High Point woman fears abuser’s release from jail

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- "I'm disappointed, I'm hurt, I'm scared. I'm just scared," said Kimberly Anderson, a domestic abuse survivor in High Point.

This week Anderson heard the news that her abuser and former boyfriend, Tommie Ervin, will soon be released from jail.

"He grabbed me, dragged me out of the house by my hair, threw me in my car. Forced me to drive him to his house, he was continuously beating me, punching me, slapping me," Anderson described. Ervin was arrested after this incident in May 2015 and has been in jail ever since. Anderson says she thought that her problems were finally over.

Thursday, Ervin pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping and was sentenced to 15 to 27 months, but with good behavior and time served he will likely be released soon.

"He's already done 15 months so in essence he's already done his time, he's going to get out and do it again," she said.

Anderson is frustrated because Ervin has a violent criminal record with more than a dozen convictions that date back 20 years.

"Habitual criminals, like my abuser, should not be getting 15 months in prison, that's nothing," she said. But Ervin got the maximum penalty state law allows. And a condition of release will be that he cannot have any contact with Anderson.

"We all must continue to work together to make sure our prosecutors and particularly our laws are written in such a way -- prosecutors can only do what they can do," said Jim Summey, the executive director of the High Point Community Against Violence. Summey says when Ervin gets out, the program's violent offender initiative will make watching him a top priority for High Point police.

"I would imagine that a person of this particular magnitude and what they have done will get our full focus and attention," Summey said.

Shay Harger works with people like Anderson in her role as director of Victims Services at Family Services of the Piedmont. Harger says that change in the justice system starts with communities.

"We need to stand up and say that domestic violence is no longer acceptable in our communities and I think that would be a huge message in the context of the system as it is," Harger said.

But Anderson worries that won't be enough.

"Violence begets violence. And if that is what is in their DNA, that's what they're going to do. I'm not going to be the last one he's abused. I'm not, I just know I'm not," she said.