ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. — What happened around 9:30 p.m. on May 10 within the walls of the home of a young family would completely change their lives forever.
"Upon arrival officers located 3 adult victims deceased and an additional victim that was transported to an area hospital," Anne Arundel County Police shared in a press conference that night.
Shawn M. Price was the man behind the gun who murdered Ryan and Iviana Lee who had their whole lives ahead of them as proud parents of a 10-year-old athlete and a baby girl.
That night, Price traveled to the couple's home and attacked them and their 10-year-old son, enraged by Ryan's mother, Jaime Hunnicutt.
He then turned the gun on himself, something he'd allegedly threatened to do before.
"I made a report in the courts that he would kill me...that's all she said," a neighbor next door recalled on May 11.
Court records show Jaime Hunnicutt appeared in court five separate times.
The first, on October 14, 2020 for a temporary protective order.
In the petition she alleged, just the day before filing, Price threatened to kill her and strangled her, traveling an hour and half to do it.
She stated in the past, he threw dishes at her and put a gun to her a head.
Two weeks later though on October 21st, she requested to dismiss the order.
"For some clients they make a move and realize that they’re in more danger now and decide to retreat from it," said Dorthy Lennig, the director of the Legal Clinic at the House of Ruth.
Withdrawing a request for an order isn't uncommon for the hundreds of abuse victims she's represented.
She tells us the details of Jaimie Hunnicutt's case reveal a chronically abusive relationship with Shawn Price with red flags written all over it.
"Strangulation is a high lethality factor, having a gun a high lethality factor, using things like that if you look at the research show that he much more likely to kill her than some of the other kind of violence," Lennig shared.
A week after requesting the dismissal, Hunnicut would file for 2 more temporary protective orders that were granted.Howard County District Judge Lisa Broten ordered Price not to abuse or contact Hunnicut, even forcing him to surrender his guns.
But a ruling in a final hearing on November 17 created a different story.
“I just want to be able to get my stuff and be protected so he cannot harass me or come to where I am and kill me," Hunnicutt said in court.
She can be heard telling Judge Broten she feared for her life, repeatedly.
“I can promise you that I will kill anybody that associates themselves with you and I will put a bullet in the heads of their families head," she said.
She brought multiple witnesses to testify in her favor. One of those witnesses included her son Ryan Lee who Price would eventually murder.
"Do you think I am scared?" Hunnicut asked him. Ryan replied, "Yes."
"The worse thing you can do is don’t believe her and then it becomes worse, she gets killed or somebody else gets killed," Lennig said.
Even after the witnesses, evidence and multiple hearings, Judge Broten, this time, would deny Hunnicut's final request for a protective order calling her evidence 'insufficient.'
“Major credibility issue. Insufficient evidence for me to find that Mr. price has done anything that would allow me by law to grant this protective order. It’s denied," Judge Broten decided.
Lennig says as result of her trauma with Price, Hunnicutt, who represented herself in the case, wasn't able to tell her story in a straight line in order to win the judge over.
"Today I didn’t hear anything about strangulation and choking. That is pretty significant," Judge Broten noted in while sharing her ruling.
"When you read the research on trauma it talks about the impact on your brain and why somebody might not be able to tell the story the correct way," Lennig shared.
That's why Lennig strongly recommends victims experiencing chronic abuse go into court with representation.
Now, Hunnicut's words written on the side of her petition, nearly seven months before that double murder have a chilling effect.
"I believe guns should be removed so no one gets hurt," she wrote."I think the most important things you have to do is take victims of domestic violence seriously," Lennig said.
Or in this case, an abuser-turned-killer will never be punished for leaving the least involved in the most pain.
If you or someone you know is a victim of intimate partner violence and is in need of help, House of Ruth is there to help. Click here for a link to their resources.