Divorce Lawyers’ Occupational Hazard — Arizona Killing Spree Fuelled by Bitter Divorce

As the month of June comes to a close, I can’t help but think of the horrifying shooting spree of June 2 in Yuma, Arizona that saw six people murdered by a 73-year old gunman, Dyess, who later took his own life. Apparently, the shooting spree was fuelled by a “divorce gone bad.”

According to Yuma Police Chief the killing spree, which took place in six separate locations, was not a random act. That the shootings were rooted in an acrimonious divorce case stemming back to 2006. It was Dyess’ fifth divorce, and court records indicate his ex-wife, had filed for and been granted an order of protection.

One of Dyess’ victims was family lawyer Jerrold Shelley, who represented his ex-wife in 2006. He was said to be an excellent family man. Well-respected in this community. Other victims of Dyess’ rampage include individuals who were believed to be friends and family of the gunman.

Though weeks have passed since the 6-hour killing spree ended, there remain far more questions than answers concerning this incomprehensibly tragic and terrifying ordeal – answers that may never be forthcoming, given that Dyess’ final bullet was the one he aimed at himself, and fired.

I have heard of many domestic violence cases where the spouses (mostly women) who have asked for protection ended upbeing badly hurt or killed, but there was not much the police can do about it because there was no “evidence”. I guess they got the dead body of the ex and others as evidence this time.

I have also heard of 2 other family lawyers who got “run over” by a car and beaten up by a hired gun in their office one early morning. They recovered and are still practicing. I know lots of people hate lawyers, but I think a lot of them are gentle and kind and do not deserve the bad reputation lawyers get, never mind such life threatening experience.  I certainly never knew being a divorce lawyer comes with such occupational hazard.

Just like dentists, no one wants to go see a divorce lawyer. I know it could seem like a thankless job. Some clients want you to be their “financial consultant”, their “friend”, their “therapist”, join them in making their spouse wrong and keep telling them they will be OK. So, to all the good divorce lawyers out there, thank you for doing what you do. You have a big job.

Martha ChanMartha Chan is the co-owner and V.P. Marketing of Divorce Marketing Group , Family Lawyer Magazine and Divorce Magazine. She is responsible for all online and offline initiatives of the company. She is married to Dan Couvrette and is a step mother of two sons. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. She can be reached at (866) 803-6667 ex. 136 or marthac@divorcemarketinggroup.com.

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