it is illegal for a person who is subject to a protective order to possess a firearm. In some areas, police will actually seize any known weapons.

There is no mention if the person accused of shooting Michelle Martinez was on any probation or parole restrictions from his earlier incarceration. Nor is there any mention if the ‘incident’ in Jan. would have violated any terms of his release.

In some communities a person accused of domestic violence who bonds out, can be ordered to wear a monitoring bracelet. In some communities a victim may have to request it. And in some communities it may not be available at all. If there has been threats to kill or maim, if there are indications that another violent assault may occur, or if a weapn has been used in the past this is something a victim should ask about. This is one of the areas where a domestic violence agency can be very helpful as they can help explain the area laws, rules, availability, and provide advocacy as well as access to a shelter if indicated.

It isn’t fair.   It.  Just.  Isn’t.  Fair.

A person who has been the victim of a violent assault, who followed through by seeking a restraining order, and who may have sought criminal charges (this point is not clear in this case.) They should feel safe and comfortable, right? They did what they could do to protect themselves.

A protection order that a victim is willing to enforce will stop some from harrassing. But a suspect who is willing to violate a protection order gives a clearer indication for the potential for harm. For those, the protection order will not protect. It will only work as a tool to provide police with a means to arrest.

Even though she has done nothing wrong, it is then up to the victim to take the steps to save their own life. It isn’t fair, but the victim may have to change their own life in order to protect themselves. They may have to give up their own life for a period of time, until the justice system has time to work.

Entering a shelter or moving away from the area.  Changing jobs, altering their routines and the routines of their family. Often they must stay out of public areas because of the danger that a public area can present to them. It isn’t fair. But it ceased to be fair at the time of the violent assault. It became a matter of survival.

A big thanks to Trench for the lead on this one.

The Engagement

Holves Labissiere, 25, had reportedly stalked his ex-girlfriend in the past. And she did file charges on him, he was convicted, and he did serve several months for the crime. She also applied for and was granted a restraining order that was effective until the year 2025.

He was released recently. And he was evidently not happy. And apparently he blamed the girlfriend for his incarceration.

Allegedly he broke into the girlfriend’s apartment and abducted her. He allegedly took her to an unused apartment with boarded up windows. He allegedly shackled and handcuffed her and held her for two days in the apartment.

He reportedly told her that he wanted her to know what it felt like to be locked up. And he told her he loved her. And that if she loved him, she would marry him.

According to the report she was in fear of her life, and the lives of her family. She agreed to marry him.

After she agreed to marry him, he took her to the courthouse and tried to get a marriage license. Due to the waiting period they were unable to obtain the license and were given an application instead.

Two days after her abduction her unsuspecting mother sent her a text message. But all she got in return was a simple text saying “I’m okay.” That message to the mother is what led to her daughter’s recovery. Police did find the shackles and handcuffs in the apartment.

Holves Labissiere has been charged with rape, kidnapping, burglary and other charges.

wftv.com

Normally I try to find several articles on a crime in order to ensure a more balanced view of the DV crime. But despite several searches I only found one article.

This is the part that always confuses me about DV. He apparently wanted her to ‘pay’ for having him locked up. Yet he was bound to marry her, even if it was under duress.

There seems to be no understanding that though you can force a person to take certain actions, you cannot force the person to love.

You can force a person to stay in a relationship- through force and intimidation- but if they do not remain in the relationship voluntarily then they can never be trusted to remain in the relationship or to be happy in the relationship. And if one person in the relationship is not happy, then most likely no one in the relationship will be happy.

If anyone finds more information about this crime I would be happy to add it.

It’s a familiar story

A girl meets a guy and a relationship developed in the winter of 2000. They lived together off and on during that period. Most likely there was the usual give and take, but by the summer of 2004 the relationship was ending.

Instead of moving out and moving on, the two continued to live together. By 2005, there was the first known violent episode- shoving and closing a door on an ankle.

Over the course of the relationship, as usual the couple learn more about each other. She learned that he was living in the US illegally, and that he may have fled the United Kingdom to evade some type of trouble there. She learned that he could be charming, but wasn’t always truthful. And that he did have some involvement with drugs, a problem with alcohol and possibly theft. And she learned that he also used the names “Robert Richardson” and “Nathan Rowan” sometimes. And most likely she learned that some people liked him, but that some people didn’t like or trust him. Things that if learned at the beginning, may have stopped any relationship. But learned one tidbit at a time after the relationship had already begun- that lessens the impact.

The two continue to share a residence off and on, the next known incident was in Jan. 2007. According to the girl she comes home one day and he is drunk. An argument allegedly developed and items were thrown at her, she was tackled to the ground and punched.  She did not call police.

