Posted on Feb 10, 2011
Court records show that the Tacoma woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend had tried to secure a protection order against her former partner four months ago, but had her request denied.

According to the Seattle Times, 33-year-old Georgia Gunzer was stabbed to death in her Tacoma apartment by her ex-boyfriend, Alphonso Bell, who has been charged with murder. Gunzer’s body was discovered by her 10-year-old daughter, who was having a slumber party.

Gunzer was granted a temporary restraining order in October, but her permanent protection order was denied by Pierce County Court Commissioner Mark Gelman. An audio tape of the court hearing reveals that the protection order was denied because Gunzer visited Bell, a convicted felon, six times in prison. However, she also told the commissioner that Bell had physically abused her in the past and that she feared his coming release from jail.

Friends say that Bell felt the need to be nice to her ex-boyfriend since she did not have a protection order. Currently, friends of the domestic violence victim are working together to form a parenting plan for Gunzer’s daughter.

This latest family violence incident – the first homicide of 2011 in Washington State – certainly draws attention to the protection order system in the state as well as the overall effectiveness of protection orders. Many of those who work with domestic abuse victims say that escaping an abusive and violent relationship often takes much more than a legal order – it takes a network of supporters.

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Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington