Victim's family says the system failed their mother

July 12, 2018 11:52 PM

The children of the woman killed in the Waterloo double homicide this week tell News10NBC that the criminal justice system let their mother down.

Lori McConnell was among three people shot Tuesday night. She and a man died while another woman was injured.

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The daughter and sons of 53-year-old Lori McConnell are trying to make sense of their mother's violent death. 

"We'd talk every day. Every day," stated Matthew VanDoren, victim's son. "If I didn't call her, she would make sure to call me. So, she was my best friend."

Police believe this man, Emerson "john" Tohafjian took her life and the life of an unidentified man Tuesday night.

And these siblings all said the same thing, that it would never have happened if the courts had dealt with Tohafjian accordingly.

Matthew VanDoren adds, "We have the Varick and Fayette judges that didn't take recommendations from veteran police officers who have dealt with him numerous times."

Tohafjian's criminal history goes back 30 years. Last month he was arrested for beating and choking one of the victims. Then, two weeks later, despite having an order of protection, he is accused of raping the woman. His bail was set at $10,000.      

"Rape is no joke and I feel like we just treated it as a joke and just released him to let him go do something worse," stated Ryan VanDoren, victim's son. "We knew what he was capable of and he was roaming the streets." 

The victim's daughter Lora Bennett added, "I'm angry that there could have been more done. My mom would probably have been here if 'John' Tohafjian would have had a better bond." 

McConnell's children say the warning signs were there and feel that Seneca County needs more programs to protect victims of domestic violence.

"I believe the justice system failed my mother," stated Bennett. "I believe she reached out to many different agencies for help and everybody turned their back on her."

Tohafjian remains in the hospital after police say he suffered self-inflicted cuts.

He's expected to be formally charged once he's released.


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