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A mother of children killed by their father says she lived in fear


A mother whose three children were fatally shot inside a Sacramento County church this week during a supervised visitation with their father won a restraining order against him last year after saying authorities that he was violent and had threatened to kill her.

The father, David Mora, 39, shot and killed his three daughters – aged 9, 10 and 13 – and a church official who had agreed to oversee the visitation, before shooting himself dead, according to the law enforcement, the coroner’s office and the court. recordings.

Monday’s shooting came after Mr. Mora’s partner of 15 years described his history of abuse in court documents filed in late April 2021. The New York Times is withholding the woman’s name. A phone call to her was not returned Wednesday.

The order, granted in May 2021, outlined conditions for Mr. Mora to visit his children and prohibited him from buying or possessing firearms.

Mr. Mora “said he didn’t kill me because he wouldn’t know where to go with the children,” the woman said in court documents. She added: “I’m scared and I’m nervous. I’m scared that the respondent will hurt me.

The woman also said Mr. Mora physically assaulted her in the presence of their three children.

She said the most recent abuse took place at their home on April 17, 2021. The couple argued when the woman said she wanted to quit her job selling tamales and start cleaning houses. Mr. Mora, she said, did not want her to do this. “He threw a ball at me,” she wrote. “He grabbed my right arm and pushed me” and “he was acting crazy”.

The woman said she called a friend from church to pick her up, and the next day she called the police. Mr Mora, she wrote, “had expressed a desire to kill himself” and he was “admitted to hospital for a week and treated for psychosis”.

The woman said she and the children had moved out of the house they shared with Mr. Mora. The children had witnessed his behavior, she said. “They were scared and crying. My eldest bit her nails.

Earlier this same month, Mr Mora kicked the woman so hard that her left leg was bruised, after she said she did not want to have sex with him, documents show judicial.

And in February 2020, the woman wrote that Mr Mora had threatened to kill her if he caught her cheating on her. She also said Mr Mora “is a very jealous person” who “has smothered me in the past”.

The woman said Mr. Mora did not threaten her with a weapon and did not possess one. It’s unclear how he got the gun he used on Monday. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Wednesday.

Restraint orders have become important tools for victims of domestic violence to ensure their safety, although the ability to enforce them has sometimes been difficult. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles found that in a study of 231 women who had been killed by their male partners, 11% were given prescriptions restrictive. Of these, about a third of the women were killed within a month of obtaining restraining orders.

On May 19, 2021, California Superior Court in Sacramento granted the woman a five-year restraining order. In it, the couple agreed to let Mr. Mora visit the couple’s children “for up to four hours per visit, supervised” by a man identified by church records and the coroner’s office as Nathaniel Kong. (Court records spell the man’s last name as “Alcon.”) A man who answered the phone listed for Mr. Kong’s wife said Wednesday she was unavailable to speak.

Asking for a restraining order, the woman said she was concerned about Mr Mora’s ‘mental stability’ and wanted his visits with the children to be ‘supervised by my friend’.

If Mr. Kong was unavailable, the couple agreed to have an agency oversee visitation at Mr. Mora’s expense, as per the restraining order.

Such costs can be expensive. Professional supervised visitation monitors can range from $40 to $100 an hour, according to April Hayes, executive director of the Sacramento Counseling and Family Service Center, which provides aftercare and counseling.

A federal grant to help low-income parents with some costs of such visits is no longer available in Sacramento, according to Dr. Hayes, who has worked in the field for about two decades.

Parents who cannot afford the cost of professional monitors often make arrangements with well-meaning but not professionally trained monitors, and may arrange meetings at churches or restaurants where safety precautions are more difficult to ensure, a- she declared.

In 2012, Dr Hayes said she was assaulted by a relative whose visit she was monitoring inside a church.

Referring to supervised meetings at his agency, Dr Hayes said: ‘We have a lockdown process. To ensure safety, people at the agency sometimes used chopsticks to check on parents, she said. While effective, such safety measures aren’t always appreciated by parents in what can already seem like a contentious setting, Dr. Hayes said. “Supervised parents feel victimized.”

“I really wish there was a better system,” she said, “but I don’t know what the answer is.”

nytimes

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