911 Tape Reveals Final Moments of Domestic Violence Victim’s Life

A 911 tape released on Friday has shed light on the final moments of Dorothy Giunta-Cotter, who was killed by her abusive husband on March 26th, 2002 in Amesbury, Massachusetts. The tape reveals that Giunta’s daughter called 911 when her father arrived at the house in violation of a restraining order wearing military fatigues and a gun belt loaded with ammunition. William Cotter took the phone from his daughter and warned the dispatcher that “if they kick the door, someone’s gonna get hurt real bad.” Seconds later, the responding officers burst through the door. Cotter proceeded to shoot his wife once in the back, killing her. Cotter then shot himself in the chest, committing suicide. Cotter was an alcoholic with a 20-year history of verbally and physically abusing his wife. He had repeatedly threatened to kill his family if his wife dared to leave him. Just two weeks before he killed Giunta-Cotter, he was arrested for threatening to shoot her, but was released on bail. The presiding district court judge released Cotter without even holding a hearing to determine Cotter’s potential to follow through with his threat. Domestic violence is the leading cause of homicide and injury of women in the United States. Sadly, murders like those of Dorothy Giunta-Cotter prove that the criminal justice system continues to fail to take domestic violence seriously enough to adequately protect women.


Boston Herald, 7/14/02; www.plainsense.com

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