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The graphic results of domestic violence

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
(Sorry I had to paste this article, but I received it in an email at work and do not have a link to the story). And to think his attorney had the AUDACITY to ask for a reduced sentance!!

Every time she looks in a mirror, every time children point at her scarred
f ace, every time pain shoots through her left arm and back, Gail Pinson is
reminded of what happened one morning 18 months ago.
Her ex-boyfriend, Melvin Elem, approached her on the steps of her new
boyfriend's West Baltimore home. Elem unscrewed the lid of a liquid-filled jar.
And as he said, "See who will want you now," he tossed its contents -- probably battery acid -- at Pinson's face.
Yesterday, Baltimore Circuit Judge Allen L. Schwait called Pinson's case the worst he'd seen in his 10 years on the bench and sentenced Elem to 38 years in prison, the maximum allowed under Maryland law.
Some of the 50-year-old city schoolteacher's scars will never heal. Pinson
has had 12 surgeries, most of them painful skin grafts. Many more are to come, including a cornea transplant in her left eye. For years, she will wear a
constrictive body suit and a tight, clear, plastic face mask to smooth out her
damaged skin.
"I will never be the same," Pinson told the judge yesterday. She said she
hasn't returned to work because she worries about how the children will react to her disfigured face.
The horrific scene Sept. 11, 2003, capped a tumultuous 20-year relationship between Elem and Pinson. City prosecutors said it's one of the most egregious cases of domestic violence they have encountered.
"What was so chilling wasn't just the serious injuries to the victim but that the defendant delighted in the pain he was causing her," said Assistant State's Attorney Julie Drake, supervisor and 10-year veteran of the felony family violence unit that prosecuted Elem.
Elem's public defender, William Welch III, said yesterday that he and his
client are considering an appeal. He declined to comment further.
Elem, a 45-year-old Army veteran who has lived on Mount Holly Street most of his life, has eight other assault-related convictions over the past
quarter-century, including one in 1985 for tossing acid on a co-worker.
Although Elem was not physically abusive during the relationship, Pinson
said, he held her in fear by smashing her car windows several times, crashing
her car and calling the school where she worked as a special-education teacher to spread rumors.
Friends and relatives, including Elem's parents, told her to cut her ties
with him.
"I always gave Melvin the benefit of the doubt," Pinson told the judge at
Elem's sentencing hearing yesterday. "I truly believed he loved me."
In 2001, she broke off the relationship but offered to remain friends,
thinking it might assuage some of his anger, she said. When he learned she was dating another man, Elem's behavior became erratic, she said, and she obtained a protective order.
But as soon as the order expired, Elem resumed calling her and her relatives and following her. He tracked her one morning in September 2003 to the house of her new boyfriend, Louis Hayes, on Chesholm Road.
As the couple left for work, Elem tossed the acid at Pinson. The liquid
melted the flesh on Pinson's face, neck, left arm and back. Hayes said he saw
her eyes change color and her skin turn dark.
"I thought I was going to die," Pinson said.
Hayes, whose right eye and eyebrow were burned from a splash of the liquid, held Elem down as police and paramedics were called.
During yesterday's sentencing hearing, Hayes recalled "the horror I felt in
the pit of my stomach and the helplessness I felt." He said his only thought was to keep Elem from escaping.
Elem laughed as police arrested him and said to Pinson, "Burn, baby, burn," prosecutors said.
When Pinson testified at Elem's trial in January, she became so emotional
that she fled the witness stand in tears.
But when she returned, Pinson told her story. She flipped through photographs of her injuries that were taken just after the attack. Then she walked over to the jury box and removed her face mask to show jurors her scars.
Assistant State's Attorney Arcelia Greene said it was the strongest she had seen Pinson.
It took jurors about 10 minutes to convict Elem on Jan. 7.
At sentencing yesterday, Hayes called Elem a coward and "a poor excuse of a man."
"You have the devil inside you, and you are not worthy of being a free man," he said.
Elem offered a brief apology "for all that I've done." His public defender
asked the judge to sentence Elem within the recommended guidelines of 15 to 25 years.
Schwait rejected that idea, ordering consecutive terms of 25 years for
first-degree assault of Pinson, 10 years for second-degree assault of Hayes and three years for carrying a deadly substance.
Greene, the prosecutor, said Pinson has been involved in every step of the legal process, even going to Elem's arraignment in December 2003, weeks after being released from Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
With the court proceedings behind her, Pinson said she hopes to return to
teaching this fall.
"I've seen all of her emotional ups and downs," Greene said after the
sentencing. "She started to smile more after the conviction, and she was really in a good mood today."
post #2 of 6
That is so horrible I have no words.
post #3 of 6
That is terrible.. although one point I have to make is it is a lawyers job to seek a reduced sentance or freedom for their clients.. It is not like they have much choice, even knowing what scum they have to represent. That guy has a heck of a judgement day coming for that one. Utterly horrible.
post #4 of 6
that makes me sick. unfortunatly i read somewhere acid attacks are on the rise. that poor, poor woman.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Katherine, I couldn't imagine sitting in on those injunction hearnings. I guess they're like sitting in on protective order hearings, where the abuser will deny deny deny and blame it all on their victim. Ugh. This acid thing is so disturbing though. Now he has, in his mind,ultimate control over her, knowing that she is forever visibly scarred all because of him. Thank God she survived him though- he's a madman!
post #6 of 6
if that happened to me id kill my self.
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