Experts weigh in on domestic violence concerns after Lexington woman’s murder
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Lexington man accused of shooting and killing his wife last week made his first appearance in court Monday.
Police say 59-year-old Stephon Henderson called 911 to report he had shot his wife.
He pleaded not guilty in the murder of 47-year-old Talina Henderson.
Court documents show she tried to get a protective order against him. And he pleaded guilty in 1998 to aggravated assault and spouse abuse.
Records also show the two had filed for divorce the day after Talina filed for a petition for an EPO. She was killed just days later.
“It’s mumbled. It’s frightening and uncertain. I just want survivors to know you’re not alone in this process. And to not give up on your right to not be harmed,” said Darlene Thomas.
As the Executive Director of Greenhouse 17, Darlene Thomas’ mission is to help survivors of domestic abuse understand all of their options. According to the emergency protective order petition Henderson filed, she said she called the police and they recommended she file for the EPO.
But Thomas said these are complicated processes to navigate alone.
“When I help survivors safety plan or think about safety is to try and be very clear in your protective order about what you are most afraid of. It could be I’m afraid they will kill me. They have made threats against my life or safety. They have strangled me. They have used forms of emotional and verbal abuse to let me know that I am not safe,” Thomas said.
According to the petition, Talina said Henderson was believed to be armed and dangerous. Writing ‘he was threatening me, he was so close to me that I was afraid of being hit or hurt.’ The judge then issued a summons citing ‘no imminent threat’ based on the information provided solely in this petition.
Meaning both parties would appear for a hearing, before a judge would potentially issue a three-year domestic violence protection order instead.
Tamera Glover now left with the fact that her mom would never make it to that hearing.
“When women are in a situation they’re scared to speak out with the fear of not being heard or no one believing them. Someone will hear you. Somebody is going to listen,” said Glover.
Thomas creating this safe space to try and be that somebody for anyone who needs it.
“Try to wrap survivors in safety plans, so they aren’t alone. Help them understand all of those choices and options available to them so they can make the best decision. It’s hard to even know what to do when you’re in the middle of crisis. Or what to say,” Thomas said.
Because as Thomas and Fayette Family Court Judge Carl Devine know, they’re are too many Talina’s out there needing help now.
“I fielded 120 petitions just in one week,” said Judge Devine.
Judge Devine wasn’t over Henderson’s case, but says in August, they were already on track to issue 250 more protective orders in 2022 than the previous year. And the number of homicides due to domestic violence follow that same gruesome trend.
“Now we’re at 14 or 15 this year. That is more than the last four or five years combined. We are at that number and then some at this point,” Judge Devine said.
Henderson’s story isn’t a new one, but Thomas’ hope is that it isn’t one told over and over again.
You can confidentially seek help from Greenhouse 17. If you’d like more information, you can click on the link here.
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