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The Bloody Truth (Pt. 7)

Domestic Death

Of 1,800 women murdered in 2016, 85 percent were killed by a man they knew. 

People die every day. A drug dealer shot on the corner, a drive-by intended for the neighbor that killed the toddler playing in your front yard, cancer, overdoses, and natural death all happens in this world. It's not supposed to happen to you, and it's not supposed to happen in your home! Your home is your place of peace. Your hiding place from the world. Your safe spot in a dangerous, uncaring, and cruel world. For some, closed doors are terrifying because what goes on behind them is unspeakable. For those people, living through the night is a blessing and waking in the morning is a curse.

Domestic violence doesn't discriminate. Every neighborhood in every city in every state in this country has a home that has been touched by domestic violence. Doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers, janitors, authors, athletes, police officers, firefighters, and the local mechanic have been both aggressor and victim. Financial class, education, religion, color, or creed holds no importance in determining who might fall victim.

Was the following case cold-blooded murder or a heat of the moment response to ongoing domestic violence? You decide.

Demetrius "Birdman" Compton/Brystal Chambers

Demetrius "Birdman" Compton (Photo Credit to 14WFIE)

Brystal Chambers, formerly of Evansville, Indiana, was found dead in her 12th Street home in Henderson, Kentucky in June 2011. Investigators would spend the following eight months in an effort to determine who had left the 21-year-old mom dead by method of strangulation. It was an investigation that ended with a warrant for murder and the United States Marshalls tracking Compton to Jacksonville, Florida, where he was arrested and brought back to the Henderson County Jail without incident to stand trial for the murder of Brystal Chambers.

Chambers worked at the Hardees restaurant in Henderson at the time of her death, but had a certificate in carpentry through the Youth Build Program in Evansville. She shared her Henderson home with Compton and their five-year-old son. July 5, 2011, Brystal Chambers was laid to rest at the Oak Hill Cemetery after what friends called "a beautiful celebration of her life" at the Memorial Baptist Church in Evansville.

During the investigation, witnesses close to the couple told investigators that Demetrius discovered that Brystal was sharing time with another man and that he made the statement that, "she better not come home tonight or something bad was going to happen to her." Compton explained that he and Chambers were arguing that evening, that she attacked him, and he defended himself. The outcome of a trial would never be known, as Compton very quickly took an Alford plea agreement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky and was left with a lesser charge of manslaughter and a sentence of 11 years in the Kentucky Department of Corrections. The Alford plea, simply stated, means that while Compton maintains his innocence, he admits that the evidence the Commonwealth of Kentucky has gathered against him is sufficient to assume a jury or judge would find him guilty. Compton would have to serve nine years and five months, or 86 percent of the total time he was sentenced to.

Compton's attorneys filed an appeal right away, alleging that he should not have to serve the full sentence, but it should be reduced based on his claims of domestic violence leveled against him by Chambers. It was a claim that Compton and his attorneys were able to backup with evidence collected from the Vanderburgh County Court and the Evansville Police Department in Evansville, Indiana. In 2008, records show that Compton filed for a temporary protection order against Chambers with the Vanderburgh County Court in Evansville. That temporary protection order was dismissed when neither Compton nor Chambers showed for the hearing. Just a few months later, in February of 2009, records showed that Chambers went to the Evansville residence of Compton, kicked in the door and assaulted Compton and his guest. The guest in the home filed a report with the Evansville Police Department for burglary and battery, alleging that Brystal Chambers had used her hands, fists, and feet to beat her. Though Compton's attorneys claimed in the filing that Chambers had victimized him during the incident, the report did not substantiate the claim, which listed him as a witness to the incident. Listing himself as a witness and not a victim, Compton explained, was a lie to the police in an effort to save the relationship with the mother of his child.

In the end, the court ruled that "proof of history of domestic violence between the defendant and the victim is not, by itself, sufficient to trigger the state's parole exemption." As a result, Compton will continue to be housed at the medium-level custody Western Kentucky Correctional Complex in Fredonia, Kentucky until his earliest possible chance for parole in August 2021. Should Demetrius "Birdman" Compton be denied parole, he will "EOS" or "end of sentence" April 16, 2023, and will walk out of prison a free man.