Mom’s Murder in Parking Lot Shows What Happens When We Ignore Domestic Violence

parking lotWhen two people were shot yesterday in the parking lot of an eastern Kentucky college, the knee-jerk reaction of many people was to wonder whether there was some sort of connection to the school (understandably). But as pieces of this tragic puzzle fall into place, it looks more like law enforcement officials' initial hunches -- that the murders were were domestic violence-related -- were correct. Here's what we know so far: The victims were Caitlin Cornett, 20, of Knott County, and her uncle Jackie Cornett, 53. We know that Jackie Cornett's 12-year-old daughter, Taylor Cornett, was wounded and is now in critical condition. We know that the gunman, Dalton Stidham, 21, turned himself in to Kentucky State Police after the shooting and has since been charged two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Stidham and Cornett were meeting in the parking lot to exchange their 2-year-old son, Jaydein, for visitation (Jaydein, thankfully, was not injured).

When I heard the couple was meeting in a parking lot to make the custody exchange AND that Caitlin Cornett brought her uncle along, I thought, Uh-oh, that girl was scared of her ex. And as it turns out, she was scared of Stidham -- scared enough to try to obtain an emergency domestic violence order against him in November, according to her sister Brittany.

So sad, so unnecessary. Caitlin knew she was in danger, she tried to get help, and for whatever reason ... she didn't get the protection she needed. Now her son is virtually orphaned (his dad will more than likely be spending a long time in jail), a 12-year-old girl's life is on the line, and two innocent people are dead.

Do you think domestic violence needs to be taken more seriously?


Image via Steven Orr/Flickr

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EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

This is awful, I really hope the poor girl is okay.

nonmember avatar 2ofthesame

Maybe, the officals should start punishing those who cry abuse under false means a great deal more. It is all their faults that cases like this aren't taken seriously. I can't blame the judge for second doubting the victim when several other before her have abused this right as a form of punishment or to make their exs' lives hell. Its selfish *****es like that that put this woman and her family in the most danger.

nonmember avatar Ash

And the little girl died the next day... Awful :(

nonmember avatar Ashleigh

It's very sad. It was just confirmed on our local news that Taylor has also died. My heart goes out to the family. I hope that the State does it's job by this man and gives him a fitting sentance

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

I'm from that area...these things are not at all uncommon...

rusty... rusty2rusty

Yes I do think domestic voilence needs to be taken more seriously. I didn't. As a result, my ex husband shot me. I am disabled because of it. I just wish I would of gotten out of the marraige before 15 years. I fear for my daughter who is only 12, for my sons who are 14 and 21 yrs old now. It is only three years since my ex husband is no longer in our lives. But we are still rebuilding from the trust we all have lost.

Renee... ReneeN1979

I agree with a commenter above: if nobody abused the system, judges wouldn't think these orders were just a means to obtain the upper hand in custody disputes. Yes, many guilty men and women CLAIM their ex is making a false report to get custody, but if there weren't proof that some people do make false reports, then more people would be taken seriously when they make this claim.

It's horrible all around. But most especially, I feel for the 12 year old. She should've never been brought to this exchange.

nonmember avatar Mike Austin

If that had been my daughter or niece, I would have utilized the CC permit I have and made sure they protected. She was obviously afraid and sadly, she was right. I will not leave my families protection to the Police or a piece of paper. They cannot protect you. They are there to hopefully catch those that harm you. That is their only job.

Andre... Andreamom001

How awful.  Courts need to take domestic violence more seriously and consider it in custody/visitation arrangments.  An abused person shold nto have to meet with an abuser in a parking lot to exchange a child for visitation--EVER!  There are cases of abusive spouces killing the children to hurt the abused spouse, too.  Much care needs to be taken.  So sad.

LilyCT LilyCT

How very sad that this poor child will grow up without a mama! I wish the father had thought of the consequences for his child before he shot his former girlfriend. I also wish that Law Enforcement had taken her more seriously when she asked for help. Now her uncle is dead, she's dead, and her poor lttle cousin is fighting for her life. This man is a sorry excuse for a human, and it's just too bad he will get to spend the rest of his life in prison on tax payers dime.


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