A former North Carolina teacher has not yet decided whether she’ll return to teaching after resigning earlier this year. She gave up the job, which she’d performed so well that she was named her school’s 2012-13 Teacher of the Year, because she was charged with murder.
Everything changed for the woman on Feb. 10, when she asked her former boyfriend to leave her house. She left the house, too. But when she returned, he was still there. He was reportedly drunk and angry, and they fought.
She stabbed him once. She says this was necessary to protect herself. He died from the stab wound.
The teacher was eventually charged with first-degree murder. Seven months later, after she was indicted and a district attorney examined her case, the charge was dropped. As the woman’s attorney points out, the district attorney’s job is not only to prosecute defendants; it is also to decide when it is appropriate to decline to prosecute.
In describing why her case was one of self-defense, the woman says that people who experience domestic violence may be unlikely to share their stories with close family and friends — until, that is, a shocking event like this one occurs. She hopes that her experience will encourage others to use and support the resources available to people who live with domestic violence.
Being charged with first-degree murder after the ordeal this teacher has described must have been a devastating experience. But she persevered, protecting her rights at every step and seeking an outcome that reflected the situation as she saw it. Every defendant deserves the same chance.
Source: Mooresville Tribune, “No longer facing murder charge, Mooresville woman speaks out,” Donna Swicegood, Sept. 10, 2013