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Domestic violence victim now works to help others

It was a day like any other when 17-year-old Lisa Daniel Logan went to catch the bus at her grandmother’s house that fateful morning in the fall of 1992. 

At least she thought so.

However, she arrived to find her aunt, Gwendolen Daniel Logan, sitting at the kitchen table with her face swollen and purple. 

Her aunt looked at her and asked, “You don’t want your life to be like this do you?” To which Lisa replied “no.” 

Those were the last words Lisa spoke to her aunt before she was brutally murdered by her husband. 

Later that night as Gwendolen was leaving a night class, her husband followed behind her in another car enraged she had left him. 

He began ramming the rear of Gwendolen’s car until she lost control and hit a tree. Then, he got out of the car, shot her and fled the scene.  

Authorities said Gwendolen’s husband fired several shots through her car window. One bullet struck her, ultimately taking her life. 

The tragic scenario played out a short distance from Gwendolen’s parents’ house, and concerned neighbors heard the gunshots and called for help. 

Gwendolen was dead when authorities arrived on the scene. 

After shooting his wife, Gwendolen’s husband went to his sister’s house, turned his gun over to his brother-in-law and then went to the sheriff’s office to turn himself in.  

During a March 10, 1993 trial, the prosecution, led by former Commonwealth’s Attorney John Greenbacker, painted Gwendolen’s husband as a mean and abusive drunk who made his family’s life a nightmare for years with his abuse. 

On the day of sentencing her husband gave a tearful apology before the court. 

His tears, however were not enough to sway Circuit Court Judge Charles L. McCormick III, now retired, from sentencing him to life in prison with an additional mandatory two years for using a firearm in the commission of a murder. 

The judge described Gwendolen’s murder as “a senseless foolish crime that has no rhyme or reason.” 

Lisa and her family were devastated by what had happened.

Little did she know one year later she would find herself going down a similar path.

Lisa married her husband of five years when she was 18 years old. The South Boston resident said she was pregnant at the time, and her parents disapproved of the marriage from the beginning. Still, Lisa said she decided to run away from home and get married. 

According to Lisa, one day her husband told her she wasn’t going anywhere and held her hostage in their bedroom as he began to beat her and threaten her life.

She could hear her children hollering downstairs, but he would not let her leave the room. 

At that very moment, Lisa said her mother called, and she was able to grab the phone. Her mother asked her if she was ok, and she said no. 

Lisa said her mother called her brother-in-law who lived next door.  When her brother-in-law entered the home, Lisa said he called for her, and she kept yelling, “ I’m up here. Come up here and get me.” 

As her brother-in-law came up the steps, Lisa said her husband came out of the room and threatened him if he tried to help her.

Her brother–in-law retreated and took the kids out of the home. 

A few minutes later, Lisa said she heard the police. They came in and arrested her husband for assault. 

Later, he was sentenced to serve 12 months in jail with six months suspended. He served several months, she said. 

“I knew I was going to die that day,” Lisa said.

She has not been with her husband since that day.

Lisa knows she wouldn’t have made it through if it weren’t for the help of her mother, her church and her faith in God.

 She is grateful to two ladies at her church who welcomed her and her children into their homes when she feared for her life.

Lisa also credits Amy Montgomery, victim witness coordinator at the time, as being her guardian angel. 

Montgomery never gave up on her. She remembers when she and her children had nothing, Montgomery made sure her children had a Christmas.

Lisa said she is a living example that it is possible to get out of an abusive relationship and survive.

She now works as a case manager for the Tri-County Community Action Domestic Violence Program where she is able to help others going through what she has been through.

 “It makes me compassionate for the victims, because I’ve been where they are. I am grateful that I am a survivor, because some people don’t make it,” Lisa said as she thought of her aunt who wasn’t as fortunate as she was.

The program created a silent witness silhouette in her aunt’s memory that travels around the state as a reminder of the devastation domestic violence can bring.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Tri-County Community Action Domestic Violence program has worked to help draw awareness by holding candlelight vigils, giving hope to those battling domestic violence and remembering those lost to domestic violence.