CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - About 25 percent of homicide and aggravated assault cases in Clayton County this year were domestic violence related, according to police. The county has already seen 36 homicides in 2022 — up from 29 in all of 2021. Nine of those 36 homicides stemmed from domestic violence situations.
"There has been an increase because people are constantly around each other more often than not…someone doesn’t want someone to break up, the fighting, damaging property…all of those things fall up under domestic violence," Police Community Liaison Julia Isaac said.
Two of those homicides took place in just the last month. On September 22, Clayton County police say 40-year-old Jornel Jamil Williams fatally shot his ex-girlfriend Tanya White at an apartment complex in Morrow.
Two weeks before that, on September 9, police say 42-year-old Ikuko Thurman shot and killed his wife Livingston Jett in a surprise attack outside their home in Lovejoy.
"We have seen an uptick in domestic violence cases not only in Clayton County, but in the state of Georgia," Veda Brown of Sisters Empowerment Network said.
White was a mother of four and Jett was a mother of three — both tragically taken from their families. Brown says it is stories like those that keep her organization seeking to help victims.
Starting on October 1, she’s partnering with Clayton County police to spread awareness about the issue that continues to impact so many.
"We need to bring education and awareness to the impact of domestic violence so that we can get women and children the help that they need," she explained. "It is not their fault, they are not alone and help is available."
Brown said her organization holds events throughout the year, but this month they’re holding their 11th annual Domestic Violence Awareness 5K on October 15 and inviting the families of victims including Jett and White for a special tribute.
Clayton County police arrested and charged Williams with malice murder, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime. Thurman is still on the run. If you have any information about him, contact the police in Lovejoy.