Local News

Chapel Hill Murder-Suicide Raises Questions About Domestic Violence Laws

Posted November 30, 2004

— The murder-suicide involving a UNC employee is raising questions about domestic violence laws.

Shennel McKendall was gunned down by her estranged husband Monday morning outside the Hedrick Building near the Friday Center. Her husband then turned the gun on himself. At the time, McKendall had a restraining order against her husband.

"She couldn't have done anything," said Amy Holloway, executive director of the Family Violence Prevention Center. "She did everything she could've done. This is a cultural issue as much as a legal issue, that our society is still pretty violent."

The second time Randy McKendall violated an order of protection, a judge set his bond at ten times the usual amount at $10,000. McKendall paid it, and was released.

"The reality is if it's only a misdemeanor to violate a protective order, then we're not really taking it all that seriously," Holloway said.

One victim, who did not want us to show her face or her real name, said her husband almost strangled her to death last year. But after she filed an order, her husband did not try to contact her.

"My opinion would be definitely to get one yes, that it can work," the victim said. "My ex-husband is in prison. I am trying to get my life back together and it is very hard. It seems like there is no light at the tunnel, but there is hope."

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