Arson victim: 'He's going to kill me finally'

Posted at 11:40 PM, Feb 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 23:54:53-05

CINCINNATI -- When she looked outside her East Price Hill apartment early Sunday morning, Brandy Chivers says she couldn't believe her eyes: Her ex-boyfriend had found her.

Chivers dated Jerome Brown for about four years. He became abusive, she said. And about a month ago, Chivers said she'd had enough of their relationship and left.

She stayed with friends for a while before moving into her own place.

Then Brown showed up, and Chivers said her heart sank into her knees.

"I didn't know what to do," she said Thursday. "It's like I was stuck. I tried to run, but by the time I tried to run, he was already in here."

Chivers said Brown shattered her phone so she couldn't call 911, dragged her into her bedroom and threw things around the apartment.

And, she said, he threatened to kill her.

"I figured, you know, he found me this time -- I am going to die. I have no one, and that was all that was on my mind, was he's going to kill me finally," she said.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, every nine seconds a woman in the United States is assaulted or beaten.

Theresa Singleton, director of protection from abuse for the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, said it's never as simple as telling a woman to "just leave" her abuser.

"In fact, all of the research shows the most dangerous time for a survivor occurs when (they) are in the process of leaving, or after (they’ve) already left the relationship," Singleton said.

When Brown was in the living room, Chivers said she made her move. She ran out of the apartment and up the street.

But, she said, her ex-boyfrined wasn't done: She saw her back porch, and she saw flames. Chivers said Brown took all her clothes, put them on her stove and turned on the front two burners.

"You think you're moving somewhere, and you think you're going to be safe. And to look up and to live this moment -- to see your kitchen is on fire -— you just feel like all hope is gone," she said.

Brown, 29, was arrested and charged with aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated arson. In court Thursday, Brown's attorney said he denies the accusations and was cooperative at the scene with the investigator.

His bond was set at $600,000, and he remained at the Hamilton County Justice Center on Thursday night. Chivers said that's giving her some peace.

"I feel -- I could shout for joy," she said. "I feel so safe to know I can sleep at night."

For more information about how to handle an abusive relationship and resources for domestic violence survivors, click here.