Domestic violence victim pushes for ex-husband to wear GPS - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Domestic violence victim pushes for ex-husband to wear GPS

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(DOC photo) (DOC photo)

A mother in Putnam is struggling to stay safe from her ex-husband who abused her for years.

Steven Wooten will be getting out of prison on Friday, and Amy Byrnes is afraid of what he might do.

Byrnes said Wooten abused her for five years before he was sent to prison.

She felt safer when he was locked up, but when she learned he was getting out, she had to keep fighting.

"We have sleepless nights and it hurts a lot,” Byrnes said, adding that she’s afraid for herself, and more importantly, her 9-year-old son Hunter.

After years of abuse, Wooten was arrested, but within weeks, he violated two protective orders. He was sent to prison for almost two years.

"He told me if I put him away for what he was doing to me, he would come back and kill me and my son,” Byrnes said.

At first, she said she was told her ex-husband would not have to wear a GPS tracking device, and there was a possibility he would be living with family on Church Street, which is only a quarter mile from where she lives.

Byrnes called Channel 3, and after making many calls, Wooten will now be required to wear a GPS tracking device, which will alert authorities if he comes close to her house or her son’s school.

"We can set exclusion zones so they can't go in a certain area. An auto alert goes to the monitoring center to the probation officer, and in some circumstances, right to the victim and in domestic violence cases it can go right to police,” said Stephen Grant, of court support services, which is run by the state’s probation system and will now be tracking Wooten.

Byrnes also had an alarm system and cameras installed around her apartment, which is being paid for by the foundation in honor of Tiana Notice, who was murdered by her boyfriend.

Wooten has also been denied the right to live in Putnam. Instead, he will be living in Norwich, in housing set up by probation.

"It’s helpful when a victim advocates, and even more helpful when they work with the domestic violence program so there can be a real cohesive approach in staying safe,” said Karen Jarmoc, of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

"I am going to tell him he is not going to hurt us anymore. I am going to take a stand for my son and never let him do this to us anymore,” Byrnes said.

Those who wear GPS devices usually wear them for at least one year.

Byrnes said she wants other victims to know there is no shame or embarrassment in reaching out for help.

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