Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When Domestic Violence Comes Home

My daughter and my dad...10-27-2007

He told her that he had changed. He showed her his AA tokens, got on his knees and begged for her forgiveness. It had been several years since my daughter and "RJ" were together so she forgave him and they began dating again. This was a mistake she'd regret.

The wedding was absolutely beautiful. We had a masquerade ball theme, since it was so close to Halloween, and the guests came in costumes....all except for my dad, who wore his Marines Dress Blues. He looked amazing, but paled in comparison to the radiant and happy bride. My little girl.

It only took a couple of months before RJ had quit his job. He slept in every day, never lifted a finger around the house and depended 100% on my daughter to pay the bills, the brand new mortgage and buy food for them and my daughter's dogs.

RJ then started to become possessive and paranoid, watching over my daughter's shoulder every moment, reading her emails, listening to her phone calls. He began yelling at her constantly, starting fights and verbally abusing her. Soon things escalated into RJ breaking furniture, throwing things around and beating the dogs. She started planning her escape.

Her escape plan was yet to be finished, when the electricity at their home was turned off. She was hurriedly preparing her aquarium and fish to be moved (so the fish wouldn't die), when RJ started yet another fight. In his rage, he kicked a box containing aquarium supplies and things scattered over the living room food, rocks and more. My daughter screamed and RJ, "Why do you have to do this? Why are you always breaking my things? You have destroyed nearly everything I own!"

She walked toward the door, fully intending to go to the neighbors and call the police.....she wasn't fast enough....a physical fight ensued and she ended up bruised and shaken. She quietly followed through with moving her aquarium, allowed RJ to drop her off at a friends and then called home for help. My husband and I picked her up, took her home and grabbed her dogs and a couple of small boxes of her belongings....she left everything else behind.

One would think the story ends there....or that my daughter went back to She moved home and never looked back. RJ, on the other hand, couldn't let it go.

He began stalking her, following her and making online threats against her. Though we got protective orders for here, her work and family and friend's homes, he still refused to stop....and most of the time, the police wouldn't do anything unless they saw him, or there was proof. We began running a camcorder at home and my daughter started carrying a digital camera and a baseball bat. He continued to follow her to work, drive by friends homes and sit on side streets for days, watching her, waiting to attack.....and he finally did...on August 2nd 2008, he tried to kill my daughter.

She was leaving a friend's home and noticed a car sitting on a darkened side street.....she just KNEW what was about to happen. She pulled behind a business (a common cut-through for motorists), stepped out of her opened car door and waited with her digital camera in hand. As soon as RJ rounded the corner in his car, she snapped a photograph. When he realized what happened, he floored the gas and raced toward her. She rolled into her car just as he wedged his car in her, still open, driver side door. She leaned out and took another photograph.

She then hit her accelerator, did a u-turn around an ATM machine in the adjoining parking lot, and hurried back toward her best friend's home. RJ caught up to her and *SLAM*, hit her from behind. *SLAM*, he hits her again. She sped up, finally coming to a stop in her friend's driveway. She was already on the phone with the police.

They arrested him within 10 minutes of the incident, but sadly, only got him for "Violation of Privacy".......there is some stupid law in Indiana stating that the car was "marital property" and he could do to it what he wished. He was only in jail for mere days....his family bailed him out.....and he continued his stalking and mind games.
We had to stay on the police and prosecuter's office constantly to make sure something....anything was being done to keep this man away from my daughter. We were lucky we convinced them to even investigate the case further!

The final straw came as a telephoned death threat.....a terrible message...left on my daughter's cell phone. It was a song that chimed, "Bitch you know I love you, but now you gotta die" and it repeated over and over. The police weren't impressed.....and in the early days into the stalking investigation....he was arrested and held without bond during a bond agreement check. He was drunk, using drugs and in possession of the cd containing the song with the death threat.

That was two months ago.....and RJ still sits in jail. His rich dad didn't bail him out, even after bond had been set at $5,000. Tomorrow is the big day......court....and he will be released under a plea agreement.

With the stalking laws, the way they are written, it is nearly impossible to get a conviction...too many rules and regulations have to be met. Our deputy prosecutor is heartsick as he wanted nothing more than to prosecute RJ to the fullest extent of the law. The best he could do is roll the dice and risk him walking away, time served and no further recourse or write a plea agreement to help protect my daughter.

Time served. Mandatory drug and alcohol counseling and testing. Mandatory anger management and domestic violence classes. Mandatory psychiatric evaluation and counseling. 3 full years probation. A Supreme Court no contact order for my daughter for 3 full years. If he doesn't do classes....even misses one...mandatory prison term. If he so much as calls my daughter and hangs up...mandatory prison time.

But will this be enough?

Will he stop?

Or will his first and only contact with my daughter be the only one it will take?

I'm afraid for her, but there is little I can do. I can continue to follow her, so she's never out of my view. I can go with her everywhere. I can run the video camera.....for 3 years....maybe longer. Who knows.


The Muse said...

Oh my heart aches and my pulse pounds...
I so wish for you and yours safety and peace...
You are in my thoughts and prayers today!

Ms. E said...

Thank you very much for your thoughts and prayers....we appreciate it more than words can express. So far, so good.....but only time will tell if he'll stay away.