WFAA-TV reported on January 12, 2020, that Denton police said a 30-year-old woman who was a mother of four children was shot and killed in the home she had just moved into in Denton. The Denton County Medical Examiner said that the woman had been shot in the head.
Denton police quickly arrested a 28-year-old man on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Police said the man placed a call to 911, then hung up. He was found in one of the bedrooms.
Friends and family say the man was the woman’s on-again, off-again boyfriend and the father of her two youngest children, a 2-year-old and a 9-month-old. CPS said those children are now in foster care.
The man has a long criminal history, mainly involving drugs. Denton police said the investigation into the fatal shooting was ongoing, and charges could be enhanced.
The woman kicked the man out just hours before she was shot. Mourners wore purple to a vigil to encourage domestic violence victims.
The Denton Record-Chronicle reported on May 14, 2020, that while the overall call volume was down for the Denton Police Department, domestic violence reports increased in the city of Denton as more people were home following stay-at-home orders.
While the domestic violence calls in March 2020 were lower compared to calls in March 2019, Denton Police Chief Frank Dixon said these reports increased from March 10 to May 11, 2020 compared to last year. The calls were up about 61 percent to 185 in 2020 from 115 in 2019.
“I think [the rise was] a combination of a lot of things,” Dixon said. “The stay at home order, people were getting laid off [and] losing jobs… but it’s also that some of these homes, they contained violence prior to COVID-19.”
People were able to go to work and have a safe space for a few hours, but those who were laid off would’ve been stuck with an abuser all day. This concern also pushed Denton County Friends of the Family to establish its text message line, which launched in early April, as soon as possible.
Denton County Friends of the Family reported on April 8, 2020, that despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, resources were still available to anyone experiencing domestic violence in Denton County and nationally. Friends of the Family reported a 36 percent increase in calls from mid-March to the end of the month, although those calls were largely people seeking information on their resources now that many functions such as the court system have largely shut down as a measure to fight COVID-19.
Friends of the Family had 61 new requests for intakes from March 18 to March 31, which is on par for what they see on a monthly basis, but the number was expected to go down because there has been a shift in switching to phone and video response from them. Friends of the Family is still accepting people at its shelter and can help people into hotels if needed.
If victims of domestic violence cannot call 911, they can text 911 in Denton. Denton County Friends of the Family’s crisis hotline can be reached at 940-382-7273 or 800-572-403. Victims can text the National Domestic Violence Hotline line at 22522 or call at 800-799-SAFE (7233).
Domestic Violence Charges in Denton, TX
Domestic violence incidents often lead to violent outcomes, but not all cases necessarily prove to be fatal. Some people could be charged in family violence cases even when there are no apparent signs of injury on an alleged victim.
Domestic assault is one of the most common criminal charges in most domestic violence cases, and the offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000 when an alleged offender has no prior domestic assault convictions. The crime is a third-degree felony, however, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if an alleged offender has any prior domestic assault convictions.
If an alleged offender intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person, or uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in the course of committing any assault crime, including threatening another with bodily injury or engaging in conduct that the victim likely will find offensive, they could be charged with aggravated domestic assault. Aggravated domestic assault is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000, but it is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if the alleged offender commits the alleged offense with a deadly weapon and causes serious bodily injury to the alleged victim.
Under Texas Penal Code § 25.11, an individual commits a continuous violence against the family offense if, during a period that is 12 months or less in duration, the person two or more times engages in conduct that constitutes an offense under Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a)(1) (relating to an assault crime) against another person or persons whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Texas Family Code § 71.0021(b), 71.003 , or 71.005. Continuous violence against the family is a third-degree felony and Texas Family Code § 71.0021(b) relates to dating violence and “dating relationship” means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature, Texas Family Code § 71.003 relates to family, which is defined as including individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Sections 573.022 and 573.024, Government Code, individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together, and Texas Family Code § 71.005 relates to household, which means a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.
Violations of protective orders are common offenses related to crimes of domestic violence as many protective orders are issued in connection to domestic violence cases. While a violation of a court order may be a Class A misdemeanor, an offense could also be a third-degree felony if the alleged offender has previously been convicted two or more times of a violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond in a family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking case offense under Texas Penal Code § 25.07 or two or more times of a repeated violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond in family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking case offense under Texas Penal Code § 25.072, or has previously been convicted of one of each of the aforementioned offenses; or has violated the order or condition of bond by committing an assault or the offense of stalking.
Denton Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you were arrested for a domestic violence offense in the greater Denton area, you are going to need to make sure that you have experienced legal counsel on your side. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can provide an aggressive defense against your criminal charges.
Our firm understands what it takes to win domestic violence cases and can take all of the steps necessary to help you overcome the charges against you. We will be able to sit down and talk about your case more fully with you when you call 940-222-8004 or contact us online to receive a free, confidential consultation.