Man accused of violating protection order, stabbing ex-girlfriend, charged with aggravated murder

CLEVELAND - The man suspected of stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death in Cleveland over the weekend after repeatedly violating a protection order against him is charged with aggravated murder.

Dale Peters, 65, was arrested Tuesday. He had been in the hospital since Sunday being treated for stab wounds. 

RELATED: Suspect in ex's death was previously charged with domestic violence, violated protection order 3 times

According to an arrest warrant, Peters entered the home of 65-year-old Laura Fruscella — who had a protection order against him — on Saturday and "purposely and with prior calculation" caused her death with blunt and sharp force trauma. 

Fruscella was found dead at her home on Montrose Avenue Sunday morning.

The arrest warrant states Peters also stole her TV and Toyota Rav4. 

Court documents show Peters was arrested for domestic violence against Fruscella after an incident on Aug. 26 of this year.

Through a domestic violence pilot program assessment, authorities determined at that time that Fruscella was at “high risk” of becoming a homicide victim.

Peters was charged with domestic violence and taken into custody. He posted 10 percent of his $5,000 bond on Aug. 28 and was released.

News 5 has reported extensively on domestic violence and why Ohio women are at risk. Read our previous investigations here.

On Oct. 12, Fruscella contacted police again and said that Peters had violated his protection order multiple times. She reported that on Sept. 23, Peters came to her house to see their dogs. They took the dogs for a walk and, when they returned, he kissed her. Fruscella also reported that, the following day, he sent her more than 10 text messages. On Sept. 25, she said he sent her 6 text messages.

Five days after Fruscella reported that Peters had violated the protection order, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He was never arrested. It’s unclear whether police attempted to serve the warrant.

Police responded to Peters’ home Sunday after Fruscella was found dead, knowing she had a protection order against him.

He was in a vehicle in the driveway holding a large kitchen knife to his neck. Police said he threatened to harm himself or officers.

After an hours-long SWAT standoff, Peters got out of the vehicle and began to stab himself. 

News 5 has previously reported that protection orders are often worthless because, unlike 29 other states, Ohio has no domestic abuse registry. 

RELATED: 'Til death: How Ohio fails to protect women trying to escape abusive relationships

Our 5 On Your Side Investigation found Ohio police officers often fear arresting abusers who violate orders because there's no registry to confirm that the order exists. 

Instead, officers have to call the court where the order was issued before making an arrest, leading to dangerous delays.

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