William Schnittman is a 3-time national champion for the University of Michigan rowing team. In addition to competing for the Wolverines, the 25-year-old was an Olympic hopeful, training at the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center.
But aside from his athletic successes, Schnittman was dealing with a serious problem in his personal life: His girlfriend’s ex was threatening him and displaying increasingly erratic behavior. Last Friday, Schnittman was murdered by that ex, 36-year-old Darrell Wilson, before Wilson took Schnittman’s girlfriend hostage, sexually assaulted her, led police on a high-speed chase, and eventually committed suicide.
Now, the The Oklahoman is reporting that Schnittman was asking for help — help he didn’t get.
Before his death, he and his girlfriend – who’s also Wilson’s estranged wife – had filed a petition seeking protection from Wilson.
Via The Oklahoman:
“‘He again told me that his problems were my fault, that he was going to kill himself, and that his death was on my conscience,” Schnittman wrote [in his petition], adding Wilson told him he would ‘take care of me’ before he killed himself.’
Friday, Wilson shot and killed Schnittman, 25, sexually assaulted the woman, abducted her and let her go, and then led officers on a chase before killing himself, police said.”
Judge Lisa Hammond denied Schnittman protection due to an incomplete administrative detail – he had never filed a previous complaint about Wilson, which, according to Oklahoma law, is required before any court-ordered protection can be granted to victims who don’t know their stalker.
Still, there’s this detail:
“Schnittman’s request for a protective order did include an Oct. 28 police report concerning Wilson’s arrest on a complaint of driving under the influence.
On that night, according to the petition, Wilson showed up at the woman’s house, kicked in the door and threatened Schnittman.”
The petition of Schnittman’s girlfriend, however, was accepted. (As Wilson’s estranged wife, they obviously had a previous relationship.) Wilson had shown up to her house and stolen a gun, as well as placed multiple phone calls and sent numerous texts which went unanswered.
Though the judge is hardly to blame for following the letter of the law, that pursuit of a solution through improper channels was the ultimate reason for his death makes this particularly tragic.