Thursday, January 27, 2011

DV Murder in Cobb County

According to the AJC, a Cobb County man stands accused of killing his wife and then setting their home on fire.

Cobb County fire Lt. Denell Boyd told the AJC that the fire call came in at 3:05 a.m. Monday, and when firefighters arrived five minutes later, they found the brick ranch house, in the 3500 block of Ponderosa Lane off Powder Springs Road, fully involved in flames.

Later Monday, investigators searched for Michael Rowe, who was located just before 2:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Walmart store on the East-West Connector near Powder Springs, Officer Kathryn Raines said.

Raines said Rowe was spotted by officers in the parking lot, in the 1995 Ford Taurus that police had issued a lookout for on Monday.

Raines said that Rowe put up no resistance, and was answering questions from detectives investigating the death of his wife. At 3 p.m. Tuesday, Michael Rowe was arrested at the Powder Springs police headquarters, according to jail records.

In addition to murder and arson charges, Michael Rowe has been charged with aggravated assault. He was booked into the Cobb County jail, where he was being held without bond, Raines said.

Investigators have not yet released the cause of death.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rowe family.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Loganville Man Suspected in Possible Murder Suicide

Online Athens reports that a Loganville man is suspected to have killed his wife, then possibly himself.

Robert Cook, 52, was staying with his ex-wife, Judy Clay, 60, in Loganville when the two fought and Cook strangled her with an electrical cord, said Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman.

Authorities found Cook's body first, however. Greene County sheriff's deputies found Cook's remains Jan. 9 and asked Walton County deputies to notify his ex-wife, said Walton County Capt. Chris Cannon.

When deputies arrived at Clay's Walton County home about noon, they found her body inside, Cannon said.

Both deaths still are under investigation, and deputies are waiting on complete autopsy reports, he said.

Investigators don't know whether Cook took his own life on purpose or died accidentally, but he did take some drugs and alcohol, Cannon said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Clay family.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DeKalb Murder, Attempted Suicide

A DeKalb County man allegedly stabbed his wife to death and then attempted suicide by poison. From the AJC:

The couple, whose names were being withheld until relatives could be notified, lived in an East Club Drive apartment, Mekka Parish, spokeswoman for DeKalb police, told the AJC.

A maintenance worker responding to an alarm found the couple inside their apartment Sunday in the Lenox Summit complex, Parish said. No one else was in the apartment at the time, she said.

Investigators believe the man fatally stabbed the woman and intended to kill himself, Parish said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family.

Monday, January 24, 2011

DV Murder in Clayton County

According to WSB Channel 2, a Clayton County man called police on Thursday and confessed to strangling his wife to death.

Daniel said [Drew] Shepard’s wife, Aletha, was sitting at a computer when he approached her and attacked.

“He did use his hands, put them around her throat. There was a struggle. She began to fight back. He came from behind, and it appears it was a case of manual strangulation," Daniel said.
This case pretty clearly refutes the idea that DV homicides are crimes of passion that happen when emotions are running high. This couple was not in the middle of a fight. The victim wasn't doing anything to provoke his anger. According to his own account, she was seated and he came up behind her and used his own hands to kill her. This certainly doesn't sound like a man who just lost it.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shepard family.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Man Dies Protecting Son's Girlfriend

In a tragic story out of Cobb County, a man suffered a fatal heart attack while trying to stop his son from battering his girlfriend.

The warrant alleges Christopher Miller assaulted his girlfriend and tried to choke her with his hands. She had "red marks around her throat by her collarbones, on both sides of her neck," and "an abrasion to her forehead and a swollen and bruised lower lip," according to the warrant.

"Upon seeing this assault, Herschel Miller attempted to intervene to stop the assault," the warrant states.

Christopher Miller pushed his father to the ground and struck him several times, the warrant further alleges.

When police spoke to Herschel Miller, he confirmed the girlfriend's version of events, according to the warrant. "Shortly thereafter, Herschel Miller fell unresponsive," the warrant states.

The warrant says Christopher Miller was charged with felony murder because he caused the death of his father while committing aggravated assault against his girlfriend.
When family members call our hotline because they are concerned for the safety of a daughter, or sister, or other loved one, it is always a difficult conversation to have. On the one hand, we want family members to intervene and stop the violence. On the other, we don't want family members putting themselves at risk as well. Even the victim doesn't always know exactly what her abuser is capable of, and there is no guarantee that the violence won't spread. You should always create a safe space for family members and friends to open up to you about abuse they may be experiencing, but please use caution when confronting an abuser directly, and call law enforcement in cases of emergency. You don't want to become a domestic violence statistic any more than she does.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Miller family.

Monday, January 17, 2011

DV Killings in Monroe County

According to
Alayna Pruitt, 43, and her mother, Sherry Price (age unknown), were found dead in their home on Debra Drive off Ga. 74, according to a release from the sheriff’s office. Pruitt’s husband, Ronald Pruitt, also was found with a gunshot wound and was taken to The Medical Center of Central Georgia where he was listed in critical condition Saturday. The hospital and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office could not provide an update on his condition Sunday.
WMAZ Channel 13 reports that Monroe County's coroner believes the deaths to be domestic violence homicides.

Update: The suspected killer in the case, Ronald Pruitt, has died, making this a double-murder, suicide. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Pruitt and Price families.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Halle Berry Talks About Childhood Domestic Violence

A few weeks ago, Halle Berry opened up to CNN regarding what it was like to grow up with a father who was abusive to her mother.

