On April 17, 2011, Diane Reed's ex-con husband, Leonard, grabbed her by the neck, threw her to the floor, kicked her in the head, and when she tried to stand up, struck her with "a blunt object," according to court records.
But, according to a law enforcement source, she soon stopped cooperating with authorities trying to prosecute him. And, the source said, when he nevertheless pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, she opted for the least strict protective order.
Friday, authorities filed a second-degree murder charge against him, alleging that on Thursday he fatally shot and stabbed her, along with shooting a 26-year-old woman who was also in the Hempstead house, before being wounded himself in a shootout with Hempstead police officers responding to the latest domestic violence call about the couple.
No officers were hurt.
The couple was estranged; her family said Leonard Reed had a history of spousal abuse.
Diane Reed is only the latest victim of alleged intimate-partner homicide.
In 2011, 1,295 people were killed by a husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, according to latest available FBI statistics. Of those, 1,026 were women.
Leonard Reed has a long rap sheet dating back decades, according to public records. He did time in state prison for drugs and has convictions for numerous other offenses, including menacing.
Until his arrest Thursday on murder and other charges, Leonard Reed's most recent brush with the law had been the 2011 attack on his wife.
According to the court papers, he beat her after a "verbal dispute" escalated. The attack left her in fear for her life, her family said. Police and prosecutors charged him with assault and weapon possession.
Especially for an ex-con, conviction on the original 2011 charges, all felonies, could have meant years more in prison. He wound up serving days.
Ultimately, without her cooperating with the authorities, he pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count: attempted assault. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail, and the court issued a so-called do-not-harass order of protection, which put him at risk for further charges if he did things like yell, threaten or intimidate her.
According to the law enforcement source, Diane Reed did not seek a full stay-away order of protection, which would have banned all contact between them.
Asked about the protective order, Hempstead Village Chief Michael McGowan called what officers were dispatched to Thursday "a difficult call."
"When an order is violated, we certainly, in due course, enforce the order," he said.