Valley woman: I was held prisoner in my own homePosted: Updated:
A Valley woman who said she was held prisoner in her Mesa home for about six weeks by her ex-husband is convinced escape was impossible.
"He would either tie me to the bed and leave me a bowl to pee in or he would just hog tie me," Jamie Gorman said. "He would just tie me up so he didn't have to deal with me."
Day in and day out for six long weeks, Gorman said she became a prisoner in her home - zip tied to her own bed.
"My dad saw the zip ties around the foot of the bed and said, 'What is that for?,'" Gorman stated. "And I said. 'That's where he ties me up when he leaves for work' and he immediately got on the phone with the sheriff."
Detectives found dozens of zip ties in the bedroom - some still tied to the bed. They took pictures of Gorman's bruises - of the cuts on her hands and wrists and ankles. And they got the one piece of evidence most important in a case like this - a confession.
"I tied her to the bed," Gorman's ex-husband Spencer Rhoton told detectives while being questioned. "I bound her by her wrists. I looped them."
The detective can be heard on the video asking "Like a makeshift handcuff?"
"Yeah," said Rhoton.
"And what about her feet?" asked the detective.
"Same," said Rhoton. "I honestly wasn't trying to hurt her in any way."
Rhoton said he was trying to protect his wife because she would hurt herself.
The case seemed strong. Yet the Maricopa County Attorney's office refused to file charges, which perplexed even the case detective.
"Domestic violence cases are among the most difficult," Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said. "There were claims by the suspect that what he was doing was an effort to safeguard his wife."
Montgomery explains that alone is not reason.
"That in and of itself is not justification, but in the totality of everything we had to look at that is one factor that we had to consider."
Domestic violence advocates say far too often a decision on whether to prosecute depends on the ease of a conviction and whether the abused is strong enough to fight back.
"I would say in so many cases victims choose not to cooperate and if they do, they change their mind because they're afraid," Randy Koeppen of Chrysalis Shelter said.
Koeppen, a victim advocate, said he sees it all the time.
"They're conflicted and they go back and forth and it's very frustrating for police and probation and for the county attorneys office to deal with," he said.
Gorman admits she was initially reluctant to cooperate with detectives. She spent 10 days in the behavioral Health unit at Desert Vista Hospital and then six weeks in a domestic violence shelter before she found the strength to help detectives.
"It wasn't enough," Gorman said. "The pictures weren't enough. The physical evidence wasn't enough. They took pictures of my wrists with bruises on them and cuts form the zip ties. They later took my testimony. And they told me that's not enough."
Refusing to be a victim any longer, Jamie Gorman did the only thing she could.
"I knew what I could do was tell me story," she said. "I don't know if this will change anything, but all I can do is tell more people."
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