Last week, a man named Michael Adrian Howard was arrested for beating his ex-girlfriend, Wichita activist Heather Marie McGarity, after she agreed to meet with him because he needed “closure” in regards to the former couple’s recently ended relationship.
While it is generally our policy not to identify or post pictures of the victims of crimes, Heather wanted us to use her real name, and these photos, because she wants to shed a light on the issue of domestic violence. The incident itself actually occurred just over one week ago, and we initially spoke with Heather at that time, but decided to wait and check back with her this week, to give her time to recover and ensure that she still wanted to move forward with this story.
Heather says that she and Howard had dated for a few months, but that over that time, Howard had become progressively paranoid and delusional. Heather took Howard to St. Joseph for an evaluation, and Howard requested that Heather leave.
A short time later, Howard called Heather and asked to meet with her, for “closure”. At that time, Heather informed Howard that she no longer wished to see or speak with him, and he immediately began punching her. The two were seated in the front seats of Heather’s car, and she was trapped inside, with her seat belt fastened.
At one point, Howard exited the vehicle, so Heather locked the doors. Howard proceeded to strike the car’s windows with a chair until police arrived. Howard surrendered, placing his hands behind his back.
At the hospital, Heather received two stitches, had a concussion, severe bruising up and down her arms and side from attempting to block Howard’s punches, and internal bleeding from a sinus cavity. Heather has missed roughly a week of work from the incident.
Howard was previously convicted of aggravated battery, in 2009, and served time in prison for that charge. Heather has turned over her medical records to the state to assist in Howard’s prosecution.
Howard is currently incarcerated in the Sedgwick County Detention Facility on a new charge of aggravated battery, criminal damage to property, and possession of drug paraphernalia, with a bond of over $25,000.
Heather hopes her story will help other women to realize that they too can safely report abusive spouses/boyfriends, etc., to the police, so long as they are willing to follow through and cooperate with the investigation and prosecution.
Heather will be attending the Stop Violence Against Women March and Rally in October