Domestic violence murder-suicides plague Detroit area

Gina Damron and Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press.

The scene at Park Medical Centers in Detroit as the medical office building burns to the ground Tuesday, April 9, 2013.
  • Lucinda Bailey%27s husband apparently stabbed her to death and was found dead in his burning truck.
  • Lorian Joy Handy was fatally shot and her husband apparently took his own life with a gun.
  • Sharita Williams is believed to have been shot to death at her job before her ex-boyfriend set the office building on fire.
  • DETROIT — Three murder-suicides over two days in and around Detroit this week have shocked loved ones, neighbors and co-workers and have police and domestic violence experts dealing with the fallout.

    On Monday, Lucinda Bailey was stabbed to death in her Inkster, Mich., Home and Lorian Joy Handy was shot multiple times at her home in White Lake Township.

    And Sharita Williams, loved ones fear, is the woman found dead Tuesday in a burning Detroit office building.

    All three women were believed to be victims of relationships that ended violently in apparent murder-suicides. Bailey’s husband was found dead in his burning truck; Handy’s husband apparently took his life with a gun, an official said a body found in the basement of the Detroit building may be that of Williams’ ex-boyfriend.

    Although the rate of domestic violence reported in Michigan has remained steady for years, one victims advocate said the intensity of violence has led to terrible assaults.

    “It’s horrific violence that we’re seeing more of,” said Suzanne Coats, CEO of Turning Point, a domestic abuse and violence shelter in Macomb County.

    There were more than 95,000 victims of reported domestic violence in Michigan in 2011, according to the Michigan State Police. But victims advocates said domestic violence often is not reported.

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    Last week, court records show, Williams took out a personal protection order against her ex, who was the maintenance man at the company where she worked, accusing him of harassment after she broke off the relationship.

    Police said they have no reports of problems in the Handy household; Bailey’s brother said she was a battered woman.

    “She was a beautiful person who didn’t deserve this,” Willie Barlow said of his younger sister. “My sister was one of the sweetest persons you would ever want to meet.”.

    ‘A rough relationship’.

    Bailey, a mother and grandmother whom loved ones called Cindy, was found dead on the floor of a bedroom in her Inkster home with several stab wounds and a knife by her body, Inkster Police Detective Anthony Delgreco said.

    Her husband, Antonio (Tony) Bailey, whom police said was in his 50s, was discovered dead inside his burning pickup after neighbors called 911 to report that the garage of the brick ranch was on fire, Delgreco said.

    Lucinda Bailey, 54, worked in the engineering department at Ford in Dearborn. Barlow said his sister was loved by her co-workers.

    Police have not been called to the home during the past six years other than for routine security system false alarms, according to Delgreco and the department’s automated call registry.

    “But according to family,” Delgreco said, “they had a rough relationship.”.

    Barlow said Tuesday that Antonio Bailey physically and mentally abused his sister. Barlow said the couple met in the late 1980s in Oklahoma and married in 1991.

    “In 1993, I came up here to move Cindy out because Tony told her he had a gun,” Barlow said.

    Over the course of the marriage, she left her husband several times, Barlow said, but would always return. Still, the abuse went on, Barlow said. Recently, he said, his sister told him Antonio Bailey questioned her about whether she knew a man driving a car that appeared to be following her.

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    “Tony was so jealous and paranoid,” Barlow said.

    Kevin Bailey, Antonio Bailey’s cousin, said he is crushed by the news of the apparent murder-suicide. He said his cousin and his wife may have been in the process of separating.

    “I would have never believed something like this would happen,” Kevin Bailey said. “I’m still trying to understand.”.

    She tried to move on.

    In a dramatic and grim assault in Detroit, loved ones and authorities said Williams was targeted and attacked by her ex-boyfriend, Myron Williams, at her workplace on Grand River, near West Grand Boulevard, and he set the building ablaze.

    Detroit Fire Arson Capt. Pat McNulty said authorities believe two bodies discovered in the building Tuesday evening are those of Sharita Williams and Myron Williams, who have no apparent relation.

    He said the body of a woman was discovered on the first floor with apparent gunshot wounds, the body of a man was found in the basement and a gas can was recovered. McNulty said witnesses reported that Myron Williams, who reportedly had been fired a week earlier from his maintenance job at the company, fired shots at Sharita Williams, a receptionist.

    Latasha Poke, 37, of Detroit, who said she was a close friend of Sharita Williams, described her as generally happy.

    She was a “sweet person. Hard-working. Loved her kids. She didn’t deserve this.”.

    In the personal protection order filed last week in Wayne County Circuit Court, Sharita Williams, 35, said Myron Williams, who she said is 55, came to her home uninvited in late March and, “told me to kiss my kids good-bye,” according to the court document.

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    Dr. Stuart Kirschenbaum, a podiatrist, said police had been at the medical offices last week looking for Myron Williams, but he didn’t know why. He said he had seen Myron Williams at the clinic Tuesday.

    “A security guard came running in hysterically, saying Myron has a gun and he just shot Sharita,” Kirschenbaum said.

    Angelo White, 32, Sharita Williams’ ex-boyfriend and longtime friend, said she had tried to break off the relationship.

    “She wanted to go on with her life,” said White.

    Child ran from home.

    Lorian Joy Handy was found shot Monday in her White Lake Township home and her husband, Jason Handy, was also found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said autopsies show.

    Police said the 32-year-old woman’s 8-year-old son was in the house at the time and ran to a neighbor’s home after the gunshots. The neighbors kept the boy at their home and called 911.

    Police said there was no history of trouble at the home.

    White Lake Township Police Chief Edward Harris said the boy remained with his biological father.

    “He’s doing OK, from what I understand,” Harris said of the child. “I don’t know that it has sunk in yet.”.

    The police department provided the family with the names of organizations that help children who are traumatized by violence.

    “Hopefully,” Harris said, “that will help.”.

    Tragedies like the deaths of the three women are disheartening, said Beth Morrison, president and CEO of Haven, a Pontiac-based shelter and counseling center.

    “We know that domestic violence happens every day,” she said. “We know it happens in every community.”.

    Contributing: Detroit Free Press reporters Melanie Scott Dorsey, Tammy Stables Battaglia, L.L. Brasier, Elisha Anderson, John Wisely, Megha Satyanarayana and Kristi Tanner.

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