Martha 'Sheree' Bryant: Mother of 5 gunned down in her Birmingham home
Martha "Sheree" Bryant, 30, of Birmingham, Alabama was a strong and proud woman, but she would do anything for her kids.
"Over the years, sometimes we didn't have money to eat,'' Diana Miles, the grandmother of Bryant's two oldest children, told AL.com. "We had to sell our blood to have money to feed the kids, but she'd rather see her kids eat than herself."
The mother of five children, Bryant was trying to get out of a relationship that had recently turned violent. For some reason or another, she was never able to break free. "I told her to stop talking to him and she said, 'He won't leave me alone.' Miles was quoted as saying. "She's been trying to get rid of him for the longest."
"She told him she didn't want him anymore and he just couldn't take it,'' Miles, who has taken in Bryant's five children, temporarily, told AL.com. "I guess if he couldn't have her, nobody could."
Police said Jason Harris, 32, went to Bryant's home on Saturday, October 8, 2016, and an argument ensued. She was found in her home on the floor with multiple gunshot wounds. Two of her children were home, three others, all girls, happened to be staying with an uncle for "girls skate night."
Harris, the father of three of Bryant's children, was later found dead in his car from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"He said he loved [his kids] but if he could kill her in front of those children, that's not love,'' Miles told AL.com.
Bryant had tried to escape from Harris before, but to no avail. Especially chilling is this passage from AL.com:
Court records show Bryant a petition for protection from abuse against Harris in 2015. At the time she filed her request, Bryant said she was afraid Harris would seriously injure her and the children, and said he staked her. "He's text my phone telling me how he going to kill me and my friend,'' Bryant wrote. The request was dismissed after Bryant failed to show up for two scheduled hearings in the case.
Beverly Youse, executive director of the House of Ruth, spoke recently to the Dothan (Alabama) Eagle. She said a woman is battered once every nine seconds in the United States. One in three women has been physically abused by a partner.
“There truly is no reason for domestic violence,” Youse was quoted as saying.
Pamela Miles, executive director of the Exchange Center for Child Abuse Prevention, echoed those sentiments.
“Tragically, the single best predictor of children becoming either perpetrators or victims of domestic violence is growing up in a home full of violence,” Miles told the Eagle. “Violence has no place in a child’s life. With a clear vision and concrete action, we can and we must give children brighter and more peaceful futures.”