The murder of a Richmond mom has captivated folks in our area for months. Tameka Claiborne was stabbed to death by her live in boyfriend Michael Solomon. After cutting a plea deal with prosecutors this week, he will now spend the next forty years in prison.
Kathleen Demro, the Executive Director of Safe Harbor says cases like these instant stir emotions. She says her group reaches out to victims of domestic violence, providing them a number of services to help bring them out of their potentially deadly situations.
She says when high profile cases like Michael Solomon’s hit the airwaves and headlines, it prompts them to think “What more can we do? How can we expand access so people who are experiencing violence know about us and our services and get help?” she tells us.
During a three day trial jurors heard about a combative relationship Claiborne and Solomon shared. There was testimony of physical fights and abuse that brought family members, even her killer to tears.
It also left prosecutors urging people in this community to open their eyes to mistakes made in this deadly case. After court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring told CBS 6, “We wouldn’t be here if either one of the people had done what their instincts told them, and that’s leave. Mr. Solomon testified he had reached the conclusion that it was time to go, why he didn’t do that is a mystery. His decision to remain is what caused the final fight.”
That fight left a toddler without a mother. It’s a tragedy that Demro believes is tugging at the hearts of other victims. It’s enough to cause their crisis hotline to light up even more.
She says “ In getting the word out, you are raising awareness and we think that the media, you all are not just covering a story. I think you are creating a bridge between other victims in the community and our services. Sometimes they call in and say they don’t want to end up like the person they heard about on the news. They’re scared. They want to know how to increase their safety and how to get help and be validated that they are right to be concerned.”
One local domestic violent victim Shakeenah Davis tells us she believes the media attention on cases like these are making an impact. She says every time she hears a story about domestic violence on the news it takes her back to some pretty dark days when she watched her mom get abused. Then, Davis says the abuse even followed her into a relationship.
She says “ I was physically abused by my child’s father and it broke my heart. I never expected to go through it because I saw my mom go through it.” Now Davis is dedicated to the group Prittsy Angels. It’s a support organization of women helping domestic violence victims.
Media attention on the Tameka Claiborne murder fueled their passion even more. Davis and members of the group supported Claiborne’s famly at her killer’s trial. Joe’I Chancellor, speaking on behalf of Prittsy Angels says they were glad to see Solomon receive forty years in prison. She says “I’m hoping this case will bring awareness. I hope it’ll stop the next coward from doing this. I just don’t think any relationship has to end up the way this ended up.”
If you are a victim of domestic violence, or know someone who could use help, both groups say they welcome your call. To contact Prittsy Angels you can call 804-909-8774. To contact Safe Harbor’s hotline, call 804-287-7877.