But notice that the authorities have a Plan. More anger management for abusers! Which of course, has been PROVEN to be ineffective....
West Allis murder-suicide hastens city's effort to combat family violence
Calls from West Allis police to domestic violence hotline so far in 2010, second-most in Milwaukee County.
Calls from city of Milwaukee police, tops in the county.
Calls from Cudahy police, third in the county.
Source: Sojourner Family Peace Center
West Allis — The murder-suicide that caused the deaths of a young couple here last week came just as the city was preparing to step up its attack on domestic violence.
Matthew Krejci, 27, was under a judge's orders - issued when he was convicted of violating a restraining order his wife had sought - not to have contact with her, or with firearms. And his wife, Grace, 23, had been a client of Sojourner Family Peace Center, which advocates for domestic violence victims.
That didn't prevent Krejci from killing his estranged wife before turning the gun on himself.
According to the medical examiner's report, Grace Krejci's father found the couple's bodies in an upstairs bathroom of the house where she lived with a sister and brother-in-law. The couple's 3-year-old daughter was found cowering in a nearby bedroom, the report says. The father had come to check on them after their 5-year-old son's school called because the boy hadn't been picked up.
Grace's father, Jerry Winiarski of New Berlin, said he was fearful for his granddaughter when he found the bodies of her parents.
"I was so panic stricken," Winiarski said. "I was hoping it wouldn't be a third body. I was so grateful to God that I heard her voice and she came to Grandpa."
West Allis Mayor Dan Devine says that although the city was already planning to upgrade domestic violence prevention before the Krejci murder-suicide, "It kind of reinforces the need for it."
Grace Krejci's death was the year's first homicide in West Allis, city officials say, but domestic homicides have been trending up in Milwaukee County and statewide in the past two years. This fall, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported that 67 people died in 2009 in domestic violence related homicides - far more than any other year since the group started tracking them in 2000.
Tony Gibart, a spokesman for the coalition, said the group doesn't keep a running count of such deaths statewide during the year. But in Milwaukee County, he said, where they're easier to track, there have been 17 or more such deaths this year, already eclipsing last year's total of 12.
West Allis Police Chief Michael Jungbluth and Devine say their city of 60,000 experiences much more domestic violence that doesn't result in deaths.
And the police chief says that even if a new program to reach out to first-time offenders was in place, it may not have done anything to prevent the Krejci tragedy.
But they see domestic violence as a growing problem in their community.
Jungbluth cites statistics compiled by Sojourner Family Peace Center of calls to the group's domestic violence hotline by police that show the city second only to Milwaukee in the county for such calls. And its numbers are far ahead of those from other suburbs.
Through October, the city logged 505 calls to the hotline, up 9% from last year at this time. Milwaukee had 5,344 calls in the same period - down a bit from 2009 - and the community in third place was Cudahy, with just 81 calls, also down from last year.
In an interview in October, and again in the aftermath of the killings last week, Jungbluth and Devine said they wanted to set up a program that would catch domestic violence offenders early on and help turn them around. The program would target people picked up for disorderly conduct in domestic violence cases and require them to participate in a meetings that would assess their problems and then assign them to such things as anger management.
Jungbluth and Devine also plan to appoint an advisory committee of experts on domestic violence - including representatives of the district attorney's office, a member of the clergy, and possibly even a domestic violence victim.
These new initiatives would join other efforts already in place. West Allis has long had a protocol in place requiring its officers who make domestic violence arrests to offer the victims a cell phone connection to the Sojourner hotline.
And it also has had an on-staff victim advocate, Holli Stephens, since 2002 - first paid by grant money and in recent years, as part of the department's budget.
Carmen Pitre, co-executive director of the Sojourner center, said her organization had a long partnership with West Allis.
"They have always taken this issue seriously" she said.
The new program is "an opportunity for the Police Department to take the issue to more of a community level," Jungbluth said. "It shouldn't all just be on the shoulders of the Police Department."
Court documents and an interview with Matthew Krejci's lawyer, Jim Martz, showed that the troubles that led to the deaths started more than a year ago.
Grace Krejci filed for divorce July 10, 2009, and as Martz put it: "He did not want this divorce."
Martz also said, "Matt had a significant history of anxiety and depression."
In the 16 months since the divorce papers were filed, Matthew Krejci was issued a harassment restraining order, and then was convicted of violating the order by repeatedly calling and texting his wife - for which he was given 15 months of probation and ordered to have no contact with his wife. The orders, issued in May, were still in effect last week, a Department of Corrections spokesman said.
Martz said Krejci attempted suicide at least once, adding that his parents sought to have him treated for his emotional problems.
In the most serious attempt, he drank antifreeze to wash down an overdose of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax while he was caring for his 3-year-old daughter - and was charged with child-neglect, according to a Waukesha County criminal complaint.
Martz said the couple's divorce was going to become final Dec. 2.
On Monday, Grace Krejci's mother, Christine Winiarski, read a statement from the family over the phone:
"We are just beginning to experience the reality of our pain and sorrow, but at the same time we hold onto the joy of knowing that she is now safe with our Savior. . . .
"Praise God the babies are safe."
And though Matthew Krejci's family did not want to be interviewed, his sister Anne Krejci said: "We're grieving for both of them."