There’s more to fear than blood and gore. Just wait and see what’s in store.
October marks the onset of what some might consider spooky season. Many spend the month watching horror films, sharing ghost stories, and visiting haunted houses — to a lesser degree this year because of the coronavirus pandemic — all in celebration of Halloween during the month’s end. Outside of this celebration, October is also deemed National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, meant to inform people about domestic violence, honor those affected by it, and help individuals stop domestic violence from occurring.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) defines domestic violence as the following:
“Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.”
Domestic violence can happen to any individual, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, etc. Those harmed by it include more than just victims, as family, friends, children, and communities are oftentimes negatively impacted. In fact, domestic violence is estimated to affect around 10 million people in the US annually.
While excitement about Halloween largely dominates October, with frightening visuals and spooky displays afoot, one should look to domestic violence as a true horror that has shown no signs of stopping. Below are 31 stories involving domestic violence for each day of the month, all occurring this year:
1.) Kevin D. Owens III
Kevin D. Owens III, age 26, was reportedly shot by his girlfriend Brandy Lee following an argument on Monday, June 22, 2020. The argument took place at a hotel in Runnemede, New Jersey. A wounded Owens was found by police and later died at an area hospital.
According to a statement by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office of New Jersey, surveillance video showed that during the time Owens was shot “Lee was the only person to enter and exit the hotel room.” Lee would later be charged with murder and hindering apprehension.
2.) Maribel Rosado-Morales
Maribel Rosado-Morales, age 32, was allegedly shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend Donald Williams on Tuesday, August 11, 2020. The incident occurred at Rosado-Morales’ home in Indiantown, Florida on the first day of school, while one of her daughters was attending a Zoom class.
Her daughter’s teacher and other students heard the commotion prior to the shooting. The teacher reportedly muted the Zoom call after hearing profanity and realizing there was a domestic altercation. One of the bullets allegedly fired by Williams struck Rosado-Morales’ daughter’s computer, causing it to go blank. Rosado-Morales’ death occurred while there were reportedly six children at the home — her four children and two of their cousins.
3.) Caira Christopher and Leah Christopher
Caira and Leah Christopher, twin girls age 15, were shot and killed at their home in Lemon Grove, California on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. The gunman is reportedly their mother’s ex-boyfriend Dwayne Edward Groves Jr. Caira and Leah’s mother stated that she ended a relationship with Groves less than two weeks prior to the incident. Groves was arrested after he was found hiding in the backyard a neighboring home. He allegedly barged into Caira and Leah’s home, shooting both them and their older brother. The sisters were sophomore students known for playing on their high school’s basketball team.
4.) Crystal Williams and Danyel Sims
Both Crystal Williams, age 22, and her mother Danyel Sims, age 46, were killed in Dunwoody, Georgia on the night of Sunday, September 6, 2020, by Williams’ ex-boyfriend Justin Deion Turner. Dunwoody police said Williams, her mother, her brother Malachi, and another individual were leaving an apartment complex that evening when Turner blocked their vehicle and fired multiple shots at the group. Both Williams and her mother later died from their gunshot wounds while Malachi was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. It is suspected that Turner targeted Williams because of their breakup.
5.) Tameka Skinner
The body of 39-year-old Georgia woman Tameka Skinner was found on a roadside in Russell County, Alabama around 11:30 a.m. on Monday, July 27, 2020. She was reportedly shot to death after being kidnapped earlier that Monday morning from her apartment complex in Columbus, Georgia.
Demetria Johnson, the ex-girlfriend of Skinner’s boyfriend Martea Pettway, allegedly orchestrated Skinner’s murder, recruiting three other men to help her. Johnson and Pettway also have children together. Reportedly, both Skinner and Pettway were assaulted that Monday around 1:00 a.m. in Georgia. Pettway suffered injuries but was left at the apartment complex, while Skinner was abducted and had her vehicle stolen. Johnson’s alleged motive behind the murder was that she did not want Skinner dating her ex-boyfriend. The victim leaves behind two teenage daughters.
