An Alabama woman was forced to defend herself when her abusive ex showed up at her home and attacked her, according to authorities in Madison County. Police say 31-year old Jonathan Marquis Burrell was well known to local law enforcement in the area, with a history of domestic violence and violations of protective orders. In fact, he had pled guilty to violating a protective order earlier this year, but was sentenced to two years of probation.

Clearly that brush with the law didn’t change Burrell, because shortly before midnight on Sunday night he showed up at his former fiancee’s home. Police were called out to the home after the woman called 911 and told police that she had been assaulted by Burrell.

Criminal charges aren’t being filed against the woman, who was questioned at the sheriff’s investigative headquarters, Patterson said. However, once the investigation is finished, the file will be handed over to the Madison County District Attorney’s Office, which could choose to present the case to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Given the fact that charges aren’t being filed against the victim here, I’d be shocked if the local prosecutor even presented the case to a grand jury, and I’d say the chances of an indictment being filed are slim to none.

The real question here isn’t whether or not this woman acted in self-defense, but why on earth her abusive ex was sentenced to probation for violating the protective order against him? According to authorities, the victim in this case had taken out the protective order back in 2018, alleging that Burrell had threatened, injured, and stalked her, and according to authorities this wasn’t the first time he’d ignored the order to stay away from his ex.

In fact, I found an undated release from Shelby County, Alabama calling Burrell one of the county’s “most wanted.” Why was such a dangerous offender allowed to simply walk away on probation given his criminal history?

Thankfully, despite the apparent unwillingness of the criminal justice system to take Burrell’s threats seriously, his intended victim did. She was prepared to protect herself in case Burrell came back to her home, and his decision to once again ignore a protective order proved to be a fatal mistake.

An order of protection is a piece of paper, not a suit of armor, and it won’t do much to actually protect you if someone chooses to ignore what the order says. That’s one reason why some lawmakers around the country have proposed legislation to allow individuals who’ve had to take out an order of protection to carry while they’re in the process of obtaining a concealed carry license, which can take more than a month to approve in some jurisdictions. The idea was voted down during Virginia’s last legislative session, but I hope that cases like this will help legislators take a second look at the measure, which could undoubtably save lives and allow some real protection for those who need it.