ARDMORE, AL (WAFF) - One of the victims in the Ardmore triple shooting petitioned for a protection from abuse (PFA) court order from a Limestone County judge in March.
Judge Chadwick Wise denied the petition in April, which would have made it illegal for suspect Darwin Brazier to harass his ex-wife Debra Rivera and their children.
Rivera filed the petition, and cited Brazier's harassment and stalking of her and the children.
WAFF 48 News reached out to Wise, but he did not return a request for comment.
Brazier killed Rivera, her husband and their roommate on Sunday. He then killed himself that night.
WAFF 48 News met with local divorce attorney Tanya Hallford to ask why the PFA would have been denied.
She said courts often hesitate to grant PFAs when it could impede relationships with children.
"Protection orders, because they have teeth to them, the courts want to be cautious about doing that. They want to protect the victim obviously, but they have to do this balancing act," she said.
Hallford said harassment and stalking falls into a "fringe area" where judges must decide whether or not there is enough evidence to grant a PFA.
People suffering from domestic abuse can reach out to the Crisis Services of North Alabama. It offers free shelter for men, women and children. It also provides free legal representation for those seeking a PFA or another court order.
Becky Cecil is the development manager at Crisis Services and said saying something is the first step.
"We can get them into support groups. They can come to shelter if they don't have a safe place to go. We can relocate someone if they don't feel say staying in Huntsville," she said.
The hotline is 256-716-1000.
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