6.) Ladawndra Ellington
Body parts belonging to Ladawndra Ellington, age 31, were found inside suitcases in Markham, Illinois on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. They were discovered by the family members of her boyfriend Melvin Martin Jr., who Martin visited after killing her. This discovery reportedly occurred nearly a month following Ellington’s death.
Martin’s family called police after their finding and Martin was subsequently arrested. He later admitted to killing Ellington, dismembering her body and leaving her torso in Clifton Heights park in Louisville, Kentucky, where both Martin and Ellington resided. The remainder of Ellington’s body travelled with Martin in a suitcase and tote bag via Greyhound bus, which he took to Chicago when visiting his parents in Markham, a suburb of the city. This killing is believed to have been the result of a domestic dispute that turned violent. Prior to Ellington’s murder, Martin had a lengthy criminal record, including robbery charges and domestic violence.
7.) Cheryl Schriefer
On April 2, 2020, both Cheryl Schriefer, age 59, and her partner of eight years, Patrick Jesernik, were found dead at their home in Lockport Township, Illinois, about 30 miles southwest of Chicago. Schriefer and Jesernik’s bodies were in separate rooms, both having signs of trauma to their heads. A revolver holding three live rounds and two spent shell casings was found near Jesernik’s body.
No signs of a struggle were observed, and the home where the killings happened was neat and orderly. Family members later told authorities that Jesernik feared both he and Schriefer contracted COVID-19 and that Schriefer was tested two days before the incident. Prior to this, she had been having difficulty breathing. Autopsies determined that both individuals died via gunshot wounds to the head. Schriefer’s death was ruled a homicide while Jesernik’s was considered a suicide. Both tested negative for the virus.
8.) Serenity Arrington
On the morning of Saturday, September 26, 2020, police responded to a call about a person stabbed in East Garfield Park, located on the West Side of Chicago. The victim, 5-year-old Serenity Arrington, was later taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. The perpetrator of this murder was Arrington’s mother, Simone Austin.
Reportedly, Austin, using a serrated knife, cut her daughter’s throat in front of her 8-year-old sister. Austin allegedly asked Arrington’s sister to leave her and Arrington alone prior to committing this act. When Arrington’s sister saw her mother pull out a knife and cut Arrington’s neck, she tried to pull Austin away by her hair. Chicago Police Supt. David Brown reportedly said that the home had previous incidents of domestic violence, where Austin was the victim. Moreover, Arrington’s sister later told investigators that she saw her mother walking around with a knife following an incident where she and Arrington spilled some eggs on their porch.
9.) Jorge Torres Jr.
Jorge Torres Jr., age 42, reportedly died on February 24, 2020 after being zipped into a suitcase by his girlfriend Sarah Boone. According to Boone’s account, the two were playing a game of hide-and-seek and she zipped Torres into a suitcase to be funny.
She later called police, saying Torres’ death was an accident. However, footage recovered from Boone’s iPhone showed her taunting Torres while he was trapped as he is heard saying, “I can’t fucking breathe, seriously.” The footage also shows Boone accusing Torres of choking her and cheating on her.
10.) Deranisha Williams
On October 2, 2020, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies reportedly found two dead bodies on a property in Albany, Louisiana. One of the bodies belonged to 21-year-old Deranisha Williams of Hammond, who had been missing since September 5, 2020. Williams disappeared after going to a gas station with her boyfriend Randolph Skinner Sr. Police initially searched for Skinner, wanted for obstruction of justice, after the disappearance.
On October 2nd, prior to locating Williams and the other dead body, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office received a call from a troubled male, who confessed to a crime and claimed to have murdered an acquaintance. The man also gave details about the possible crime scene, which was at his home. When police arrived, they found the body of Skinner, who died by suicide. Williams was also found there. She apparently broke up with Skinner. It was furthermore reported that the two had a “bumpy” relationship.
