Meredith Hight, 27, hosted a cookout at her home in Plano, Tex. on Sunday when her estranged husband, Spencer James Hight, opened fire on the party, shooting and killing her and seven others before an officer was able to kill him.(Facebook)
Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 6:51 PM
Both of the men accused of killing a combined 16 people were alleged domestic abusers in the relationships they were in before the murders happened.
Meredith Hight, 27, hosted a cookout and Dallas Cowboys watching party at her home in Plano, Tex. on Sunday when her estranged husband, Spencer James Hight, opened fire on the party, shooting and killing her and seven others before an officer was able to kill him.
Hight filed for divorce in July after her husband had already moved out of their home months ago, her mother, Debbie Lane, told WFAA.
"I think he saw our comfort, ease and happiness and her embracing new life and resented it to the maximum and responded the way he did," Lane told the news station.
Meredith Hight's mother said that her daughter's husband, Spencer James Hight, had been violent towards her on two occasions and claimed he had a drinking problem.(Facebook)
Hight's mother also said that her daughter's husband had been violent towards her on two occasions and claimed he had a drinking problem. A few days before the mass shooting — categorized as an incident where at least four people are killed — Spencer Hight sent a message to a friend that asked, "How can the one person you're supposed to love more than life itself end up being the one person you hate more than life itself?" according to the Dallas Morning News.
"It is well established that victims of domestic abuse are in particular danger when they decide to leave," Lisa C. Smith, former member of the American Bar Association's Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence told the Daily News. "The abuser has convinced them not to do so and the fact that the victim has finally made that decision to end the relationship often sends the abuser into a wild fury."
In May, eight more people were murdered when Willie Cory Godbolt allegedly showed up at a house where his estranged wife, Sheena Godbolt, and her family were also having a cookout. He's accused of shooting at the crowd, killing his ex's mother, sister and aunt before killing four more of her family members — including two kids — at different residences and, finally, a deputy sheriff.
Godbolt is accused of shooting at a crowd, killing his ex's mother, sister and aunt before killing four more of her family members - including two kids - at different residences and, finally, a deputy sheriff.(Therese Apel/AP)
"Remember that the scariest thing about domestic violence cases is that the abuser knows everything about the victim," Smith, who now specializes in all areas of gender violence, told The News. "The abuser knows the family and where they live and work… (And) that all of these people are listing his bad qualities, telling her she deserves better. (He) becomes enraged with all of those people too."
Godbolt, 35, was taken into custody after being shot by an officer and is currently awaiting trial.
"I'm devastated," Sheena Godbolt's stepfather, Vincent Mitchell, told the Associated Press. "It don't seem like it's real."
In May, eight more people were murdered when Willie Cory Godbolt allegedly showed up at a house where his estranged wife, Sheena Godbolt, and her family were also having a cookout.(Therese Apel/The Clarion-Ledger/REUTERS)
Godbolt left her husband just a few weeks before the shooting and, according to HuffPost, was previously accused of domestic violence and subjected to a restraining order.
According to research done by Everytown Gun Safety, it's not a surprise that these two deadly cases of elevated domestic violence reached the brutal ends that they did. The group found that between 2009 and 2016, 54% of the 156 mass shootings that happened in the U.S. involved a shooter who was acting against a current or former significant other or family member. They also found that in about half of these domestic violence cases, the accused was threatening, violent, not cooperative with court orders or had substance abuse problems.
"(It) surprises people who often think of the domestic violence perpetrator as "different" or "not as violent" as other criminals because they imagine that there is only one target for his assaultive behavior," Smith said. (But) it (should) come as no surprise that the enraged abuser, heading out to the victim's home or place of business and armed with a gun and loss of control over the victim irrationally shoots others in his path."
- mass murder
- domestic violence
- gun violence
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