In Death, Florida Family Reveals a Spiral of Domestic Abuse
“BELL, Fla. — Sarah L. Spirit was 22 years old and eight months pregnant with her fourth child when she called the police in desperation: Her father was violent, she was afraid of him, and she had nowhere to go.
“He pushed me against the refrigerator really hard then closed his hands really hard on my face and caused me pain,” she wrote in the summer of 2008, when she went to a Gilchrist County Court to seek a domestic violence injunction against her father, Don C. Spirit. “I am very scared of him. I know what he is capable of.”
Ms. Spirit wrote that her father threatened to make her life “hell” if she called the authorities. She did go to the police. Although she did not follow up on her request for a restraining order, online court records show he was later sentenced to six months in jail on a battery charge that arose that same week.
On Thursday, the police said Mr. Spirit killed his daughter, now 28; her six children; and then himself, making the case the seventh domestic-related multiple homicide in Florida this year….”