A stay-away order of protection was issued at that time.
The man violated the stay-away no contact order of protection by continuing to stalk his estranged wife.
The estranged wife reported his stalking to the police.
When court orders are violated, that is contempt of court, a separate crime.
When a stay-away order of protection is violated, that is a separate crime, and is especially dangerous in view of the August charges - strangulation and battery.
Imagine that the man strangled and hit somebody other than his wife - a stranger, a co-worker, a neighbor.
And, that the man would have violated the order of protection and continued to stalk that co-worker or neighbor.
He would be immediately arrested and brought before court.
But here, the victim was his wife.
And the male judge decided to go easy on him - and simply issue a "summons" to appear in court, based obviously on the wife's report.
That brought the man over the edge - and he stabbed his estranged wife to death.
That blood is on the hands of #JudgeMichaelHensley.
Judge Hensley did not apologize, but he issued a statement expressing condolences to the victim's, Laura Russell's, family, and stated that in the future he will hold a hearing as to the arrest warrant the same day the application is made, to prevent similar tragic consequences.
Those condolences will not bring the 44-year-old mother of a young daughter back to life, to her child, her family and her friends.
On August 20, 2016, a month and a half before her death, Laura Russell reportedly escaped the strangulation attempt and beating at the hands of her abusive husband, fled to neighbors and reported the crime.
Criminal charges were brought against the husband.
It is a wonder why the husband was not kept in jail in view of dangerousness of his behavior.
Allegations were made by the victim already then indicating that the husband was a dangerous control freak:
" The woman also told police she called 911 for help, but Anthony Russell disconnected the call. When dispatchers called back, Anthony Russell said everything was fine.
Laura Russell told police that morning that she attempted to use someone else’s phone, a second phone she owned and attempted to get her car keys to leave during the incident, but her husband took away the phones and keys."
It was unlikely that a "no contact" order of protection would deter such a determined control freak who obviously looked upon Laura Russell as his property.
Of course, the husband claimed that the wife was drunk, came home late and was the aggressor. The question is, why would a "drunk aggressor" run away to neighbors trying to escape from the husband?
The husband was released on a $500 bond and a no contact in August of 2016.
In September of 2016, "a Level 5 felony count of criminal confinement and misdemeanor counts of interference with reporting a crime and battery were added to the case by prosecutors."
And, the husband was still not arrested and was not kept locked up to protect the victim.
Laura Russell specifically asked the court "that Anthony Russell not be allowed to possess guns, knives or other weapons that could cause bodily injury."
That is the usual requirement for an order of protection.
I am not sure whether that request was granted or not, but for some relentless control freaks, such as Anthony Russell showed to be, an order of protection, and even an order not to possess knives or guns, is nothing but noise.
In June of 2016, the husband filed for divorce, but then quickly withdrew his filing, and the divorce case was dismissed.
After the strangulation episode on August 20, 2016, Laura Russell reportedly filed for divorce on August 24, 2016 - which also was not taken into consideration for purposes of protecting her from her stalker and abuser.
There were multiple witnesses who saw Anthony Russell, on multiple occasions, violating the no-contact court order of protection - following Laura Russell from lunch with friends, from the school where she picked up her daughter, to the gym - and Anthony Russell left before the police arrived, so the police did the right thing and applied, through prosecution, for an arrest warrant - which Judge Michael Hensley denied without a hearing.
Here is what the prosecutor reportedly said about what happened:
If everybody knew that Laura Russell was at risk of BEING KILLED, for God's sake, because she was leaving her abusive partner - why didn't the police start surveillance of Anthony Russell, even if the arrest warrant was denied?
Wouldn't that have saved Laura Russell's life?
Now everybody involved can "express condolences".
But the woman is dead.
And I cannot shake the nagging feeling that she is dead because everybody involved did not exercise the same amount of caution which they would have if Laura Russell was not Anthony Russell's wife.
The perception remains that our court system, especially male judges, like it was in this case, continues to act on implications that
- wives are husbands' property,
- husbands can do whatever they want with them, and that
- wives are not to be believed when they are claiming physical abuse and danger of death at the hands of their abusive husbands.
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