R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Man kills wife, commits suicide at Texas birthday party

The recent shooting death of a 44-year-old woman by her estranged husband who then shot himself in the head at their daughter's birthday party happened a week after the mayor of Dallas asked police to focus their efforts on any criminal case involving allegations of domestic violence. In Dallas, homicide cases linked to domestic violence doubled in 2012 as shelters for battered women report an increase in the level of violent crime related to domestic abuse.

Police and neighbors were at a loss to explain the homicide and suicide that happened in a quiet neighborhood in Grapevine, Texas. A witness who spoke to the 43-year-old husband shortly before the shooting said he neither saw nor heard anything in their conversation that gave any warning of what was to come. Neither of the couple's two children attending the party was injured in the shooting.

Family disputes may become heated and escalate to assault charges or other violent crime. Criminal charges stemming from a domestic violence incident may only be based upon allegations by the victim, but law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts treat such cases with high priority. For example, the Dallas police created a task force to execute arrest warrants with priority given to domestic violence cases.

A conviction on misdemeanor or felony charges can have serious consequences that include incarceration and probation. The conviction leaves the person with a criminal record that can affect his or her ability to get a job, obtain housing or travel. A person facing a criminal charge should obtain representation from a criminal defense attorney. The loss of a person's freedom and liberty from a criminal conviction is too great a sacrifice to make without having someone to challenge the evidence and match the training and skills of the prosecutor.

Source: KHOU 11, "Parents dead after gunfire at daughter's birthday party," Jonathan Betz, Jan. 20, 2013

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