11.) Brandy Evett Olivares and Sicilian Italease Ire Williams
During the morning of October 20, 2020 James Olivares wrote “I’m sorry” on Facebook shortly before killing his wife Brandy Evett Olivares, age 45, stepdaughter Sicilian Italease Ire Williams, age 18, and two dogs in Irving, Texas. Reportedly, one of the female victims reached out for help that same morning, calling 911 and appearing to pretend she was speaking with her brother. Investigators alleged the call was less than a minute, and coded messages were being sent to the dispatcher. When officers arrived, James was still alive but killed himself after demanding a negotiator. All victims and James died from gunshot wounds. Reportedly, James was an Army veteran, but was not known to struggle with PTSD or depression.
12.) Heather Laca
Richard Murphy and Heather Laca, age 31, were found dead in their Baldwinsville apartment on October 6, 2020. Earlier that day, a neighbor called 911 stating that both dead bodies could be seen through a window. After a two-week-long investigation, it was determined that Laca and Murphy died in a murder-suicide, with Murphy being Laca’s killer. Moreover, Sgt. Jon Seeber of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office called the incident a “domestic violence-related homicide.”
13.) Sabrina Dumdei and Zachary Winton
The bodies of Sabrina Dumdei, age 37, and Zachary Winton, age 34, were found on Saturday, October 17, 2020, inside their Bradenton Beach, Florida home. Detective Sgt. Lenard Diaz of the Bradenton Beach police stated that the scene appeared to be a murder-suicide. However, the killer has yet to be identified and how the couple died was not determined.
The couple’s neighbors said they did not hear what led to the couple’s deaths but stated Dumdei and Winton were often heard arguing. Moreover, court records show both Dumdei and Winton were arrested for domestic violence incidents over the span their seven-month relationship. Just five days before the couple was found dead, police had been called to their home. During that time, Dumdei said Winton took her keys and she felt threatened. Regarding the crime scene, bloody handprints were found on a sliding-glass patio door and a violent spray of blood could be seen on a deck chair on the balcony of the home.
14.) Adrian White
Adrian White, age 43, and her fiancé Quentin Dewayne Crenshaw were both found shot to death at their home in Jefferson County, Alabama on October 23, 2020. Police determined this to be a murder-suicide, with Crenshaw being the perpetrator. White was killed less than a week before she turned 44. On the outside, White and Crenshaw seemed to have no history of trouble. Moreover, their wedding date was scheduled for next June. Prior to their deaths, there had been no police reports of domestic violence.
15.) Kyra Haley
On September 3, 2020, Kyra Haley, age 24, was given a temporary protection order against her husband Dallas Haley. However, she asked for it to be dismissed on September 11th, five days before a scheduled hearing. In the petition for the order, Haley stated that she was afraid of Dallas after he allegedly punched a closet door on September 3rd and left shattered shards of glass. She also said that her husband planned to do the same to her.
Additionally, in the filing Haley wrote, it appeared she planned to divorce Dallas. During the early hours of October 20, 2020, police were called to Haley’s home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There, she was found unresponsive and shot in her left shoulder. After being taken to Harrisburg Hospital, Haley was pronounced dead. Dallas later confessed to killing his wife. In the past, he had been convicted of assault twice for abusing Haley.
16.) London Martin
On October 24, 2020 around 3:40 a.m., Las Vegas Metropolitan Police responded to a domestic disturbance call. Upon arrival at the scene, officers found a mother performing CPR on her 2-month-old infant named London Martin. Martin was transported to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead due to blunt force head trauma.
Reportedly, the infant’s father, Clarence Martin Jr., threw her off a second-floor apartment balcony. Investigators believe Clarence and Martin’s mother, his fiancé, were arguing and he threw Martin after becoming angry. While Martin’s mother performed CPR, Clarence reportedly set their apartment on fire, killing the family dog. According to his fiancé, Clarence had mental health issues in the past but had not shown any signs for concern until three days prior when he stopped eating and sleeping.
17.) Savannah Paschal
On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, Savannah Paschal, age 30, was killed by her husband Trent Paschal at their home in La Marque, Texas. Reportedly, Trent shot Savannah as she was entering their home and then fled the scene. Officers later arrived and found Savannah unresponsive in a bedroom, with two gunshot wounds to the abdomen. She later died at a hospital due to her injuries. While on the run from law enforcement, Trent recorded a four minute and 22 second video, which later surfaced on YouTube, directly addressing his daughter to say that he loves her. Another portion of the video appeared to refer to Savannah, in which Trent states she played him for a fool.
