WFMY News 2 Talks To Family Attorney About Why Laurrissa Armstrong Was Denied Domestic Violence Protection Order

11:09 PM, Sep 10, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC-- WFMY News 2 discovers that granting a domestic violence protection order is a tough decision for a judge.

These are quotes from a court transcript on August 7th.

...he showed up at my door and was asked to go. And I had to ask him several times to get him to leave.

...all four of my tires had been slashed and flattened. And that the screen to my patio had also been slashed.

...I was actually afraid he was going to get out and either do something else to my car or to me...

This is what Laurrissa Armstrong said to a judge when Armstrong applied for a domestic violence order protection against her husband. The judge denied the request. Another judge denied her nine days before that.

Now, Laurrissa Armstrong is dead and police say her estranged husband, Bruce Armstrong, shot her and then killed himself.

WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford investigated why that protection was denied.

The court transcript shows that Laurrissa's husband, Bruce, was there in court the day she tried to get the protection order. He told the judge that he had showed up at her door to mend the relationship and he denied slashing her tires.

We asked Carolyn Woodruff, a family attorney, for her perspective on the case.  Woodruff said, "In this particular case, Mr. Armstrong not only came, he filed a pleading that explained his position to the court ahead of time."

In Laurrissa's paperwork, she mentions that Bruce Armstrong has hit her and stalked her in the past. But in the courtroom when Bruce was present, she didn't mention any physical violence.

Carolyn Woodruff wants to see changes in the law to help judges make better decisions.

Right now, to get a 50B protection order,  the victim has to prove he or she is in imminent or serious danger. Woodruff wants judges to have an option for protection that would not require so much proof.

Currently, judges are careful to grant 50B's because people have lied to get an order to ruin someone's reputation. But Woodruff's proposed civil protection order would provide protection without permanent impact to a person's record. She believes her idea could have saved Laurrissa's life.

"The story was not told and so we have to try and understand why she was afraid to tell her story, she didn't know how to tell her story, but her story wasn't told," said Woodruff.

News 2 has tried to contact the judges who denied Laurrissa the protection order. They have not returned our calls.

WFMY News 2

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