News 4 Investigates: Restraining Orders -

News 4 Investigates: Restraining Orders

The lives of Barbara Carson and S.A. Carson, Jr, came to a tragic end on Wednesday, July 16 when Mr. Carson shot and killed his ex-wife inside the Jamestown Mall before shooting and killing himself.

The couple divorced in 2006. Here are court documents from their divorce procedings that show his collection of more than 20 guns. But the divorce didn't end their turbulent relationship. On July 8, 2008, they both went to the St. Louis County courthouse and filed a petition for an order of protection against the other, citing reasons why they felt threatened by the other. You can read the documents here.

In Barbara Carson's petition she claimed, "My cell phone rang, while I was in a conversation, S.A. Carson, Jr. ask me question about who was on my phone," She went on to say "I would not tell him. He pulled a black hand gun on me and said. 'You going to tell me who is on that (expletive) phone."

S.A. Carson claimed that Barbara had "called police and lied about me having a gun." He also wrote in his petition that his ex-wife, "comes by my job and in my bedroom, talking loud and talking about her brothers are going to kill me." He also wrote, "She goes into rages and attacks not only me but her sitster, mother and my sons and daughter-in-law."

Tragedies like this may make it seem that orders of protection just don't work. But veteran divorce attorney Margo Green told me that hundreds of orders of protection are granted every year and serve as an effective tool for protecting people who feel threatened. You just never hear about the many, many times that this legal tool works.

She recommends filing an order of protection to anyone who is in a relationship and feels endangered by the threats or actions of another person. Fees are small, you don't need an attorney to file the paperwork, and courthouse staffers can usually walk you through the process. Some courts will often waive the fee for those who prove a financial hardship.

The 16th Judicial Circuit Court in Jackson County has a wealth of information about orders of protection, as does the Family Court of St. Louis County.

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