“We’re taking it day-by-day,” said Tracy Fisher, Monica’s older sister.
“We have to be strong for the kids,” said Heather Randolph, another sister.
Monica died in November 2014. She spent 32 days in the ICU after suffering more than 28 stab wounds. Her husband, Andre Jeter, is charged with her murder.
“She was the kindest person in the world. She would do anything for anyone,” Fisher said.
Monica and Andre had five children. They were married for nearly 20 years. Monica’s sisters said they were once close to Andre.
“He was like my brother. I was so close to him,” Fisher said.
Fisher and Randolph said Monica was very private and kept her marital troubles to herself. They didn’t know their younger sister was working to save her marriage while also considering ending it.
“After Monica’s death though, and looking at her house we found a lot of self-help books,” Fisher said.
Randolph added, “And then tucked in between all of the self-help books was divorce papers she had started to fill out so you could just see the struggle that she was facing.”
In January 2014, North College Hill Police were called to the Jeters’ home on Foxwood Dr. According to the police report, Andre awakened Monica and accused her of plotting with the neighbors “to get him.” Monica had told police her husband placed her in a chokehold and “squeezed hard enough and long enough to make her dizzy and feel as if she were going to pass out.”
Andre was charged and convicted of domestic violence. He served 11 days in jail and completed counseling. The domestic violence charge was a misdemeanor.
“Had that been a felony in January when he did that he may have been in jail on October 8 when she was attacked and might still be here today,” Randolph said.
Ten months later, police were again called to the Jeters’ home for the attack in which Monica had been stabbed. Doctors stopped counting at 28 when looking at all of the wounds. Andre was later charged with his wife’s murder.
Monica’s family has launched a petition on change.org to make non-fatal strangulation a felony in Ohio. According to a 2008 study in the Journal of Emergency medicine, 43% of women who died in a domestic assault had been strangled by their killer in the past year. Nearly 30 other states have similar non-fatal strangulation laws on the books.
“Monica would want us to do something,” Randolph said.
Fisher and Randolph, along with their sister-in-law, Amy Weber, are trying to get support for a felony strangulation law that would be called Monica’s Law. The family believes it could save lives.
“We need a lot more Ohio support so we can show our legislators that Ohio’s serious about this law to save lives,” Randolph said. “We want to save lives in her honor. We want to make sure her death was not in vain. We want to show her kids that something positive can come out of this.”
In 2010, there was some discussion about a felony strangulation law in Ohio. But the talk fizzled. In other states, concerns have been raised that the law would add to prison overcrowding and could be costly.