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Ohio Teen Killed Weeks After Opening Up About Domestic Violence In Facebook Post

17-year-old LaShonda Childs was trying to move on from an abusive relationship when she was murdered.  

With October being Domestic Violence Awareness month, the murder of 17-year-old LaShonda Childs is another crushing and tragic reminder of the number of black girls who suffer through intimate partner violence. Childs was shot and killed earlier in the week following a fatal run-in with her ex-boyfriend, Trendell Goodwin, who has been arrested and charged in her murder.

“If you see the signs don’t ignore it y’all. Domestic violence is real not just in movies,” Childs warned on Facebook on Sept. 21 in a detailed post sharing some of the many instance of abuse that she experienced during her relationship with Goodwin.

Nearly two weeks later, on Oct. 2, Childs was seated in the passenger side of a 2006 Chevrolet Impala driven by her boyfriend as Goodwin fired multiple shots into the vehicle. Childs’ boyfriend transported her to Grandview Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio, where she was pronounced dead the following morning. Her death was ruled a homicide by a gunshot wound to the head.

Moments prior to the shooting, Childs called 911 to report that Goodwin “pointed a gun” at her boyfriend’s head. She also told the dispatcher that she had a restraining order against him.

“I’m scared," she said. “He’s got a gun. I can’t talk...I’m in a bad situation.”

The Cycle Of Abuse

Childs was trapped so deeply in the cycle of abuse, that she battled between protecting Goodwin, and moving on with her life. Her death reiterates the fear of being stalked and even killed, that contributes to why a number of domestic violence victims stay in abusive relationships.

Regardless of their partner's ethnic background, Black women experience intimate partner violence at a rate of 35 percent higher than whites and up to two-and-a-half times more than other races. Black women are four times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner of any ethnicity, and black teens are more like than white teens to be hit by a boyfriend or girlfriend. The most common age when women (of all races) first experience intimate partner violence is between 18-34, followed by girls ages 11-17.

In April, Childs wrote a letter asking Dayton Municipal Court Judge Daniel Gehres to release Goodwin from jail, after one of at least a dozen reported incidents of abuse dating back to 2017. According to the excerpts of the letter published by the Daytona Daily News, Childs’ insisted that Goodwin was a “genuinely kind hearted, family oriented man,” and described the assault as a “rough patch in a life together that resulted in a huge mess.”

Childs said that she and Goodwin were “good people with short tempers,” and that she wanted things to turn around. “Hopefully we can put this in our past and start over.”

Failed Order Of Protection

By early September, Judge Gehres ordered Goodwin to stay at least 500 feet away from Childs, and extended his probation (stemming from the April incident) another year. Goodwin broke the protective order within three days, reportedly showing up to Childs' home and setting one of her wigs on fire, throwing it at her and stealing her cell phone. Days after the alleged robbery, Goodwin was accused of firing shots at the home where Childs' lived with her family.

In early 2017, police were called after Goodwin broke Childs’ phone and threw her purse in the sewer, during an argument where he accused her of texting another man. Last Christmas Eve, Goodwin argued with Childs about more alleged text messages and dragged her out of a car by her feet, according to a police report. The domestic violence calls continued through April 2018, when Childs penned the letter to the judge. Roughly one month later, Childs’ mother told police that Goodwin shot up her house and threatened to kill her daughter. Childs’ mother also claims Goodwin, 28, told the teen that he was 20 years old when they first met.

“She was really in the process of leaving this time, but it was basically a fatal attraction,” her brother Jaylon said in an interview. “Whatever happens to him, we can’t get our sister back, but as long as justice is served, there may be some peace.”

Not Guilty Plea

Goodwin pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday (Oct. 5), which would have been Childs' 18th birthday. He was arraigned on two counts of murder and improper discharge of a firearm and three counts of felonious assault.

Speaking to Ohio's WHIO-TV, Goodwin’s father called the murder a “tragedy for both families,” and extended condolences to Childs’ loved ones. “It’s too late to say I wish things could have been different.”

He added that there are “two sides to every story,” and claimed that Childs’ boyfriend pulled a gun on his son. Despite defending him, Goodwin's father noted, “If it’s proven that he did it, he deserves to be punished.”

Goodwin’s lawyer requested the minimum bond available. The judge set a cash bond of $ 1 million. Goodwin's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12.

READ MORE: Serena Williams On Domestic Violence: “This Is A Human Rights Issue”

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