Slain Woman Had Begged Apartment Complex to Change Locks, Lawsuit Claims

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A New Jersey parent had been granted a impermanent restraining bid against her hubby earlier helium killed her and their 2 children, according to a suit filed by the woman’s family.

Ruth Esther Reyes de Severino with her children, Eurianny, 5, and Eury, 2. The 3  were killed successful  February 2020 by Ms. Reyes de Severino’s estranged husband, who past    hanged himself. 
Credit...Ruth Esther Reyes de Severino

Nov. 26, 2021Updated 9:38 a.m. ET

Fearful that her hubby would travel into their flat and wounded their children, Ruth Esther Reyes de Severino “begged” the managers of Penns Grove Gardens successful Salem County, N.J., to alteration the doorway locks aft she was granted a impermanent restraining bid against him successful January 2020, according to a suit filed by her family.

She asked astatine slightest 5 times successful the pursuing weeks, her family’s lawyer said, but thing happened.

On Feb. 5, 2020, Ms. Reyes de Severino’s estranged husband, Eugenio Severino, 54, unlocked the doorway to Unit 47 with a key, walked successful with a weapon and fatally stabbed her and their 2 children, according to the authorities. Then helium hanged himself successful a adjacent park.

Ms. Reyes de Severino’s household contends successful their lawsuit, which was filed past period successful Salem County Superior Court, that the flat operators should person done much to forestall the deaths of Ms. Reyes de Severino, 30, and her children, Eurianny, 5, and Eury, 2.

The suit claims negligence, wrongful death, breach of declaration and negligent hiring and supervision. The household is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, arsenic good arsenic the $1,207 information deposit that was paid for the unit.

The defendants successful the suit — Penns Grove Apartments; Penns Grove Gardens; the Massachusetts-based Housing Management Resources; and Roger J. Gendron — did not instantly respond to requests seeking remark connected Wednesday.

Samuel D. Jackson, a lawyer for Ms. Reyes de Severino’s family, said successful an interrogation connected Wednesday that “domestic unit is simply a horrible occupation that deserves each of our attention, but this lawsuit is astir the negligence of the landlord successful the flat complex.”

News of the family’s decease underscored the limitations of restraining orders, which experts said tin beryllium effectual but bash not wholly forestall instances of home violence.

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Credit...Google Earth

“This lawsuit is horrific,” Jacquelyn Campbell, a prof of nursing astatine Johns Hopkins University whose probe focuses connected home violence, said successful an interrogation connected Wednesday.

She added that the lawsuit was “particularly tragic” due to the fact that New Jersey had implemented respective services and programs to assistance curb home violence, which some probe shows has increased worldwide during the pandemic.

The matrimony of Ms. Reyes de Severino and Mr. Severino “began to sour” successful January 2020 “for crushed unclear,” according to her family’s lawsuit. Around that time, Mr. Severino “threatened to kill” his woman connected “numerous occasions,” it states.

She threw him retired of the apartment, wherever their children besides lived. According to the suit, Mr. Severino was not listed arsenic a tenant — lone Ms. Reyes de Severino’s signature is connected the lease.

“I don’t cognize if helium was named connected a lease previously,” Mr. Jackson said. “But the lease that was successful effect astatine the clip that she requested the fastener change, and that was successful effect astatine the clip of the tragic murders, did not see the husband’s name.”

The suit besides claims that the flat operators had failed to abide by a Salem County ordinance that was passed successful 2019 requiring each flat complexes to person information cameras and capable lighting passim the property.

Mr. Jackson said the analyzable did not travel that ordinance, but helium declined to specify how.

The ordinance was passed pursuing the decease of a antheral who was changeable and killed astatine Penns Grove Gardens arsenic helium tried to intervene successful a quality betwixt 2 men, according to NJ.com.

Alexis Piquero, a criminologist astatine the University of Miami, said successful an interrogation connected Wednesday that the killings showed however “if idiosyncratic is hellbent connected hurting someone, there’s nary restraining bid that’s going to beryllium capable to forestall that.”

“You’re truly relying connected the deterrent menace of that bid to forestall an idiosyncratic from exercising harm,” Dr. Piquero said.

A multifaceted approach, using tools that assistance judges measure the information a home abuser poses and making definite the convulsive enactment is kept distant from the unfortunate and taken attraction of, tin besides assistance forestall home violence, said Toni Troop, the manager of communications and improvement for Jane Doe Inc, a conjugation against intersexual assault.

“Cases similar this shouldn’t person to happen,” she said.

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