FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA — This woman died because officers, sworn to serve and protect, didn’t take her warning seriously enough.
According to 11 Alive News, Stephanie Riddle was in a terribly abusive relationship with Jerrell Berger.
The source says her plea with Fulton county authorities was an attempt to flee her death at the hands of Berger.
Reportedly, Riddle — a mother of five — told Berger she was ending their relationship due to his repeated abuse.
The source notes Berger didn’t take the situation well at all. Actually, he took it upon himself to “discipline” Riddle by pulling several braids from her scalp. The source states as follows.
“He then struck her several times in the face with a metal vacuum cleaner, causing a large cut on her forehead that required stitches to close.”
According to 11 Alive, Riddle called police after his assault, and they responded to the situation — arresting and charging Berger with family violence, a misdemeanor.
BUT JUST TWO DAYS LATER…
They let Berger go.
According to the source, “despite four prior convictions, including aggravated battery against another woman,” a Fulton county magistrate judge granted Berger a $2,000 bond.
***The tweet below shows a previous situation involving Berger’s violent tendencies.***
— Crime Stoppers ATL (@StopCrimeATL) March 29, 2012
Berger paid the bond fee and was released — free, once again, to inflict terror and pain on Stephanie Riddle.
The source reports the release was conditional on the premise he’d stay away from Riddle.
However, they may as well had never included it as part of his conditions, because he went directly to her house upon release.
While Berger was confronting her, concerned and alarmed neighbors called 911 regarding the unfolding situation.
As reports the source, when police arrived at the scene, Berger was walking away from Riddle’s home. That’s when she informed authorities of his plans.
“If you don’t arrest him, he is going to kill me,” she explained.
DID THEY ARREST HIM?
You would think so. He was clearly in violation regarding the terms of his release.
But, nope. In true “police work” style, they ignored the woman’s plea.
According to officer reports, the next day, he surely killed her…at her job.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office says Berger went to a Hapeville hotel where Riddle worked. The source states as follows.
“He chased her into a room and shot her six times. The last shot, execution-style at her head.”
That’s when Hapeville police arrested Berger.
On Halloween 2017, he pleaded guilty to:
- two counts of felony murder
- two counts of aggravated assault
- one count of aggravated battery
- one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony
- and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
For his heinous crimes against Riddle, the judge sentenced Berger to 35 years in prison.
#UPDATE–Fulton D.A. says Jerrell Berger sentenced to 35yrs in prison after shooting ex-girlfriend 6x….killing her. Berger pleaded guilty to murder charges. More on https://t.co/mPitYZVKCg #11alivehttps://t.co/UACuYCrNeG pic.twitter.com/VwBVjI6ebr
— 11Alive News (@11AliveNews) November 22, 2017
Concerning Riddle’s plea for help, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr. had this to say.
“Ms. Riddle did everything right. She did everything she could to stay alive, but now she is the person dead. These cases continue to happen in our county and will continue to happen until our system carefully evaluates such incidents and substantially changes what we are doing. This is an unspeakable tragedy that should not have ended in this fashion. Ms. Riddle should be alive.”
Note: It’s truly a horrible story. There are many other cases like this in the United States, everyday. You can’t take anyone’s threats as idle words these days. If he told her he was going to kill her, the officers should’ve compounded the threats on top of his proximity violation and arrested him. Maybe Stephanie Riddle would still be alive, as Howard mentioned in his statement.
Nevertheless, let us know your thoughts about this incident. If you have any comments, feel free to share them via our Facebook page.
[Featured Photo via @11AliveNews / Twitter]