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Family Of Woman Shot By Estranged Husband Wants Laws To Change

FT. THOMAS, Ky. (WKRC-TV)      There needs to be some changes made: that's the message the family of a wounded northern Kentucky woman is sending. 

Alisha Waters Mathis was left paralyzed when she was shot by her estranged husband, who then turned the gun on himself.  Local 12 News Reporter Angela Ingram explains the family's frustration over an incident they say could have been prevented.


Alisha is still at UC Medical Center in critical, but stable condition.  Her family says Alisha did everything right to protect herself.  Family members say just because Dennis Mathis didn't beat Alisha or leave bruises on her, did not mean he wasn't dangerous. 


They say obviously after shooting his wife five times, it's clear that he was a danger.


In pictures taken at the hospital, Alisha has the brightest smile.  By the look on her face, many people may not realize how badly she has suffered over the past two weeks. 


"She's in critical but stable condition.  She's on a ventilator.  She has a tracheotomy.  She has a colostomy.  She has a feeding tube.  She can't move her arms.  She can't move her feet.  She can't move her legs.  She can barely move her head, but she gets us through because she is in such high spirits," said Alisha's mother, Tammy Russell.


Alisha's family says for months she tried to protect herself from her husband, Dennis Mathis.  She filed a police report saying that she feared for her safety and that her husband was not taking his medication for mental illness.  Alisha stated that he stalked and harassed her. 


When Alisha went to court for an Emergency Protective Order, she did not have a lawyer and Dennis served Alisha with divorce papers.  Alisha's mother was with her when Alisha appeared in court to get the protective order. 


"So, then she gets up in front of the judge and she's all torn and beside herself that this happened and his attorney's speaking and she tries to tell her part, but she's all flustered.  So, I guess she didn't have the representation to get her point across about how afraid she was."    Alisha brother, Kurt Russell, added, "The main problem we have with the laws that are in place now and the main frustration is one of the statutes says if you are in fear for the safety of yourself then you should be granted the TPO and she obviously, she stated it in the preliminary report.  She stated it again in her finalized report.  What else does she have to do?  What else does a woman have to do to prove that you are in fear for your life or for your safety?"  


Kenton County Judge Lisa Bushelman did not grant Alisha's request of a protective order.  If she had, a red flag likely would have gone up for gun dealers who sold Dennis Mathis a 9 millimeter handgun.  Alisha's family is focusing on changing laws for Emergency Protective Orders and they're focused on her recovery.  "She's a fighter and we're hoping beyond hope that she gets through this and that we all get through this," said Tammy Russell.


At this point, doctors are not sure how long Alisha will stay in the hospital.  According to her mother, Alisha is in good spirits despite what has happened. 


The family has set up a petition to change laws in Kentucky.  To see the petition and Alisha's Facebook Page click on the link.




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