Woman kills husband to save her son

Mayor Daniel Crespo shotMembers of the Bell Gardens, California community are still trying to understand how their beloved Mayor could have been shot dead by his wife of 28 years. To them, Mayor Daniel Crespo was a hardworking family man who would do anything for his community. However, his family paints a much more sinister picture of the late Mayor.

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In the wake of his death, authorities are learning that Crespo was an abusive tyrant who subjected his wife Levette Crespo to decades of abuse. According to Sheriff's officials who interviewed Crespo's wife and their 19-year-old son, Levette and Crespo were engaged in yet another heated domestic dispute when their son intervened, at which point Crespo physically attacked the teen. Fearing for her son's life, Levette admits she grabbed her husband's gun and shot him in the torso three times. He died as he was being rushed to the hospital. Both Levette and her son, Daniel Crespo, Jr. required medical treatment for the cuts and bruises left on their face following the altercation.

Authorities questioned both mother and son, however they have decided to not press charges until after the L.A. District Attorney's office has had a chance to review the complicated case.

Crespo's death has left many of his neighbors, friends, and family members scratching their heads. Community members remember the Mayor as a kindhearted family man. "He was a good person, very friendly," recalls Crespo's neighbor Margarita Rios, before adding in Spanish that she barely knew the Mayor's wife.

Even those who did know Levette, find it hard to believe that she had been victimized by Crespo for so many years. William Crespo, the late Mayor's brother says he's never seen any evidence that his sister-in-law was a battered wife in all the years he's known her. However, Levette's lawyer Eber Bayona contends that just because she never picked up the phone to ask for help or presented any physical indications of abuse, that doesn't mean she wasn't a victim of domestic violence. "Looks can be deceiving," he explains. "'Victims of domestic violence are not always ready to pick up the phone to call police…Generally speaking, there is fear, they are psychologically imprisoned, they are entrapped in these situations. And sometimes it's not easy for them to tell somebody."

He's absolutely right. What a lot of people don't understand is that many victims of domestic violence often fear that reaching out for help will ultimately cause them more harm. What if their partner retaliates? What if no one believes them because their partner is so charismatic? What if others judge them for being in this relationship in the first place? It's not as simple as tossing on a Mary J. Blige song and setting his shit on fire as you storm out in a blaze of glory. There's a real fear for one's life that may even heighten when you have children.

Ultimately, Levette's fear for her children's safety outweighed her personal fear of her husband. I believe that she shot her husband with the intention of protecting her son, not with the intention of taking his life. Though it remains to be seen if the DA believes the same. I hope they do. The last thing Levette's children need is to lose both of their parents. As of right now, both of Daniel Crespo, Jr. and his sister Crystal Crespo stand behind their mother, though they are reportedly also mourning the loss of their father.

Image via Corbis

Topics: 911 call  abuse  assault  beating  crimes  crime  death  domestic abuse