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'Protect us': Domestic Violence survivor shares message for Marion County justice system

Posted at 7:07 PM, Sep 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-20 19:09:05-04

INDIANAPOLIS — "Lamar would tell me that he was going to kill me and my kids," Monica Conley said.

In April, Monica Conley says her life flashed before her eyes after her ex-husband Lamar Pittman violated protective and no contact orders and unknowingly entered her home.

"I thought my babies were downstairs dead and I did not have a clue how this many got into my home," Conley said. "I was stalked and harrassed repeatedly by him. I ended up surviving because I shot and ended up killing my ex-husband."

Conley did not face criminal charges in the case.

Police reports and court records show that Pittman harrassed Conley in phone calls and text messages for months.

Conley said she did all she could do to protect her family and feels the justice system failed her.

"I called the police every time," Conley said. "I reached out to prosecutors. I reached out to anybody that I thought could help me."

WRTV's Rachael Wilkerson asked Conley if she thought her protective order worked.

"No, I don't. I don't feel like they worked," Conley said.

On Friday, a mother of two, Krystal Walton was shot and killed outside of the daycare her children attended.

Her accused killer, Orlando Mitchell, is the father of her youngest child.

Walton also had active protective and no contact orders against him. He also had two warrants for violating those orders.

"Now, Krystal has lost her life and her kids will be without a mother. That is horrifying. That is so sad to me that it could've been prevented had somebody done more," said Conley.

"It's not uncommon, especially on harassment and stalking type cases anything that involves a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife those relations are so intertwined that that piece of a paper doesn't stop that person a lot of times," attorney Brad Banks said.

Banks said hundreds of no-contact orders are issued daily.

"They are beneficial they are formally putting somebody on notice that you need to leave them alone. Don't bother them anymore. Don't contact them and if you do there are going to be ramifications with the law. I would say the consequences on the no contact order are more direct, so if you violate a no-contact order they can immediately revoke that person's bond and put them back in jail," Banks said.

Banks said they don't always protect everyone.

"That is just a piece of paper. It isn't a shield. It's not a be-all-end-all in terms of making sure you are safe," Banks said. "You should still be cognitive. If they are still contacting you on social media, etc then should follow up with the authorities. If someone has been alleged to do one of these things, that paper may or may not actually serve as a way to stop them."

"A protective order is something that the person needing to be protected initiates themself through a civil filing through court. They will issue an order that protects you pretty much immediately and will allow that person to be served that order and can contest that hearing," said Banks. "The no contact order is in so when they file a criminal charge, they ask the court. Many times, that protects the alleged victims as well as family members and that is given to the person at their initial hearing in the criminal court and directly provided by the court."

If an order is broken, invasion of privacy charges can be filed. It's a misdemeanor that Banks says can be upgraded to a felony if the harasser doesn't stop.

Conley says in her case, those charges weren't filed in time despite the evidence.

"My abuser had contacted me so many times [the Marion County Prosecutor's Office] said they would end up bundling the invasion of privacy charges and charge him," Conley said. "That would have kept him in jail. That never happened."

Conley is adamant. She wants the Marion County Prosecutor's Office and IMPD to come down hard on those violating these orders.

"Oftentimes, it seems charges are not filed or they are pled out and it's not fair because then things like this happen," Conley said.

She said domestic violence victims like herself are doing their part and the justice system needs to do theirs too.

"I think a lot more should happen. Every time a person violates a restraining order those charges should be filed each time there should be a new charge. They are stackable, so if you are a victim and your abuser calls you at 10:50 that can be a new charge," Conley said. "If they call you at 10:51 that can be another charge. Each time it should be taken serious."

She has this message for domestic violence victims:

"It can be really hard and really frustrating when you are doing everything right. You are making the reports you are calling the police. You are communicating with the prosecutors. Just don't give up," Conley said.

She had this message for Krystal's family:

"I am praying for Krystal's family and most importantly for her kids and I am hoping the prosecutor's office does more this time?"

Marion County residents seeking a protective order can file it here.