Verdigris Woman Fearful Of Ex-Boyfriend After Judge Denies Protective Order
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma - A Rogers County jury just convicted the woman's ex-boyfriend of domestic assault and battery, but a judge denied the Verdigris woman who wants a protective order against her former boyfriend.
She said she lives in fear now that he can contact her at any time.
Since the court case is over the no contact order is no longer in place, and Ellen Starkey said she doesn't have any more legal options to keep her ex away.
"I thought I was putting it all behind me today. I thought today was the last step. I was going to be done, this two years is over, and that was just not the case," she said.
Starkey just endured a two-year long court case against her ex-boyfriend Darrell Varnell.
Prosecutors said jurors convicted Varnell and he was only given a $5,000 fine for domestic abuse and battery in the presence of a minor.
When the case ended, Varnell's no contact order ended and Starkey said she turned around to file a protective order against Varnell.
"I thought for sure, knowing all the evidence that was a guilty conviction; I thought for sure the protective order would be granted," she said.
But it wasn't, the judge wouldn't grant the order.
"When he said (the judge) he was not granting the protective order I was devastated. I was shaken. I was so upset, and then have to go back to work after that, you know. I was blown away after that," Starkey said.
Starkey's daughter, Rae, is about to leave this summer for training with the National Guard. She fears for her mom's safety now that there's no legal protection keeping her mom and Varnell apart.
"The families of the victims are just as much victims. I was the one that had to explain to my brother what happened, I was the one taking care of my mom when she was hurt," she said.
Rogers County District Attorney Matt Ballard said a protective order being granted by a judge following a domestic assault conviction is a procedural loophole.
He said his team of prosecutors couldn't fight the case for Starkey.
"It's hard to see. Certainly our office fought hard on her behalf. This was an important case to us," Ballard said.
Varnell's attorney said Varnell has never made threats toward Starkey, never stalked her and there's no evidence to show she needs a protective order.
His attorney said all he's trying to do is stay away from her.