Kimberly Meador, 47, was shot dead the morning of Sept. 6 in her home on Crabapple Lane.
George Scott Torode, who a witness told police broke into the house and started firing, was found dead later that day in an apparent suicide.
He wasn’t supposed to have any contact with her, according to the emergency protective order (EPO) a magistrate had issued to Meador just three days earlier.
But a piece of paper from the magistrate, like the EPO in the Torode case, can’t stop someone set on making contact — especially if they are violent and possibly suicidal, according to domestic violence experts.
In the Bedford County case, Torode, 52, had been served the written emergency protective order, but he chose to ignore it
; he also broke the law by carrying a firearm as a convicted felon
, said Wes Nance, Bedford County’s acting Commonwealth’s Attorney.
In this case, like many others, a protective order did nothing to deter criminal intent, Nance said.
“Protective orders are still a very important and effective tool to help keep citizens safe. They’re never going to fully eliminate the threat,” Nance said. “The fact is the legislation of many criminal acts hasn’t done away with the crimes themselves.
Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Doucette agreed.
“The important thing to remember about protective orders is that they are not a panacea; they are one more tool available to law enforcement to try and end the cycle of domestic violence that plagues so many victims,” he said in an email.
“It is already illegal to punch or strangle your wife or girlfriend. It goes without saying that it is already illegal to kill your wife or girlfriend,” Doucette said. “Adding another law such as the protective-order law will not stop that abuser who is determined to cause further physical harm.