Attack sends woman to the hospital

WDTN

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Dayton Police are investigating an attack that sent a woman to the hospital.

Officers were originally called to the area of Monument Avenue and North Jefferson Saturday around 2:30 a.m. on reports of a fight.

When officers arrived, they said a woman was standing on the street with blood all over her shirt and her eye swollen shut. They also said her hand had been cut. She was taken to Miami Valley Hospital where officers interviewed her.

She told police she was at Bingers Bar having a few drinks when her ex-boyfriend called and asked what she was doing and then showed up. She told officers they left the bar a few minutes short of closing to go back to her apartment. She said on their way there, they began to argue.

The victim said once they got inside her apartment, her ex-boyfriend grabbed her by…

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Should The Victim Fight Back?

When local orthopedic surgeon Michael Acurio was arrested last month for domestic abuse with strangulation, something about his mug shot stood out — he had a black eye.

Readers, in The Times’ comments section and elsewhere, were quick to weigh in about the Dec. 7 incident, which sent Acurio’s wife, Shelley, to the hospital. Each spouse accused the other of physical attacks.

“Looks like she was beating on him. Why is she not in jail?” reader Beth Ford Lewis wrote.

“The truth will come out, trust me. His wife is no ‘victim,'” offered Autumn Cole Jolly, on Facebook.

If social media provides any window into public opinion, the Acurio case was a local flash point, exposing tensions between community members who argued over who’s to blame in a fight that also ensnared Shelley Acurio’s sister, whose injuries resulted in additional charges for Michael Acurio.

The case also might reveal a truth experts say is often misunderstood: domestic violence is often messy, intensely private and can’t always be captured in isolated examples of a perpetrator and victim.

Michael Acurio and a representative for Shelley Acurio both declined to comment.

Because intimate-partner abuse is publicized most often in the context of a legal case, “we get really, really obsessed with this matter of guilt or innocence,” said Nicholas Chagnon, a doctoral candidate at the University of Hawaii at Manoa who studies crime in the media.

But assigning fault in a particular domestic incident might occlude a larger picture, one of a long-term pattern of abuse, he said. People sometimes assume that if one person attacks another, fighting back constitutes protecting oneself. The self-defense argument, however, can fall apart when it comes to domestic violence because a victim — who might start a fight — could be acting out in spurts due to having been battered for years, Chagnon said.

“When we have this quest for pure victims or pure villains, we’re often confused because we get disappointed because nobody’s a pure victim and nobody’s a pure villain,” he said.

Statistics show men are more often held responsible for domestic violence than women. Males accounted for 77 percent of domestic abuse battery arrestees in Shreveport in 2014. In Bossier City that year, 70 percent of arrestees for that crime were men.

Women as the predominant targets of domestic violence can be seen in the population seeking counseling and services for the problem, experts said. The New Orleans Family Justice Center, which aids both male and female victims of domestic violence, serves around 1,200 victims per year, around 85 percent of whom are female, according to its executive director, Mary Claire Landry.

Still, there are gray areas in many domestic violence cases, and law enforcement organizations still are learning to identify the signs of long-term abuse and to parse out which member of a couple is the predominant aggressor. Some of that training is being provided by the National Family Justice Center Alliance, which supports more than 80 centers providing those affected by family violence an all-in-one location to interact with law enforcement, advocates, lawyers, doctors, counselors, and other support professionals.

Shreveport police investigators — when faced with conflicting accounts of abuse on a domestic violence call — look for prior complaints of dating violence, evidence of injuries and possible self-defense, witness statements, threats of imminent attacks and the condition of children present when determining who to arrest, said SPD spokesman Cpl. Breck Scott.

“We see very clear cases of female perpetrators. We see very clear cases of male perpetrators,” said Casey Gwinn, president and co-founder of the National Family Justice Center Alliance. In his 20 years as a prosecutor, he said around 85 percent of domestic violence perpetrators in heterosexual relationships were men.

“The cases where it’s hard to sort out who the primary aggressor is, those cases don’t get filed,” he said.

“The most significant question we always want to ask is, ‘Who is afraid of whom?'” Gwinn said. “If a man is truly afraid of a woman, that tells me something. I don’t see that very often.”

Marian Meyers, a Georgia State University professor who studies violence against women in the news, said if you drill down, it’s almost always possible to determine a clear perpetrator and a clear victim in an abusive relationship.

But as spectators, she said, “we want to hold both parties culpable.”

