Thursday, August 23, 2012

Houma, LA: Murder-suicide suspect had history of abuse

HOUMA, La. -- The Wednesday murder-suicide in Houma was the tragic conclusion to a turbulent relationship victim Tiffany Pledger could not escape.
Court records paint a dark picture of Kenneth Pledger, 46, who late last month was released from jail for violating a restraining order against his wife.
It’s unclear what prompted Kenneth Pledger’s final, tragic actions, but police believe in the early hours of Wednesday morning, he broke into the bedroom window of the home at 402 T Leigh Drive where his wife and two young girls lived.
He shot his wife three times before turning the gun on himself, police said.
The 41-year-old’s two children woke Wednesday morning looking for their mother only to find blood seeping from under her door. They ran to the home of a neighbor who called the police.
Wednesday was their eldest daughter’s 7th birthday. The other daughter is 3. Both were released to relatives.
“She was a good mother,” said Tiffany Pledger’s cousin Charletta Morgan, “She would do whatever she could for you.”
The street outside Tiffany Pledger’s home was a tearful scene as family and acquaintances gathered throughout the morning. Nobody wanted to speak on the record, but several noted Tiffany’s troubles with her estranged husband.
“This is senseless. The system failed her,” said a cousin who refused to be identified outside the victim’s home.
Earlier this year, Tiffany Pledger filed a restraining order against her husband demanding he stay away from her, their children and her workplace. According to the order, it was filed because Kenneth Pledger threatened to harm and kill her.
Tiffany Pledger’s statement pleading for the order paints her husband as an angry and violent man whose abuse of her often coincided with his alcohol and drug abuse.
Tiffany Pledger went into specific detail of her husband’s emotional and physical abuse in the statement because a judge denied an earlier restraining order request.
She detailed instances where Kenneth Pledger came home drunk or high on cocaine and threatened harm to her. She said he was paranoid she was hiding another man in the closet or in the bathroom even hours after he had been home.
The victim said she tried to call 911 one time, but when her husband noticed, he grabbed the phone and shouted: “Bitch I could kill you, and I’m going to kill your man next.”
These accusations were often cast in the presence of their two children, she said in the statement. The statement also describes sexual abuse her husband inflicted on a daily basis.
The two applied for a marriage license in December 2005, and Tiffany Pledger’s statement indicated she had worked hard to preserve the family, but the fear of her or the children being harmed by him became too much.
“I don’t want to risk our safety any longer,” she said in the statement, “I have tried to support my husband and keep our family together, but his drug and alcohol abuse just keeps getting worse. There seems to be no end to his rampage as long as he has money.”
After a judge granted the protective order, Kenneth Pledger was caught violating it twice this year.
One charge landed him a six-month jail sentence but was suspended in return for parole, with him agreeing to not return to the home and other stipulations. He served a 90-day jail sentence on the other charge and was released late last month.
Kenneth Pledger’s criminal record shows a history of abuse of women, drugs and alcohol.
His previous wife also filed domestic abuse charges against him, reporting abuse similar to what Tiffany Pledger suffered. He also served time in jail last year for possession of cocaine and in June was charged with having an open container in the vehicle.
“It’s such a sad situation,” said Enola Westley who sang in a choir with Tiffany Pledger. “She was a kind lady. I know she’ll be missed.”

No comments: