PFA Recently Expired Against Man Now Accused of Killing Ex-Wife in Philadelphia Area

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 03, 2019 | 0 Comments

A man in the Philadelphia area is facing numerous criminal charges for allegedly killing his ex-wife with an assault rifle in what appears to be a child custody dispute. While there are numerous facets to the scenario, one that bears investigating is the role that a PFA, or protection from abuse order, would have had to make the charges include a serious gun crime.

Man Shoots and Kills Ex-Wife in Philadelphia Area

The incident happened on March 28, 2019, in a Wawa Convenience Store in Radnor Township, just to the northwest of Philadelphia.

According to the initial reports, a man was supposed to bring his child to the store for a scheduled custody exchange with his ex-wife. He came alone, though, with an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle. When his ex-wife entered the store, he shot her in the stomach and head at what police are describing as “point blank range.” He then fled the scene and was apprehended at a local park where police said he was having a drug overdose.

The man had previously threatened to kill his ex-wife in 2016, a threat that led to an arrest. She had obtained a PFA against him at some point, but it had expired in September 2018.

Out of the many issues in this situation, one of them is how PFA orders intersect with the gun rights of their defendants.

How PFAs Alter Gun Rights

In Pennsylvania, a PFA is a court order that works much like a restraining order. There are several types of PFAs: The process often begins when a purported victim and plaintiff requests an emergency or ex parte PFA. These are granted quickly and on the basis of the alleged victim's uncontested statements, but they expire within a few days. They can be extended into a final PFA after a court hearing in which the defendant can challenge the necessity of the order and the sufficiency of the evidence underlying it.

The terms of the PFA depend on the situation. However, in many PFAs stemming from alleged domestic violence, the defendant is required to relinquish any firearms they have and is prohibited from acquiring any new ones.

When the PFA includes these provisions related to a defendant's firearms, there are serious repercussions that come with retaining or buying a gun. Because a PFA is a court order, breaking it can lead to a criminal contempt charge; a misdemeanor offense that carries up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. And because the PFA can be violated by merely possessing firearms once the terms of the order go into effect, nothing more needs to be done for a contempt charge to be filed.

When the PFA's terms are set to expire, they can be renewed by the plaintiff by showing that the danger persists.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento Serves Philadelphia

PFAs serve an important function in domestic violence law in Philadelphia. However, their duration can seriously impair the defendant's Second Amendment rights to own a firearm.

Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense lawyer who handles PFA orders and can advocate both for plaintiffs who want protection and for defendants who want to preserve their rights. You can contact him online or call his Philadelphia law office at (215) 535-5353.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.