LUTHERVILLE-TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — Two cases of suspected murder-suicide have rocked the area on the heels of the holidays.

Over the weekend, police said a man killed his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore before killing his ex-wife in Columbia and turning the gun on himself. On Monday, Baltimore County Police found a husband and wife shot dead in an apparent murder-suicide.

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Attorney Dorothy Lennig, the Director of Domestic Violence Legal Clinic at the House of Ruth, said holiday stress isn’t what these incidents stem from.

“I think the holidays can be stressful for people,” Lennig said. “Just any kind of added stress can add to it. But domestic violence is really about power and control. It’s not just about the stressors of day-to-day life.”

Although the motive of the murder-suicide Monday has not been released by investigators, Lennig also said an increase in domestic violence was clear during the pandemic, when people spent more time at home with their abuser.

“Particularly during the pandemic, there was an increase of the intensity and the severity of domestic violence,” said Lennig.

In the case of 49-year-old John Williams and his 39-year-old wife, Levi Williams, family said their deaths were unexpected. Just before 8 a.m. Monday, officers were called out to their home on East Padonia Road near Hartfell Road, where they were found dead.

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The couple leaves behind three children.

“This is a tragedy… tragic before Christmas. Now these kids have no parents,” said Levi’s cousin, Tonya Brown.

The family of the mother said her legacy will live on through her children.

“As far as the kids, I’m just glad that they are safe. That they are alive. At least we have another piece of her still living, which is her kids,” said Levi’s cousin, Angel Salisbury.

If you need help navigating a domestic violence situation, the House of Ruth has a 24-hour hotline. Coordinators will work with victims to offer emergency shelter, legal experts and counseling.

The hotline number is: (410) 889-RUTH (7884).

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In each jurisdiction in Maryland, there’s also a domestic violence program where you can seek assistance.

Cristina Mendez