Murder-suicide victim's attorney says legal system failed her

Attorney Gary Evans speaks out after client is murdered by her husband,

A Grand Cane woman is murdered by her husband, two days after he bonded out of jail for holding her hostage.  It leaves many asking how and why?


 Attorney Gary Evans said the legal system failed his longtime client Gwen Salley. Gwen's husband Michael shot and killed her May 2, after abducting her from the Butterfly Gardens Daycare. She was there to pick up the couple’s seven year old daughter, Samantha. The couple was married for eight years; Gwen had filed for divorce April 15, 2014.


“She cried out for help,” said Gary Evans, her civil lawyer.  “She didn’t get it. She was very fearful.  She told me that Michael was going to kill her.”


According to court records, Gwen filed a protective order against her husband on April 30, less than 24 hours after he hid in her home and held a handgun to her head when she came home from work with their daughter. The documents indicate Michael threatened to kill Gwen and himself.  Gwen was able to text a friend, who told her father to call 911. When the deputies arrived, the documents state Michael went outside to greet them, while Gwen secretly hid the gun. She said he returned to the home looking for the gun, and then went to his gun safe when he noticed it wasn’t there. He wasn’t able to open it in time and deputies arrested him. He was charged with false imprisonment with a dangerous weapon, and aggravated assault with a firearm.  


Her protective order also indicates in 2011, Michael pulled out a rifle and threatened to kill Gwen, and Samantha, and himself, after she told him she was going to file for divorce. Gwen said he fired a shot in the ceiling instead. She wrote, " I was too scared to leave then thinking there was no way out without me or my child getting hurt.”


In 2010, Gwen said Michael held her in a bear hug and pointed the pistol at her and him.

The records go on to state Michael Salley's brother, Charles, a Bossier firefighter, killed his girlfriend ,and his three year old daughter Miranda. The police killed Michael's brother during the confrontation.


All of this was documented in her protective order, and Judge Charles Adams signed it, and then allowed Michael Salley, out of jail during the same hour on a $50,000 bond. That has Gary Evans in disbelief.


“The bond hearing should’ve naturally been postponed as long as possible to determine what kind of danger this man was to the public,” said Evans.


“Then, have a hearing and determine prove that. The other thing is a mental evaluation by a professional. Obviously, he’d indicated he was suicidal and also homicidal. He had arrests that were related to domestic violence so the record is pretty clear that this man was a dangerous man. “


Domestic violence advocates say if your lover has threatened to kill you and he's not behind bars, you should change your entire routine.


"Moving out of state, moving to safe house, it is so worth it, for the mother, children, family, it’s worth it,” said Felecia Alexander, the Director of the Domestic Violence Program at the Providence House. Its safe house is not full and is accepting clients until June 22. It is set to close June 30, unless someone else steps forward to run it.


Although Gwen couldn’t save her life, her family and friends said she's a hero for saving her daughter, and making sure everyone else at the daycare didn’t get hurt.


“She was a beautiful person. She was well loved at work, and a wonderful mother. She saved many people in choosing to take that man away from the daycare center,” said Evans.


Gwen’s funeral is Tuesday morning at Rose Neath Chapel on Southside Drive in Shreveport.  Services will begin at 10 a.m. An account for her daughter, Samantha Salley has been set up at Regions Bank.  Donations can be made at any Regions Bank location.

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