Meeting set in Martinsville to discuss concerns, raise awareness about domestic violence

Meeting organized in response to July homicide

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Ever since 53-year-old Katherine Likens was found dead behind BB&T bank in July, Southside Survivor Response Center executive director Warren Rodgers says many people seem to have lost confidence in the legal system's ability to help protect them from domestic violence.

"We got some really disturbing calls from folks that we work with; should I just drop the proceeding, is it worth going through, should I just buy a gun," Rodgers said.

Court documents reveal Likens filed a protective order against her boyfriend, 52-year-old Robert Reynolds, the day before she died, claiming Reynolds threatened to beat her to death with a hammer.

Reynolds was arrested three days after Likens' body was found. He has since been charged with first degree murder.

"We're using this (meeting) to bring together people who provide services to people affected by domestic violence as well as with the community."

Mable Finney is the youth Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) executive director in Martinsville and a domestic violence survivor.

"It is important that you get a protective's still worthwhile, because let's say something does happen to you. The officers involved would have a running record of what's going on with you," Finney said.

"The staff here (at the survivor response center) will have documentation as to what was said to them."

She hopes Thursday's meeting will help people be more supportive of domestic violence victims, support she did not have when she was going through her situation.

"We had to survive on our own instincts or with support from family that was available," Finney said.

Thursday's meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the New College Institute.