Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Litany of Victims Takes a Shape

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Litany of Victims Takes a Shape

Article excerpt

MICHELLE LEE. Tracy Lynn Germann. Bonnie Sprouse. Denise P. Derr. Lori Dollins. Vickey Landers. Melissa Gratts. Bonnie Jemas. Frances Kay Hardin. Laura Vaughn. Barbara Roth. Dorothy Delores Evans. Mandi Fouts. Peggy Koelling.

The women who bore these names were black and white, young and old, well-educated and illiterate. One of them may have lived next door to you, shared your hair stylist, had a child in the same school.

All they had in common was their gender and their fate. Each was killed by a man she knew, most by men they had once loved.

They were the 14 women in Missouri known to have been killed last year in "domestic violence," a remarkably prosaic term for a hideous way to live and die.

The details of their deaths differ mainly in the choice of weapon. "What stood out to me is how brutal they all were," said Sally Katzif, who researched the deaths.

Denise P. Derr, 42, died on Valentine's Day 1994 in Wellsville, Mo., of a head injury inflicted by a former boyfriend who had stalked her for months.

"He kept saying he wanted her to come back," her sister-in-law said. "He didn't want her seeing other people." After killing her, he killed himself.

Lori Dollins, 24, of Kennett, Mo., was stabbed to death with a butcher knife on Feb. 24, 1994, by her ex-husband, who had just been released from jail. He told police that "several things had been building up" and he "wanted to get back at her."

Barbara Roth, 54, of Perryville, Mo., had her throat cut with a hunting knife by a former boyfriend on the parking lot of a shopping mall. He then used the same knife to try to kill himself.

Dorothy Delores Evans, 62, of St. Louis, was shot and killed in a trailer in Knox County on Aug. 14, 1994. Moments later, her husband, Harold Evans, called police to report the shooting, and then fatally shot himself in the head.

These women have now been immortalized in a traveling sculpture exhibit called the "Silent Witness Exhibit," which will be on display in the Garden Court of the Galleria from Tuesday through Sunday.

The exhibit consists of 15 life-size red wooden silhouettes. Fourteen represent Missouri's known victims last year. …

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