“I’ll kill you all,” Brown, 57, allegedly said to Solis and another man.
Brown followed through on part of his promise on Thursday, police say, marking a calamitous end to a pattern of events that domestic violence advocates say is all too common.
“We’ve seen so many of them at this point — so many cases where someone has assaulted somebody that they’re supposed to love in such a violent way,” said Jennifer White, program director for curriculum development and program design at the San Francisco-based organization Futures Without Violence.
Brown pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated domestic battery and aggravated assault stemming from the alleged cutting incident on Nov. 9, as the Tampa Bay Times first reported. After paying $15,000 in bail the next day, Brown was released from custody. He agreed not to contact Solis, 43, and to stay at least 500 feet away from her, court records show.
But Brown allegedly disregarded that order on Nov. 12 and went to the house he and Solis shared. He used his key to go inside. Solis saw him rooting through the home looking for his checkbook and briefly talked with him, according to court records. He left the house when he noticed that his girlfriend had called police.
Solis asked officials the next day not to prosecute Brown and indicated that she wanted to have contact with him, court records show. “I am not in fear of violence from the Defendant,” read part of a document she signed.
A domestic violence victim may decline to press charges for many reasons, said Kiersten Stewart, public policy director at Futures Without Violence. Most often, Stewart said, the victim is afraid that doing so would lead to more severe violence. This fear may be particularly heightened when she has seen that her abuser is likely to be released on bail, Stewart said.
In other cases, Stewart said, the victim might become homeless if she cooperates with prosecutors and her abuser kicks her out of their shared living space. Perpetrators also often repeatedly promise to never hurt their victims again.
“There’s often almost a honeymoon period where there’s very kind and generous behavior, apologies, efforts to make amends,” Stewart said. “Unfortunately, the violence usually does return.”
As days passed after Solis asked officials not to prosecute, her friends became worried. One friend saw Brown and Solis together at their home, according to court documents. Another heard from Solis that she would “be right over,” but she never showed up to their meeting spot. Brown allegedly sent that friend a text message later that day to say Solis was asleep.
On Thursday, court records show, the friends went to Solis’s house and found it “in disarray.” When they located an extra set of keys to Brown’s Cadillac, they opened the trunk and saw Solis’s body.
Alongside Solis, according to court records, were framed photos of the couple, bloody paper towels, a robe with “Warren” monogrammed on it and a “leather-covered slapjack” with blood, hair and flesh on it. Police found blood spattered on the ceilings of two rooms in the home.
Brown admitted to stabbing Solis and putting her body in his trunk, police wrote in court records. The public defender’s office in Pinellas County, which represents Brown, did not respond to a request for comment.
As of Tuesday, Brown was in custody without the option of bail.
Brown and Solis had a tumultuous history before this month. Brown took steps in July to legally kick Solis out of their home, court records show. Days later, Solis was charged with domestic battery for allegedly scratching Brown’s face and causing injury. The next month, Brown allegedly punched Solis in the face while they argued and fled the scene before police arrived.
When someone is charged with a domestic violence offense, like Brown’s alleged cutting of Solis, Stewart said judges should work with police and domestic violence advocates to evaluate the chances that an offender might escalate their behavior to homicide. Although no risk-assessment tool is foolproof, Stewart said judges should consider whether the defendant has a history of other violence or previously has defied accountability from the judicial system, among other factors.
“Do a good assessment of how dangerous this person is, and make a decision,” Stewart said. “Judges do that all the time and they know how to do that. They just need to take these cases seriously enough.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224.