Matthew Taylor Coleman and his wife, Abby Coleman, were living a picturesque life in their Santa Barbara, California home with their two young children—Kaleo, a two-year-old boy, and Roxy, a ten-month-old girl— when events took a turn for the worse. While the family was packing for a camping trip, Matthew allegedly placed the children in the family van and drove away without a word to Abby. She was unable to reach him by phone but eventually tracked his location with the help of authorities and the Find My iPhone application. After being stopped by law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border and taken into custody, Matthew told investigators he killed his children with a spearfishing gun after being “enlightened by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories.” Believing that Abby possessed serpent DNA that had been passed down to his children, Matthew claimed the death of his children was “saving the world from monsters.” Matthew has been charged with the foreign murder of U.S. nationals. Continue reading →
In North Carolina, people who are in a personal relationship can apply for a protective order under chapter 50B of the statutes called domestic violence protective orders. This amounts to an Order of the court that directs the defendant to refrain from certain acts, excludes them from physical locations such as a residence, and awards temporary custody of minor children to the nonoffending party. However, the 50B actions are only applicable to parties that are in a personal relationship, meaning spouses and former spouses, dating partners, current and former household members, parents, and a few other categories. The common thread is that there is personal and private history between the parties. Continue reading →
Who was Caitlyn Whitehurst?
Caitlyn Whitehurst was a resident of Pitt County, North Carolina. In May of 2019, Caitlyn’s ex-boyfriend Christopher Garris laid in wait outside Caitlyn’s family property, where he shot and killed her. After killing Caitlyn, Garris turned the gun on himself in a murder-suicide. Continue reading →
M.E. v. T.J., ___ N.C. App. ___ (2020).
Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO) are under chapter 50B in North Carolina. They are sought by complaining parties when they are the victims of violence. But under this section, in order to seek a DVPO, a complaining party must first claim domestic violence perpetrated by someone with whom the complaining party has or had a personal relationship. However, even with recent amendments, the statute currently did not allow for a same-sex, non-married, couple to seek a DVPO if they did not reside together. Below is what could be a landmark case, declaring that the 50B statute is unconstitutional. Continue reading →
In Reece v. Holt, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion, reviewed N.C.G.S. Chapter 50 for child custody and subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff Father claimed that an ex parte order established a “presumption” supporting a claim for domestic violence under N.C.G.S. § 50B. This article will focus on the domestic violence action only. Continue reading →
Suppose you have filed a complaint requesting a domestic violence protective order against your partner, and before the return hearing required by law you decide that you want to dismiss the complaint. Victims of domestic violence sometimes dismiss claims out of fear of further harm or retaliation. Or they dismiss for other reasons: they decide to reconcile; they find themselves in an adverse financial position; they reconcile for the children; or they lack sufficient evidence to prosecute the claim. What type of dismissal should you enter if you are the victim and find you need to file the dismissal before the hearing? Continue reading →
As we proceed through the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, domestic violence incidents have increased in North Carolina. Isolation and lockdown likely have exacerbated conditions that may have already been present in a rocky relationship. Financial woes and job losses have only added to the stress. Domestic violence and violence against intimate partners have been on the rise. Here, we will briefly discuss how the Court can grant emergency relief for the victims of domestic violence. Continue reading →
The Greensboro and High Point area is fortunate to be served by Family Service of the Piedmont, a local non-profit agency providing families and individuals affordable services in dealing with domestic violence, mental health, child abuse, and financial stability issues. Continue reading →
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic can add another disturbing statistic: domestic violence incidents have increased in North Carolina. Isolation and lockdowns likely have exacerbated conditions that may have been already present in a rocky relationship. Financial woes and job loss have only increased the stress. For some, these circumstances amounted to the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. Continue reading →
One form of domestic violence occurring between current or former dating partners or spouses is intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence (IPV), according to the CDC, affects one out of every four women and one out of every seven men. IPV includes psychological or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or stalking. Many victims of IPV experience sexual and/or physical violence or stalking before age 18. Continue reading →