Entries in Domestic Violence (14)


Body of Missing Houston Mother Found

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Police have found the body of a 31-year-old Houston mother after her ex-boyfriend gave a statement implicating himself in her death, according to police.

The body of Michelle Warner, 31, was found Sunday more than 500 miles away in Odessa, Texas, according to ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV. Mark Castellano gave police information Sunday that led to the discovery of Warner's body. Warner and Castellano have a 3-year-old son named Cayden.

Police said murder charges are pending and the investigation is ongoing, according to KTRK.

Warner was last seen the night of Sept. 22 at her apartment complex in Houston where she lived with Castellano and Cayden. She disappeared the same night Castellano took the boy more than eight hours away to be with relatives. After Warner went missing, Castellano told authorities that he and Cayden headed to Odessa after the argument and Warner stormed out of their apartment, which he rented, officials said.

Stefanie Helton, who has been Warner's best friend for more than 20 years, said the relationship between Warner, who had been working as a paralegal, and Castellano has "never been a good situation." Helton said the couple were "barely dating at the time" Warner became pregnant in 2008, and that Castellano had "psychotic spells."

"He had episodes, he tried suicide ...," she said. "He's done other crazy things. Nothing extra-violent; he'd push her up against the wall, that type of thing. He's threatened her."

Helton said that a family member of Warner's told her that Castellano said that they'd gotten into argument Sept. 22, and that he got mad and threw a pet cat against a wall. The family member told Helton that Castellano said Warner then became irate and hit him, before leaving the apartment.

Helton said bleach stains leading from the bedroom, through the living room and out front door were found in the apartment, although Officer Danny Do of the Houston Police Department said that could not be verified.

When police visited the apartment, Do said, they did notice that Warner's computer's central processing unit was missing.

Officer Do said Castellano told police that he had taken the CPU of the computer so he could get some information from it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Accused of Trying to Saw Off Sleeping Husband's Head

ABC News(EVERETT, Wash.) -- A Washington state woman accused of trying to saw off her sleeping husband's head is on trial this week on charges of attempted murder.

Renee Bishop-McKean was arrested in Everett, Wash., in October after her husband, Brett Bishop, awoke in the middle of the night to find her standing over him with a handheld electric sabre saw, according to court documents.

Brett Bishop went to sleep first that night, but awoke to the sound of an electric saw revving above him.

"Renee came at me in the kitchen with the Sawzall [saw] raised up, we had a struggle over it. She kept pulling the trigger to make it run, so I reached out and pulled the battery out of it," he said in court, according to ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV.

After the struggle, Bishop-McKean allegedly hit him with a mallet and a hatchet. He was later treated at a hospital for cuts and scrapes, including stitches.

The prosecution said Bishop-McKean, 44, plotted the attack for weeks, buying plastic sheets, bleach and garbage bags to clean up the scene, according to KOMO.

She is charged with first-degree attempted murder and first-degree domestic violence assault in connection with the attack. The trial is expected to wrap up Thursday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Creflo Dollar: Atlanta Megachurch Pastor Arrested for Battery

(ATLANTA, Ga.) -- Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar is expected to preach on Sunday, in spite of a physical fight with his daughter that led to his arrest, his attorney said.

Fayette County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at Dollar’s Atlanta home around 1 a.m. Friday after they received a domestic violence call from the pastor’s 15-year-old daughter, authorities said.

The fight over whether the daughter could attend a party turned physical, authorities said.

A witness told deputies Dollar, 50, grabbed his daughter by her throat and choked her, causing a scratch on her neck, ABC News’ Atlanta affiliate WSB reported.

Dollar faces misdemeanor charges of simple battery and cruelty to children. He posted a $5,000 bond and was released Friday morning.

Dollar and his wife, Taffi, have five children.

The pastor founded his ministry in 1986. It grew from a modest first service in front of eight people to having thousands of followers in satellite churches around the country.

Dollar is known for his flashy lifestyle and for preaching a gospel of prosperity to his congregants.

“Do you know why God wants you to prosper? He has a plan for your prosperity and it involves more than just having a big house and nice cars. God’s design for prosperity is so you can be a blessing to others,” it says on Dollar’s website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cupcake Attack: Wife Charged with Domestic Battery

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Dawn Montesdeoca, 50, of Chicago, used an unusually sweet weapon when she assaulted her husband, Arturo Montesdeoca, 56, with cupcakes during an argument that got progressively sticky and ended with a charge of domestic battery.

The fight began as a verbal disagreement around 7:30 p.m. Saturday but soon escalated to a physical altercation.

“The woman struck the husband about the head with her hands and then commenced to hit him with cupcakes,” the Chicago Police Department said in a statement.

When police arrived, they found Arturo Monesdeoca with icing smeared on his head and clothes. Police arrested his wife for misdemeanor domestic battery.

On Sunday morning, Cook County Circuit Judge Adam D. Bourgeois Jr. charged Montesdeoca and released her from jail on a $10,000 bond and ordered electronic monitoring.

