It has been a while since I first posted about the tragic murder of a woman who was a great mother, beloved church member, neighbor, daughter and friend to many.

My hope is that ultimately we will know that she didn’t die in vain, but for that to happen we are going to need to see our court system do a much better job of acknowledging danger – imminent danger and violent threats – and following through to prevent such losses as in this case.

What happened to this mother could have been avoided, and this man could have and should have been kept in jail for the sentence handed down to him, based on the facts, the evidence and the record which showed the judge knew he had been hospitalized because he was mentally unstable.

The lack of care and concern here is typical, unfortunately, in many cases where there is clear intent and opportunity to cause harm to vulnerable citizens, and especially to children. It’s just not something that is taken seriously by many judges and other court professionals. But hopefully that will change and improve in our lifetime.

Thank you to these contributors, to Men Stopping Violence and the AJC for highlighting what really needs to be changed in how we look at and respond to conflict:

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-forward/2013/01/10/when-protective-orders-fail/

This is one of the best pieces written yet on this story, so thank you to all the contributors and to the AJC for ongoing coverage.

As Director of My Advocate Center, Atlanta, GA, I am especially appreciative of Judge Hobie Jones’ comment above. It’s time to call it like we see it. …Based on the facts and patterns around this and other cases, and not as a “Monday morning quarterback” (which I agree with you on).

And it is true that this is not just a women’s issue – violence and false allegations of domestic violence affect everyone. Our focus is on the damages to children that stem from all of it. If you hurt or threaten a good parent, you are harming her (or his) children.

False allegations, as well as NOT heeding and responding to REAL violence…and NOT using the evidence or following protocols that we have in place…all put us in a downward spiral.

Family court pretends violence & abuse do not exist, except to profit from them in a way that leads to more abuse.
Family court pretends violence & abuse do not exist, except to profit from them in a way that leads to more abuse.

I knew Donna and John, but not recently, and because I didn’t cross paths again with her in time…I am both distraught and determined that we not let this discussion end without seeing the needed changes in how we respond to these situations.

There ARE pending local cases that mirror this tragedy in too many ways, so we would appreciate continued coverage and investigation. Please email for case and location details for hearings and transcripts.