The following is an excerpt from a recent Press Democrat article printed on July 5, 2009.
The trial for Bret Matz, 47, of Monte Rio is nearing opening arguments. He is accused of beating to death his 46-year-old partner, Robert Guess, with a lamp on Jan. 2.
A preliminary hearing is set to be held Wednesday for Sheyna Douprea, 24, accused of stabbing to death her boyfriend, Daniel Mooney, 46, in his Healdsburg apartment Dec. 14.
The third killing, the death of Conrad Wright, 68, apparently at the hands of his 59-year-old wife, Ruby, in their Santa Rosa home April 10, ended with the suicide of Ruby Wright after she was released on bail pending court proceedings.
The cases also raise questions because both Guess and Mooney had sought restraining orders against their alleged abusers, but abandoned the process in the months before their deaths.
According to state law enforcement statistics, roughly 80 percent of domestic violence homicide victims are females.
In 2004, the most recent statistics available from the Department of Justice, Sonoma County law enforcement officers responded to 2,045 calls reporting domestic violence. From those calls, 718 arrests were made, 550 of which were men and 168 were women.
The only domestic violence homicide that year involved a Richmond man who shot his ex-girlfriend. He was sentenced to 50-years-to-life in prison.
The Douprea and Matz cases also share two other characteristics that are common to domestic abuse situations, according to court documents and testimony. Both couples had a history of domestic violence, and alcohol and drugs were involved.
The fact that both Mooney and Guess dropped efforts to seek protection is also troubling, said men’s advocate Joe Manthey of Petaluma.
“Domestic violence is an underreported crime, especially when men are victims,” he said. “Men are much less likely to call the police. There absolutely is a shame attached to it. No man, including myself, wants to admit that he got beat up, especially by a woman.”