WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A history of domestic violence may have played a role in the murder of Van Blevins in Weathersfield Township Tuesday night.
The wife and child of the suspect, Richard Latimer, were staying with Blevins at the time. They both witnessed his murder.
At the time of the shooting, records show Latimer had a warrant for his arrest stemming from a domestic violence incident almost 18 hours before Blevins’ murder. A police report says the incident happened at the Warren home Latimer shared with his wife.
According to police, the argument started when Latimer accused his wife of talking to another man. Latimer told police she threatened to leave with their child, and he told her she couldn’t. He said it was not a physical confrontation, only verbal.
Officers tried arresting him then, but he took off and hid. Latimer’s wife packed some belongings and left with the child.
Experts couldn’t say for sure if the prior domestic issue led to the shooting, but said statistics show it could be a factor.
“When an abuser is losing control, that is when the violence in a situation or in the relationship tends to escalate, even sometimes to the point of becoming lethal,” said Someplace Safe Director Bonnie Wilson.
This wasn’t the first time police intervened for the couple.
On two separate occasions in 2015, both Latimer and his wife were arrested and charged with domestic violence.
In June of that year, she was arrested after Latimer said she hit him in the face multiple times during an argument.
Then in September of 2015, Latimer’s wife locked him out of the house and he threatened to kill her, according to a police report. She told police she locked him out because she was afraid when he started to run after her. His charge in this instance was dismissed when she didn’t show up in court.
According to the 911 call from Tuesday night, Latimer’s wife witnessed the whole thing. Although her husband ended up dying after an encounter with police in the parking lot of the Giant Eagle in Howland, mental experts said Latimer’s wife and child have a long road to recovery.
“Very traumatic for both mom and daughter. They need to get some mental health counseling long-term to deal with that,” Wilson said.
Wilson said jealousy also plays a big role in the control factor when it comes to domestic violence.
Domestic violence offenders can display different types of abuse behavior:
- Economic abuse: They can either be very controlling over money or be jealous that their spouse is working with other people
- Emotional abuse: Either constantly or only at the time of assault
- Male privilege: Doesn’t do much around the house and expects gratitude or takes an active role around the house for his own reasons (i.e. goes shopping to stop her from going out)
- Isolation: Lets partner go out unless it impinges on them (i.e. they would have to watch the kids) or actively stops their partner from going out and prevents them from seeing family and friends
- Coercion and threats: Threatening and attempts suicide, or threatens to kill children or family members and damages property
- Minimizing: Apologizes, denies, and blames
- Intimidation: Uses looks to make their partner feel afraid, damages property, and uses the children
- Using children: Threatens to take children, emotional blackmail, argues with children, emotionally abuses children, insults partner through children, refuses to see children in order to hurt partner
If you need help with a domestic violence situation, there are several organizations you can contact for resources:
- Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board: 330-675-2765
- Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board: 330-746-2959
- Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board: 330-424-0195
- Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission: 724-662-1550
- Lawrence County Mental Health/Development Services: 724-658-2538