18.) Selena Ann Bradley
Selena Ann Bradley, age 23, went missing on October 16, 2020. At the time, she was pregnant with her third child. On October 19, Bradley’s body was found stuffed in a kitchen freezer at the home of William James Martinez, her boyfriend, in San Angelo, Texas. She was reportedly found with marks on the left side of her face and on her neck, which is consistent with being struck and assaulted. Court records indicated that Martinez confessed to his friend that he murdered Bradley. Moreover, Martinez reportedly told his 4-year-old daughter from a previous relationship about the crime. The day after Bradley went missing, posts from her Facebook account indicated that she was fine and needed space. However, her mother claimed Martinez was posing as her.
19.) Vanessa Pierre
On October 23, 2020, 29-year-old Vanessa Pierre was found dead on a sidewalk off Horace Harding Expressway in Queens, New York. At the time of her death, Pierre was six months pregnant. Investigators have yet to determine when she died but concluded that her cause of death was strangulation. A surveillance video showed Pierre’s body being pulled from the passenger side of a car and dumped on the ground near Harding Expressway by a man. Goey Charles, the father of her child, was identified the killer. Friends of Pierre felt Charles controlled every part of her life. One friend even said Charles slept in his car and wanted Pierre to sleep in the car with him while pregnant.
20.) Cincere Hathaway
Cincere Hathaway, age two, died on October 9, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee after being assaulted by his stepfather Rozelle Westmoreland. Once arrested, Westmoreland told police that Hathaway’s whining angered him, and this resulted in Westmoreland striking the child and pushing him into the side of a bathtub. He then dressed up Hathaway, put him into bed, and left without seeking medical attention. Hathaway suffered skull fractures, bleeding in the brain, and nine rib fractures. His mother contacted 91 after finding him alone and unconscious. However, Hathaway died soon after first responders arrived.
21.) Logan Jackson and Austin Jackson
The bodies of Logan Jackson, age 14, and his brother Austin Jackson, age 11, were found on Saturday, October 24, 2020 at their home in Leavenworth, Kansas. The murderer was their father Donny Jackson Jr. Adding to this crime, Jackson also kidnapped his daughters, Nora Jackson, age seven, and Aven Jackson, age three. He was later found near Erick, Oklahoma by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Both Nora and Aven were unharmed. Records indicate that Jackson filed for divorce in August 2019. The next scheduled court hearing was set to happen on November 12, 2020.
22.) Kayden Sendelbach
Kayden Sendelbach, age 10, died from his injuries on October 10, 2020 after being stabbed by his father William L. Sendelbach two days prior. William allegedly stabbed his son during an argument with Kayden’s mother while Kayden was sleeping. Officers arrived at the family’s home in Wabash, Indiana after receiving reports of a “family disturbance.” After arriving, William allegedly began firing at officers with a shotgun, which resulted in a firefight. William was eventually shot and taken to a hospital, where he later died some weeks later.
23.) Devon Joseph
On Monday, October 12, 2020, Philadelphia police were called to a West Philadelphia apartment on Pine Street’s 4800 block. When they arrived, they found Devon Joseph, age five, in a tub of water, unresponsive, with seemed to be a cut to his neck. His mother, Jennifer Joseph, was found in a bedroom nearby, bleeding from self-inflected cuts to her wrist. Reportedly, Devon’s father found both him and Jennifer at the apartment. Devon later died after being taken to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Jennifer was eventually charged with murder.
24.) Danielle Long
On October 3, 2020, Charlie Haeger committed suicide via gunshot on a trail along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Haeger was on the run from police after allegedly shooting and killing Danielle Long, age 34, who was his ex-girlfriend. The shooting occurred on October 2, 2020. Reportedly, Long broke up with Haeger months before the attack and wanted to get a restraining order. Haeger allegedly shot and killed his ex-girlfriend in her Scottsdale apartment. Long’s roommate stated that Haeger exited her room after the murder and threatened to shoot him. However, Long’s roommate managed to escape and call 911.
