Charges against a Janesville man accused of domestic violence in a suspected homicide in Wisconsin Dells have weighed heavily on the mind of a YWCA Rock County official who serves families in crisis.
Jessi Luepnitz, program director for crisis services, said Tuesday she was “horrified” when she heard this week that state and local authorities in Columbia County had arrested Jeremy L. Mondy, 34, on a charge of first-degree intentional homicide.
“I can’t even describe the feeling,” she said. “It’s very disheartening, overwhelming and sad—just downright sad.”
State Department of Justice officials in a news release Tuesday confirmed Mondy was the man authorities arrested at about 11:37 a.m. Sunday in connection with a woman’s death at a Wisconsin Dells hotel.
Janesville police arrested Mondy on domestic violence charges in Janesville as recently as two weeks ago.
A criminal complaint charging Mondy with strangulation and suffocation, false imprisonment, criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct accuses him of telling a woman, “I can kill you silently,” after grabbing her sweatshirt hood. The woman has since been reported missing.
He also told the woman—after breaking her phone and unplugging her Google Home that she wanted to use to call police—“I’ll kill you before I go back to jail,” according to the complaint about an incident from Feb. 2 and 3.
Authorities have not said whether the Janesville woman who was reported missing is the same woman who was found dead in the hotel.
The state news release says officials are not releasing the woman’s name at this time and that the family is requesting privacy.
Janesville police responded to another incident between Mondy and the woman on March 29, 2020. Prosecutors accused him of breaking the woman’s door frame and charged him with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.
Bond conditions in both of his cases included no-contact orders with the woman, court records show.
When asked if recent events had caused her to think about systemic changes, Luepnitz said the bond—whether a matter involves cash or a signature bond, or how high the cash amount should be—is an area to address.
She said Rock County launched an initiative at the end of 2019 and start of 2020 to educate domestic violence survivors about bonds before they could request to have a bond modified.
She said her hope is that survivors who want no-contact orders removed, for example, can hear from a professional before going through with their request, which is ultimately decided by a judge.
Luepnitz also praised a protocol called the Lethality Assessment Program that was implemented locally in 2018.
When the program came to Janesville, a police sergeant said it involved 11 questions, including ones about access to weapons and previous threats, that police can ask on the scene to determine if a survivor is at high risk.
At the time, Janesville police reported that 10 of the city’s 22 homicides from 1986 to 2012 were domestic violence-related.
Luepnitz said the program has increased the number of survivors who connect with an advocate and receive services such as safety planning, legal advocacy, case management and emergency shelter, if needed.
Much remains publicly unknown about the recent homicide. But Luepnitz said her organization feels a “kick in the stomach” whenever there is a death that could be tied to domestic violence.
She said it is important for domestic violence survivors to know that resources are available 24/7.
“Sometimes it takes a minute to want to get help,” she said.
“No one has to do this alone.”