Friday, February 19, 2010

Injunction Denied to Victim of Stalking - Stalker/Arsonist Granted Bond

With all the media attention focused on Judge Moxley's denial of an injunction request by Alissa Blanton and her subsequent murder earlier this month, I monitored a criminal case in Judge Marc Lubet's courtroom today that is equally frightening.

On December 1, 2009 19-yr old Tameka Hibbler requested an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence against her ex-boyfriend, Tommy Lee Knight. Her petition noted five different instances of stalking behavior during the previous 4 days:
11/27/09: At her place of work, Mr. Knight was there from 7:00-9:45pm, crying and making a scene. He refused to leave after she asked him to leave her alone.

11/28/09: At the home she shares with her mother and 16-yr old brother, Mr. Knight repeatedly knocked and yelled  at the front door from 11:45pm until 2:00am.  When the Petitioner opened the door, he grabbed her by the arm and insisted she listen to him. He left after her mother threatened to call the police. Ms. Hibbler indicated that for the prior two days he had been repeatedly called her personal, as well as employer's, phone.

11/29/09: Mr. Knight followed her to her church and refused to leave her alone. She asked him to sit in another location, but he refused.

11/30/09: Mr. Knight waited at her place of employment for her to appear. Petitioner's co-workers advised her that he was there from 10:30am until 1:00pm.

11/30/09: Mr. Knight followed Petitioner to her friend's apartment and watched them from the bushes at the apartment complex. Her friend called the police to report Mr. Knight's behavior because they were concerned he might harm one or both of them.
On 12/1/09, Judge Theotis Bronson denied Ms. Hibbler's petition, stating "the allegations are not sufficient for a domestic violence injunction." They certainly seem sufficient to CourtWatch. Actual physical assault is not the sole thing that can be considered when deciding whether or not to grant an injunction.

Click here for the Statute definition of stalking and tell me if you don't think the above allegations support a temporary injunction and a hearing.

It should be noted that Mr. Knight lived in the Petitioner's home with her mother and brother after his parents kicked him out of their home. Mr. Knight is 22-years old.

Mr. Knight was in Judge Lubet's courtroom today for a Bond Hearing.

The charges?

Arson 1st Degree of Dwelling/Building w/People Present (a felony) & Stalking (a misdemeanor).

Mr. Knight allegedly doused the doors and windows of the victims' home with gasoline and ignited a blaze at approximately 4:00am on December 2, 2009 - the day after Ms. Hibbler's injunction was denied.

Earlier that evening, some neighbors alerted the family to the defendant's presence in the neighborhood. His bike was seen nearby. The main breaker to their home had been turned off. According to the mother's testimony, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said there was nothing they could do unless someone witnessed a criminal act. This was not the first time they heard that from law enforcement.

Thankfully, Ms. Hibbler's younger brother was unable to sleep as a result of the events earlier in the day, heard and saw the defendant through the front door peephole with a gas can, and got the family out of the house safely when he realized it was on fire.

All three family members testified today that they are terrified that Mr. Knight will return to "finish the job" if he gets out of jail. The defendant's family and friends are allegedly pressuring the victim to drop the charges against him.

Judge Lubet commented that he was surprised that the State Attorney's Office had not filed 3 counts of Attempted Murder charges against Mr. Knight. Assistant State Attorney Shannon Corack indicated that it was being reviewed for possible upgrade. Had that been done, Judge Lubet indicated he probably would not have granted a bond at the hearing today. However, because Arson and Stalking are both bondable offenses, he was obligated to set a bond and conditions of release that accomplish two things:
  1. Ensure the saftey of the community, particularly the victims.
  2. Ensure the defendant's presence in court.
Considering the fact that Mr. Knight scores 46 months as a minimum in the Department of Corrections, with a maximum of 30 years, it is entirely possible that he would be tempted to flee. He has demonstrated by two earlier Violation of Probation charges that he has a problem with complying with court orders.

Ultimately a bond in the amount of $26,000 was set with the following conditions of release:
  • Ankle monitor
  • Home confinement - may only leave home go to work, school, meet with his attorney, or seek medical attention
  • No contact with any of the victims - either directly or indirectly
  • Stay 1000 feet away from the victims' home
  • Possess no weapons or firearms
  • Possess no flammable liquids
At this time, the family is in a confidential location. But my gut tells me they are far from safe, even with the conditions placed upon the defendant if he does manage to make bond.


  1. I agree with Lubec's opinion that attemted murder could be charged. I disagree with Lubec making that statement. Unethical behavior by a judge, but then again, he probably knows about these blogs and feels a need to pander for political reasons.
    The state charged correctly at this time since they have probable cause for the charges filed. In time they may have it for the attempted murder, w shall see.

  2. As of this morning, Mr. Knight is no longer in custody at the Orange County jail.

  3. Mr. Knight is now in custody

  4. Mrs Williams you were right, he did contact the family and thanks to OPD detectives, he was put back in custody. Thank you for caring so much, to monitor the defendant.