"I think I've spent my adult life dealing with the sense of low self-esteem that sort of implanted in me. Somehow I felt not worthy," she told CNN. "Before I'm 'Halle Berry,' I'm little Halle....a little girl growing in this environment that damaged me...I've spent my adult life trying to really heal from that."

Visit the CNN website to watch the video in full.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DV 101: Domestic Violence and Mental Health

What we know, from working with women experiencing domestic violence for 25 years, is that women experiencing domestic violence are vulnerable to mental health problems because of the abusive environment in which they live. They may also be vulnerable to self-medication through alcohol or drugs as they attempt to escape the pain of what they have experienced or are experiencing.

We also know that women with existing mental illness, as well as women with any physical or mental disability, are at a higher risk for victimization.

Most importantly, we understand that the majority of women who experience intimate partner violence do not have a diagnosable mental condition. Therefore, an assumption that victims of domestic violence require our diagnosis, psychoanalysis, therapy, or“treatment” is inaccurate at best. It is not the victim of domestic violence who has made a choice to use controlling and abusive behaviors, and it is not the victim of domestic violence who has committed a crime. Therefore, the victim is not the person who needs treatment. For most women, they simply need the abuse to stop.

As for the abuser, some people with mental health problems are violent, but most people who use violence to control their partners do not have a mental illness. In fact, many who use violence against their intimate partners are at times charming, and caring people. Most men who use violence against their women partners believe, on some level, that it is their right and even their responsibility to control their partner and their children. Our society often reinforces this thinking. "Treatment" for these batterers includes helping them change the thinking that they are entitled to use violent and abusive tactics and instead helping them see that their partners deserve their respect.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

DV 101 - Common Abusive Behaviors

The following list, which outlines many common behaviors that abusers use to establish and maintain control in an intimate relationship, is certainly not exhaustive. Batterers are often creative, and they constantly think of new ways to dominate their partners. For that reason, abusive behaviors can encompass any behavior that a person uses to control their partner, especially those that make the victim fearful. The following, however, are some of the most common:

Physical Force – An abusive person may misuse physical power to restrain, injure, and terrify their partner. This results in the establishment of fear and control in the relationship.

Jealousy – At times people confuse or equate feelings of jealousy with feelings of love. An abusive person may frequently and suspiciously ask questions about their partner’s conversations, whereabouts, activities, and experiences. A person who is behaving abusively may become verbally and/or physically aggressive and accusatory when, for any reason, they are not the focus of their partner’s attention.

Manipulation – A person who is behaving abusively will attempt to justify their abusive behavior by relating it to their “concern” or “love” for their partner. They may also attempt to exploit their partner’s feelings of love and compassion.

Lying – Abusive people often lie to themselves and others. They put a “spin” on events in their lives in order to avoid responsibility for the violence that they perpetrate. Lying about affairs and finances are common occurrences.

Unrealistic Expectations – A person behaving abusively may expect their partner to meet all of their needs, to take care of everything for them emotionally and/or domestically.

Isolation – Abusers, once they have established power in the relationship, may isolate their partner by making it difficult or impossible for her to be with family and friends. She/he may block his partner’s access to the vehicle, work opportunities, telephone and Internet services, and any or all connections to the world outside of the relationship.

Blames Others for Problems, Emotions, and Abusive Behavior – A perpetrator of intimate partner violence will often blame others (usually partners and other family members) for their abusive behavior and negative emotions. However, it is their choice to use those behaviors or act on those emotions.

Use of Children – An abusive person may use the children to control their spouse. Children are at times asked to monitor the behavior of one parent and report on that behavior to the other. Or, abusive parents may threaten to or actually harm the children in order to harm the other parent.

Cruelty to Animals – Abusive behavior may include injury to the family pets.

Sexual Abuse – This includes carrying out any sexual interaction that is unwanted by the person with whom you are being sexual. Manipulative and coercive behaviors that are intended to gain compliance are also forms of sexual abuse.

Verbal Abuse – A person using verbal violence may degrade his/her partner; call her/him names, and say cruel and hurtful things. The long-term negative consequences of this victimization can be as devastating as those that occur among victims of physical and sexual abuse.

Duel Personality – “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” – A person behaving abusively may shift quickly between moods. The victim may feel like she has to “walk on eggshells” not knowing what to expect.

Threatens to Harm – Abusers may tell their partners and/or children how they will hurt/punish them if they do not obey.

Breaking or Striking Objects – Abusive behavior may include breaking household items, punching holes in walls, or kicking doors to scare the victim.

Financial Abuse – A person behaving abusively may take complete control of the household money, including controlling all spending and not allowing the other partner to work. The abuser may take out or cancel accounts in the partner's name or sabotage the partner at work, causing her to lose her job. Threats to withhold money for necessities, such as food, are also used to control the family.

Minimizing or Denying Violence – Perpetrators of domestic violence often say things like, “It’s not that bad,” “I didn’t do anything,” and “You’re just overreacting.” Over time, this kind of “crazy making” behavior can cause a victim of abuse to question him/herself and the reality and seriousness of the nightmare that they are experiencing.

If you recognize any of these behaviors occuring in your relationship, please reach out for help by calling 1-800-799-SAFE.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome to a New Year

Welcome to a new year. As we have done in the past, we'd like to take the next week or two to recap some Domestic Violence 101 for our newer readers. You might like to start with one of our classic DV 101 posts:

Staying and Leaving

Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

or, try searching our blog for posts labeled "DV 101".