DC saw six confirmed domestic violence homicides this year, victim advocates say.
That’s down from 13 in 2011 and 12 in 2010. But the end of the year left some aid workers concerned.
Amy Loudermilk, who was a senior policy specialist at the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence before taking a position as deputy director of the DC Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs in November, says she was troubled by a recent violent burst in domestic crime.
It’s more common in DC for domestic violence homicides to come through “close range stuff” like stabbing, slapping or blunt force trauma, Loudermilk said. But two fatal domestic violence shootings, one in the doorway of a Metro bus, within a week of each other in December broke the pattern.
Javon Foster killed Selina Brown as she boarded a Metro bus Dec. 9 and then traveled to Hempstead, N.Y., where he took his own life.
Just three days earlier, 73-year-old Joseph Chandler allegedly shot his girlfriend Shirley Renee Tucker to death in their home. Prosecutors say Chandler told detectives he and Tucker were arguing when Tucker called him a “bitch.” Chandler then opened a bedroom drawer, pulled out a .22 caliber handgun and shot Tucker repeatedly, according to charging documents.
“It was a little alarming for me,” Loudermilk said.
She said the District was continuing its lethality assessment program, launched last year. Under the program, when police respond to a domestic violence complaint, trained counselors from DC SAFE speak to the victim by phone and conduct a risk assessment. A numerical score identifies how much danger the victim currently faces, helping victim advocates know which victims need the most help, Loudermilk said.
Loudermilk said she was glad the District’s statistics were improving, but hard-fought gains needed to be protected.
“It’s great that our number is really low for this year,” Loudermilk said, “but it couldn’t be that way without money.”
DC SAFE and DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence confirmed the following six domestic violence homicides this year:
Victim: Yolanda Stone
Suspect: Reynard Cook
Date of crime: Feb. 15
What happened: Prosecutors say Cook shot Stone during a domestic argument at Cook’s house. Stone was there to pick up their son, who had come home from school sick. The couple has three children together, ages 7, 4 and 2.
Status: Cook remains at large and a bench warrant has been issued for his arrest. Stone’s family maintains an extensive website about her death.
Victim: Lamont Devore
Suspect: David Bolden
Date of crime: May 1
What happened: Bolden believed that Devore had “said some things” to Bolden’s baby’s mother, causing “problems” for Bolden, according to charging documents. Bolden told a witness that “he needs to stay out of my business.” Prosecutors believe he fatally stabbed Devore, who called 911 as he was bleeding from his wounds.
Status: A judge found probable cause at a preliminary hearing May 23. A grand jury indictment is pending.
Victim: Keyontae Moore
Suspect: Jonathan Fullard
Date of crime: May 4
What happened: Investigators say Fullard was babysitting Moore, his girlfriend’s 1-year-old infant son, on May 4 while the child’s mother was at work. Fullard called police at 3 a.m. to say the toddler had stopped breathing. He later told police he had been “play boxing” with Moore and had struck him in the upper body five to six times. An autopsy found bleeding in the skull, bruising on the head and face, three broken ribs, bruising on the chest, leg and other injuries suggestive of sexual abuse.
Status: Fullard pled guilty, but has not yet been sentenced because he is undergoing a mental competency evaluation.
Victim: Antoinette Mitchell
Suspect: Earl Johnson
Date of crime: Aug. 22
What happened: Johnson fatally stabbed Mitchell, his ex-girlfriend’s 29-year-old daughter, prosecutors say. According to charging documents, Johnson barged into Mitchell’s apartment and began arguing with her mother, who had called earlier to break up with him. When Mitchell confronted him with an iron when he refused to leave, he left but returned and stabbed her multiple times. Mitchell’s mother reportedly had obtained a protective order against Johnson after he threw a cup of liquid in her face and threw a chair at her in 2010.
Status: A judge found probable cause at a preliminary hearing Oct. 11. Johnson was released, but was ordered to stay away from Michele Mitchell. A grand jury indicted him Dec. 18, and he’s scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 2.
Victim: Shirley Renee Tucker
Suspect: Joseph Chandler
Date of crime: Dec. 6
What happened: According to charging documents, Chandler told police he killed Tucker. He said the pair were arguing and Tucker called him a “bitch.” Chandler opened a drawer in the bedroom, removed a .22 caliber handgun and emptied the clip into Tucker’s body.
Status: A judge found probable cause at a preliminary hearing Dec. 20. Chandler is scheduled for a felony status conference Feb. 1.
Victim: Selina Brown
Suspect: Javon Foster
Date of crime: Dec. 9
What happened: Foster shot Brown in the doorway of a Metro bus as she held the couple’s child. Police launched a search for Foster; he fled to Hempstead, N.Y. and fatally shot himself the next day.
The following cases lacked enough information to determine if they were domestic violence homicides:
Victim: Amber Kent
Suspect: Cydrisse Alvin
Date of crime: June 4
What happened: Prosecutors say Alvin fatally stabbed Kent, her neighbor, at the Southeast D.C. apartment building where they both lived. Prosecutors wrote in charging documents that they believe Alvin habitually used PCP. The exact relationship between the two women is unclear.
Victim: Paul Lawrence Morris
Suspect: Quindetta Cosby
Date of crime: Sept. 13
What happened: Cosby, who told police she had been drinking, had an argument with Morris that ended with Cosby fatally stabbing him, according to charging documents. The exact relationship between Morris and Cosby is not clear.