Arturo Montesdeoca reportedly told police that his wife had been verbally aggressive, and that he feared for his safety when he called police, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Dawn Montesdeoca is scheduled to appear in Domestic Violence Court Nov. 1.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Topeka DA Will Prosecute Domestic Violence After All

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(TOPEKA, Kan.) -- Domestic violence crimes will be prosecuted in Topeka, Kan., after the district attorney reversed his earlier stance and said Wednesday he would again begin prosecutions.

District attorney Chad Taylor released a statement Wednesday saying that despite budget cuts to his department, his office would make do with less in order to continue prosecuting the crimes.

Shawnee County and the county seat, Topeka, had become mired in national controversy for a budget fight over which arm of government should pay for prosecuting the crimes.

Topeka, which has a municipal court that has traditionally handled all misdemeanors except for domestic violence, said it would not be able to absorb the costs of providing the support staff required for victims, criminals and families of domestic violence.

The city council voted Tuesday to de-criminalize domestic violence in order to put the burden on the county to fund the prosecutions.

The vote came after Taylor announced last month that he would stop prosecuting misdemeanor domestic violence incidents because of a 10 percent cut to his budget. By refusing to prosecute the crimes, Taylor hoped to force the city of Topeka to prosecute them instead. Tuesday's vote proved otherwise.

The DA's office has prosecuted the crimes for more than 10 years, according to Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten, and Topeka shouldn't be forced to absorb those costs.

The DA would need to continue prosecuting misdemeanor domestic violence offenses for the five towns in the county that do not have municipal courts, and so would need to employ the support staff either way. Additionally, Bunten noted, any convictions could be appealed to the county level, which would make the municipal court redundant.

Taylor, whose office will operate with $350,000 less in 2012 than it did in 2011, said he relented after learning of Topeka's decision.

"I am deeply saddened by the City of Topeka's unfortunate decision to place resources and political grandstanding before its constituents' safety," Taylor wrote in his statement Wednesday. "Public safety is the core responsibility of government and a responsibility I am deeply committed to upholding. Therefore, effective immediately my office will commence the review and filing of misdemeanors decriminalized by the City of Topeka."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bail Denied for Chicago Man Who Allegedly Held Ex-Girlfriend Captive

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago man accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend, beating and holding her captive for more than two months, has been ordered held without bail on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and domestic battery.

Sir Wilfred Camaligan, 22, was arrested Friday night in his apartment in Jefferson Park, Chicago, police said.

According to a local liquor store owner, he tried to disguise himself before the arrest.

“He said he wanted a hat and something to cover his face,” said Jose Lopez, of Fischman Liquors, according to The Chicago Sun Times.  “He said, ‘I don’t want people to recognize me.’”

A 20-year-old woman alleged that after holding her against her will since July 15, Camaligan let her leave the apartment for an errand Friday, police told ABC News.  Once she left the apartment, another woman let the victim borrow a cellphone to text her mother.  The cellphone owner then called the victim’s mother, who called 911, according to police.

Police took her to the hospital, where she was treated for various injuries.

The woman said Camaligan forced her to cut an “X” into her right breast, beat her with a crowbar and a wooden stick, and choked her until she was unconscious, police said.  She suffered a fractured scapula, bruises to her legs, arms, chest, back and face, and her hands were cut, according to the police report.

Police recovered a knife, crowbar, and stick from his home, according to the police report.

Camaligan appeared in court Sunday, where he was denied bail by Judge Adam Bourgeois.  Bourgeois said he usually reserves that measure for alleged murderers, but this case is “beyond the pale.”

“I don’t think there’s any condition or set of conditions I could set that would protect the community from you,” Bourgeois said.

Prosecutors say the young woman began seeing Camaligan after corresponding on Facebook and meeting at an anime convention in June.  A month later, she moved to Chicago from her home in Michigan and began living with Camaligan.

“After a few weeks, the defendant became possessive, and wouldn’t let the victim leave,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney William Hall said.  “He began beating the victim with a crowbar and a stick, strangled her and forced her to kneel on rice, while telling her that he was going to kill her.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teen Kills Uncle’s Attacker, Unaware It’s His Dad

Comstock/Thinkstock(EDGEWOOD, Wash.) -- A teenage boy unwittingly stabbed his own father to death while trying to protect his uncle outside his home, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said.

The fight started when a 47-year-old man showed up at an Edgewood, Washington residence and, according to police, began beating his 46-year-old brother with a crowbar in the driveway.

When two teenager brothers in the home looked outside and saw their uncle being attacked, they ran to help him, ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle reports. The 17-year-old boy stabbed the attacker several times, not knowing it was his own father, who was estranged from the family, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Mike Blair told KOMO-TV.

Both men were rushed to area hospitals with serious injuries and, according to KOMO-TV, the boy’s father died hours later from his stab wounds.

The teen was not taken into custody.

“He was standing up for the safety of his uncle -- it just so happened that it ended up being his father who was killed,” Blair said, adding, “certainly we would allow a member of our community to protect somebody who’s being feloniously assaulted, and that’s kind of where we’re at right now.

