Broken Arrow couple stabbed to death during domestic incident

Tuesday, April 15th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa mother was stabbed to death early Tuesday by her husband. Her family believes the justice system failed to protect this young woman who had been asking for help for weeks.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright talked to LaTonya Kimble's family about how LaTonya had been living in fear. LaTonya Kimble was a 23-year-old mother of two with big dreams. She was taking college classes to get her business degree so she could open her own daycare someday. Linda Kimble, victim's mother: "We have our own church and she teaches Sunday School and all the kids love her."

LaTonya married Jelani Pearson in 2001. They separated a few months ago and her family says he became desperate and violent. Court records show LaTonya tried repeatedly to get help. When someone broke into her house on March 17th and scattered her clothes around, she filed a police report and for a protective order. When someone broke in and smashed her TV the next day, she called police again.

On March 29th, the Broken Arrow police interviewed Pearson in her neighborhood, but didn't know deputies were trying to serve him with a protective order, so let him go.

On March 31st, LaTonya went back to court but deputies said hadn't been able to serve him yet.

On April 5th, when someone broke into her home and poured catsup and mustard on her clothes, LaTonya again filed a police report. She returned to court on April 14th, but was told deputies still hadn't found him. 12 hours later, she was dead. "What does it have to take, they had him and let him go."

Police say Pearson broke into LaTonya's kitchen window early Tuesday morning. There was a knife and a fight and both ended up stabbed to death. And, all of this took place in front of the couple's one-year-old and five year old sons. "The first thing he said was Grandma, my daddy killed my mommy. This is a five year old child."

The Broken Arrow Police Department said they did work these break-ins. They say in fact, a detective was at the suspect's home Monday, looking for him. And, the sheriff's office says it tried five times to serve the protective order but only had one address and couldn't find him. They had 400 protective orders in March and served 84% of them.

LaTonya's family just wishes she was one of them. They can only hope that her story will now help other women and police understand these situations can turn deadly in the blink of an eye.