25 Investigates

25 Investigates: Victim in Gardner murder-suicide sought restraining order against her attacker but request was denied

GARDNER, Mass. — Just two days before her murder, Migdalia Perez tried to obtain a permanent restraining order against her former boyfriend, Jose Muniz Badillo, who police say shot her before turning the gun on himself.

25 Investigates obtained an audio recording of a telephone hearing that took place in Gardner District Court on Thursday morning. Perez, 47, is heard telling the judge, through an interpreter, that she “feared for her life” and was “afraid of him.”

On Saturday, police say, Muniz Badillo, 49, shot Perez before killing himself in the hallway of her Central Street apartment.

Last month, Perez got an emergency restraining order against Muniz Badillo because she feared “he could do something to me,” according to the affidavit included with her July 27th application.

A judge granted her the emergency order at the time because “there is a substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse.” But on Thursday, when Perez sought a continuance of that order, a different judge heard her case. She told that judge that while her ex-boyfriend had not physically harmed she was worried for her safety because she believed he could become violent.

That judge found her explanation “insufficient…to continue the order” and ultimately denied her request.

“In domestic violence restraining order cases, the victim can get an emergency restraining order. And then approximately 10 days later, there’s a hearing,” said victim rights attorney Wendy Murphy, who reviewed Perez’s restraining order for 25 Investigates. “She was not afraid that he was going to slap her. She was afraid for her life.”

In the affidavit, Perez describes Muniz Badillo as an “alcoholic,” who verbally abused her and threatened her. According to the document, on the day that Perez moved out of the home she shared with him, Muniz Badillo “start breaking all the stuff that was left in the apartment dining room and living room and personal [sic] stuff.” The affidavit goes on to say “he hints to me that he could do something to me and I’m scared of my life”

“It’s so difficult to imagine how a judge could say no, to a woman who, with hindsight, we know was in fact in very serious danger for her life,” said Murphy. “There are lots of red flags about the possibility of serious violence. That’s exactly the kind of case where you want to give the victim a restraining order in advance.”

Perez’s family spoke briefly to 25 Investigates about the matter. In Spanish they told us they feel the system “failed” their loved one, and are currently focused on raising enough funds to bury Perez, who was born in Puerto Rico and leaves behind four children.

Read more:

Gardner mother killed by ex-boyfriend told judge she ‘feared for her life’ just two days before her death

Family holds vigil for Gardner woman killed in apparent murder-suicide