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Records Show Slain Tulsa Woman Reported Repeated Domestic Abuse

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Ashley Brizendine (left) was killed July 13. Ashley Brizendine (left) was killed July 13.
Police say Brizendine was killed while her three children were in the apartment. Police say Brizendine was killed while her three children were in the apartment.
Steve Kunzweiler prosecutes domestic abuse cases, and said he often deals with victims who back down. Steve Kunzweiler prosecutes domestic abuse cases, and said he often deals with victims who back down.
Brizendine's boyfriend, 23-year-old Brian Harris, had been arrested twice and convicted once for beating her. Brizendine's boyfriend, 23-year-old Brian Harris, had been arrested twice and convicted once for beating her.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The murder of a woman repeatedly victimized through domestic violence has a prosecutor expressing frustration at the difficulty of trying to stop the cycle of abuse.

The Family Safety Center in Tulsa is one of the places where domestic violence victims can find help, but they're overloaded with cases and just Tuesday, they put out a call for more volunteers to help them.

Just over a week ago, another woman was killed in Tulsa, after she was repeatedly victimized by the man now charged with her murder.

7/12/2013 Related Story: Police: Tulsa Man Arrested After Woman Found Strangled

Steve Kunzweiler prosecutes domestic abuse cases, and said he often deals with victims who back down.

"Sometimes we will file charges and never hear back from those people. Sometimes we'll hear back and these women will be coming to the courthouse asking the charges be dismissed," Kunzweiler said.

That pattern appeared in the case of 23-year-old Ashley Brizendine.

She was killed July 13. Her boyfriend, 23-year-old Brian Harris, had been arrested twice and convicted once for beating her.

Now, he's charged with her murder.

"At least with her, it's a very consistent pattern and it's heartbreaking, it was heartbreaking reading through this," Kunzweiler said.

Police say Brizendine was killed while her three children were in the apartment.

A year ago, after she reported one beating while she was pregnant, the court record shows she refused to testify and Harris went free.

"We'll file a case, it's just connecting with that victim and hoping they're at a point where they can say, 'Enough is enough, I'm not going to deal with it anymore,'" Kunzweiler said.

There's more help coming. In September, a new Family Safety Center opens downtown in the police courts building. Victims will have better access to help, in particular with filing protective orders against their abusers, but there's also access to virtually any resource a woman needs to stay away from the abuser.

It's expected they'll see as many as 5,000 people a year.

Kunzweiler said there's help available, but women have to take the first step.

"There's a time period when these women need to be de-programmed from the abusive nature of their thought process to re-learn, 'I do have value and a way to contribute and a way to protect myself and my children,'" he said.

The family center downtown will replace the one at 30th and Harvard.

Go here for information on the Family Safety Center.

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