NEWNAN, Ga. -- It's too late for Michela Duplechain, but she's speaking out to warn others about the deadly toll of domestic violence. Last Sunday she lost her only son and her husband in a murder-suicide.You can also reach Women's Resource Center on our hotline at (404) 688-9436. Read about our services on our website.
"I wouldn't have married a demon," she said. "I wouldn't have put my son in harms way if I thought that I was marrying someone that wanted to hurt us so bad, wanted to kill us and would do this to us."
Michela met 44-year-old Reginald Hines last March when he walked into the Coweta County barbershop she runs. They fell in love, but she says it wasn't long before he began physically and verbally abusing her.
She took out a court restraining order in September, but he begged forgiveness and she took him back. They married on October 7. She thought she could change him.
"No matter how much you love them, you can't change them and I realize that now," she said. "I hate that it had to come to this point where I lost my husband and my only child."
Her 14-year-old son, Anthony Olbert, Jr. called his new step-father "pop", but she says he was aware of the violence. He sent her a cell phone message on her birthday last month encouraging her and saying he'd always be there for her. Now he's gone.
Sunday afternoon she was moving some furniture out of her home to take to a relative, furniture she says they really didn't need. But then her husband drove up, pulled out a gun and began shooting.
She thinks he feared she was about to move out on him, but isn't really sure what triggered the sudden outburst of violence. When it ended, her son, Tony, was dead and her husband had shot and killed himself. He had also fired at her, but missed.
"When the bullets were coming at me," she told 11Alive News, "when I was running down the street and none of them hit me, I feel that this is my purpose. God put me right here to share my story to save somebody's life, maybe before the holidays."
Michela's cousin called us saying she wanted to go public with her story to warn others. "Look for the warning signs," Michela told us, "Do not stay, do not think in your mind that you deserve this...turn to God, look for the signs, listen to the advice of your loved ones who haven't done you any harm...and leave."
Michela's family has set up a fund in memory of her son. It's the Anthony Olbert, Jr. Memorial Fund at any Bank of America branch.
If you feel you are in an abusive situation like this, you may seek help from the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Their hotline number is 1-800-33HAVEN.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Newnan Mother Warns about DV
From 11Alive News in Atlanta: