Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Irene Polukoff: Love, Divorce, & Money Equals Murder

It's become a common thread sewn into the fabric of  relationships for both men and women across the country, break-ups and filing for divorce is costing lives.  Instead of allowing a court to determine financial and custody issues, angry controlling individuals are taking matters into their own hands and committing murder.  Either they are ill equipped to handle rejection or refuse to part with one cent of "their" money, or both.

Case in point is the murder of Irene Polukoff, 49, discovered by her adult son on the floor of the garage.  She was shot several times before her husband Robert committed suicide.  They were in the midst of a divorce and living in the same marital residence.  Police had been to the couple's upscale home responding to calls placed by Irene for help, mostly for verbal threats since she filed for divorce last July.  Irene was a Florida State Correctional probation officer assigned to the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center.

The same day Robert murdered his wife he was scheduled for a deposition in their divorce case. In several news stories neighbors were quoted as "shocked" by the murder-suicide. Of course they were shocked, no one believes such tragedy could happen in their own neighborhood. Equally shocking is just how many women, including their children, are being murdered for ending a relationship or marriage in neighborhoods just like yours.

Here's a rough breakdown of the amount of personnel who attended Monday's crime scene, including an estimate of the cost.  Pinellas County put out the call and a dozen or so law enforcement and fireman responded, along with the crime technicians and medical examiner.  The hourly combined total, by the time the case is wrapped up, $20,000- $25,000, and the tab picked up and covered by the County.

Obviously we are failing victims of intimate partner violence and that leads to homicide.  Cleaning up a crime scene and bagging the bodies for the morgue is not a solution.  Education, awareness and safety precautions could have made the difference in the lives of both Irene and Robert Polukoff. The danger began when Irene filed for divorce.  Her mistake after filing for divorce was remaining in the family home which becomes a hostile environment of fueled emotions that often turn deadly, as many victims do. 

Whatever you do, if you or someone you know is ending a relationship, leave and go someplace safe.  Do not stay once you have filed for a divorce or announced the relationship is over.  And for heaven's sake have a plan of action BEFORE, you say or do anything!

The dangers should be carefully considered when ending a dating relationship or marriage. The reaction to rejection is costing lives. In cases where the victim has died, her fears during the relationship or marriage remain silent, telling family or friends is considered "hearsay" and it's not enough when the person responsible is finally brought to trial. As a precaution, victims are encouraged to prepare the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit and video, also known as the "EAA." This removes hearsay and in a victim's own words provides historical abuse documentation, gives law enforecment and prosecutors a profile of the offender and shows his pattern of conduct prior to the crime should the victim vanish or be killed.

Document the Abuse.Com contains vital information on how the EAA can support each case of abuse from the perspective of the first responders and advocates, to an appearance in court. It explains the legal benefits to the abuse victim, whether they are able to testify or not, how their words are forever documented and hold up in court, much like a Living Will.

Susan Murphy Milano is a staff member of the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education as a educator and specialist with intimate partner violence prevention strategies directing prevention for high risk situations and cases.

 A national trainer to law enforcement, training officers, prosecutors, judges, legislators, social service providers, healthcare professionals, victim advocates and the faith based community and author.. In partnership with Management Resources Ltd. of New York addressing prevention and solutions within the community to the workplace. Host of The Susan Murphy Milano Show,"Time'sUp!" . She is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated "The Roth Show" with Dr Laurie Roth and a co-host onCrime Wire. Online contributions: Forbes : Crime, She Writes providing commentary about the hottest topics on crime, justice, and law from a woman’s perspective, as well as Time's Up! a blog which searches for solutions (SOS) for victims of crime

1 comment:

Rod Paris said...

One should not ignore the cases in which a husband is murdered for the same reasons. The note creates de impression that the victim is always a female. Although it is true that the vast majority of cases are husband murdering wife, there is a small but not insignificant percentage in which the vistim is the husband. For the sake of impartiality we should not ignore those cases.

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