Apr 2, 2012
On March 13th Heather Lynn McGuire was shot in the back of the head and dumped in the middle of a busy intersection in Kensington, Maryland outside Washington, D.C., left to die. She was murdered by her estranged husband, Philip Gilberti.
It turns out that Gilberti had just been let out of jail without a hearing on the day before he shot his wife. He had been arrested twice the weekend before the murder for stalking, violating a protective order and threatening to kill his wife. The judge knew there was a terrified woman trying desperately to escape from this man. She was in the process of getting a divorce and she had been in hiding from him and shelter-hopping because he kept finding her. Nonetheless, the judge released Gilberti on bond, doing nothing but issuing a new order for him to stay away from his wife.
The judge didn’t believe the wife, and instead acted as if the husband were not an immediate violent threat.
The problem is not just one “violent” man or one judge, but much deeper. This is not the first time a husband killed his wife. This is not even the first time a protective order failed to protect. This happens regularly. Not always so publicly and dramatically, but it happens.
As much as some would claim otherwise and as much as the violence is private and often hidden, the fact remains we live in a society that devalues women. It’s a society that assumes a man has ownership rights over his wife.