‘Why Did You Shoot My Momma?' Murder Case Reveals an Uphill Battle for Dallas

After Jimmy Hightower fatally shot his wife in the driveway of their southeast Dallas home, he said he did it because "she hit me first," police records show. The couple was arguing in 31-year-old Jaytoyah Davis' car on Saturday afternoon when police say Hightower fired on Davis. The convicted felon wasn't even supposed to have a gun. One of Davis' children heard the gunshot and went outside to see what happened. Hightower was holding two handguns when he got out of the car. "Why did you shoot my momma?" the child asked.Hightower blamed Davis, grabbed some belongings from inside the house and fled. He was arrested on a murder charge the next day. Advocates for ending domestic violence say victims are often blamed for their abuse. Outside observers might ask, "Why didn't she leave?" "A lot of people don't leave because they don't have anywhere to go; they don't have a shelter," said Keisha Lankford, who offers domestic violence counseling services at Lankford Avenue. "We're behind the curve on being able to accommodate all victims or survivors of family violence."The Family Place and other Dallas-area domestic violence shelters have expanded in the past year to serve more abused men and women. But it's still not enough. Because of a lack of space in local shelters, nearly 8,000 people were turned away between June 2016 and May, according to Dallas' third annual report on domestic violence, conducted by the Institute for Urban Policy Research at the University of Texas at Dallas. The report was released Thursday and looks at how many domestic violence 911 calls were made, how many cases were filed with the Dallas County district attorney's office and how many people used services at domestic violence shelters. Dallas not only lacks enough shelters, it lacks enough detectives in the Police Department's family violence unit. In May, the department's domestic violence unit had 23 detectives who handled an average of 45 cases a month. One detective was given 65 cases in May, the report says. The department has added 11 detectives since then, along with a caseworker funded through a state grant with The Family Place.There were 15,566 domestic violence calls to 911 between June 2016 and May, a slight increase over the previous year. "The pressure on our police force is obvious," Flink said. Advocates said they're concerned that abuse victims still don't feel like there's help. "Most of them have no clue what a husband or partner is supposed to do," said Lankford, whose organization counsels nearly 300 people a year and offers anger management classes for abusers. "They allow jealousy and fear to ruin their relationship." Hightower hadn't been arrested on domestic violence charges in Dallas County, but the convicted felon wasn't supposed to have a gun at the time of Davis' slaying. Officers pulled over Hightower in September because of an invalid vehicle registration. When officers told him he was under arrest for outstanding warrants, Hightower pulled out a gun. He was arrested on charges of resisting arrest, possession of drugs, felony aggravated assault of a public servant and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. He posted bail and was released from jail. His bond was revoked after it was reported he killed the mother of his child, court records show. A gun was used in 65 percent of domestic violence murders committed since 2014, the report says.  Continue reading...

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