Gayle: I am a little ashamed to admit this, your honor, but I should have known this day was coming. I met him while he was in prison for voluntary manslaughter. We have been married fourteen years, but he was incarcerated for the first twelve years.
Judge: How did you meet him if he was incarcerated? Did you work at the prison?
Gayle: No ma’am. I went with my sister to the prison to visit the guy she was married to at the time, and her husband introduced me to him. Trust me, I did not go to the prison looking for a relationship.
Judge: So how did you go from visiting your sister’s husband in prison to finding a husband of your own?
Gayle: Well, the first day we met we just talked about everything that had happened to him. Then we started writing each other letters, and I started visiting him every weekend. I had just come out of an abusive relationship, and he was the first man who treated me in a way that made me feel good about myself. And so, when he asked to marry him I said yes.
Judge: Why was he in prison?
Gayle: He was accused of killing his first wife. He always denied that he had anything to do with it, and I believed him. He said she was cheating on him and that her boyfriend was the one who probably killed her, but he said the police never looked at anybody but him because he was the one to find her body. I still believe he didn’t kill her, but I am starting to believe he probably beat her.
Judge: After fourteen years, why are you now just starting to believe that?
Gayle: I don’t know what happened, but soon after he was released from prison he started to change. When I visited him in prison, we would talk for hours; but when he got home I could barely get two words at a time out of him. And when he got angry or frustrated, he would take it out on me.
Judge: Has he ever physically assaulted you?
Gayle: He never really beat me, but he would push me around and slap me if I said something he didn’t like or did something to make him mad. And I was willing to put up with it because I understand that he has been through a lot. I can’t imagine spending that many years in prison for something I didn’t do.
Judge: If you are willing to put up with him, why are you in court today seeking a restraining order against him?
Gayle: Because a few days ago I was driving him to the mental hospital to have him committed. I was driving, my mother was in the passenger seat, and he was in the back seat. I didn’t tell him where we were going because he has been in that hospital several times, and I knew if I told him before we left home where we were going, he wouldn’t get in the car. When he saw were we taking the exit for the hospital, he pulled out a knife and threatened to slit my mother’s throat if I did not pull over and let him out. When I pulled over, he jumped out of the car and started running into the woods. I called the police, and they found him two hours later walking up the highway. They had him admitted to the psychiatric ward of the hospital. I need a restraining order because I want to make sure when he is released from the hospital he cannot come back to my house. I am going to end the marriage because he threatened my mother. If it had just been my throat he was threatening to slit, I would not be here today. But threatening other people is where I draw the line.
Jackie’s Note: The cases posted in Courthouse Chronicles are real-life court cases that involve real people. For the record, I do not include any of the cases I have actually worked. If I hired a lawyer to represent me I would not want him or her writing about me so that’s why I don’t write about any of my clients. My research for these posts consists of sitting in the back of courtrooms listening to the testimony and witnessing the antics of other lawyers, their clients and people who chose to represent themselves.
Photo Credit: mikecogh on Visual Hunt