“There’s no other crime in which we ask the victim, ‘What did you do to perpetuate it, what did you do to cause it, what was your part in this?’ If somebody’s murdered, we don’t say, ‘Well, what did that person do?'” Meyers said.

One key nuance about domestic abuse the public often doesn’t always see is that men tend to be more instrumental or purposeful in their violence. An example might be, “If you don’t shut up, I’m gonna hit you,” according to Gwinn. Men, moreso than women, are more likely to choke their partners, an act signifying that a relationship could turn lethal.

Strangulation is an application of deadly force, and non-fatal choking sends the message, “I could kill you at any second,” Landry pointed out.

“Men who strangle women are the most dangerous men on the planet,” said Gwinn. Citing a study published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, Gwinn said if a man chokes a woman once, he’s 800 percent more likely to kill her during that relationship than if he assaulted her any other way.

Women’s violence toward men, on the other hand, tends to be more volcanic, said Gwinn. It’s usually an eruption of anger built up over time, rather than a purposeful directive. Being battered can cause women to self-medicate with drugs such as alcohol.

“The alcohol allows them to then explode because it lowers their inhibitions, and they’ve got a ton of rage toward their partner from prior violence,” Gwinn said. “They kind of lash out.”

But these distinctions are sometimes lost in media reports, where details are thin and a case ceases to be news if it isn’t connected to a court date. Legal filings, which are often the only chronicles of someone’s divorce or abusive relationship, might bolster a perception that intimate partner abuse is always provable in a court of law.

“The criminal justice system is a very blunt instrument in dealing with very complicated dynamics in unhealthy relationships. We always want to pretend like the criminal justice system is this precise scalpel, or this precise instrument, that can go in and sort these things out, and that’s not always true,” Gwinn said. “A lot of violence and abuse in relationships is very messy.”

Twitter: @mayalau

BY THE NUMBERS:

Arrests for domestic abuse battery*

Shreveport**

• 2010 — Males: 642, Females: 169

• 2011 — Males: 756, Females: 242

• 2012 — Males: 633, Females: 192

• 2013 — Males: 664, Females: 194

• 2014 — Males: 702, Females: 206

Bossier City

• 2010 — Men: 228, Women: 84

• 2011 — Men: 218, Women: 67

• 2012 — Men: 204, Women: 75

• 2013 — Men: 187, Women: 76

• 2014 — Men: 144, Women: 62

*Domestic violence may result in other charges such as assault, but charges for domestic abuse battery provide a snapshot of the gender breakdown in arrests.

**Arrestees age 10 and up.

Sources: SPD, BCPD

Camden Man Shoots Girlfriend Then Turns Gun on Himself

Mike Dougherty

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Authorities in Camden County, New Jersey say a man killed himself outside a hospital emergency room moments after he shot and wounded his girlfriend.

It happened around 3 a.m. Saturday near the intersection Baird Boulevard and Marlton Pike in Camden.

Police say the man and his girlfriend were having an argument when he pulled out a gun and shot her. She was rushed to the hospital by her father.

Police say the shooter followed them to Cooper University Hospital where he shot himself while sitting inside a car near the entrance to the emergency room. Doctors pronounced him dead at the scene.

The woman was listed in critical condition.

The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office domestic violence unit is assisting with the on-going investigation.

Teen Dating Violence The Unspoken Truth

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How many of you ever think about teens when you hear unhealthy relationships? Sadly not enough until we hear about it in the news. Well February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and we want to hear stories of survival. We have a generation dying in the name of love at record highs. These babies need to hear stories of survival and find hope and courage to leave. We have two ways to share:

1. Please email your story to nomoreblows@yahoo.com and with your permission we would love to share it!

2. On social media use the #handsoff to share tweets, pictures and quotes.

Times like this social media makes me happy! I can’t wait to hear from you and see what #handoff reveals for our teens. If you are hosting something in your ares PLEASE share it with us, we would love to see photos of your event as well.

Have a great day,

Ms. Kia A. Richardson

Maine Attempts To Tighten Domestic Violence Laws

(NEWS CENTER) — According to the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, one criminal domestic violence assault case is reported every 94 minutes. In order to help stop repeat offenders and get victims the help they need, MCEDV began a statewide initiative to target repeat offenders and offer resources to their victims. It is called the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment tool or ODARA. The questionnaire includes thirteen questions which looks at key issues such as perpetrator threats, an offender’s substance abuse or criminal history, a victim’s fear or barriers to support or whether the victim was assaulted while pregnant.

