The following is a letter to the editor, published here as opinion. The opinions expressed in this letter are those of the writer. If you would like to submit a letter to the editor feel free to write to [email protected].
Dear Mr. District Attorney,
I am writing to you because of a crime that occurred in our community on March 30th, 2020. My reasons for writing you are twofold.
- I believe this crime was preventable, and that domestic battery laws and policies need to be changed to prevent further tragedies like this from happening in our community.
- I believe that the accused is an extremely dangerous individual and I am asking you to ensure that he be charged with the full extent of his crimes and sentenced in manner fitting to protect the public from him indefinitely.
The accused’s name is JOHNSON, TAVION JAMEL: Global Subject Number 93816
The victim’s name is Elenah Elston. She was removed from life support at 7:00am [the morning of April 2nd] and succumbed to the massive head wounds inflicted upon her in this latest incident.
Mr. Johnson was arrested 3 times that I document below, prior to this current incident and arrest, (and possibly up to 5 times from what I am told), for domestic battery, false imprisonment, etc. on the same victim before this latest event that led to her death, and at least once prior for resisting a police officer. I believe her death was entirely preventable, if we had laws in place for a longer mandatory hold and sentencing on domestic violence perpetrators, and a higher bail amount. Sometimes the victim does not want to press charges because of their relationship to the perpetrator, but a violent crime against another human should be considered a crime whether or not the victim wants to press charges. We must understand the psychology of these cases that the victims are often confused and unable to make the right choices to protect themselves. Each time Mr. Johnson was arrested, he was given a very attainable bail amount and then let out of jail after only a few days. This policy did not protect the victim, nor does it protect our community from violent offenders.
The victim has since been removed from life support and has died, so Mr. Johnson needs to be charged with murder and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I am asking for stricter laws regarding domestic violence and battery offenders in our community, higher bail amounts, mandatory holds and sentencing, and I am also asking for a strict charge and sentencing for this very dangerous defendant for this incident resulting in the death of Ms. Elston. Please do not let the defendant back onto the streets of Mendocino County. Mr. Johnson has verbally threatened to kill other people in our community as well.
Please protect our community and bring Justice for Elenah and her family.
I have listed the most recent incident below, followed by some of his prior incidents, on the following pages.
Sarah Beth Riess
This situation was entirely avoidable through wise personal choices. Why did she get together with him from the beginning? “Love”? Yeah, right. The logical consequences of hooking up with a low-life like him were obvious to anyone in their right mind.
Alas, “let’s make a law” is the proposed substitute for personal responsibility.
You have no clue regarding the cycle of violence. Many upstanding Citizens in our community are domestic violence offenders behind closed doors. Sure everyone has their opinions I’ve worked in this field for 30 years and believe me I know what I’m talking about. The complexity of domestic violence expands through generations. Making judgements about why victims stay in these abusive relationships doesn’t help anything.
DO NOT BLAME VICTIMS WHO HAVE BEEN MURDERED BY THEIR ABUSERS. You are the problem, the abuser is not held accountable, the victim somehow failed and made him kill her. That is a sadistic way to think of a murder victim.
Hopefully no woman in your family or life will ever have to suffer what this woman suffered.
Show some respect for the dead and let her rest in peace without maligning her.
I agree. What could a 50 year old woman see in a 21 year old thug? I am so sorry she was murdered, but the writing apparently has been on the wall for some time. Bad choices bring bad results.
She was cool neighbor, her husband def not. We live up further than they do in btrails and we pulled over coming to town near her house (I assume it hers) this guy Tavion comes outside throwing his hands up in the air acting menacing towards us. Lol Im a whole giant nacho cheese can of whoop ass and could care less about this carrot top looking reject acting stupid on his own porch.
I says to the wife, “ain’t that guy gotta restraining order against him?” As we all have seen him being arrested over and over in social media. We just figured she didnt press charges..We didnt even give him a second look just shook our heads and laughed at the little kid. Wish I wasnt in a hurry that day. His radio station would of been tuned for sure. I have No tolerance in this world for little boys like this. Throw away the key hes obviously a sick and ruined dog. Thats being to nice really, when he goes to prison he will be looked up to as a murderer top tier of the social ranking inside. Nooone will bother him actually people will bow down to him. It’s just facts. Sad, sad facts.
