The day a Rock Hill mother of three was found dead in her home, her ex-boyfriend had failed to show up for a hearing that could have landed him in jail.
Police have identified the ex-boyfriend as Jefferson Quinde-Quishpi. They also say he was the man they found on Sept. 18, stabbing himself at the Barrow Court house where Marandy Jade Brandon had been fatally stabbed.
Quinde-Quishpi was flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte with life-threatening injuries. He was listed in critical condition Sept. 21.
Quinde-Quishpi is wanted on charges of murder and possession of a weapon in a violent crime, but has not been released from the hospital, Rock Hill police spokesman Capt. Mark Bollinger said.
Brandon, 25, and Quinde-Quishpi, 26, had previously been in a relationship and lived in the house on Barrow Court for about a year, according to a police report. Brandon was the mother of three children.
Police had charged Quinde-Quishpi with domestic violence against Brandon on two occasions, police reports show. On the day Brandon died, solicitors had filed a motion to revoke Quinde-Quishpi’s bond. He didn’t show up to court, assistant solicitor Jenny Desch said.
Previous chargesQuinde-Quishpi had been arrested by the York County Sheriff’s Office on June 7 and by the Rock Hill Police Department on Sept. 11. He was released on bond both times.
It’s unclear if the officers and judge involved in the second case were aware of earlier first charge.
In the June 7 incident, police charged Quinde-Quishpi with second-degree domestic violence, according to a York County Sheriff’s Office arrest warrant. That warrant says Quinde-Quishpi punched Brandon in the face. Quinde-Quishpi was released on $5,000 bond and ordered by a judge to have no contact with Brandon.
On Sept. 11, officers arrested Quinde-Quishpi at about 2:30 a.m. and charged him with third-degree domestic violence.
A 19-year-old witness in the Sept. 11 incident told officers he accompanied Brandon to pick up her children from Quinde-Quishpi because he had recently been violent toward her, a police report says.
The witness waited down the street, and listened to Brandon on the phone, the report says.
The witness told officers he heard “the two become disorderly,” and he saw Quinde-Quishpi grab Brandon’s arm. Quinde-Quishpi told police he had been drinking, the report says. Quinde-Quishpi was released the same day on $1,800 bond and again ordered by a judge to have no further contact with Brandon, court records show.
Not much time
Katie Zanowski, the domestic violence victim advocate at the Rock Hill Police Department, said she’d been in contact with Brandon before her death.
Each time domestic violence is reported to Rock Hill police, Zanowki is contacted to support the victims.
With a week between the Rock Hill charge and Brandon’s murder, Zanowski said there wasn’t much time to assess Brandon’s needs.
Zanowski has been working with the police department since April 2016 when the city received a federal grant through the Victims of Crime Act to create her position. Since then, she says she’s seen 390 domestic violence cases that ended in an arrest. Over a year and-a-half, that’s more than two cases every three days in Rock Hill.
“(South Carolina is) a leader in victims’ advocates in dealing with victims,” Bollinger said. “But unfortuantely, on the backside of it, we’re also a leader in deaths of victims through domestic violence.”
And domestic violence is severly underreported, Zanowski said.
“You think about how many are afraid to speak or haven’t contacted law enforcement – there’s so many out there,” Zanowski said. “And that’s the hard part about domestic violence. You just don’t know what people are going through.”
In Brandon’s case, two judges ordered Quinde-Quishpi to have no contact with Brandon. Desch said she filed a motion to revoke his bond when Brandon told her – a few days after the arrest – that he had been arrested a second time.
A motion to revoke a suspect’s bond must be heard by a judge, Desch said.
After Quinde-Quishpi skipped the Sept. 18 hearing – the earliest a York County judge could have heard the motion – Desch said she sought a bench warrant to put him in jail. Later that day, Desch learned Brandon had been killed.
Desch said she couldn’t give further details on a pending case.
Zanowski said she communicates with the solicitor’s office every day to close gaps in victim protection.
“We do everything from our end that the law allows us to do,” Zanowski said. “But for one thing, you just can’t predict human behavior so you never know what’s going to happen.
“You never know which case it’s going to be. So you do everything you can do.”
Domestic violence in S.C.
South Carolina has the fifth highest rate of women killed by men in the nation based on 2015 deaths, the most recent data available, according to a Violence Policy Center report using data from the FBI.
The Violence Policy Center has been publishing a report on women killed by men for the past 20 years.
South Carolina has ranked in the top 10 for rates of women killed by men every year the list has been published – and has ranked in the top five more often than not.
Sara Barber, executive director of the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, said South Carolina’s high rate of homicides against women isn’t surprising.
Many factors contribute to South Carolina’s homicide rate, Barber said: high levels of poverty and unemployment, easy access to firearms and a male-dominated culture.
“When you mix all these things together, I don’t think it’s surprising that our fatality rate is as high as it is,” Barber said.
Then-Gov. Nikki Haley signed a domestic violence reform bill into law in 2015, but changes made by the bill aren’t yet reflected in the data.
16th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett said, though the data for 2016 and 2017 deaths is not yet available, he’s seen a distinct change since the reform law was passed.
“I think without question that domestic violence is being taken far more seriously than it was prior to the changes in the law and particularly prior to the changes in our attitude and our response to it locally,” Brackett said.
And statewide victim advocates say York County is working to markedly improve victim support.
“York county is really taking a very proactive approach to domestic violence – really trying to make sure that everyone is talking to each other, working together,” Barber said. “So you have law enforcement, your solicitor ... all talking and working together which can really help close gaps in safety for people.”
Jada Charley, executive director of Safe Passage, a domestic violence non-profit in Rock Hill, said change will come by working to educate the community about domestic violence before tragedies like Brandon’s death.
“York County is considered one of the better counties for how we handle domestic violence and people are still getting murdered in our community,” Charley said. “So there’s no easy fix.”