Local News

County Plans to Track Domestic Violence Suspects

Posted January 2, 2007 6:51 p.m. EST
Updated January 2, 2007 7:23 p.m. EST

— In 2006, about 60 deaths were reported as a result of domestic violence in North Carolina. Now, one county is responding to a woman’s death by looking at new technology to track offenders.

The stabbing death of Narskelsky Pastuer last month and the arrest of her estranged husband on murder charges has prompted authorities in Franklin County to consider the use of the global positioning system (GPS) in tracking offenders on pre-trial release. Pitt County has offenders who are free on bond wear a tracking bracelet to make sure they don’t go near their alleged victims.

“(We may) put them on some kind of electronic monitoring with a GPS system that we could monitor them 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Franklin County Sheriff Pat Green.

Greene said he is troubled that too many abusive spouses are arrested and brought to jail, only to be released on bail later, when they continue their pattern of abuse

Pastuer's body was found last month in the trunk of her automobile in Franklin County. Her estranged husband, Robert Pastuer, is being held without bail on charges that he stabbed her to death.

“One person murdered is bad enough because of domestic violence,” Green said. “We have had two this past year. In the years past, we have had as many as four.”

Inside a Franklin County domestic violence agency, memorials are set up to honor women who have been murdered by husbands or boyfriends. Safe Space helps victims with the legal paper work and counseling that's involved in leaving an abusive relationship.

“Sometimes it does take quite a long time,” said Safe Space spokeswoman Lin Rudoph. “You could have someone who is slapped once and they leave, or someone who was married for 30 years and finally says, ‘I've had enough.’”

Green, who just took office, said his focus is on reducing domestic violence. He told WRAL that he hopes the new tracking program will be a start.

The proposal for the purchase of GPS anklets could reach the Franklin County Commissioners by spring. Other counties are considering federal or state grants to help pay for the program. State lawmakers have indicated that they may add stiffer penalties for violations of a protective order.