The letter appeared in my in-box in May 2010, when the murder of University of Virginia student Yeardley Love was in the news.
The lengthy missive was written by Terasa Evans, who had been choked and beaten by her estranged husband, professional boxer Ronald D. Boyd, outside a Mitchellville nightclub about a week before.
I receive a fair share of letters and e-mails providing potential tips or comments on stories. But Evans’s letter stood out for a couple of reasons: It was unusually heartfelt, and well-written.
And she was predicting that she would be murdered by Boyd.
The end of her letter read, “. . . even with the additional locks I have placed on my entry way, my mind replays the last image seen before I turned the television off. That face could be mine . . . WILL I BECOME THE NEXT YEARDLEY LOVE?”
The letter captured my attention. I called the number provided at the end of the letter, and spoke with Evans for several minutes.
About five months later, on the morning of Oct. 6, 2010, Evans, 31, was gunned down as she loaded kickball gear into her car in the parking lot of the Hyattsville apartment complex where she lived.
The killer, a man wearing a hoodie, fired multiple shots into Evans’s head, then fled, relatives of Evans said. The killer left behind her purse and her car, relatives said.
Neither Boyd, 41, nor anyone else, has been charged with Evans’s murder.
But though Evans was not around to testify against him, Boyd was convicted in April, of first-degree assault for the beating he inflicted on her outside the nightclub.
Prince George’s prosecutors persuaded Circuit Court Judge Maureen Lamasney to let them submit as evidence testimony from a June 2010 court hearing in which Evans obtained a protective order. Evans described the beating during that hearing. Evans is scheduled to be sentenced for it Friday.
When I spoke to Evans, who was known to family and friends as “Tracy,” there was no way for me to know whether Boyd was a mortal threat to her. But it was clear that Evans, who co-owned and helped run a child-care center in Hyattsville, was terrified of her estranged husband.
I recall asking Evans whether she was in touch with the state’s attorney’s office; she said she was. At that time, there did not appear to be anything else authorities could do to protect her. And though I was sympathetic to Evans’s situation, it didn’t appear to be a news story. Sadly, her situation was far from unique.
Of course, her letter — which Evans also sent to Gov. Martin O’Malley, then-County Executive Jack B. Johnson, then-Sheriff Michael A Jackson, and other elected officials and news agencies, took on greater resonance after she was killed.
“Last night when the world was safely nestled in their beds, I wept in the DARKNESS because the man that BROKE MY FACE AND WANTS TO END MY LIFE is still roaming free,” the letter began. “I wept at the disfigured face staring back at me in the mirror.”
“I wept as I looked at the bottles of prescription pain killers sitting on my dining room table to ease the pain searing like a hot iron through my skull,” it continued. “I wept because I know there are other women weeping and living a nightmare like mine. I wept because my life is a case number/stack of papers that the Sheriff office pass hand to hand when their duty is over due to lack of information I have on his whereabouts. I wept because the very system that is supposed to PROTECT ME IS FAILING ME.”
Evans had reached out to a local TV news station, she wrote, hoping to get it to broadcast her story, “and was told I would have to be a priority story for coverage. I wept because I feel I won’t become a priority until my husband KILLS ME.”
Later in the letter, Evans wrote: “To add injury to insult, I have a date in court next month to defend myself against ASSAULT charges he filed against me during his violent attack in which I was trying to fight for MY LIFE.”
Boyd did file assault charges against Evans, claiming she had attacked him outside the Mitchellville nightclub; prosecutors dismissed those charges.
Evans, the mother of a 12-year-old girl from a previous relationship, was passionate about children, according to her aunt, Annie Barr, and her younger sister, Ushika Evans, 29.
Evans carved out a career in child care, working at several facilities in the District, including one at the World Bank, Barr and Ushika Evans said. But she wanted something for herself, so she purchased a child-care center in Hyattsville with Barr about two and a half years ago when its owner was retiring.
Evans ran the child-care center with Barr. The day before Evans was killed, Barr said, Evans kissed one of the boys in her care on the cheek, which the other kids found hilarious. After that, Barr recalled, Evans kissed each of the kids on the cheek, and put them down for a nap.
“Every one of them went to sleep,” Barr said. “That’s unusual. I told her she should kiss them all day.”
Evans met Boyd around 2005, relatives said, and they married in September 2007.
Barr said she disliked Boyd from the start — to the extent that she boycotted the wedding, even though she considered Terasa Evans to be more like a daughter than a niece.
Of Boyd, Barr said, “He was the type of person who made you feel like he was more than he really was — charming, debonair. He dressed in flashy clothes and drove sports cars. But I just wasn’t feeling it.”