Charged With Murder Hours After Bail
Samuel Lee Scott, 54, of Saint Louis, Mo., was arrested for domestic assault, a misdemeanor, after allegedly hitting his wife, Marcia Johnson and causing injuries to her face, ear and cheek bone. Scott was released from jail on a bond posted by the non-profit national organization Bail Project.
The evening following his release from jail, Scott allegedly went to Johnson’s home, and according to the office of the District Attorney of St. Louis, he assaulted her again. This time the injuries were more severe, as she suffered a broken eye socket, broken ribs and “bruises from head to toe.” Marcia Johnson died five days later.
This tragic tale of domestic violence could have been avoided if Marcia was aware of the devastating statistics regarding the likelihood of repeat or recidivist behavior by Scott, and more importantly if she sought refuge at Penelope House.
There has been much finger pointing between the St. Louis District Attorney’s Office and the St. Louis Bail Project. None of this is any help to Marcia Johnson but there is help for the millions of women in similar situations. Penelope House offers a real solution to women in relationships with physically abusive men.
The Bail Project is a national organization founded by Robin Steinberg, a Gilbert Foundation Senior Fellow of the Criminal Justice Program at UCLA’s School of Law, with 13 offices around the country. The District Attorney of St. Louis, Kim Gardner, announced plans to meet with the nonprofit, “to review their policies and practices to help them better understand the risks to victims and witnesses when posting bail for any type of domestic violence case or defendants who are a potential safety risk to an individual or their community.”
Let’s hope they meet and reach a consensus to avoid similar tragedies, but your support of Penelope House is an answer for women caught in the revolving door of fear, intimidation and physical violence that is domestic abuse.
Mobile’s Penelope House was founded in 1979 and the very busy current facility can house up to 50 mothers and their children, but no one is turned away. Tonie Ann Torrans who took over for her mother and now runs the Mobile location, refers to the property as “Fort Knox”. Things have evolved from the days when her mother began, and abusive husbands were essentially never arrested and domestic violence was considered a private matter.
If your average citizen knew how costly and expensive this issue is for every level of government, there might be more money available to protect and educate women who feel they have nowhere to turn. Nearly 1 in 3 adult women are assaulted by their husband or partners. Of the 6 million women physically assaulted, 4000 are killed each year. Only 1 in 4 incidents is ever reported and this is the real problem because people are hesitant to cause trouble or legal problems for their spouse. The damage this does to American families is devastating and sometimes fatal. Despite the genuine cooperation of law enforcement and the more recent awareness of the emotional and fiscal costliness of the problem, Penelope House can always use volunteers and donations.
Volunteer your services or donate money. Penelope House is a refuge and a new start for people who only a few years ago could not see past their most recent bruised and swollen eye.
Learn more about National Coalition Against Domestic Violence here.