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Three dead in domestic violence homicides this week

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BATON ROUGE- Concerns are mounting that 2018 could be another bad year for domestic violence deaths. Already, we're off to a bad start with three dead just this week.

Last year, the parish broke records with 14 domestic violence-related deaths. The year before that (2016) there were seven. Tonight, the number already stands at five, and we are three months into 2018.

District Attorney Hillar Moore said in his 44-year career, this is the first time three people have died in the same week tied to separate domestic-related homicides.

"The sad part of this is every one of these is 100 percent preventable," Moore said. "It's just sad to see someone lose their life over something that can be prevented. How do we prevent it? Somebody knows. This isn't something that happens for the first time."

Saturday, Bianca Queen was killed in the 5000 block of Annette Street. The next day, Terrance Roddy was shot to death in another domestic violence homicide on Oleson Street. Then, Wednesday night, Lovie Variste was beaten to death in her apartment.

Investigators say Eric Augustus smoked synthetic marijuana prior to that deadly beating. Augustus had a lengthy criminal history with at least three convictions for prior domestic abuse batteries. Three involved the same victim.

"It's a really complex problem," Moore said. "In this case, you see that he's been charged and convicted, and served the maximum period of time of six months... Which equates to three months with good time."

Tonight, District Attorney Hillar Moore says his office has reached out to a national organization to share data and see what can be done to stop the violence before it happens. However, one of the biggest challenges facing prosecutors is the lack of cooperation with victims once an arrest is made.

"It's a difficult situation," Moore said. "No one is throwing money at the problem. We're trying to better identify them before it happens so we can be more proactive than reactive.... But it will take some time."

To give you an idea of how much of a problem this is, each year the District Attorney's Office handles 1,400 domestic violence cases. The parishwide number more than doubles to 3,000, which includes domestic violence cases handled in city court. Next week, at least seven domestic violence trials are scheduled to go to court.

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