The Justice Systems coordinator, Margo Batsie, with the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence said, “It is a recidivism tool so it is really aimed at seeing who already committed an assault and is likely to do it again in the future.”

Batsie helped train law enforcement agents across the state to prepare for the January 1,2015 launch.

“It gives law enforcement and the whole criminal justice system one additional tool to use. It is really helping us put our resources at those most high risk cases,” explained Batsie.

Maine is the first state to implement a system such as the ODARA assessment.

An offender can score anywhere from a 0 to 13. This score is used to decide how often a victim should be checked on, what bail conditions should be in place for the offender, and provide statistical evidence to the victim to show it is likely the offender will do it again.

Court office Tammy Girard with Saco Police explained, “It allows us to work in collaboration with all the stakeholders of a domestic violence case. When I go to the prosecutor’s office and say ‘I have this domestic violence case and this offender has scored a 9,’ they understand as well as I do, the risks that are involved in this case.”

The Saco Police department was one of the first departments to be trained on the system and put it into action a few years ago.

Girard, said, ” I am really excited that this is going to be a statewide mandate. We have had really good success with the ODARA just from the information it gives the victim. If nothing else, sharing that information with the victim and letting them know their risk is critical.”

The goal is to help educate victims of domestic violence about the resources available to them and provide them with the help they need to get out of their situation. In addition, it allows prosecutors to understand a person’s history and make sure repeat offenders do not go unnoticed.

Members of MCEDV understand this is just one step necessary to put an end to domestic violence. In order for a person to receive an ODARA score they need to be arrested and requires a victim to report the abuse.

According to MCEDV, there are many victims who do not seek help or report abuse.

There is help available through the statewide domestic violence help line at 1-866-834-HELP.

Unique Cop Shooting Story… What Are Your Thoughts?

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. —

Channel 2 Action News has received the 911 call made after the wife of the Peachtree City police chief was shot by her husband.

In the 911 call, police chief William McCollom said he shot is wife, Margaret McCollom, while moving his gun in bed.

“A gunshot wound. Accidental. Need medical ASAP,” McCollum said. “Shot in the back. ”

“Who shot her?” the dispatcher asked.

“Me,” McCollum responds. “The gun was in the bed, I went to move it, put it aside and it went off.”

“Having trouble breathing dear?” he asks.

McCollom told the GBI the shooting happened with his service revolver around 4 a.m. Thursday.

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The initial report that came into the GBI said McCollum shot his wife twice, but it was later determined she was only shot once, agents said.

“I’m the chief of police. The gun is on the dresser.”

“You’re the chief of police in Peachtree City?” the disaptcher asks.

“Yeah, unfortunately,” McCollum responds.

Dispatcher instructs the chief to hold a cloth to his wife’s wounds and apply pressure.

He tells dispatcher he was asleep when it happened, no one else in the home.

Margaret McCollom was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center. GBI investigators said the chief is cooperating with them.

City Manager Jim Pennington placed McCollom on leave pending the completion of the investigation and an internal review.

A police spokesman said that is standard procedure with a case involving a high ranking official.

GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang said the shooting happened in the bedroom but she would not reveal any other details.

Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard said criminal charges are possible but they would wait for the GBI to complete their investigation.

“We have no leanings one way or the other at this point because we just don’t know. There are a lot of things we don’t know yet about what took place that we need to know before we can make any decisions,” Ballard told Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant.

Former Denver Resident Accused In Wife’s Death Will Be Extradited

CBS Denver

DENVER (CBS4) – A former Denver resident once accused in his wife’s New Year’s death more than 10 years ago will be extradited to Colorado to face murder charges, various media reported Friday.

Authorities charged Kurt Sonnenfeld in the 2002 death of his wife, Nancy, but later dropped the case because of a lack of evidence. He claimed she committed suicide.

Media reported Friday that an Argentine court allowed the extradition. Sonnenfeld has been living in Argentina and is remarried with twin daughters.

Nancy Sonnenfeld was found shot to death in the couple’s home near Colfax Avenue and Clayton Street in east Denver on Jan. 1, 2002.

The charges were refiled when Denver police uncovered new information.

Sonnenfeld, who worked as a videographer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, claimed the government framed him for his wife’s death because he had proof the U.S. government was complicit in the terrorist…

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