“Based on the circumstances…we were comfortable that this person is not a danger to the rest of society,” he said.

Blair said it will ultimately be up to the prosecutor to decide whether to file charges against the teen, KOMO reports, but said the facts, so far, show the teen was just trying to defend his uncle.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


High Heels to Die for -- Literally

Richmond County Sheriff(AUGUSTA, Ga.) -- A high-heeled shoe is being described as a murder weapon after Georgia police said a woman hit her male roommate in the head with her shoe, striking a fatal blow.

Thelma Carter, 46, has been charged with murder and is currently sitting in an Augusta, Ga., jail. She is accused of killing 58-year-old Robert Higdon, a friend who shared a trailer with her.

Carter told police that the two had been involved in an altercation on Sunday regarding a puppy they shared together, police said.

"She said she got upset with him. He put his hands on her and she took her shoes off and hit him in the head," Lt. Calvin Chew of the Richmond County Police Department told ABC News, adding that alcohol was involved.

It wasn't until Monday that Carter notified police that Higdon was dead. She told police she left the trailer that night after the fight and got a hotel with her boyfriend. When she didn't hear from Higdon, she got worried, returned home, and found him lying in the same spot he had fallen the day before.

Chew said it's too early to tell how many times Higdon was hit in the head due to the blood at the crime scene, but an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to determine the cause of death.

"The shoe was more of a wide heel, so not the real thin and narrow type. I guess it was just the blunt force of it," said Chew. "If it was just one strike, that's a little unusual."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Investigating 'Suicide' of First Wife in Tonya Lynn Murder Case

Courtesy Winder Police Department(WINDER, Ga.) -- Police are now looking into the suicide death of the first wife of James Lynn, Jr., the Georgia father of four who was charged with the murder of his wife Tonya Faye Lynn. Police found the 38-year-old's body in a well in Western Barrow County, several miles from the home she shared with Mr. Lynn in Winder, Ga. He is currently being held at Barrow County jail.

Medical examiners recently determined Tonya Lynn died of blunt force trauma to the head.

As the investigation into Mrs. Lynn's homicide continues, police are now examining the death of James Lynn Jr.'s first wife, who reportedly committed suicide in 1990. Jim Fullington, special agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, told ABC News, "Questions have been raised by some of the family members...advising that he had a previous wife that died. We are aware that he had a previous wife...that died as a result of a gunshot wound at her residence." Police are currently doing a preliminary review of the facts surrounding that case to determine if it should be reopened.

According to marriage records obtained by ABC News, James Lynn has been married three times -- he married his first wife, Julie Johnson, in 1989 and then married Tamra Shaw in 1991, the year after his first wife apparently committed suicide.

James Lynn married his third wife, Tonya, four years after Shaw in 1995. Shaw, whose last name is now Hadden, is still alive.

He told police last week that when he woke up Wednesday morning he assumed his wife had already left for work at Athens Regional Medical Center. The health center's spokesman Mike Pilcher declined to comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dr. Phil Pleads for Stronger Violence Against Women Act

Theo Wargo/WireImage for Turner(WASHINGTON) -- Television personality and psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw delivered powerful testimony to Congress Wednesday, imploring lawmakers to reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act, which enhances law enforcement’s ability to prosecute domestic violence crimes and creates community support systems for victims.

Two million women are victims of domestic violence every year, meaning within the first hour of the committee hearing 228 women were being “beaten, terrorized and intimidated,” McGraw said.

“These numbers are alarming, but the reality, senators, is worse,” McGraw said at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday. “This is one of the most under-reported crimes in American life, and sadly, the victims are getting younger and younger.”  

According to McGraw’s testimony, domestic violence is the most common cause of injury to women ages 15 to 44. A third of teenage girls who are killed in the U.S. are murdered by a boyfriend or former boyfriend.

Dr. Phil showed the committee jumbo before-and-after photos of beautiful, healthy-looking women who were then beaten and abused by their husbands or boyfriends. One woman’s face was completely scarred after being lit on fire with gasoline.  Another lost her left eye after being beaten and will likely go blind in the other eye, McGraw said.

“Above all we need to cut through the red tape when a woman is in crisis, because red tape in the system means red blood will be spilled in the home,” he said.

The act is especially important now because during an economic downturn, when people are more stressed because of finances, domestic violence spikes, Dr. Phil said. Since the recession began, he said the number of people reaching out for help has shot up 400 percent in some areas.

Dr. Phil says while thousands of women are being helped by federal, state and local programs each day, a recent report said some 9,500 women each day could not get the help they needed.  They were told “there’s no room at the inn,” he says.

“I worry about those 9,500 women because I know the danger they face.  Nearly 70 percent of injuries and murders in domestic violence cases happen to women after they leave abusive relationships, a phenomenon known as ‘separation assault,’” McGraw said.

The original act, which was signed in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, was sponsored by then-Senator Joe Biden, who remains a vocal supporter of the legislation as vice president.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio