Conroe, November 21 – Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon presented a very serious message to would-be murders in Montgomery County during a citizen comment at the Tuesday, November 20, 2018, Commissioners Court meeting. Rather than insisting upon special treatment as an elected servant, Ligon waited until the end of the Commissioners Court to present these remarks, which he delivered with First Assistant District Attorney Mike Holley and 9th District Judge Phil Grant observing.
Ligon’s entire comments concerning would-be murders follows:
“Morning, Judge, Commissioners…what I wanted to talk about is that there have been some high-profile homicides that have been committed in Montgomery County and it kinds of brings us back to the thing that we talk about within my circle, but perhaps the general public is not aware of. So, I thought this is a great opportunity to talk about it right here before the holidays.
“Historically, we’ve averaged about 30 murders per year. Our highest, or bellwether year, for some reason was in 1996. I don’t know why. It was a much smaller population, but we don’t have many more murders now than we did in the mid-1990s. But we have more homicides. Now, why would you have a homicide and not have a murder? Because you have murder-suicides. So Dr. Paneri [the County’s forensic pathologist] have gotten together and looked at those that are tied to domestic violence.
“Here’s the sobering fact that I wanted to bring to the Court’s attention and as a way of getting out to the general public. We’re going to do about 30 murders a year and we’ve filed about 30 murders a year. We’re going to have closer to 50 homicides a year. But of those 30 murders, two-thirds of those are domestic violence. Now, I know we just got through Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Two-thirds of our murders in Montgomery County historically and including this year have been domestic violence related.
“A hundred percent of those [murders that are domestic violence related] have had drugs or alcohol involved. So either the victim is intoxicated or has alcohol in their system or likely the defendant does. Here’s another fact that is just galling to me. A hundred percent of those victims have been women.
“So our murders in Montgomery County one of the things that I wrestle back and forth with is, if you can predict it, can you prevent it?
“I can tell you that coming into Thanksgiving, people increase their alcohol intake, deal with the stress, deal with the holidays, dealing with Christmas, have family situations. So this is my way of a little bit of a PSA. I’m trying to give a little bit of attention to this.
“Put down the egg nog. Go to church. Take a long walk. Do something. If it’s the family relationships that are driving the vast majority of the murders that we have in Montgomery County, there are some steps that you can take.
“The Montgomery County Women’s Center is a great facility, particularly when you’re dealing with the vast majority of our victims being female. We’re looking at some tools that we can perhaps help patrol officers with identifying who is more likely to offend, at the murder rate. Lethality assessment is something we’re trying to get law enforcement on board with. Those men who strangle are almost inevitably the ones who kill. There’s a direct correlation between those defendants who strangled a spouse or a loved one, and there’s a direct tie-in to officer-involved shootings. The vast majority of people who are involved in officer-involved shootings have a huge history in domestic violence, particularly strangulation.
“There’s things that we can predict, but I don’t know if we can prevent them. I’d ask that the Court when you’re out there in the public when you have the opportunity, really just come forward to bring some light to this before the holidays. It is a sad fact. If we could cut our overall domestic violence murder rate down, then we’d be cutting our overall homicide rate.
“Montgomery County, as you know, is a very, very safe County. It’s about 5 homicides per 100,000. Almost all of our murders are people that they know.
“I want to thank you for your time, Judge, and I appreciate it.