My heart goes out to all of the friends, family and neighbors who have been devastated by the violent ending to a radiant woman’s life. Rest in Paradise Elenah. Jim Rutherford’s comment about the “sad sad facts” of California’s jail system and the social ranking of criminality “inside” really hits home. Incarceration and privatized prisons are not a be-all end -all solution. If we jailed every violent offender of social order, it — the problem of domestic violence — still wouldn’t stop. Plus one can get *drugs* inside the Mendocino County lock-up! A Batterer’s Intervention Program would be more effective than a few anger management classes. And a strengthened Victim Witness office could help. One that doesn’t “get angry” at traumatized victims, who choose not to cooperate with prosecutors. Blaming the Victim is a shallow response to this situation. If you’re reading this and have safety issues, the Project Sanctuary crisis line can help. Also there’s https://www.strongheartshelpline.org/, a Native Please reach out. Twice my ex-partner hurt me badly enough to get police involved, and then I lost my will to press charges. The third time, he nearly killed me. And guess what? Now the DA won’t press charges. Its a “credibility” issue… or perhaps something else.
Elenah’s death should not be in vain. #JusticeForElenah is not just punishing her murderer. It could be a strengthened response to domestic violence by our community, institutions, and State-wide legislators.
Mandatory hold the victim if she takes him back. Im a domestic violence survivor of 10 years. Many times he was arrested many time he bail out right away. I would always end up hoping we could fix what he broke. My kids mattered to me that they had a father. Once i left because he started threatening to kill all of us. I had to rip it off like a band aid. No time to feel the sadness mourn the what could of been. I had to shut my emotions off, file for divorce, restraining order, and custody. Then tried to file my last charges on him. The charges didn’t stick. But every time i was in court for the kids i made sure to protest what he did. Bring evidence. He eventually backed off. I still get texts of threats, i moved a county away. He has had 2 more victims and another kid. Still no one has been able to press charges. He has had 2 additional victims come forward for rape. No charges. The cops know him well but yet they charge him with nothing. I have a long list of things he done that i could write a book about. So my only conclusion is maybe the system should have a better support system for the victim. Make it so she doesn’t go back to him. Hold her for mental health. Cause i know now that i must of been crazy for what I allowed him to do for years. I must of been so paralyzed with fear that i needed someone to take the wheel and drive me home.
Very often abused women are decent, kind hearted people who think they can “help” an abusive spouse by being understanding and loving. Unfortunately, the abusive spouse can be a sociopath whose only goal is to cruelly control and eventually destroy. kindness is viewed as weakness by the abuser.
As someone who has survived domestic abuse and gotten away from her abuser, I can tell you that it’s not a walk in the park, nor is it that easy to get away. There’s a lot of psychological abuse involved. Some abusers use psychological abuse to heap guilt (if you leave me, I will kill myself), angst (if you leave me, who will pay the bills?), threats (if you leave me, I will take our kids), etc. These are the kinds of psychological twists an abuser will use to keep his partner there with him. He’s got her so confused about everything, it is also likely he has succeeded in putting a wedge between her family and them, her friends and them, etc. He likely pooh-pooh’s the idea that they may need counseling, as well.
She was not as fortunate as I. I was able to get away, file restraining orders while the perp was in jail and have him served while he was incarcerated. It took four years to get away from him and even then he kept trying to weasel his way back into mine and our son’s life.
Fast-forward to ten years later. Our son was schizophrenic and ended up committing suicide in 2012. The perp himself died last year from metastasized cancer he refused to have treated, believing he could cure it himself with herbs. Deluded.
I am sorry this woman died. I saw her story on the sheriff’s log last week and was scared for her. The dude should get life in prison. He doesn’t deserve to be free, ever again. He will only manipulate and abuse someone else should he be freed.
