History of domestic abuse precedes murder investigations - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

History of domestic abuse precedes murder investigations


EAU CLAIRE (WQOW)- There was a history of domestic abuse in the relationship of Theresa Still and Greg Gubernot, just as there was in the Alisha Sidie case.

Alisha was murdered by her ex-husband, three and a half years after police were first called to her home because of a domestic abuse report. 

The first time police were called to Theresa's home was two and a half years before she was murdered.

Officials say this is not unusual when you look at these kinds of cases. There tends to be an escalation of the violence. Prosecutors say there is only so much they can do to help break the cycle. They say the way the law is written, a first or second-time offense may result in little punishment ,for example, the Side case.

In the case of Alisha Sidie, her husband, Doug was charged with misdemeanor battery more than three years before her murder. Alicia told police she took the keys to his truck because she felt he was too drunk to drive. She says Doug became angry, pushed her down and then kicked her in the head. Doug's sentence a $248.00 fine.

Prosecutors say when the law allows them to push for prison time, they do. "If the specific facts of that specific case indicate great injury and a continued potential for that sure, we're going to be asking for prison," said Clark County District Attorney Darwin Zweig. Zweig says he sees at least two domestic abuse cases each week. In many of those cases Zweig says victims will try and stop charges from being filed, out of fear the charges will further aggravate their abuser. 

Zweig says in repeat offenses, prosecutors seek a greater penalty to make sure the abuser cannot hurt or attack again, "Commonly what I tell the victims is that we take their wishes into account but the call, so to speak, is ours."

In the case of Theresa Still, according to a criminal report, a co-worker told police that Theresa admitted, on multiple occasions, that she was being abused by Gubernot. The co-worker says Theresa told her she wanted Gubernot out of her house, but couldn't get him to leave. Theresa said Gubernot had begun drinking again, and was becoming more and more violent and belligerent. She confided in her co-worker that she felt that even if she tried to leave, he would never let her go.

Police hope her story can help others who may be in similar situations.  "We can only help the victims so much," said Detective Allen Myren with the Eau Claire Sheriff's Office. "It depends on how bad they want to get out of the relationship or if they can we just need to let them know that there is help out there hopefully this will be a wake up call for some people."

When responding to a domestic abuse call police say, by law, they must make an arrest. Following that arrest the victim then has the option of imposing a 72 hour no-contact order. That window is meant to give the victim an opportunity to get help.

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