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Chesterfield murder-suicide may increase domestic violence help calls

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. -- A local program that serves domestic violence survivors said it expects calls for help to increase this week after a murder-suicide in Chesterfield on Father’s Day.

However, the Executive Director of Safe Harbor, Kathleen Demro also said she worries the tragedy could dissuade domestic violence victims from trying to leave their abusive situation.

“When things like this happen, it becomes very discouraging and alarming for people in the community that are trying to make these decisions,” Demro said.

We do not know if there were ever any previous domestic violence situation in the home of that Chesterfield family involved in the murder-suicide.

But, a close family friend said that Renotta Jernigan told her husband Chris Jernigan that she wanted a divorce, just eight days before police said he killed her, their son, and his step-daughter.

Regardless of the Jernigan’s personal history, Demro wants people to know Safe Harbor can help victims of abuse get out safely, and they should still devise a plan to escape.

“There are certainly hundreds of thousands of people that leave relationships over the course of a year that don't result in this type of outcome,” Demro said.

If you know someone involved in a domestic violence situation, you can call Safe Harbor’s help line at (804) 287-7877.


  • Craig_the_Candid

    • Statistically, women commit acts of domestic violence against their significant other more often than men. However, there are two major differences:
    1. Men are less likely to report it.
    2. They are less lethal than men. When a man does it, serious damage happens.
    American culture cheers when a woman is violent towards a man. We laugh when we hear about women like Lorena Bobbit or Jodi Arias. In the movie, “The Big Wedding”, the character played by Robert Dinero is repeatedly punched by various women throughout the story line and everyone laughs and laughs. I doubt they’d laugh if the roles were reversed. When it comes to accountability there are lower expectations for women.
    Jernigan couldn’t handle the idea of losing his family. His wife claimed that she was sick of his inability to keep a job and that she was “so over it”. I guess she was only joking when she said “for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health”. Imagine someone having a hard time keeping a job in this economy and then coming home to that attitude.
    The divorce laws are slanted AGAINST MEN in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I am sure she would have gotten the kids, child support, alimony, and the house. On top of losing his family, he would have been financially destroyed. Women file for 74% of the divorces in this country (look it up), yet they always deny their role in the meltdown/destruction of a family. In this day and age marriage is a raw deal for men, but it’s a cash cow for women.
    I’m not defending what Chris Jernigan did, but I am saying no one knows what goes on behind closed doors except for the parties who live there. If you are married, you know what I’m talking about.

    • unbelievable

      Two innocent children and their mother were murdered, and you take the time to speculate about what went on behind closed doors, that might have MADE him do it! Truly Pathetic!

  • Craig_the_Candid

    I think what Jernigan did was horrible…

    But you missed the point of my post. Feminist histrionics always shrouds the fact that women are more likely to become violent than men. They are also more likely to be given a break when they are violent. They are unable to meet the same, higher standard that men are held to.

    I’d be willing to bet that you are living off of the paycheck of a man, or at the very least, child support and alimony and living in a house that he is paying the mortgage on.

  • Kristina Hooper

    Do some more homework. Twice as many men in this country kill their children and themselves in this country. My daughters, Caroline and Madison, were murdered 29 months ago during a mandatory weekend visit. I found them and him, after not being able to reach them by phone, dead in their bedroom. He channeled carbon monoxide into their bedroom and then slit their throats. Channel 6……this is no longer domestic violence. It is an epidemic of men, for the most part white males, killing their children when their wife has left or has threatened to leave. This is murder. Do some research and see how many cases, just like this one, have occurred in the last year. This is BEYOND domestic violence!!!!!

  • Kristina Hooper

    Many marriages end in divorce. An upset man does not have the right to kill his children because he is distraught!!!! It is a law!!!! You cannot refuse child support! There is no excuse for this. It is selfish, cruel and he has just ruined the life of the son he left behind!!!!!!!! Feeling depressed and scared does not give one the right to end innocent children’s’ lives!!! It destroys families!!!!! The family that is left behind experiencing agony like no other!!!!

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