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Letter: Woman was murdered trying to flee her abuser

Woman was murdered trying to flee her abuser

A man by the name of Matthew Mills had been terrorizing his wife for years before the two moved to Buffalo last year. His history of inflicting domestic violence extended back to both Florida and Tennessee. Buffalo police were called to their Allentown home on the evening of Oct. 20, and left when Mills was nowhere to be found. The next morning, the woman did the most courageous and difficult thing a victim of domestic violence can do – she made a break for it. Three shots were fired that morning. It was a murder-suicide, and one woman’s heartbreaking story came to a tragic end.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda had this to say about the situation: “You really can’t control domestics. You have a history here. A long history. If she would have left him awhile back, maybe we wouldn’t be where we are.” Ouch. As a citizen of Buffalo, a woman and a human being, those words horrified me.

To be fair, Derenda is correct about one thing – there certainly are many things that could have been done differently in this situation. Mills could have stopped being cruel, violent and abusive to his wife. Mills could have shown the woman he was supposed to love respect and humanity. Mills could have sought treatment for his abhorrent behavior that infringed on another individual’s rights and freedom. Americans could have put their feet down with abusers and stopped justifying their actions many years ago. As far as telling the woman she could have left? We all saw what happened when she tried.

Claire Crowley