As Oxford Murder Case Proceeds, Advocates Call For Change

Lori Gellatly walked into the Oxford Resident State Trooper’s Office April 2 to report that her husband had assaulted her the day before.

A state trooper took her statement, began an investigation, and gave Gellatly information on how to reach out to domestic violence victims’ advocates.

The trooper also asked Gellatly if she had a “family safety plan” for herself and her two infant twins. Lori assured him she and the kids would be safe staying at her parents’ Sioux Drive home.

They weren’t.

A little more than a month after she reported the dispute with her husband to police, they say the husband, Scott Gellatly, broke into his in-laws’ house where Lori was staying and shot his wife to death as the couple’s twin 18-month-old kids slept a floor above.

Police say Gellatly also shot his mother-in-law, Merry Jackson. Gellatly pleaded not guilty in the case last month.

As Gellatly sat in jail Tuesday, advocates of domestic violence victims were holding a press conference in Hartford to draw attention to the fact that the state has seen an average of 14 domestic violence homicides annually since 2000.

Also on Tuesday, U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy introduced a bill they said would give states incentives to keep guns out of the hands of those who perpetrate domestic violence.

The move comes a month after Blumenthal introduced the “Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act.”

The proposal seeks to remove what Blumenthal calls a loophole that allows those accused of domestic violence to possess firearms even after a judge has granted a temporary restraining order.

Lori Gellatly had obtained such a temporary order against her husband.

A hearing on whether the restraining order would be made permanent — which would force Scott Gellatly to surrender any firearms he possessed — was scheduled for the day after Lori Gellatly’s killing.

“The gap in the law is it applies only to permanent restraining orders, not temporary ones,” Blumenthal said on the floor of the Senate June 17 while standing next to a poster showing pictures of Lori Gellatly.

“Literally the day before that temporary restraining order was to become permanent and the prohibition against her husband having a firearm would have gone into effect, he gunned her down at her parent’s home, where she had sought refuge with her children,” Blumenthal said. “Gunned her down and savagely and severely wounded her mother, with those same firearms.”

A video of Blumenthal’s speech is posted below.

On the day the bill was proposed, Lori Gellatly’s sister-in-law, Linda Jackson, posted a Tweet supporting the measure along with pictures of Lori.

“You have left a hole in our hearts that will never heal,” Jackson wrote. “Had this bill existed you would still be with us.”

GovTrack, a website that tracks proposed bills, gives the bill a 4 percent chance of becoming law.

At Superior Court in Milford Wednesday, Judge Frank Iannotti continued Gellatly’s case to Oct. 1 to give prosecutors time to turn over evidence to Gellatly’s lawyer.

The judge also granted a motion from State’s Attorney Kevin Lawlor to return the vehicle in which Scott Gellatly was found to Lori Gellatly’s family.

Gellatly’s lawyer, Public Defender David Egan, did not object to the motion.

Gellatly remains held in lieu of more than $2 million in bonds at Newtown’s Garner Correctional Institution.

He faces charges of murder, attempted murder, first-degree assault of an elderly person, first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, and two counts of home invasion in the case.


There were no comments