Hargrave's insults soon escalated into physical abuse, Yvette says. At first, she says she wore long sleeves to hide the bruises and dark sunglasses to shield her black eyes from her family. "I thought that he loved me, and I just thought that these are problems that we can work through," Yvette says. "I was blind."
After her family realized what was happening, Carol says they advised Yvette to leave her husband. Hargrave finally moved out and the two separated...but Yvette says her estranged husband continued to torment her and her daughter. "I felt like a prisoner in my own home," she says.
In July 2005, Yvette got a protective order against Hargrave. Two months later, Hargrave asked the court to lift the order, claiming he and Yvette would attend marriage counseling. Despite Yvette's desperate pleas and pictures documenting the physical abuse she suffered, the judge, Richard Palumbo, dismissed Yvette's case and lifted the protective order. He later said it was a clerical error. He has since retired.