Family violence expert weighs in on triple murder case - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Family violence expert weighs in on triple murder case

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By Kathy Sweeney - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A local expert in family violence cases says she wasn't surprised to hear about the domestic issues at the heart of the Cape Girardeau triple murder case.

"A lot of times, people see extreme behavior as the only way out of those (domestic)situations," said Tammy Gwaltney. 

Gwaltney's Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence deals with all issues involving family violence.  She spoke with Heartland News Thursday afternoon about the domestic issues that have surfaced involving intended victim John Lawrence and his estranged wife Michelle, now accused of hatching a plot to have him killed.

"A contentious divorce was going on, lots of orders of protection that were going on back and forth between these two parties," Gwaltney said.  "And there's not a sense of resolution to that, at least a peaceful amicable resolution." 

She hopes this tragic case will somehow lead to positive changes in how family issues are tackled in court.

"We need to take a broader look at family issues and how they're handled," Gwaltney said. 

Sometimes, the traditional judicial process is not the most affective way.  You need to have mediation and all sorts of other things, not optional, but mandatory in these types of cases where you see this tension and all this acrimony building because, somehow or another, that pressure has to be relieved."

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