She did move out of the residence and she allegedly did try to tell him the relationship was over and she did not want to see him again.

Then the phone calls began. The guy leaves messages about how he cannot live without her and threatening to harm himself. But she didn’t call him back.

Then the calls turn more sinister, with the threats aimed  toward the girl and toward her sister and her sister’s pets. At that point two sisters take it court. They asked for and were granted temporary protection orders on March 6.

At first she did not want to file charges against him, but she soon changed her mind and decided to pursue criminal charges. By this time her sister was also receiving phone calls, threats and the phone calls and threats to the girl continue.

However nothing could be done on the protection order, because police had been unable to locate the guy to serve the protection order on him.

The girl took what actions she could to protect herself. She moved out.  She worked at home part of the time. She emailed her coworkers and advised them of the situation and asked them to keep an eye out for the boyfriend, stressing that he was not a danger to them- but he was a danger to her. She even made copies of the protection order and asked her coworkers to serve him with the order if he showed up at work.

Her name was Rebecca Griego. She was 26 years old.  And eventually she did have to return to work. And she was at work on April 2, 2007 when her ex-boyfriend Jonathan Rowan showed up.

First he shot her, then he shot himself.

Timeline of victim and attacker                                  
British loner kills ex-girlfriend at US university            UW victim did want to press charges against ex-boyfriend                                                                         
UW killer was a man of many tales, friends say          Man who killed UW woman had aliases, passports
Killer eluded police with fake names 
        

Of course there is much more to the story than what I have written here. Information about Rebecca Griego, the kind of person she was and her accomplishments. And there is more information on  the man who was known as Jonathan Rown, what was known about him and what wasn’t known. But reduced to the domestic violence issues, it is a familiar story. A reality that many people still live in.                        

Many think that domestic violence is a daily pattern of behavior. It can be, but doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it happens, then days weeks months or even years go by. Then it happens again. Often it seems minor- throwing something, a push and shove, a slap- no permanent damage, it may take time but will often be dismissed. There is usually a reason- they were upset about something else, they were tired, they were under the influence….. they were angry.  That explains it, right???

An apology and some charm, time goes by and nothing more happens- you guess it wasn’t so bad. Then it happens again. Soon it happens more frequently and the episodes get worse. But by then you are in the ‘habit’. You love, you excuse, you even lie about it. It is just something peculiar to them. They are nice people. It’s not so bad……really. Most of the time they are good to you. But it keeps getting worse.        

The farther you go- the harder it will be to get away. The farther you go, the more they learn about how to reel you back in. And it reinforces the fact that if they try hard enough, they can most likely get you back. And the more frustrated they are if it doesn’t work.

I was going to write about workplace safety and domestic violence, but this time- Seattle gets it. There are more articles out there on this case than I have ever seen about domestic violence. They are good articles, with a lot of info and tips on domestic violence, stalking, and workplace safety. So instead of writing it up, I am going to give the articles and just say that if you see anything in this situation that reminds you of your own situation or of the situation of someone you know, that I do recommend that you check them out.          

A piece of paper alone can’t stop abuse
How Do You Stop a Stalker From Killing You?
           Check background of potential partner                        Many get away from abusive partners, say experts     Protection order can’t stop person hellbent on doing harm                                                                                  No guarantee of safety from stalker                            Advocates for domestic violence victims: Stand up to battery          

I believe there are things a person can do to increase their own safety in stalking and/domestic violence situations. First- recognition of the stalking behavior. Second- honestly acknowledging the risk and dangers it poses. Third- becoming proactive in your own safety- reach out for help- with law enforcement, domestic violence agencies, family and friends. Fourth- recognize that at times you will have to become your own advocate…. press charges, attend court hearings, obtain evidence wherever possible, relate what you know in a calm and accurate manner.  And there may be times when you will have to insist on recognition of the danger you are facing. Last and probably most important- you have to remember that although the actions you are taking may get the perpetrator in ‘trouble’, it is actually their own actions that are causing their problems. You are only responding to their actions.  When your life is at risk, you can no longer provide them with excuses.                                                                            

And then these articles are more to do with how we as a society can work to promote safety. For instance, do you know what your company’s policy is on domestic violence and the relationship to work? Does it promote the victims safety as well as the other employees? How do you handle it when you learn that someone you know has been accused of domestic violence? Or has been a victim of domestic violence?

CNN shooting highlights safety in public workplaces   Domestic violence can be reduced                             Advocates for domestic violence victims: Stand up to battery          

This one was sent to me by an anonymous person and I want to thank them for thinking of how it relates this blog and for the kind words they had to say. Not only the domestic violence case, but the articles that have followed it provide valuable information about the issues. I apologize for the delay in posting it due to my physical limitations, but I also want them to know that without their assistance I probably would have missed it.

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