Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sandy Springs Murder-Suicide

According to the AJC, a Sandy Springs man is suspected of killing his wife and then killing himself.

Irene Mickens arrived at the Sandy Springs apartment Tuesday night to tend to her daughter, who, according to her soon-to-be ex-husband, was seriously ill.

The five-year-old was not sick, it turns out. Jamal Mickens had taken the girl, along with the couple's 7-year-old son, to his sister's home in McDonough earlier that day before returning home to meet his wife.

Sometime between 6 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. Wednesday, the recent Emory University graduate shot his estranged spouse in the head before turning the gun on himself, Sandy Springs police spokesman Steve Rose said.

"He lured her there," said Donna Penn, a friend of Mickens' who was on the phone with her minutes before she arrived at the Hammond Drive apartment were the couple lived, though not together.

Their bodies were found by police called to scene by Irene Mickens' father, concerned for his daughter's safety. Officers found a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun next to 40-year-old Jamal Mickens' dead body.

There are a couple of interesting things about this story. First, the AJC is determined to sprinkle class markers throughout their article on this homicide-suicide, which took place in a wealthier section of North Fulton County. Jamal Mickens has a Master's Degree from Emory University. There is a photo of the police towing a BMW from the scene. Though we don't know why the AJC felt it necessary to include this information, it does remind us that domestic violence is not an issue limited by class, and that educated people in nice neighborhoods are also vulnerable to violence in the home.

In addition, because WRC offers supervised visitation and exchange services at Nia's Place, we pay particular attention to instances where men take the lives of their former partners during visitation or custody exchanges. Just because a woman has decided to end the relationship with her batterer, that does not mean that she will be safe. In fact, women who have children with their batterer, especially if they were married or if their partner legitimized the children in court, are forever tied to him. Judges are very gung-ho about giving rights to any fathers who want them, whether it is good for the children or not. In fact, men who batter are more likely to have visitation or joint custody, because they are more likely to ask for it since it guarantees their continued access to the child(ren)'s mother.

If you are a woman who is afraid of experiencing violence when meeting your child(ren)'s father to exchange the children, call one of our legal advocates at (404) 370-7670 to get more information on how to request supervised visitation or exchange and what resources are available in your area.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mickens family.

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