Landlord’s Failure to Change Locks After a Restraining Order Leads to Murder-Suicide

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 19, 2022 | 0 Comments

Original Case Details

A New Jersey woman and her two children were fatally stabbed in an apparent murder-suicide allegedly involving the woman's husband and father of the children. The woman was granted a restraining order against her husband, which prohibited him from living in their shared apartment or going there at all. Her repeated requests to the apartment complex to change the locks to the apartment were denied, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the woman's estate. The husband allegedly used his keys to enter the apartment, stabbed his wife and children to death, and later committed suicide in a nearby park. A lawsuit against the apartment complex and its managing member lists claims of wrongful death, negligence, breach of contract, and negligent hiring.

How This Could Have Been Avoided

When a court order such as a restraining order is granted, then its provisions must be followed, and the court can sanction violators. Here, the apartment complex could have taken the simple step of changing the woman's locks which may have prevented this tragic situation. The lawsuit alleges that the husband had threatened to kill the wife several times, yet the leasing office chose to take no action to help ensure the woman's safety. If you are served with a restraining order, then it is natural to be upset, but it is important to reach out for advice or help before you do something that cannot be undone.

Steps to Take and Avoid If You Are Served With a Restraining Order

If you are served with a restraining order in New Jersey, it is important to understand that you have legal options to defend yourself. If you are served with a temporary restraining order, then you will have the opportunity to defend yourself in a hearing within ten days to determine if that temporary restraining order should be made permanent. For a restraining order to be made permanent, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that domestic violence or sexual assault took place and that protection from the court is necessary to ensure the petitioner's safety. If you are prepared to defend your case, then you may be able to avoid a final restraining order being granted against you. If a final order has been granted against you, you may have appellate options to reverse the decision.

Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice

If you face a potential restraining order, it is important to speak to an attorney immediately. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped countless people across New Jersey fight their cases. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team are the right choice to help you.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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