As man makes court appearance in domestic violence death, advocates hope victims don’t lose hope

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- She was an advocate for peace, and she became a murder victim herself. Barbara Killebrew's ex-boyfriend is accused of killing her, and we're learning she took steps to try to protect herself from him.

Killebrew had a restraining order taken out against her former boyfriend.

Barbara Killebrew

Barbara Killebrew

On Monday, July 7th, Monreal Wilson was in court for a preliminary hearing.

Wilson faces one count of first degree intentional homicide in connection with the stabbing death of Killebrew.

Domestic violence advocates are hopeful this case will allow other domestic violence victims to realize there are many avenues out there for getting help.

On Monday morning, July 7th, Wilson sat in a Milwaukee County courtroom as Detective Matthew Bell recounted the events leading up to Killebrew's death -- allegedly, at Wilson's hands.

"They engaged in an argument where Ms. Killebrew ended up lying on a bed. Mr. Wilson straddled Ms. Killebrew and stabbed her three to four times in the chest," Detective Bell said.

Even with multiple stab wounds to her hands and chest -- Killebrew tried to save herself.

"Ms. Killebrew was able to get up and she made it to the rear stairwell. The lower unit occupant observed both Ms. Killebrew and Mr. Wilson in that rear stairwell," Detective Bell said.

Police later found Killebrew near the lower bathroom -- "in a large amount of blood," according to Detective Bell.

Before this violence that occurred near 24th and Melvina -- Killebrew had tried to protect herself from Wilson -- taking out a restraining order against him.

Apparently, no one could find Wilson to serve him the papers.

A judge has now ruled that Wilson should stand trial in Killebrew's death. He has pleaded not guilty to the first degree intentional homicide charge.

Even though this situation ended with Killebrew's death, Carmen Pitre with Sojourner Family Peace Center says incidents like this shouldn't cause domestic abuse victims to lose hope. Instead, she says victims need to tap into any options that are available.

"There is no one, absolute guarantee that will keep you safe. It is more about strategy and a planning process. We would sit down and talk about the reality of your circumstance. Where do you live? Is your house safe? Does your abuser know how you get to and from work? Can you talk to your employer about it? Are there broken locks on your window? Will he follow you? Do you need to relocate? No one entity is going to solve this problem. We need to get the message down to the core -- to all of our neighborhoods, that help is available," Pitre said.

Pitre stresses that it's vital to look for a safe person to talk to who may also be able to help aid in your protection.


In April, Gov. Scott Walker signed into law three bills that offers new protections for victims of domestic abuse.

The first puts in place a monitoring procedure to force abusers under injunctions to surrender their firearms.

The second puts "stalking" in the definition of domestic abuse.

The third creates better linkages between law enforcement and victim services providers -- which will help officers give victims needed resource information.


Milwaukee's Sojourner Family Peace Center helps thousands victims of domestic abuse every year.

The Sojourner Family Peace Center is the largest non-profit provider of domestic violence prevention and intervention services in Wisconsin.

Sojourner provides an array of support aimed at helping families affected by domestic violence to achieve safety, justice and well-being.

On its website, the Sojourner Family Peace Center says its primary goals are to ensure the safety of victims of family violence, and provide a pathway out of violence for victims and abusers through opportunities to make positive and lasting changes for themselves and their children.

CLICK HERE for a Sojourner Family Peace Center brochure

The Sojourner Family Peace Center offers Sojourner Truth -- an emergency domestic violence shelter for women and children.

The 46-bed emergency shelter offers a safe respite for battered women, sexual assault victims and their children.

The Sojourner Family Peace Center also offers a 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline that can help callers of all ages.

All calls are confidential.

Also available via the Sojourner Family Peace Center -- support groups held in confidential locations.

The Sojourner Family Peace Center can also help you file a restraining order.

If you need help, or you know someone who does -- contact the Sojourner Family Peace Center at 414-933-2722.

CLICK HERE to visit the Sojourner Family Peace Center's website.

Another resource for domestic violence victims is the Milwaukee Women's Center.

Founded in 1980, the Milwaukee Women’s Center provides comprehensive services and treatment for women, men, and children whose lives have been affected by domestic violence, addiction, mental health issues, and poverty.

In June 2007, to ensure the continuation of critical domestic violence resources in Milwaukee County, the Milwaukee Women’s Center became a Division of Community Advocates.

Each year, more than 1,000 women, men, and children benefit from direct intervention, treatment, and prevention services, while more than 12,000 individuals receive assistance through the 24-Hour Crisis Line and community education programs.

The Milwaukee Women’s Center operates one of only two domestic violence shelters for women and children in Milwaukee County.

In addition to the shelter, the Milwaukee Women's Center offers comprehensive programming for the entire family, with the goal of ending the cycle of violence, abuse, and addiction that grips so many families for generations.

If you or someone you know is in need of emergency shelter or help with domestic abuse or other issues, please call the Milwaukee Women's Center at 414-671-6140.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Milwaukee Women's Center.

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1 Comment

  • opiepaul

    Why is it that, in every domestic violence death, the victim had taken out a restraining order against her abuser? It appears that restraining orders do nothing to protect the abused. It’s almost like waving a red flag in front of a bull, daring him to charge. Often a restraining order is just the red flag some abusers need.

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