Domestic Violence advocates call Marietta murder a wakeup call

5:49 PM, Dec 28, 2012   |    comments
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(Cobb County Sheriff's Office)

MARIETTA, Ga. -- A Marietta man accused of cornering and killing his ex-wife remains behind bars, denied bond.

Court records show a long list of red flags, that John Kristofak was angry and wanted his ex-wife Donna Kristofak, dead.

She already had a restraining order, when court records show John Kristofak started sending her threatening emails that said in part: "I warned you never to cut me off from my children, you did and you will pay," "have you ever been hit by a car going 140 not knowing where it's coming from," and "make your final goodbyes with your children."

A criminal warrant also says Kristofak called Donna at work a dozen times using vile, vulgar language to those who answered.

Kristofak spent several months behind bars for aggravated stalking and the judge ordered him never again, to follow or contact his ex-wife. But police say once more, that piece of paper failed her.

"Because you are charged with murder I cannot give you bond," said the judge on Thursday during Kristofak's first appearance after being arrested in her death.

After five days on the run, investigators arrested him at a Motel 6 in Union City.

U.S. Marshals and Cobb County Sheriff's deputies evacuated several rooms at the motel and prepared for the worst. They broke the glass to Kristofak's room as a distraction while they entered.

"We made entry into the hotel room and after a brief struggle took him into custody," said Supervisory Inspector Gavin Duffy with the U.S. Marshals Service.

Duffy won't talk about the struggle but it's clear from Kristofak's jail booking photo there was one. Duffy says there was a gun in plain view inside the room, but he is accused of using a knife to stab and kill his ex-wife.

RELATED | Kristofak arrested in Union City

Court records show in October, Donna, fearing for her life, asked the judge to keep her ex-husband behind bars. Instead, he was given probation. Kristofak was arrested and charged with her murder less than two months later.

"They will break into your home, they will follow you, they will come to your work place," said Vanessa Kinsey, founder of Sister's Against Domestic Violence.

Kinsey started the non-profit to help other victims after being kidnapped and beaten by her ex-husband.

"To escape from him I fell backward out of the window 12 feet, smashed my heel bone, fractured my ankle, I have permanent plates and screws in my right foot. But I thank God that I'm alive," she said.

Kinsey says Donna Kristofak did everything she could to protect herself and her teenage sons, except move. A drastic step Kinsey says was probably the only hope for safety Donna had left.

"For those that continue to pursue their victim, continue to cause them harm, I would say they are at a point of no return. And a protective order, which is a tpo, it doesn't even matter," she said with a heavy sigh.

The Violence Policy Center says Georgia ranks 10th in nation for domestic violence related homicides.

Kristofak's next court appearance in January 22nd.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and need help, you can call 1-800-33-HAVEN any time, day or night.  Sister's Against Domestic Violence is also able to help find shelter, crisis intervention or provide safety planning for anyone in the Atlanta area.

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