Another Domestic Violence Homicide Rocks California's
17, 1999, Jackie Anderson was at home with her two-year old
son when her estranged husband, David, showed up. David Anderson
was under court orders to stay away from her -- court orders
he'd violated only the night before. At that time sheriff's
deputies had ignored their last chance to make a lifesaving
Jackie called 911 around 11:00 on Saturday morning to report
that her husband was again at the house and was making threats.
Soon after that 911 call, David Anderson began to beat Jackie,
then dragged her downstairs into the basement where he shot
and killed her.
point Mendocino Co. Sheriff's deputies arrived but they didn't
enter the house for some seven hours. By that time, Jackie Anderson
read the initial news reports with a sinking feeling, haunted
by the faces of other women in our community now dead at the
hands of their violent partners. Marķa Teresa
Macias ... Mina Arevalo ... Heather Moore ... Marķa Ramos ...
Melissa Tarantino ... Nancy Lynch ... Patty Fansler ... Gina
Barnett ... Liz Toleson & her daughter Lisa ... Carol Madeira
... Loretta Whalen ... Patricia Gustafson ... Brenda Martini
... Patrice Dodson ... Jewelle Emerald Weatherspoon ... Paulette
Moore ... the list is sickeningly long.
longer will it get how many more women will have to die
before police, district attorneys and the courts begin
to respond effectively to stop the killing?
knows from experience that the key to preventing these murders
is relatively simple: aggressive prosecution at the misdemeanor
level, strict enforcement of restraining orders, and thorough
investigation of the incidents so that prosecution is possible
with or without the victim's participation. (For expert witness
analysis of law enforcement's failure in the Teresa Macias case,
download the document, Macias
almost every domestic violence homicide lies a long history
of escalating violence repeatedly reported to law enforcement,
usually with little or no intervention by the criminal justice
system. Again and again these women have turned to police and
district attorneys to save their lives. Again and again law
enforcement has failed them utterly.
was no exception. What follows comes from our investigation
of Jackie's many prior contacts with law enforcement, based
on court documents, press accounts, Jackie's own chronology,
and interviews with her friends and family. It is a close-up
look at the road to domestic violence homicide; a road paved
with law enforcement failure at every turn.
A Record of Reckless
on David Anderson go back to 1992, when he was arrested and
charged with four misdemeanors, including assaulting Jackie
with a deadly weapon and obstructing or resisting police. He
ultimately pled to DUI and resisting arrest; he was just put
the first of many encounters where police were called because
of David's violence against Jackie but, in the final criminal
charges, those crimes were nowhere to be found. Where there
should be convictions for repeated spousal abuse, Anderson's
record instead shows reckless driving and probation violations.
In one 1996
incident, David's rage-filled violence went on all day, ranged
over four locations, and involved multiple victims besides Jackie
and her family. He endangered children, trashed houses, ripped
phones out of the wall, assaulted Jackie and her mom, and tried
to run down a neighbor who stepped in to protect her.
both Ukiah Police and the sheriff's department
had multiple opportunities to stop the rampage. Time and again
they walked away, despite Jackie's insistence that she wanted
David arrested. According to her chronology found in the court
files, "The officers response to me was that would be a hassle."
Only after David attacked and threatened to kill sheriff's deputies
with a baseball bat was he finally arrested.
was later charged with five felonies and four misdemeanors for
his violence against the sheriff. For his crimes against Jackie,
her mother, her sisters and neighbors and the endangerment of
her children, only one misdemeanor battery charge was filed.
remember, was already on probation) was allowed to plead no
contest to brandishing a weapon. All the remaining charges were
dismissed. His sentence? No additional jail time, and two more
years of probation.
The Violence Escalates
In her restraining
order declaration, Jackie describes several other violent incidents
leading up to her death. But the assault that most assuredly
handed law enforcement the opportunity to save Jackie Anderson's
life took place on June 29, 1999, just 18 days before she died.
In her restraining order declaration, Jackie described the attack:
was witnessed by Jackie's eight year-old daughter. Her 16 year-old
son called 911. Sheriff's deputies arrested David and gave Jackie
an emergency protective order that night ordering David to stay
away from her, the children, and their home.
point, according to family members, Jackie felt safe for the
first time. David was on two different probations, had a long
documented history of violence and was at last arrested on three
felony charges. Certain that he would be in jail for at least
a year or two, she began her preparations to leave the area
and start a new life for herself and her children.
The Last Chance
was a critical moment for Jackie Anderson, one which literally
could have made the difference between life and death. But law
enforcement's deadly disdain for her family's safety wasn't
the fact that sheriff's deputies recommended felony charges
of spousal abuse, false imprisonment and terrorist threats,
Mendocino Co. District Attorney Norm Vroman refused to file
charges on any of the crimes against Jackie. He had in his hands
all he needed to charge David with the three felonies
police documentation of the injury, corroborating witnesses
and Jackie's documented willingness to prosecute.
district attorney cavalierly ignored the evidence, the law,
and the family's desperate need for protection. He filed only
on David's one crime against the court: yet another probation
violation. That day, Norm Vroman signed Jackie Anderson's death
Anderson's arraignment hearing on June 30, the Probation Department
argued adamantly for David to remain in custody. The prosecutor
remained silent. (*Footnote)
Judge Brown (the same judge who now presides over the murder
case) granted bail. Two days later, for little more than $250,
David Anderson bailed.
14, Jackie got a restraining order. Her sworn declaration detailed
a level of violence that was escalating and that included threats
to kill the entire family. Anyone familiar with domestic violence
reading her declaration would have seen lethality written all
later, sheriff's deputies were called to the Anderson home on
a restraining order violation. They did not enforce David's
violation of the terms of either of his two probations; they
didn't enforce the court's stayaway order, or Jackie's restraining
order. In fact, no arrest was made.
morning, Jackie Anderson again called police to report David
was at the house in violation of court orders and that he was
again making threats. By the time deputies entered the house,
after waiting seven hours because of their own fear of David
Anderson, Jackie was dead.
* Footnote). We know this because
DA Vroman gave us the transcript of that arraignment hearing
when community members met with him about his handling of the
case. Early in the meeting Vroman stated that his prosecutor
had, "Argued adamantly for no bail." When we pointed out that
the transcript puts the lie to that statement, Vroman bellowed,
"I never said that!" All eight people in the room sat stunned,
witnesses to the bald-faced lie from the county's most powerful
law enforcement official. (Back)
Honor Jackie Anderson
& the struggle of all
domestic violence victims