By all accounts, Karissa Kunco should be living life like any other 21-year-old, taking college courses and hanging out with her friends and family. But, in a tragic turn of events, Karissa was found stabbed to death on the side of a road in Washington County this past January. Karissa was a victim of domestic violence. Karissa was described by her friends and family as “upbeat and spunky.” Karissa’s aunt Peggy Gillepsie described said, “She always tried to see the bright side of people and believe the good in people.”
Friends and family say that it was Karissa’s optimism that kept her working at her relationship with Jordan Clemons, her boyfriend and her killer. 22-year-old Jordan had a number of run-ins with the law, but his most recent was just weeks before Karissa’s death when the Baldwin Police arrested him for simple assault when he reportedly punched Karissa in the face and head, and kicked her when she fell to the floor.
Karissa went to St. Clair Hospital, where she was treated for a concussion and filed a Petition for Protection from Abuse against Jordan, fearing for her life and safety. But the Baldwin Borough Chief of Police said they had trouble finding Jordan to serve him and he failed to appear at the PFA hearing. Despite the pending charges, Jordan continued to threaten Karissa via Facebook. Karissa was terrified.
The situation was serious – Karissa was scared enough to make arrangements with the people she worked with so that she never had to walk to her car alone. Friends and family say the couple’s relationship was always volatile and while they never saw Jordan actually strike her, he regularly made threats. Jordan’s rages were often fueled by alcohol and although Karissa ended the relationship a number of times, Jordan was a “sweet talker” and would weasel his way back into Karissa’s heart.
Karissa’s father said Jordan was always polite in his presence and that his daughter believed she could change him. But Mr. Kunco said he was not privy to much of what happened between Karissa and Jordan. He believes she kept things from him because she didn’t want him to worry.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Justice, one in every four women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. According to the Bureau of Justice, on average more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.
Karissa is so much more than a statistic. Karissa’s friends and family formed “Karissa’s Army,” not only help keep the memory of Karissa Kunco alive but also to empower others to step out from behind the shadows of abusive relationships while they have the chance!
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, do not hesitate to get the help you need today. Contact our experienced Pennsylvania Domestic Violence attorneys today to learn your rights and get the protection you deserve! Visit our website for a comprehensive directory of Western Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Shelters, Resources and Referral Sources.