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Deputy prosecutor fired for errors in handling protective order violation

June 5, 2013

The employment of an unnamed St. Joseph County deputy prosecutor has been terminated after deciding not to prosecute a man following his May arrest for violating a protective order. Several days later, that man allegedly stabbed and killed his young daughter.

According to a press release issued by the prosecutor’s office Wednesday, the deputy prosecutor didn’t prosecute Edward Mwaura because the deputy prosecutor’s review of the Protective Order Registry under “Mwaura” revealed an invalid protective order. Mwaura was arrested May 30.

On the morning of June 2, police responded to a 911 call at an apartment complex involving Mwaura and Lucy Munida. She was bleeding from several knife wounds and told police that Mwaura, her ex-husband, was inside the apartment with their 6-year-old daughter.

When police entered the apartment, they saw Mwaura stabbing the girl. Lt. Steven Noonan shot Mwaura and killed him. The girl later died from her injuries.

The deputy prosecutor’s decision to not prosecute the misdemeanor crime of violation of the protective order would have been correct if the protective order was invalid.

However, the deputy prosecutor didn’t examine the Protective Order Registry under the Munida’s last name, which would have shown a valid protective order existed. Mwaura’s last name was misspelled on the valid protective order as “Mwawra.”

The arresting officer indicated in his report that there was a valid protective order but didn’t note the cause number.

“It is the responsibility of prosecutors to seek justice and enforce the laws. This does not end with a cursory review of the evidence,” the release from Prosecutor Michael Dvorak says. “Clearly, Mwaura should have been charged with the misdemeanor crime of ‘Violation of a Protective Order.’ This DPA failed to exercise the thoroughness expected, particularly in crimes with women and children as victims of domestic abuse. Accordingly, this individual is no longer employed with the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office.”

The prosecutor’s office found Noonan and the other officers were justified in using deadly force in shooting Mwaura.

 

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