Domestic violence at center of latest Georgia and Alabama murders

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 11:26 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As police investigate this latest killing in Columbus and Opelika, authorities look for answers in the death of a 33-year-old man killed by someone he knew.

One local official is reminding the public about domestic violence resources. Domestic violence is a leading cause of death for women under 50 in the U.S.

Two murders on opposite sides of the river, but one thing at the center of both is domestic violence.

“I am appalled and very disappointed in our young folks today because there’s more than one way to solve your problems. Violence shouldn’t be the answer at all,” said Columbus resident Denise Stanley.

Monday morning, Lee County Sheriff’s deputies found 33-year-old Terrence Melton dead in Opelika. That evening, 38-year-old Shakeisar Peavy was taken into custody, charged with murder in connection to Melton’s death. Sheriff Jay Jones says the suspect was the victim’s girlfriend.

“It doesn’t surprise me....people are having a hard time coping with each other. And, unfortunately, they need help, and that’s not the way to cope with your problems by striking out at others,” added Stanley, shaking her head at the news of the murder of Melton.

Around midnight, Columbus police responded to a double shooting near a pawn shop on Buena Vista Road, where one woman was killed. Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan says that woman is 19-year-old, Nevaeh Nevels. The coroner says investigators believe the person behind her death is the father of her two-year-old child.

“It’s heartbreaking. It is absolutely heartbreaking. She was young. She was -- 19 years. Old. She has a two-year-old child, you know. It changed so many lives yesterday in that one instance,” said Hope Harbour’s Executive Director Lindsey Reis.

The coroner says the father of Nevel’s child chased her and another person down Buena Vista Road in a car. After spinning out of control, officials say the woman and a passenger were eventually gunned down. The second victim is now in a coma.

Hope Harbour, a local domestic violence resource, has a 43-bed emergency shelter at an undisclosed location and an outreach program for anyone needing educational or support services.

“They say that many victims who are killed by their abusers make their abusers between the ages of 14 and 16. So she’s 19 years old. So she probably met him at some point, and this is where it ended up,” said Reis.

Columbus police have still not made any arrests. Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence is encouraged to call Hope Harbour’s crisis line at 706-324-3850. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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