On Tuesday, a jury denied a request to reduce the sentence of a man convicted of beating and killing his girlfriend back in 2002.
The man has reportedly been in prison for the past nine years. Two years ago, an appeals court overturned his 25-year prison sentence, and said a jury must decide whether the circumstances surrounding the killing make it appropriate to extend the usual six to eight year manslaughter sentence.
Defense for the man claimed that he beat and killed his girlfriend in an alcohol-induced blackout, but prosecutors said he didn't appear drunk upon arrest, and that he acted "deliberately and cruelly" when he beat and killed the woman.
According to sources, the offender and the victim met when she was a teenager. Her sister said she was drawn to the offender because of problems at home. She had been the oldest in the household and took care of everything. When the offender came along, he initially showered her with gifts, attention, and love, and she became pregnant within a few months of dating. The victim's sister has also been a victim of abuse, but has since gotten out of that relationship.
Sources say that in Franklin and Benton County, domestic violence death has become common. According to a new report released by the Washington Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 28 people were killed by domestic violence in Tri-Cities area within last 10 years. That amounts to roughly three people per year.
According to Domestic Violence Services departments of Benton and Franklin County, a person is more likely to be killed by a current or former partner than by gang violence, drug violence, or any random crime.
Nationally, domestic violence is a problem among women and constantly needs to be addressed. Sources say that one in four women will, at some point in their life, be involved in an abusive relationship. Among teenagers, that number is one in three, and among preteens, one in five reports having a friend who is a victim of dating violence.
Red flags for domestic violence include immediate involvement or infatuation, obsessive behaviors, jealousy, and major behavioral changes.
Source: www.keprtv.com, "Domestic Violence Kills More in Tri-Cities than Gangs," Lena Vargas, 29 Mar 2011.