Although it may be just a coincidence, it is perhaps fitting that the trial of Keith Moore takes place during the month of October, which happens to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Moore is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend, 28-year-old Ameya Spratley, on Jan. 11, 2010. Spratley was stabbed and strangled to death inside their apartment. Jury selection in the case began yesterday for Moore, who has been charged with murder, abuse of a corpse, possessing an instrument of crime and related offenses. Investigators said the motive was an argument.
President Barack Obama said yesterday that young women between the ages of 16 and 24 are among the most vulnerable to intimate partner violence. The president made his comments to mark the 18th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.
“For far too long, domestic violence was ignored or treated as a private matter where victims were left to suffer in silence without hope of intervention,” the president said in a prepared statement. “As we mark the 18th anniversary of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, authored by Vice President Joe Biden, we reflect on how far we have come. We have made significant progress in changing laws and attitudes, providing support to survivors, and reducing the incidence of domestic violence. But we also know that we have not come far enough, and that there is more work left to be done. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we stand with all those who have been affected by this terrible crime, recognize the individuals and groups who have stepped forward to break the cycle of violence, and recommit to putting an end to domestic violence in America. Despite considerable progress in reducing domestic violence, an average of three women in the United States loses their lives every day as a result of these unconscionable acts.”
Obama said that without intervention, children exposed to such violence often have difficulty in school and suffer from post traumatic disorders. Many of them turn to self-medicating and abuse drugs and alcohol, or even criminal behavior.
According to investigators, on Jan. 11, 2010, just before 7 p.m. police responded to a report of screaming inside the couple’s second floor apartment in the 900 block of South 16th Street. When responding officers arrived, they searched the apartment and found Spratley’s partially clothed body stuffed inside a bedroom closet. She had been strangled and stabbed three times, and was pronounced dead at 7:02 p.m. The medical examiner’s report indicated that there were knife wounds to her left torso and strangulation ligature marks around her neck.
From the beginning of the case, Moore was considered a suspect and charges of murder were filed against him the very next day. Court documents on Moore obtained by The Tribune show that Moore had a criminal history. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to illegal drug and criminal conspiracy charges and was sentenced to 12 months in prison. He also received two years probation. In 2004, he was also facing drug charges but the case was dismissed. In 2005, he was arrested on weapons charges, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and related offenses.
According to experts on the issue, domestic violence is a problem that affects every strata of American society regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or economic and educational background.
Research by the U.S. Department of Justice shows that domestic violence covers a range of criminal acts, including intimate partner violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual abuse.
Experts and survivors suggest no one ever thinks they might become a victim of domestic violence. Compounding the problem is that some victims don’t want to admit they are in an abusive relationship, while others are afraid to seek help and suffer in silence. According to investigators involved in the murder of Ameya Spratley, there was an alleged history of physical abuse in the relationship. How much of it was actually reported to police are details that are expected to come out during testimony.