TAMPA — If she had gone to court last Monday, maybe the domestic violence charge she had filed would have stuck.
Maybe her 3-month-old son, Emanuel Wesley Murray, would still be alive.
If he had shown up, the judge might have noticed he was a fugitive in a felony battery case and put him in custody.
Maybe then, Richard McTear Jr. would never have gone to the home of former girlfriend Jasmine Bedwell writes Alexandra Zayas as she reports for the St. Petersburg Times on baby Emanuel Wesley Murray being thrown to his death from a moving car by Richard McTear last week.
What Zayas’ article doesn’t report is the psychological trick bag which consumes the minds of domestic violence victims.
According to Lissette Campos shame perpetuates their imprisonment making it very difficult for victims to take the first steps to escape the bonds of domestic violence.
Campos is the director of community affairs at WFTS television station. WFTS is the local ABC affiliate located in Tampa, Florida. The station known for taking action just completed a domestic violence campaign which included a one hour prime time special.
Ms. Campos, along with Deiah Riley and Wendy Ryan two female anchors at the station started the project long before the Chris Brown domestic violence scandal. The six months preparation taught the ladies a lot about the subject matter.
First of all says Campos, domestic violence does not discriminate. It can be found in all walks of life. Therefore, it can happen to anyone, including you and me.
Secondly, because of the barrage of verbal abuse designed to deflate the self esteem, victims of domestic violence live in constant fear for themselves and their children.
All the knowledge learned by these women was shared with the community each day on the air. With the support of Verizon and Allstate, the station aired the one hour prime time special in which victims who managed to escape the bondage shared their stories.
As this campaign was wrapping up, Riley, and Ryan found themselves reporting on one more despicable act of domestic violence.
Law enforcement authorities alleges that the 21 year old McTear attacked Jasmine Bedwell, then her baby Emanuel Wesley Murray who is not his child, by first throwing him down onto the concrete, then driving off with the infant and tossing him from a car onto Interstate 275.
The baby’s lifeless body was found around 4:30 AM by Jason Bird, a photographer with Fox affiliate WTVT-Ch. 13, as he traveled Interstate 275 on route to work.
Lissette Campos was readying her children for school when she heard Deiah Riley reporting it on the morning broadcast. Campos stated the news report made her sick to the stomach.
Known by his friends as Rico, McTear who is 5 feet 9, and weighs 175 pounds is now charged with first-degree murder.
McTear’s criminal history reveals that he is no stranger to domestic violence. Arrested for domestic violence at the age of 14, he has been accused by the unsuspecting women in his life of stalking, dragging and beating them unconscious, breaking into their homes and threatening murder, at least once, of a child.
None of the victims, including Jasmine Bedwell , were successful in their pursuit of a restraining order against him. According to the WFTS Domestic Violence prime time special this is not uncommon. The assailant who sometimes avoids service becomes more violent, when the victim seeks such help.
Such was the case with Rico McTear Jr.
A 17 year old Bedwell through Jennifer Liner, a guardian and next best friend of the court filed for a restraining order on the morning of April 7, 2009, after being dragged and beaten by McTear. An order for a temporary restraining order was issued by a Judge on the same day. It was also ordered that the Sheriff’ department serve McTear Jr. with the order which included a hearing date of April 20, 2009. Although no documentation appeared in the jacket at this writing, McTear Jr. was not served, prompting the issuance of an amended petition for a temporary restraining order. The hearing date was set for May 4, 2009. Once again the Sheriff’s department was ordered to serve McTear Jr. On April 21, the sheriff’s department received the paper work, and on 4/28/09 the paper work was returned and it was stated that McTear Jr. could not be found.
A young Bedwell’s failure to appear at the May 4 2009 hearing resulted in the petition being dismissed without prejudice. This meant that Jasmine through Liner, her guardian could come back and refile the petition.
Ms. Zayas speculation that had Jasmine made an appearance in court maybe the charge of domestic violence would have stuck is misleading and the statement “A restraining order would have required that he stay at least 500 feet from her home, but she didn’t show up in court Monday to proceed”, unfortunately places the blame of Emanuel’s murder on the infant’s mother who is also a victim here.
In reality , no restraining order could have been issued had Jasmine been present. The law required McTear Jr. to be served before the order had any validity. At the time of the dismissal, the order was just another piece of paper. The only thing that may have happened on the morning of May 4, 2009 had Bedwell been present is the issuance of another amended petition. If the Sheriff armed with another amended restraining order petition, had been able serve him between 10:30 AM on the May 4, when the dismissal was issued and 3:00 AM on May 5th when McTear Jr. began his deadly assault, they could have also arrested McTear Jr. on the fugitive warrant. Of course, they did not need the amended temporary restraining order to make that arrest.
Five hours later after the tragic incident, authorities found McTear at a home at 3803 Arlington Drive. He ran, but they arrested him.
As he entered custody, he continued the pressure of the psychological trick bag by saying “Tell my girl Jasmine I love her.” Further, McTear also repeated a phrase tattooed on his forearm: “It’s a dirty game.”
Domestic violence is a dirty game, but the victims don’t need to be blamed. They need to know that they are not alone, and there is help which is improving everyday with non- profit organizations who provides safe havens for the victims and their children and support from corporations like Verizon and Allstate, and people like Lissette, Deiah, Wendy and you.
Wendy Ryan (left) Lissette Campos (center) Deiah Riley (Right)