Monday, September 28, 2009

Still Looking Over My Shoulder

In 1999 I obtained a lifetime Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence against someone I nearly married. After having watched hundreds of injunction hearings, I am aware of how unusual this is (most injunctions are granted for 12 months). I am very fortunate that Judge Jeffords Miller recognized the potential lethality of my situation and did not designate an expiration date.

In the months immediately following the issuance of the injunction, I was called by an acquaintance of the Respondent (whom I'd never met) who told me he had admitted to her that he had driven past my house and poured paint thinner on a car that my neighbor was storing in my carport. I also had a suspicious flat tire, but no real evidence against him. He married someone else in 2000 (they divorced in 2004) and left me alone.

In April, 2006 I bought a security camera to monitor my front door because someone left items anonymously on my doorstep on two separate occasions that were a bit odd (a side benefit of having the camera was knowing if my teenager was observing her curfew!). After a while, I didn't always activate the camera, but while we were on vacation in July 2008, I did. And I caught the Respondent standing at my front door - violating the injunction that had been issued nearly 9 years earlier.

If someone threatens to kill my child and commit suicide, I take that threat very seriously. Even 9 years after it was made. Sarah (pictured here just 2 months before she was murdered by her father) is the reason why. All the old fears of being stalked resurfaced. I began looking over my shoulder again, gathering intel on the Respondent, and decided to fight back by filing a complaint that he had violated the injunction (a very confusing process that can involve both the criminal and domestic relations courts).

A warrant was issued for his arrest and since he has no fixed address, the waiting game began. Until last week when I received a call from the State Attorney's Office that he had been picked up in Lake County last month. Once again, the anxiety returned. The thought of having to go court and be in the same building with him has the potential to be paralyzing - even though I am more familiar than most victims are with the process. I am torn between wanting to stand up and tell him to his face to leave me and my family alone vs. letting the State Attorney handle it for me.

Since 1986, five women (including me) have had injunctions against this man. He's been arrested for stalking two of them (both cases were dropped). So I'm torn between a desire to make sure the judge understands my concerns and sending a message to the Respondent that I will not be intimidated vs. wanting to avoid being anywhere near him.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for tomorrow. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he fails to appear. I'll let you know what happens.


  1. Wow Laura! You are in my prayers! Please keep us updated. God does not want his children to be intimidated and it is time to stand up against it. We are standing with you Laura!

  2. Please keep us informed on what happens today.

  3. I will keep you in my prayers. Specifically that the Holy Spirit gives you and the judge wisdom and enlightenment to make the right decisions.

  4. Laura, I have been married for 25 years to my wife Jan. Your plight fills me with emotion nearly to tears. Where do these people come from?
    A civilized skin over a core of insanity.
    God bless you in your continuing quest for justice.

    Lon Boner

  5. Yesterday's pretrial was a bit anti-climactic, although I did come up with an idea about how to help victims avoid running into their abusers at the main entrance when going to court. I'll let you know if we're able to get it implemented. The trial date for my case is in two weeks.

  6. I have a friend at work that just got divorced from a man who was very abusive to her as well as her kids. I feel the kids are in danger when she sends them to his house for the week while she's at work. Supposedly the kids are truly afraid of him. Did the man that kill your 2 year old go to jail? It seems like he's still walking the streets.

  7. Monte,
    No, he committed suicide after he killed her.

  8. Laura, OMG how many victims does it take before the judges take these cases serious enough to be agressive in sentencing with these guys or gals. You have every right to feel all those contridicting emotions. You have helped so many, just know a little bit of all of us are standing beside you in spirit. Stay strong and keep us updated.