Amanda Groves had separated from her husband last summer. In her early thirties, the marriage just was not working. Amanda claims there was no abuse. Her husband did not exhibit the signs we see or read about in the aftermath of an abusive relationship. Amanda did not anticipate her husband Billy would threaten and stalk her after he moved out of the home. But he did. With each day they were apart, he became increasingly angry and abusive. After Billy damaged her car, she went to court to obtain an order of protection believing it would make Billy stop his threatening and abusive behavior. Amanda did not have a plan. She did not think it would escalate further. She, like thousands of others in this country who separate, divorce or end a dating relationship often do not have a strategy for their own safety. The criminal mind with these offenders is a reactive reflex to loss of power and control in their lives.
Anytime when someone is rejected and hurt in a relationship, that individual will do anything to reclaim their life. Including murder. Within a short amount of time, Billy was planning out the murder of Amanda. It is more than "If I cannot have her no one can". It is a criminal element within their mind taking the relationship and ending it forever on their terms.
We do not associate the criminal path abusers take in relationships where the parties are involved with one another, because they are known to one another. Quickly, society and law enforcement places it in the neat easy category of "domestic violence". Often treating the crime from the onset with less importance. Herein lies the problem for victims who are often left to fight the abuser and the system at the same time, all alone.
On the morning of September 29, 2007, as Amanda was returning home, Billy was waiting for Amanda in the home the couple once shared.
"The only thing I could remember was all the flashing from the gun," Amanda said.
"(Billy Groves had) no violent behavior -- (he) never treated me wrongly," Amanda said.
According to Groves, she never feared her husband until they separated.
"The arguments started getting worse," Groves said. "A lot of things between us were very nasty. It was a side of him that I had never seen before. That's when the stalking started."
"(He was) walking up and down my street," Groves said. "He always would just so happen to be somewhere on my way to work -- the gas station, the bank -- somewhere conveniently in my path."
The stalking turned physical when their paths crossed in a park in early August. According to Groves, Billy followed her and a friend to the park and beat them up.
"That's when I got the protection order," Groves said. "The prosecutor didn't feel that they should press charges at that point. (I) don't understand that."
After that, she said that Billy Groves made his presence known every day.
According to a civil protection order granted on Aug. 13, Billy Groves was ordered to not come within 500 feet of his wife. Just over a month later, he violated every stipulation of the order.
"As soon as I pushed the door open, he started firing," She said. "I (turned) to run. The first shot hit me in the doorway of my house."
The bullet entered Amanda's back. It just missed her spine and severed her liver into two pieces. She made it to her driveway before falling to the ground. Amanda said that she played dead and waited for the shooting to stop.
"He did kick me repeatedly in the face while I was in the driveway before he ran back in the house," according to Amanda.
More gunshots followed and then there was silence
Police found Billy Groves in the house. He was dead, with a semiautomatic weapon in his hand.
After spending four of six weeks in the hospital with a coma and multiple surgeries to repair her liver, Amanda Groves learned that Billy killed himself.
According to Amanda, Billy Groves made a videotape the night of the shootings. She described him as acting calm while mentioning he was going to shoot and kill her.
"He said he was doing what she thought, in his heart, was right," Amanda Groves said.
She wonders whether things would have changed if Billy were arrested after the incident that took place in the park.
"I did everything I was supposed to do," Groves said. "The protection order did nothing but give me a false sense of security."
Now that she is back to work, Amanda is trying to put the terror behind her. Even in surviving, there are challenges. Amanda Groves lost her house because she could not work and victims' assistance was not enough. She is soon going to have another surgery.
Yes, an order of protection is a false sense of security. A band aid of sorts, briefly covering or borrowing more time to prepare, get out and save your life. To learn more about being safe go to http://www.movingoutmovingon.com/ and print off the safety plan. And get a copy of "Defending Our Lives, getting away and staying safe". Either at Amazon or your local library.
You can also email us with your questions, strategies and options with your situation. If you need immediate assistance please comtact the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.