25.) Shiand Miller and Shaniya Gilmore
The bodies of both Shiand Miller, age 23, and her daughter Shaniya Gilmore, age three, were found along a Baltimore street in a parked car on Friday, June 19, 2020. Miller was eight months pregnant at the time of her death. Both she and her daughter had been shot. Devon Sample, the father of her unborn child, was arrested in connection with the deaths. Reportedly, Miller and Sample had been arguing prior to her and Gilmore’s murders.
26.) Marlen Xioma Maldonado-Caceres
On May 1, 2020 Marlen Xioma Maldonado-Caceres, age 30, was found by police shot in her Milford Mill apartment. She would later die at an area hospital. It was determined that her ex-boyfriend was the perpetrator. Maldonado-Caceres’ ex also attempted to commit suicide but was not successful.
27.) Darlene Solis
Darlene Solis, age 33, was found dead in her north Houston apartment on April 30, 2020. Her ex-boyfriend, Corey Lewis Campbell, was arrested for the murder in Forsyth County, North Carolina.
28.) Jennifer Brelsford
Jennifer Brelsford, age 40, was found dead in her Bridgeport apartment on October 18, 2020 during a welfare check at her home. She was found in a pool of blood, lying face-up with a purse strap wrapped around her neck. It was later revealed that Brelsford had been stabbed multiple times and strangled by her boyfriend Corey Ramos. Ramos was later captured when he was discovered trying to cross US-Canadian border. In mid-October, Brelsford was granted two protective orders against Ramos in both Bridgeport and West Haven, ordering Ramos not to come near her. The two had a troubled relationship. Neighbors claimed to have often heard Brelsford and Ramos fighting. Additionally, Ramos has had a history of violence against women that dates to 2011.
29.) April Lee Logan
On August 22, 2020 April Lee Logan, age 22, was killed in her Newport News apartment by her boyfriend Matthew Allen Coglio. Police found Logan shot in the head. Coglio stated that he and his girlfriend were watching videos on firearm safety and she was accidentally shot. Multiple neighbors claimed they heard the couple arguing and “an angry man’s voice.” Court records show that Logan accused Coglio of assaulting her during July 2018. Due to this, she was given a two-year protective order against her boyfriend. The order expired just six days before Logan was killed. Despite the protective order, court records showed that Logan and Coglio had been cohabitating for at least six months.
30.) Rachel DeClementi
Rachel DeClementi, age 30, was found dead in her Brigantine home on Saturday, August 22, 2020. She reportedly had multiple traumatic injuries to her face and head. Investigators found a blood-stained room in the rear of her home and a hammer underneath a bloody rag in the kitchen. Robert DeClementi, Rachel’s husband, was charged with Rachel’s murder. Robert reportedly told police that earlier his wife confessed to cheating on him.
31.) Shanta Renee Singleton, Essence Stroman, and Tre’vay Stroman
Shanta Renee Singleton, age 37, and two of her daughters, 15-year-old Essence Stroman and 12-year-old Tre’vay Stroman were all killed by her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Derell Jordan in St. Matthews, South Carolina on May 17, 2020. Singleton and Jordan had reportedly dated off and on for several years. On the day of the murders, the two were reportedly arguing outside of Singleton’s residence in front of Singleton’s four daughters. Singleton told Jordan that she wanted to break up with him and that she was seeing another man. An argument broke out and Jordan began choking his ex. Afterwards, he shot Singleton and her two daughters, who tried to intervene. Singleton’s other two daughters escaped. Jordan later committed suicide.
Arguably, the first step in addressing domestic violence is to become aware of its existence. Several lives have been claimed and changed due to its prevalence. One must develop solutions based on the many stories in which individuals where harmed by intimate partners and family members. From there, change can begin to occur. October is meant to inform society of horrors associated with domestic violence. While the month is ripe with Halloween celebrations, shared stories about domestic violence can possibly help heal the nation.