Judge explains why she declined to lock up domestic abuser before deadly rampage

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A Las Vegas judge said she had no indication a domestic abuse defendant would kill his girlfriend and himself on Thursday when she declined to lock him up two days before.

Justice of the Peace Melanie Tobiasson hears hundreds of domestic violence cases each month, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. She has run such courts for nearly four years.

“There’s no way to know which one, if any of them, are going to do this,” she said.

But two days before Travis Spitler’s deadly rampage outside his children’s day care, Christina Franklin told Tobiasson that Spitler, 40, had punched and kicked her in front of their children just after Christmas.

“I hate you,” he allegedly told her, calling her several profanities before adding, “I’m going to kill you.”

Spitler was ultimately ordered to have no contact with Franklin, 27, and Tobiasson refused a prosecutor’s motion to revoke Spitler’s bail.

Then, just hours after the hearing, Franklin called the prosecutor to say she saw Spitler near the day care. The prosecutor advised her to call police, but North Las Vegas police did not receive a call, the Review-Journal reported.

Spitler came back with a gun two days later, shooting and killing Franklin and shooting and injuring their 4-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter before turning the gun on himself. The children’s injuries were not life-threatening.

“The preliminary investigation indicates the female victim was dropping off her two children,” police said in a statement obtained by the Review-Journal. “Moments later the father arrived at the same location, after which witnesses reported hearing what sounded like gunfire.”

Tobiasson said she’s received a barrage of threats since Spitler’s attack. But Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said he doesn’t blame the judge.

“I’m certainly not going to second guess or question Judge Tobiasson,” Wolfson said. “She made the rulings based on the information she had in front of her.”