Family: Suspect in Chouteau shooting abused victim for many year - KMOV.com

Family: Suspect in Chouteau shooting abused victim for many years

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Willie Barnes is charged with murder By Daniel Fredman Willie Barnes is charged with murder By Daniel Fredman
By Daniel Fredman By Daniel Fredman

(KMOV.com) – The family of Cheri Simpson, who was shot and killed near downtown St. Louis early Thursday morning, said she had been abused by the suspect for years.

Simpson’s family said Simpson's ex-boyfriend, 49-year-old Willie Barnes, had been physically and mentally abusive towards Simpson for many years.

“I kept telling her, he is going to get you and he is going to do anything, anything to hurt you, and it may come to the point where he might kill you,” said a relative of Simpson’s.

Barnes allegdly shot and killed Simpson near the intersection of Chouteau and Tucker early Thursday morning. Simpson leaves behind a 4-year-old and 13-year-old. Simpson’s family said she tried to separate herself and her children from Banes’ abuse.

“Statistics show us every three women are killed each day by their partner. Typically when a woman is leaving,” said Jessica Woolbright with St. Martha’s Hall, an organization that helps abused women and children.

Woolbright said the most important thing for abuse victims is to set up a safety plan with an organization that helps victims. Woolbright also said a protection order nor police can solely be relied upon for the safety of abuse victims, especially when it comes to misdemeanor assaults.

“Maybe police do arrest him, but the way our system is set up, is he is held for 20 hours. The first place he is coming back when he gets out is right back at that home,” Woolbright said. “So police are a great option but can’t be the only option.”

“My message is to get some help,” Simpson's relative said. “Get some help, call someone, and let someone know what you’re going through. That is so important.”

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