A Maryland woman who police say was fatally shot by her husband had filed and then requested dismissal of a protective order against him more than a year ago. Baltimore County police officers found the 51-year-old man outside of the woman’s Dundalk home on the evening of March 5 holding a revolver. After dropping the gun, he told them, “She’s dead in the back room.” Police found her in a bedroom, shot in the head.
In Oct. 2017, the 47-year-old woman sought and received a protective order against her husband after he reportedly got into a physical altercation with someone else in the family. She stated in the court documents she filed, “There is a shotgun in the house and [he] is unstable, verbally threatening and physically threatening,” She also said that he had put spyware on her phone and installed cameras in her home that no one else could access. She said, “We are watched at all times.”
For reasons that weren’t reported, the woman, who had worked in facilities management at Community College of Baltimore County for the past decade, asked that the protective order be dismissed just a month later. The man was charged with assault and domestic violence related to that altercation with another member of the family. However, criminal proceedings in that case were halted the following year on the condition that he have no contact with that family member.
The man is now facing a first-degree murder charge. He remains in custody without bond.
Protective orders are no guarantee of safety. However, they are an important legal tool that can help keep victims of domestic violence and their families safe. They can also help police and the courts take action against perpetrators who violate those orders.
Unfortunately, sometimes victims are coerced or otherwise convinced to drop those orders by their abuser or others — sometimes with tragic results. It’s essential to talk with your attorney before seeking to have a protective order dismissed.