Murder-suicide investigation court documents: Domestic violence claims

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New details emerged about a Valley father who police say shot and killed his young daughters before turning the gun on himself.
 
Audrey and Ariah were only four and five years old.
 
Court records show their father had a history of domestic violence and a violent break-up in which he had threatened his ex-wife, trying to prevent her from taking their kids and leave him.
 
The girls' parents were divorced and the girls were at the father's house during their scheduled time with him.
 
Police say the young girls were shot and killed by their father, 36-year-old Jerad Arismendez, who then turned the gun on himself.
 
The parents had recently divorced, and just four months ago the girls' mother was granted an order of protection.
 
In the court filing the mother claims at one point Jerad held her in a "choke hold" while she was getting ready for work, took away her cell phone to prevent her from calling police, and threatened harm if she tried to leave "he can't live without us".
 
"Orders of protection are just pieces of paper unfortunately so if someone is intent on committing a violent act they will go ahead and do it," said Robert Knechtel of the Sojourner Center.
 
Knechtel runs a Phoenix domestic violence shelter.
 
He says in most cases protective orders are effective in keeping abusers away.
 
Arizona is ranked eighth in the country for highest number of women killed in domestic violence situations.
 
Audrey and Ariah are among at least four dozen Arizonans who were either shot or stabbed to death due to domestic violence this year alone.
 
Experts say domestic violence is an epidemic in this state and there needs to be more focus on treating the abusers.
 
According to the Maricopa County attorney's office, nationwide one-third of homicide victims who took out restraining orders were murdered within the first month of getting the order.
 
When a person files an order of protection there is no law requiring the defendant to turn in their weapons .
 
They are asked to do so voluntarily, but no one is required to check or remove weapons from a defendant's possession.
 
VIDEO: FOX 10's Nicole Garcia talks with Robert Knechtel about domestic violence.
 
Family members have set up a fundraising page to raise money for the girls' funeral expenses here.

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