February 7, 2008, to July 25, 2008
The text below illustrates a timeline of events leading up to the incident. While reading, listening to the embedded audio, and viewing the photos, please put yourself in Donna’s position and ask yourself what you would’ve done given the same set of circumstances?
February 7th – Dustin Stanley was released from Shenandoah County Jail as a result of signing a Confidential Informant Agreement 02-07-08.
February 9th – Donna Hockman meets Dustin Stanley for the first time while out with friends in Staunton, VA.
March 15th – Donna moves from Shenandoah County to Rockingham County.
March 23rd – 911 call made from Donna’s son indicating that he believed that Donna was being attacked after Dustin Stanley fought a man named John Metzler concealing a large butcher knife in his waistband. Listen to the call here:
April 5th – Dustin Stanley becomes enraged after Donna goes out to dinner with a female friend and asks him to leave. Donna takes Stanley to meet his mother at the end of the road.
April 6th – Donna finds papers in a book belonging to Stanley stating he was a paid confidential informant for the ATF. Stanley denies it.
April 12th – Donna tries to end the relationship because she did not to be with a person who was involved with drugs near her two children.
April 13th – Stanley gets into an altercation with Donna’s friend Cindy.
April 18th – Donna places a voice recorder in her vehicle that Stanley uses for work.
April 19th – Stanley finds the recorder and confronts Donna and the threatening of Donna and her friends begins.
April 25th – Donna and her friend Jackie order takeout to celebrate Jackie’s birthday. When the order was delivered incorrectly, this sends Stanley over the edge. Stanley grabs Donna turning her face towards his. Jackie witnesses severe bruising on Donna’s arms.
May 3rd – Donna and Stanley attend the Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester. Donna attempts to drop Stanley off at his mother’s house and he refuses, punching her in the face so hard, blood spray is left all over the dashboard in Donna’s car.
May 4th – Stanley began sleeping at his mother’s house.
May 9th – Donna is out with friends when Stanley calls her while she is driving. Stanley makes threats to her over the phone which are witnessed over a blue tooth speaker by Donna’s two friends who were never called to testify to what they heard.
May 11th – Donna’s friend John was at Donna’s residence having dinner. Out of fear for himself and Donna he brought a lead pipe with him for self-defense in anticipation of Stanley’s possible arrival. John knew from the incident on March 23rd when Stanley hid a large butcher knife in his waistband just to “scare” him, that Stanley was a violent man. Stanley harassed Donna by phone until approximately 2:30 am.
May 17th – Donna attends a festival in Front Royal with several friends. Many people noticed the large bruises on her arms, neck, and back. Later that evening Stanley shows up at the bowling alley where Donna and her friend Kerrie are. Stanley becomes enraged when Donna refuses to leave with him and begins confronting her which turns into a violent altercation in public.
May 24th – Donna and her friends attend a festival in Massanutten Resort. Donna’s son calls to tell her that Stanley was at her house with his two sons. Donna rushes home to find Stanley and a friend of his in her backyard and his two young sons unsupervised playing near an open fire on the other side of the property.
May 26th – Donna attends a cookout at her friend Cindy’s residence. Stanley harasses Donna by phone the entire day. Before leaving, Cindy and Lexus (Donna’s daughter) confront Donna regarding the bruising and black eye she has attempted to conceal. Donna states, “I have it under control, it’s okay.” Donna had been under Stanley’s threats of violence to her loved ones and wanted to protect them.
May 30th – Stanley convinces Donna to meet him so he wouldn’t show up unannounced at her home. When Donna goes to meet him, he says to her, “You’ll never leave me, except in a body bag!”
June 6th – Donna attends her son’s high school graduation with her 11-year-old daughter. Stanley harasses Donna by phone stating, “I will gut your dogs like deer!” if she didn’t leave the graduation and meet him. Donna leaves the graduation and drops her daughter off at the home of Jill Irby for an overnight play date with her daughter. Jill was a registered nurse and made comments to Donna regarding the bruising she saw covering Donna’s arms and legs.
June 7th – Donna attends a family wedding with Stanley. (Donna did not want to attend, but Stanley threatens her if she doesn’t agree to go.) At the wedding, the family of Stanley tells Donna that he had abused “every woman he’s ever dated”. Shortly after, a fight breaks out between Stanley and his family. Later that night Stanley beats Donna bloody, bashes her head into her headboard, and throws her onto the floor kicking her repeatedly.
June 9th – Donna takes Stanley to meet his brother Josh to celebrate his birthday. Josh saw both of Donna’s black eyes and battered and bruised body.
June 12th – Donna meets her friend Cindy for lunch wearing sunglasses and a long-sleeve blouse. Once Cindy asks Donna to remove the sunglasses and sees her black eyes she knew the whole story and begs Donna to get help. Donna tells Cindy that Stanley was a paid confidential informant protected by police.
June 14th – Donna arrives home to find Stanley lurking in the dark. She was beaten again for not taking his calls.
June 20th – Donna arrives home after a night out with friends to Stanley hiding, waiting in the shadows again. He beats her and holds her captive in her own home.
June 21st – Two of Donna’s friends arrived to check on her after she had told them that the night before she feared Stanley and what he might do to her. Stanley answered the door telling them that Donna was at work and would return later that night. The friends left without incident. Later that evening, Donna escapes her home and hides in a ditch after taking her cell phone from her car and calls 911. Listen to the call here:
Donna files a “No Trespass” order against Stanley which only makes him more violent. Despite evidence of a struggle throughout Donna’s home, broken cordless phone, phone cord lying on the floor, boot and fist holes in the walls, and bruising covering Donna’s arms along with a 5″ red abrasion made from Stanley choking Donna with a phone cord, and torn blouse and bra, NO arrest was made solidifying Stanley’s words to Donna, “You can’t do anything. I’m one of them.” (Donna felt at this point that even the police wouldn’t protect or help her.)
June 29th – Donna attends a birthday party for her daughter’s friend Taylor. Witnesses saw Donna’s body covered in bruises. Stanley repeatedly harasses Donna by phone stating that if she didn’t leave the party and meet him he would break into her home and wait for her like he had done before. Out of fear for her daughter, Donna leaves the party to meet Dustin. (Donna knew at this point that meeting Dustin could mean another beating, another forced sexual encounter, or her demise, but she felt trapped, helpless, and alone in her fight to ward him off.)
July 3rd – Dustin forces Donna to make reservations at the Pocono Resort after seeing photos of Donna and her ex-boyfriend there. Donna had no desire to travel anywhere with Dustin but felt she needed to get him away from her loved ones. Donna attempts to back out, but Dustin threatens her by phone that day. (Cell phone records show this and the fact that Donna wasn’t answering his calls.)
July 4th and 5th – Donna endures unspeakable torment and has no one to turn to. Dustin refused to obey the “No Trespass” order and stalked and harasses Donna more aggressively and with more violence until it escalates to Dustin Stanley’s death on July 25, 2008.