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Friends of murdered Joplin woman push for tougher laws - KOAM TV 7

Friends of murdered Joplin woman push for tougher laws to protect victims of domestic violence

Updated January 18, 2013:  Friends of a murdered Joplin woman are now pushing for tougher laws to protect victims of domestic violence.

People across the nation are drumming up support for the changes to state law in Missouri by signing petitions.

The petition was written by a woman who says she is a victim of domestic violence.  She says this move to persuade state lawmakers to change the rules is personal, because she also speaking for a friend who no longer has a voice.

Police and victims of domestic abuse say these stories of crime are nothing unusual.

"But it needs to be," says Rebecca Moore."

Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland remembers 30 years ago visiting with a woman who was being stalked.

"Her brother made the statement 'well, are we going to wait until he kills her?' and that's exactly what happened," says Sheriff Copeland.

According to Safe Horizon, a domestic violence advocacy group, every year one in three women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.

Monica Webb, 36, became part of this statistic in November.

Detectives say she was murdered by her estranged husband.

Those who knew Monica now say her death could've been prevented by police, who should've better enforced a restraining order against her husband, Rondias.

"I think the system, as a whole, let her down," says Moore, who is spearheading a petition for stricter state laws.  "To provide more protection so that the order of protection is not just a piece of paper, it is a system of checks and balances and a process."

The proposal is being called "Monica's Law" and includes requiring people under a restraining order to check-in daily with police.  If the order is violated, the proposed law calls for an arrest warrant issued and served in a timely manner, instead of a mailed court summons.

"We can not lose anyone else in our community like this," says Moore.

But police say there's a hash, yet true reality.

"We can't give you an armed guard 24/7, and if someone is intended on locating you and harming you, that possibility is there," says Sheriff Copeland.

Nonetheless, supporters of Monica's Law say their proposal would still decrease that fatal possibility.

The petition is set to be delivered to state lawmakers in a couple of months.

In the meantime, supporters of the proposal are asking people to show their support for the measure by visiting the Facebook page On a Mission for Monica.

 

Posted November 21, 2012:  A woman's murder over this past weekend sparks both hurt and strength from victims of domestic violence.

Court records show Monica Webb of Joplin was fearful of her estranged husband, Rondias.  Monica put a restraining order against Rondias.

Now police say Rondias murdered Monica then attempted to take his own life.

Monica Webb seemed to do things right, which is why her murder brings heartache to others in similar situations.

We talked with victims of domestic abuse who say they are emotionally connected to this crime.  We are not releasing their identities.

One abuse victim says "it could've been anybody, you know.  She tried to get help that she needed, and it didn't help."

Restraining orders can be issued 24 hours a day by calling police.

"It's one step that they can take to add to their safety," says Linneh Hanshaw of Lafayette House.

Police say Rondias violated Monica's restraining order in November.  Then, on Saturday, a friend drove up to Monica's house.

Police say Monica stuck her head out her apartment door.  The friend says she saw Rondias who was waiting outside force himself inside.

The friend heard Monica say, "no Ron, please."

Monica was later found by police with three gunshot wounds to the head and later died.

Rondias was found with a single gunshot wound under his chin.

Police say it was a murder and attempted suicide.

Workers Lafayette House, an organization that helps abused men and women, say it's important for people to know getting a restraining order against someone is a critical first step.

But it doesn't end there.

"When they're leaving is a dangerous time and so it can escalate," says Hanshaw.

It's also important for friends to care for each other and pay attention to warning signs.

"Threatening looks, using the children against her, threatening to call the law, isolation, things like that, and the stuff that doesn't happen overnight," says Hanshaw.

The Lafayette House shelters abused men or women with or without children, before, during or after a restraining order.

Relocation services are also offered.

"If he comes back, I can always call," an abuse victim tells us.  "You'll be an outpatient.  Usually after you get out you'll be an outpatient."

More than anything, Lafayette House offers support and continued vigilance that brings safety.

Those on the road to recovery say Monica's death brings hurt but also serves as a reminder to stay strong.

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