Murder victim's family pushes for domestic violence legislation - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Murder victim's family pushes for domestic violence legislation

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Family members say Gwennette Salley, a DeSoto Parish mother killed Friday after years of alleged spousal abuse at the hands of her husband Michael Salley, tried to break free from her relationship by filing for divorce and getting a protection order for herself and her daughter Samantha.

Just days before her death, Judge Charles Adams gave her an ominous warning.

"He looked at my sister and said, 'You know it's just a piece of paper, and then he said, 'Prepare yourself," Gwen's sister Theresa Donald said.

Previous article: Murder-suicide in Caddo Parish

Police arrested Michael Salley Tuesday, April 29 after he allegedly held her and their 7-year-old daughter hostage at gunpoint. Wednesday, he was out on $50,000 dollars bond with the condition that he not contact Gwen Salley.

DeSoto Parish District Attorney Richard Johnson said a judge is required by law to issue a decision on bond within 72 hours, unless the suspect is charged with capital murder.

Bond amounts are set at the judge's discretion, but the seriousness of the allegations, a suspect's financial ability to make bond and the safety of everyone involved are all factors in the decision-making process.

KTBS 3 News left a message with Judge Adams' office asking for comment but had not heard back by airtime.
Gwen's brother Benjamin Cox calls Michael's quick release "a slap in the face."

Previous article: History of domestic violence haunts Salley family

Gwen's life is over, but her family is fighting to keep her legacy- and other women- alive. Donald and Cox plan to start a campaign for Gwen's Law requiring longer custody holding periods.

"It just gives them a little more time," Cox said. "Eighteen hours isn't enough time to do anything."

Donald and Cox also want immediate psychological evaluations and anger management treatment for the abuser.

"I think there are some things that we'll probably talk to the judges about that could be improved," DeSoto Parish District Attorney Richard Johnson said. "For example, there's one requirement in the law that a person can be fitted with a GPS in cases involving domestic violence."

Louisiana's current Criminal Code of Procedures Article 335.1 requires a monitoring ankle as terms of an abuser's bond. The victim gets a

It's been on the books for two decades but Johnson doesn't know of any DeSoto Parish cases where it's been used.

"She knew Wednesday when she got that call [about Michael's release] that she was dead," Donald said.

Gwen's family is in the early stages of their legislative efforts, but there are other measures currently circulating in Baton Rouge.

Previous article: Could more have been done to prevent murder-suicide in Caddo Parish?

Senators unanimously supported bills Tuesday that would toughen penalties for domestic abuse in the state. House Bill 747 labels domestic abuse as a "crime of violence," lessening the chance for parole or probation. HB750 affects an abuser's ability to get a gun, and HB753 expedites the filing of protective orders.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 292- cosponsored by Shreveport's Sen. Greg Tarver (D)- would grant immediate divorces if a spouse or child's been physically or sexually abused, or in cases where protective orders and an injunction has been issued against the other spouse.
Gwen Salley talked about years of spousal abuse in court papers and there was protective order issued before her death.

There is a fund to benefit Samantha Salley at Regions Bank. All money raised will go toward her care, and can only be used for that purpose.

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