A Week of Deadly Violence by Intimate Partners
May 5, 2003
Domestic violence is one of the greatest dangers to a woman's life in the United States. Homicide is the tenth leading cause of death for women under 65. According to the Department of Justice, about 33% of female murders, but just 4% of male murders, are committed by an intimate partner (current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend). During the year 2000, intimate partners killed 1,247 women. It is important to note that these numbers reflect only the murders that have been solved. Some women's killers, like Chandra Levy's or Laci Peterson's, may never be convicted or even found.
Every day of the year, women of all ages, women from all backgrounds, are murdered by men they once trusted and loved. Below is a list of the deadly violence inflicted upon women by intimate partners during the course of just one week in April 2003. Some of the women survivedmost did not. This list is by no means completethe statistics suggest that at least 10 more intimate partner murders are yet to be discovered from that week.
- Monday, 4/21: Desa A. Mills, 32, was murdered by ex-boyfriend Randy S. Prater, 35, in her home in Bellevue, Mich. Prater stabbed and killed Mills and her current boyfriend, David G. Baker; he also killed jogger David E. Hewitt in a subsequent hit-and-run. Prater has been charged with three counts of murder and is being held without bond; he already served six and a half years for the 1987 attempted murder of a former girlfriend.
- Tuesday, 4/22: Georgianna Smith-Siegel, 81, was murdered by husband Ralph William Siegel, 86, in their Westchester, Calif., home. Siegel shot his wife and allegedly refused to give up his weapon when police arrived. The police shot Siegel, who is hospitalized in stable condition and charged with murder. Siegel's son said the couple's 17-year marriage had been "stormy" and that they fought over his father's drinking.
- Wednesday, 4/23: Paula Jones Richard, 38, was murdered by husband Preston Joseph Richard, 38, in their home in Harris County, Texas. Preston Richard shot his wife before pouring gasoline inside the house, setting it on fire and then shooting and killing himself. Their two children were at school at the time. The police had been called to the home the night before for a domestic dispute.
- Wednesday, 4/23: Diana Kunes Durrett, 40, was murdered in her Pasadena, Md., home. Her husband Jack Lee Durett, 43, allegedly shot and killed Diana and her parents, Mary Louise Kunes and Nathan Wilson Kunes, and then committed suicide later that day. The Duretts were in the middle of a "bitter" divorce and custody dispute.
- Thursday, 4/24: Lyric Benson, 21, was murdered by ex-fiancee Robert Ambrosino 33, in the doorway of her New York City apartment building. Ambrosino shot Benson in front of her mother and then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide. Acquaintances said Ambrosino had harassed Benson since she broke up with him seven weeks earlier.
- Thursday, 4/24: Antoinette Rascoe, 29, was murdered by husband James Edward Rascoe, 27, at her home in Williamston, N.C. James Rascoe shot and killed both his wife and her friend Gerald Knight, 25, and injured her 2-year-old son; he turned himself in to police the following day. The couple were separated and had a history of domestic violence. Antoinette had obtained a warrant against her husband the day before the shootings.
- Friday, 4/25: Elizabeth Meejong Lee, 20, was shot by ex-boyfriend Ki Seong Kim, 21, in a parking garage on the University of Maryland campus. Kim committed suicide at the scene. Lee's medical condition has improved from grave to good, but she may lose her eyesight. The couple had recently broken off a 3-year relationship.
- Saturday, 4/26: Lori Ann Spangler, 35, was murdered by husband Frank W. Shope II, 34, in the doorway of their Mill Hall, Pa., home. Shope shot and killed Spangler just eight hours after their wedding and then killed himself. The argument had begun at the reception and escalated after they returned home.
- Saturday, 4/26: Crystal Brame, 35, was shot by husband David Brame, 44, in the parking lot of a shopping center in Gig Harbor, Wash., in front of their two young children. David Brame, who was the Tacoma police chief, shot and killed himself at the scene. Crystal Brame died on May 3 in a Tacoma, Wash. hospital. The Brames were going through a divorce during which David Brame's abuse of his wife was revealed.
- Sunday, 4/27: Shawnti Richardson, 27, was shot by husband Steven Leroy Richardson, 31, at an apartment in Layton, Utah. Steven Richardson shot and killed Brian M. Washington, 20, who lived in the apartment, and then committed suicide. Shawnti Richardson remained in critical condition with multiple chest wounds. The Richardsons were in the early stages of divorce.
- Sunday, 4/27: Leslie Brock, 29, was attacked and shot by ex-boyfriend, Isaac Russell 40, during services at a North Little Rock, Ark., church. Brock was shot in the leg and her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. Police were searching for Russell on charges of first-degree domestic battery.
Research by Lisa Bennett, Communications Director, and Martinique Carte, Communications Intern.