Advocate wonders what could have saved 36-year-old from domestic violence death
(12/18/2019) - A Tuscola County man is formally charged in connection with the stabbing death of a woman.
Larry Lyons has been convicted for domestic violence before and a woman who advocates for abuse survivors feels the legal system needs to get tougher with repeat offenders.
"If something escalates that quickly, there is often nothing that can be done," said Allie Martinez of Underground Railroad, which serves victims of domestic abuse in Saginaw County.
The 37-year-old Lyons faces six criminal charges, including murder, for the death of 36-year-old Brandy Dickson. He faces up to life in prison if he is convicted.
Dickson was stabbed with a knife Sunday night at a home near Caro as she was protecting their child. The 11-month-old girl also was stabbed and remains in critical condition.
"If we look at Michigan in the last quarter, we've had a lot of domestic violence related homicides," Martinez said.
She said the most dangerous time for a woman in a domestic violence situation is when she has taken steps to end that relationship.
"Domestic violence is based on the elements of power and control," Martinez said. "When that abuser loses their opportunity to have control over their victim, that's when they are typical to go to severe lengths to get that back."
Lyons has been convicted of several crimes in the past, including assault and battery against Dickson earlier this year. Court records from Saginaw County show he was convicted of domestic violence involving another woman in 2007.
Martinez advises women who fear violence to look for help from family, friends and local agencies.
"It's so important to seek out supportive services, to get help. That's why we exist," she said.
But Martinez wonders if more could have done to help Dickson.
"This is a longstanding systematic problem that women, women not only have to do things to get help in these situations, we have to put it on the men who are perpetrating these crimes," she said. "We have to look at our legal system, are they doing enough."
Lyons is being held without bond in the Tuscola County Jail, which he just left earlier this month.