Last week 17 News brought you the story of a Tehachapi woman accused of killing her ex, not long after reporting him to law enforcement for molesting a minor. On Wednesday, after serious considerat…
First, on behalf of our entire family, we would like to say that the love and support we are receiving from family, friends, and members of the community, is what is getting our family through this very difficult time, so thank you all so very much!
This is about so much more than Wendy’s case and #JusticeForWendy, this is about justice for every single victim of Domestic Violence or Sexual Abuse. This is about bringing awareness to the flaws in our system and our society when it comes to Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse. This is about giving every victim a voice, being that voice for them when they are too scared to come forward and letting them know that they are not alone. Offenders need to be prosecuted and punished appropriately. We need to stop allowing these predators to walk free due to the District Attorney not pressing charges or being charged and sentenced to inappropriately light punishment. We have come across too many people throughout this journey so far, that have suffered from some type of Domestic Violence and/or Sexual Abuse. We want the cycle of abuse to end now, we want justice for the victims, and we want people who do protect themselves to do so without fear of prosecution.
More About Wendy’s Case:
During the bail hearing, Wendy’s bail was reduced by 50%, the judge agreed that there was evidence of justified self-defense and as a result, we came together as a family, and with the help of the generous donations that we have received, we were able to post bail and bring Wendy home where she belongs! While we couldn’t be happier to have her home, we still have a long road ahead of us in order to get the justice she deserves. Part of this means having good legal representation for Wendy. Her arraignment has been postponed for 3 weeks, and in the meantime, we are trying to raise as much money as possible so that we are able to retain her attorney for trial.
The most important thing that we would like people to understand about the case, is that yes, this man was the worst kind of monster and did terrible horrible things to her daughters, and yes, any parent should want to protect their children, but he had also severally abused Wendy both physically and sexually. Wendy was not only protecting her children in this case; she was defending herself.
Wendy’s Preliminary Hearing ended on Wednesday September 4th with the judge’s ruling to hold her for trial on the first-degree murder charges. Based on the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing, essentially it comes down to one detective who does not believe that Wendy believed she was in imminent danger at the time of the incident. The most important thing is what Wendy truly believed in that moment. Knowing her history with this man is very crucial in understanding why she would have every reason to fear for her life. While at the Tehachapi Police Department, Wendy gave the detective taking her statement details regarding the violent abuse that she suffered at the hand of Kelly Pitts, yet, neither detective assigned to her case, took the time to verify her statement. In fact, both detectives testified during the preliminary hearing that they still had not investigated the validity of her statement. A simple search of the Ventura County records would have shown them that Kelly was in fact charged in 2002 with 8 Felony offenses including:
• 273.5(a) PC Corporal Injury to Spouse/cohabitant/child’s parent
• 12022.7(e) PC S/A-Enh-Great Bodily Injury-Domestic Violence
• 12022(b)(1) PC S/A-Enh – Use of a Deadly Weapon
• 245(a)(1) PC Assault With Deadly Weapon, By Means Likely To Produce Great Bodily Injury
• 12022.7(e) PC S/A-Enh-Great Bodily Injury-Domestic Violence
• 136.1(b)(1) PC Dissuading A Witness From Reporting A Crime
• 594(b)(1) PC Vandalism of $400
• 1320.5 PC Failure to Appear While on Bail
This is one example of an incident that was documented by both the Ventura County Superior Court and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department that would have helped the detectives to understand why Wendy believed she was in imminent danger. Instead, without doing a thorough investigation, they arrested Wendy on murder charges.
Law enforcement and our justice system need to stop criminalizing domestic violence victims. Wendy is a victim of domestic violence and sexual abuse. She was within her legal right to defend herself against her attacker, and now she is being prosecuted for it. People who have been abused understand the lasting PTSD that this abuse can cause. The symptoms of which can include flashbacks, emotional distress or physical reactions to upsetting memories. As humans, we have a physiological response when threatened that activates neural pathways in our brains that allows us to respond and protect ourselves. It is reasonable to believe, that as a woman who had been abused by this man and whose children had been abused by this man, when the threat and the fear of him coming at her on a quad weighing approximately 375 pounds, and the memories of him attacking her in the past came flooding back, the natural instinct to protect herself was activated and that is what she did; protected herself and her children from what she undoubtedly believed to be an imminent threat.
According to Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) No. 505,
“The defendant is not guilty of (murder/ [or] manslaughter/ attempted
murder/ [or] attempted voluntary manslaughter) if (he/she) was justiﬁed in (killing/attempting to kill) someone in (self-defense/ [or] defense of another). The defendant acted in lawful (self-defense/ [or] defense of another) if:
1. The defendant reasonably believed that (he/she/ [or] someone
else/[or] <insert name or description of third party>) was in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily injury [or was in imminent danger of being (raped/maimed/robbed/ <insert other forcible and atrocious crime>)];
2. The defendant reasonably believed that the immediate use of
deadly force was necessary to defend against that danger;
3. The defendant used no more force than was reasonably
necessary to defend against that danger.
As we move toward trial, we ask that you continue to keep Wendy in your hearts, thoughts, prayers. If you’d like to help in other ways aside from donating financially, please join our Facebook group, like and share our social media posts, join us at the courthouse to rally before and after Wendy’s court appearances, sign and share our petition on Change.org, and write letters to the Kern County District Attorney, Cynthia Zimmer. Any and all support is greatly appreciated.