Advocates against domestic violence react to victim’s death

News

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A woman convicted of killing her girlfriend has now learned her fate.

Sendra Beauregard, 43, has received consecutive life sentences for her role in the killing of her girlfriend, Pamela Donahue in December 2014.

She was sentenced after members of the victim’s family addressed her.

The judge said she hopes the sentence will send a message about a troubling trend that needs to stop.

“It cannot and must not end with a shot of a gun or from other type of abuse,” said Superior Court Justice Susan McGuirl. “The court has to send that message out on this case and other domestic violence cases.”

Final words from family members, offered a painful reminder of women who are victims of domestic violence.

“No one deserves to be stripped of the right to live by another person and especially in this violent manner,” said her daughter, Kristen Marie Gagne.

Cell phone records revealed hostile and threatening text messages from Beauregard to the 50-year-old in the days leading up to her death.

Domestic violence victim’s advocate Deb Debare said this message might not stop someone from committing an act, but the penalties could get much tougher.

“Often times it’s an assault or a second offense and then perhaps a third offense that gets bumped up to a felony charge and this is part of that messaging that we’re trying to have the community understand, that domestic violence is not just something to be swept under the rug. It is a very serious matter,” said Debare.

Tougher penalties could also help ease some of the pain families go through.

“[It] might help defendants be more likely to enter a plea agreement and that could alleviate some of the trauma that the families have to go through with a trial and waiting for, this is over a year, sometimes two years before these cases get resolved,” she said.

A ten year study reveals that 54 lives have been lost in Rhode Island alone due to domestic violence.

That boils down to an average of three to nine lives lost each year in the state.

So far this year, two live have been lost to domestic violence.

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