POMONA, Calif. - Monica Thomas-Harris got the chilling news just before Christmas: Her estranged husband, jailed for abducting and threatening her, had been released.
A frantic Thomas-Harris rushed to the district attorney's office, begging for an emergency protection order that would allow police to arrest him if he came near her. But it was the Friday evening before Christmas, and no judge was available. The next business day was Monday, but that was Christmas Eve, and her husband's lawyer was on a long vacation and couldn't be reached for a hearing.
Less than two weeks later, Thomas-Harris, 37, was dead, shot in a motel room by her husband in a murder-suicide.