November 10, 1986


TO: All Magistrates and Municipal Judges
FROM: George A. Markert, Assistant Director
RE: Protection From Domestic Abuse Act and Criminal Domestic Violence Statutes

Woman murdered; husband arrested

By (deleted) Staff Writer

The estranged husband of an (deleted) woman has been arrested and charged with her shooting death.

(deleted) County Sheriff (deleted) said (deleted), 40 of (deleted) Ave., was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with the shooting of (deleted), 40 of (deleted) Trailer Park, on Tuesday night.

Chief Deputy (deleted) said officers responded to (deleted) Trailer Park off U.S. Highway (deleted) to a report of a shooting around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and found Mrs. (deleted) at a neighbor's home across the street from her residence. (deleted) said she was shot "at least one time."

(deleted) County Coroner (deleted) said Deputy Coroner (deleted) responded to the scene after being notified by officers. Lt. (deleted) was the first officer at the scene along with Sgt. (deleted) and Deputy Sheriff (deleted).

Mrs. (deleted) was taken by ambulance to (deleted) Hospital and (deleted) said she was pronounced dead at 10:32 p.m. Tuesday. He said the body has been sent to Newberry for autopsy by Dr. Joel Sexton. Pending the result of that, they will not speculate on the caliber of handgun used in the murder.

However, officials said late Wednesday afternoon that a .32-caliber handgun was found on (deleted) when he was arrested.

Mrs. (deleted) was so badly wounded when officers arrived, she was unable to give the officers any information about her assailant, according to Chief (deleted), Detective (deleted) was assigned to follow up the investigation and (deleted) said (deleted), who has several charges against him prior to this in regard to domestic problems involving Mrs. (deleted), was an early suspect in the case. (deleted) said he was arrested at (deleted) Apartments on (deleted) Drive by (deleted), Chief Investigator (deleted), Sgt. (deleted), Deputy Sheriff (deleted) and Lt. (deleted) with assistance from the detective division of the (deleted) Police Department.

Chief (deleted) would not speculate as to a motive at this time. (deleted) is being held in the detention center of the (deleted) Detention Center, awaiting a bond hearing before a circuit judge.

According to the records and information from the attorney for the murdered wife:

1. The estranged husband came to the victim's place of employment on Monday, March 31, 1986, caused a scene, and forced the victim to leave with him in his automobile. While she was with him, he purchased a gun, threatened her with it, and threatened a friend of the victim.

2. The Victim's friend made an affidavit for issuance of a warrant for the arrest of the husband on pointing a firearm charge, and the arrest warrant was issued by a magistrate.

3. The victim petitioned the Family Court for an Order of Protection on Friday, April 4, 1986.

4. Because of the inability of the Sheriff's Department to serve the husband with a copy of the petition, the Family Court issued an ex parte Order of Protection, with directions to the Sheriff to serve the order on the husband. One night during this time when the Sheriff was unable to serve the husband, the husband was in jail awaiting release on bond for one of the charges of pointing a firearm.

5. During this time before the husband was served with the Family Court petition or order, the husband forced the victim into his car, at gunpoint, and pushed her out of the car along an interstate highway.

6. The victim initiated criminal prosecution of the husband for pointing a firearm.

7. By April 15, 1986, the husband had finally been served, a Family Court hearing held, and an Order of Protection served on the husband.

8. On Thursday, May 1, 1986, the husband pled guilty to one count of pointing a firearm, and was sentenced to probation.

9. Later that evening of May 1, 1986, the husband removed and secreted the personal property of the victim, in violation of the Order of Protection, which also constituted violation of the terms of probation.

10. The victim requested a magistrate to issue a warrant for violation of an Order of Protection (S.C. Code Ann. § 16-25-50). The magistrate was unable to issue the warrant without an incident report from the Sheriff. The Sheriff did not file the incident report until after ordered to do so by the Chief Magistrate. The warrant was finally issued and the husband convicted, although the changes were apparently not reported to the probation officer.

11. The Sheriff's Department refused to make a warrantless arrest (authorized by § 16-27-70) for violation of the Order of Protection (§ 16-25-50).

12. On or about September 29, 1986, the husband again entered the residence of the victim, and beat her.

13. The victim attempted to swear out a warrant for the husband's arrest immediately thereafter, but the magistrate refused to issue the warrant, saying it was a Family Court matter. After explicit instructions from the victim's attorney, the magistrate finally issued an arrest warrant on October 8, 1986. This warrant was not served.

14. The victim was murdered by her husband on October 21, 1986.

These events illustrate escalating violence, which is all-too-often typical in domestic abuse cases. They also point out how serious these cases are. We urge you to study the Civil Protection from Domestic Abuse Act (§ 20-4-10, et seq.) and the Criminal Domestic Violence statutes (§ 16-25-10 et seq.) carefully. If you have any questions, please call on us at Court Administration.

I would like to remind you that magistrates and municipal judges are primarily responsible for the initiation of most criminal proceedings, and they should never use the excuse that matters of domestic violence are for the Family Courts. The initiation of criminal matters is within your jurisdiction, not that of the Family Courts.

Also, please remember that magistrates are responsible for initiating the civil action under the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act, in emergencies when a Family Court Judge is not available. They should never refer a victim back to Family Court until they have confirmed with the clerk of court that a Family Court Judge is available.

Please give us a call if you have any questions.