‘I live in constant fear.’ Bethel woman killed in murder-suicide had restraining order against husband

Traci Jones, 52, was granted a restraining order against her husband, Lester Jones, 56, on Jan. 24—one week before he allegedly shot her, then turned the gun on himself.

Marissa Alter

Feb 3, 2023, 1:28 AM

Updated 481 days ago

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A Bethel woman who was killed in a murder-suicide feared for her safety. Traci Jones, 52, was granted a restraining order against her husband, Lester Jones, 58, on Jan. 24—one week before he allegedly shot her, then turned the gun on himself.
In the application for a restraining order, on Jan. 17, Traci Jones wrote, “I live in constant fear,” adding she’d “endured a lot” from Lester Jones over the years, including emotional and verbal abuse. She wrote the two share a birthday, and he'd often state, "We were born on the same day. We will die on the same day."
Bethel police responded to their home on Reservoir Street late Tuesday night and found them both with gunshot wounds. The restraining order prohibited Lester Jones from being at that address or having any contact with his wife. It also required he stay at least 100 yards away from her and turn over any firearms. It’s unknown if he surrendered the guns as is mandated.
Police said the first report of domestic violence to them was made on Jan. 20, when Traci Jones claimed her husband was threatening her over the phone. Lester Jones was staying with family in upstate New York at the time, according to police, who contacted law enforcement there to arrest him. New York State Police arrested him that day on charges of first-degree criminal contempt and second-degree harassment. Within the last week, Lester Jones came back to Connecticut and was staying with family in Danbury, according to police. They said on Tuesday, he returned to the home and shot Traci Jones once in the chest and once in the head before shooting himself in the head.
“I’m angry. You know, Traci should be here today,” said state Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan, who represents the 2nd District, which includes Bethel. Allie-Brennan is on the judiciary committee and said laws to protect domestic violence victims need to be strengthened. He said he’s helped introduce legislation that would require the judicial branch to monitor anyone with a restraining order or protective order.
“The judicial branch has this GPS system in process, but they only use it for certain cases,” Allie-Brennan told News 12. “We should be expanding GPS monitoring, and we should be enforcing it for every case where somebody has a restraining order.”
Danielle Pollack, policy manager at the National Family Violence Law Center at GW Law, said there was a clear failure by the system once the restraining order was granted. “It’s a moment when the institutional response needs to be very strong, and they need to enforce everything. So, if you’re going to give the piece of paper, which you absolutely need to do when a person is at risk, you need to follow all the way through and enforce whatever is in the order,” Pollack explained.
She told News 12 asking for protection can be risky for a domestic violence victim because it can set the abuser off even more. “It sends a signal to the abuser that they are losing their grip on the victim. The victim is taking action to get free from their dominance and their control.”
The death of Traci Jones has rocked her small, tightknit community. A tribute to her sits outside the hair salon where she did more than just work. Jones was known as “the light” of the place. Her radiant smile shines from the pictures there that now memorialize her. People dropped off flowers as they continue to try to process how Jones became yet another victim of domestic violence.
“There’s so many Connecticut cases in the last months, and it just really calls on Connecticut to look at some serious reforms,” Pollack said. “It’s really alarming.”
Traci Jones’ murder comes about two months after a Milford woman was killed by her ex-partner. Julie Minogue also had a restraining order against him, as well as a protective order. That case has also spurred lawmakers to act.
“I don’t think I’ve seen this much domestic violence legislation at the capital before which is encouraging,” Allie-Brennan told News 12.


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