(Memphis) Carl Smith has been charged with first-degree murder for the death of Bronsha Lewis last week.
He had been in trouble with the law for abusing Lewis before, and some say they believe the justice system didn’t do enough to protect her.
Smith just got off probation in June for assaulting her in April of last year.
According to Memphis statistics, there were 1,538 domestic violence offenses in that month alone, and some believe Smith slipped through the cracks.
“It’s staggering,” said Oliver T. Williams, the executive director of Hope Center at Grace, one of three batterers’ intervention programs in Memphis.
Out of more than 17,000 domestic violence offenses in Memphis last year, Williams only saw 120 men in his program.
“If we could see more people, we could see more change,” said Williams.
When Smith was in the system last year, for beating Lewis in April then threatening her with a gun, the courts gave him probation and ordered him to community service, drug counseling and anger management.
Williams says Smith should have gone to a batterer’s intervention program.
Right now, the county only orders people with bad assessment scores to go there but Williams says, all domestic violence offenders should be ordered to go.
“Pretty much automatically put a person in a program that will require them to be monitored for six months and if you re-offend during that time, you are going to have to start that process all over again.”
Williams says the program is more intense than anger management, checks on victims, making sure they are OK, and is monitored by the State.
He hopes lawmakers make it a standard for all men accused of battering women.
“How many more lives have to be taken for this to be heard?”
Smith is due back in Court Wednesday, August 4 at 8:30 a.m.