Baton Rouge breaks record for domestic violence murders
BATON ROUGE - East Baton Rouge Parish has broken another record, and it's not a good one. The parish surpassed last year's all-time record high for domestic violence murders.
There's growing worry that the number will only increase with nearly three months of the year to go.
So far this year, East Baton Rouge Parish has seen 25 domestic violence murders. Last year's record was 19 for the entire year.
In district court Tuesday morning, Jeremy Robertson was convicted for his fifth time on domestic abuse battery charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with seven of those years suspended.
At Robertson's last known address, neighbors recalled the trouble.
"She would just say that he would push her," one neighbor said. "Threaten her and pull a gun on her."
Robertson, 32, been arrested at least 19 times. He has such a high conviction rate of beating women, there isn't even a charge that fits his fifth conviction for doing the same.
"He's a p****," one neighbor said. "I don't like men that beat women. I have kids."
Robertson's criminal history shows he's had so many arrests that by the time he goes to court, he's spent so much time in jail already that he gets out around the same day he pleads guilty. The WBRZ Investigative Unit unraveled the trouble in a convoluted web of court documents not easy to decipher. Robertson was first convicted of domestic violence in March 2015. He was convicted twice in 2017 and a fourth time in 2018.
Last year, Robertson was accused of trying to kill another one of his dating partners, after prosecutors say he intentionally fired a weapon toward his girlfriend at the time.
WBRZ asked District Attorney Hillar Moore how someone could get four domestic violence convictions and manage to get back out on the streets to do it again.
"Every case is different," Moore said. "It depends on evidence, cooperation of victims, and these victims in domestic violence cases are in tough positions. The people who are beating them are the ones they have children by and live with. It puts them in a tough and awkward position."
Moore said the situation involving domestic violence cases is typically complex. His office has seen a major spike in cases. And even though he has a domestic violence prosecutor that focuses only on those cases, the workload is forcing others to help out.
"Last year was a high year, and this year is even higher," Moore said.
With nearly three months left to go in 2021, leaders fear things won't get better.
"We appreciate the attention that the media and Channel 2 has given to this domestic violence issue," Moore said. "We need to make it more obvious to people. It doesn't happen in pockets like crime or some homicide occurs. This occurs all over East Baton Rouge Parish. It doesn't matter what color you are or what religion you are. It occurs all over."
In addition to the most domestic violence murders in Baton Rouge, a record number of protective orders have also been filed. So far, 430 have been signed this year.
Anyone who needs help can contact the Capital Area Family Justice Center at 225-239-7880. The facility is located at 1120 Government St. in Baton Rouge.