If the defendant doesn’t get murder 1 justice won’t have been served. Leads than 2 few weeks before Elenah died her husband had beaten to to the point that her jaw was broken, a couple ribs were broken a tooth and her lip were broken. She ran and hid. In the meantime her husband had her phone and was posting threats to anyone who didn’t like him for the what he was doing to our friend. An old friend of Elenah’s read the post and called and left a message asking if she was okay. Elenah’s husband called the old friend back telling him how he was going to kill her (premeditated murder ) Then he was picked up and put in jail… for like a couple weeks at most. Elenah and I finally got to talk and she admitted to me that she felt he would have killed her the night she ran away. She told me she had a plan in place for each other be in therapy & anger management and if he wasn’t following through she’d finally leave him. I was sad, beyond frustrated and felt that conversation could be the last time we’d speak although, we had plans to meet for lunch 4 days prior to her barbaric, brutal and beyond unimaginable stuffing. This psychopath has to be put away for the rest of his life in order for the rest of us to sleep a little more peacefully at night. He had it in for all those who stood up for his wife against his antics and deadly violence. He will just fo it again.
The thing that that monster who killed her will never understand or feel is her love and the love we all have for her.
Reply to Porter D.:
I know who you are. You’ve built a career, nay, life on perpetuating the mythology of the “cycle of violence,” painting “all men as a ‘potential abuser'” and all women as “helpless victims unable to leave abusive situations.” Talk about patronizing to women!
WHY would someone like her choose someone 28 years her junior, and self-evidently an “urban youff” type for which this behavior is the norm? If you pick up a rattlesnake, the logical “stereotype” is that it will bite you. If you get together with trash, you should expect to be treated as trash. And what about her family and friends? No one did a damn thing to prevent her abuse and then consequent death? Too PC to call a spade a spade? Didn’t want to “offend”? If this was my daughter, sister, or even good friend, the perp would have been told to GTFO out of her house at gunpoint. Oh, that’s right, guns are “bad.” LOL – let’s try a piece of paper called a “restraining order.”
In any case, I AM sorry she’s dead, and even sorrier that the mythology of political correctness is WHY she’s dead. And the perp should be swiftly given a braided necktie, but, that’s right, he’ll be locked up in a cage at taxpayers’ expense for life because the same people who spew the patronizing “cycle of violence” cop-out mythology are opposed to euthanizing an obvious talking, vicious animal like him.
Yes she was with someone much younger than her. So therefore it is her fault? When a man is with a younger woman, most of his cronies would be high fiving him. And if she stabbed him in the middle of the night it would be because of something wrong with her, not the choices that the older man had made. Talk about perpetuating mythology. I don’t know why she made the choices she did, I am sure she thought she could fix what was wrong. As someone who has lived through abuse, there are oh so many ways we justify what we let ourselves be put through. I have seen plenty of men allow themselves to put up with treatment by spouses thinking that they can help them if they are only supportive and unconditionally understanding. Don’t make it about age and race and background. Young girls get beat to death by spouses significantly older than them too. None of that will bring her back.
I feel those how do the abusing and get arrested she have a monitor on them and make it so the victim can wear something to set off an alarm to the police! Something has to change!
Let’s hope “urban youth” isn’t as bad as you say it is, Winston Smith. You made a racist remark and then backed it up with PC criticism so nobody could call you on it. What happened was brutal and inexcusable and there is no way it is the “norm” anywhere.
A better support system for the victim could have made a difference. Instead the bulk of our energy goes into the bully — talking, analyzing, restraining, he is worth none of this attention. She’s the one who needed our focus, yet the public attention goes to him.
I agree. However, cruelty in our community is found in every race. Unless we address the problem as endemic to every culture, it will always be with us. We can’t brush it off by saying he was from the inner city. Those wrong-headed leaps of logic are what fuel discrimination and hatred. Ironically, it is this mistake that perpetuates such barbaric acts. Women are targeted because ignorant men think of them as worthless and disposable. This is not making excuses for criminals (of any race) but trying to name the problem so we can look at it squarely. Solutions are harder to come by, but I think it starts with teaching non-hatred (compassion) and kindness in our schools and universities. Our police department needs training too, just like the rest of us. If our police had a better grasp of what to look for in terms of cruelty and could target it, these situations could be addressed humanely (at least for the victims; the perpetrators might find themselves behind bars) and lives would be saved.
I’m so sorry for the life that was taken. It’s not fair. But life isn’t fair sometimes. I feel that the best way to curb domestic abuse, is to teach our sons and daughters better ways to release anger. And that violence is not okay. Unfortunately, most abusers grow up witnessing abuse. And think it’s a normal part of a relationship to beat on each other. I’m teaching my daughters that I’d rather them come home from a broken relationship, than in a body bag. Most of the time it’s shame that keeps the abused with the abuser. This is so sad.