MADISON (WKOW) -- As Dane County's district attorney mulls whether to charge Madison's Cierra Finkley in the stabbing death of her estranged boyfriend, a statewide advocacy group joins others in urging Finkley be considered a domestic abuse victim acting in self defense.
In a Thursday letter to district attorney Ismael Ozanne, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin executive director Patti Seeger maintains Finkley had to act to protect herself and her daughter from 31-year old Terrence Woods.
Seeger also writes Finkley's experience of initially being arrested disturbingly corresponds with survey responses from users of a national domestic abuse victim hotline. Seeger says the survey found the majority of respondents feared calling law enforcement in a domestic abuse emergency due to an expected, negative outcome based on race.
Authorities say Woods attempted to run over Finkley and her young daughter in August, and then returned to her apartment complex and kicked in her door. Officials say Woods was stabbed by Finkley as he used a plastic, garbage can lid to try to thwart her knife thrusts. Woods had been previously convicted of battering Finkley, and required approval from his probation agent to have any contact with her.
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin joins the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition, and Freedom, Inc. as advocacy groups urging Ozanne to decline to charge Finkley. In court last month, Ozanne announced he was taking more time to review the case, and taking into account the domestic abuse history, as well as relevant, new information he had received. Finkley's previous bail and its conditions were dropped.
Ozanne Thursday told 27 News he had received the letter, and was continuing to review the case. He declined to comment on his assessment of the information he received, nor establish any time frame for his review. Ozanne said Finkley would receive a summons to appear in court, if he decided to file a criminal charge against her. Finkley's August arrest was on the tentative charge of first degree reckless homicide.
Seeger tells 27 News her group reached out to Ozanne because it believed a decision on whether to charge Finkley could be made by the end of the month.
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