Recent murders refocus attention on domestic violence

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - There have been six murders in Southwest Louisiana in the last three weeks.

Five of the six murders have taken place in Calcasieu Parish. One has taken place in Jeff Davis Parish.

Four of the victims have been women. Each of whom died at the hands of a current or former lover, according to authorities.

The most recent murder took place Tuesday afternoon in Lake Charles.

Lake Charles Police said 39-year-old Dale Winters shot and killed his 30-year-old girlfriend Michelle Martin at a residence on East Prien Lake Road.

"She fled and ran across the street to a local business and asked for help," said Lake Charles Deputy Chief of Police Mark Kraus. "Those people called 911 and administered whatever medical attention they could provide to her."

Tuesday's shooting marked the first deadly domestic violence case in recent weeks that Lake Charles Police have handled. Other recent cases have been investigated by the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office and the Jennings Police Department.

But Kraus said each of these incidents, no matter where they occurred, can serve as important lessons for others.

"Nothing is solved by the action that is taken in violent situations," said Kraus. "There is no room for domestic violence in any shape or form, not only in our own moral philosophy, but in the philosophy of the Louisiana judicial system."

Kraus said the LCPD, like other local law enforcement agencies, works to empower the public with education about domestic violence and encourages those who need help with an abusive relationship to seek it through local and state offered programs.

"It's a sad statement, but sometimes these things occur and we are trying to do everything through education, enforcement and things of that nature to empower the public with knowledge to avoid these scenarios," said Kraus.

According to the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, signs of a battering personality include someone who often exhibits jealousy, is controlling and tries isolating the victim from all resources, including family and friends.


For more information on domestic violence and to find local programs that could help, click here or call the statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-888-411-1333.

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