Abused by her husband "on and off" for 20 years, 42-year-old Zina Haughton could endure no more, court records indicate.
After failing to press for charges against her husband Radcliffe despite at least a half-dozen police contacts, Haughton recently summoned the courage to tell him she wanted a divorce.
And after two back-to-back police incidents within 48 hours — fleeing to a hotel with a bruised face as reported by 620wtmj.com and having her tires slashed at her workplace Azana Salon and Spa, she got even more courageous: she penned a statement publicly accusing her husband of domestic abuse and asked a court for a restraining order barring him from having any contact with her.
"I don't want to die, I just don't want to die," Zina Haughton told Milwaukee County Court Commissioner Nancy Sturm on Thursday, according to a newly-released audio recording of the court hearing first reported by WISN-TV's Colleen Henry.
Four days later she was dead.
And so were two of her coworkers, with three more coworkers and a spa customer wounded in the tragic attack as Azana opened at 11 a.m. on an unseasonably warm, sunny October Sunday morning as golfers hit the hills as the adajacent Westbrook Country Club.
Shooter bought gun despite court order
Sturm had ordered Radcliffe Haughton to surrender any firearms and steer clear of his wife through 2016.
But two days later he bought a .40-caliber handgun from a private seller, The Associated Press reported. He used it the following day for his murderous rampage which ended, Brookfield police say, when he holed up in a locked room inside the upscale spa and shot himself in the head.
JSOnline.com watchdog reports have raised questions about why Brown Deer police failed to arrest Radcliffe Haughton over the years when they were called to his home.
Fox6now.com says Zina Haughton went to police as early as June 2003 to report her husband had battered her but said she didn't want to get him in trouble.
Brown Deer police failed to arrest Radcliffe Haughton in a January 2011 standoff in which officers said they saw him point a gun at his wife through a window. A misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge was filed but was dropped when Zina Haughton and a police officer failed to testify at trial.
Husband avoided domestic abuse charges
His wife told the court commissioner Thursday that she didn't cooperate with authorities because she didn't want her daughter to see her father jailed.
But last week she testified, even answering questions under oath from her husband, who acted as his own attorney in the restraining order hearing. She accused him in court and in documents obtained by Patch of terrorizing her and threatening to burn her, throw acid on her and kill her if she went to police or went through with a divorce.
"The scariest night of my life — he ran in the basement, and he came upstairs, and he pulled a gun from behind his pants, and it accidentally went off in between me and my daughter's head, about two inches from both of our heads," she testified.
Radcliffe questioned his wife during the hearing why he wasn't arrested if he had abused her as she claimed.
He told the commissioner he loved his wife and never had had any intentions of harming her.
Lawmakers call for gun restrictions
Democratic state legislators are using the Brookfield spa shooting as ammunition to seek more gun-control laws, requiring anyone with an imposed restraining order to surrender their firearms within 48 hours or face arrest.