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Crime & Courts

Records: Before she was slain, East St. Louis woman told courts she feared for her life

An East St. Louis woman who prosecutors say was stabbed to death by her former boyfriend appeared to anticipate she was in danger the day he was freed again from jail.

Montrell Cooper was released Nov. 25 on probation after pleading guilty to another felony battery charge involving 25-year-old Michelle Rowling. Later that day, Rowling posted on her Facebook page that friends should convey her love for her kids and mother "if anything happens to me tonight."

Rowling was killed five days later, and St. Clair County prosecutors have charged Cooper in her death.

Online court records don't show whether Cooper has an attorney.

Since early last year, Rowling twice got a protective order against him, saying she feared him and "I'm afraid of losing my life."

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