Las Vegas mother-of-three Phoukeo Dej-oudom was denied an order of protection without hearing just three weeks before she and her three children were murdered by the man that they had desperately sought protection from the weeks prior.
Phoukeo had filed for a protective order that indicated the woman’s estranged husband, Jason Dej-oudom, had threatened the mother and her three children with weapons and was continually harassing them. In fact, the mother says that the husband had pointed guns at their head and that she feared for her life. Despite the allegations, for reasons currently unknown, the Clark County Family Court denied her order of protection without a hearing.
The Review Journal reports that Phoukeo Dej-oudom was gunned down in a Walgreens parking lot by her estranged husband Jason Dej-oudom on June 29, 2016. After killing his wife, Jason then killed his three children before ultimately turning the gun on himself. Police would find the father dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound alongside his children ages 9, 14, and 15.
— Ann Friedman (@AnnFriedmanRJ) July 2, 2016
Although the heartbreaking story was called a “tragedy in the community” by the Metropolitan Police Department in Las Vegas, it seems that the police could have prevented the death of the family of five had the Clark County Family Court granted Phoukeo Dej-oudom the protective order she requested just three weeks before the grisly murders. In fact, it was noted that had the protective order been granted to the mother-of-three, the police department would have been able to force Jason to turn over the gun that he ultimately used to kill his family.
“Had the court granted a hearing for an extended protection order, as Phoukeo Dej-Oudom requested, a judge could have ordered that her husband surrender his firearms.”
However, with the protective order denied, Jason maintained access to his weapons and continued to torment Phoukeo until the day she died. In the protective order paperwork filed by Phoukeo, she outlined her estranged husband’s harassment, threats and noted that she ultimately feared for her life. The application detailed that Jason had pulled weapons out in the past and pointed them at the children and his wife.
“Throughout the marriage, the childrens’ lives as well as mine have been threatened. Guns have been pulled out and pointed to our heads multiple times.”
On the day that the protective order was filed, Phoukeo says that Jason sent her harassing text messages and had threatened to take the children to Ohio without her consent. Phoukeo says she told Jason he could not take the children anywhere and he informed her that he would take them “whenever he pleases” and that “this will not end well.” Fearing that Jason may try to take the children without her permission or hurt her like he had threatened in the past, Phoukeo filed the protective order. However, Amy Mastin, the hearing master, would deny the request without a hearing.
“An application for a temporary protection order filed by Phoukeo Dej-Oudom was denied without a hearing just… https://t.co/6dW62FmVSL
— The CWCIC (@CWCIC) July 6, 2016
According to the Daily Mail, Mastin was not available to comment on the denial, but it was disclosed that a temporary protection order can be legally granted whenever “an act of domestic violence has occurred or there exists a threat of domestic violence”, which includes threats and harassment.
However, Hannah Brook, the director of community relations for Safe Nest, tells the Review Journal that “Safe Nest as a whole has observed that in cases where the victim files for divorce before applying for such an order, Family Court officials often will deny the application. That is because the court that handles the divorce often will issue a no-contact order against the perpetrator, as opposed to the temporary protection order.”
Neighbors say the Dej-Oudom family was nice, but kept to themselves. Small shrine in front of family’s front door pic.twitter.com/bglJEUCNr6
— Wesley Juhl (@WesJuhl) July 1, 2016
Therefore, it seems that since Phoukeo had filed for divorce back in May, it could have prevented her from receiving the protective order that she desperately needed in her final days. Although many divorces have a “no-contact order” issued, Brook notes that this is not enough and that protective orders should still be granted as a “no-contact order” is not enforceable by the police and there are no penalties associated with breaking the order.
“A no-contact order can’t be enforced by police and has no criminal penalty attached to it. Our understanding is that that’s been common practice for years now. That’s why it’s very important that the judges and courts continue their training and truly understand the pattern of domestic violence.”
Call our 24-hour hotline if you or someone you may know is in a domestic violence situation: 702-646-4981 pic.twitter.com/mKeKadpb23
— Safe Nest (@SafeNest) June 30, 2016
[Image via Shutterstock]