Victim’s sister wants accountability 

Friends and family gathered Sunday for a vigil outside the building where Sharen Sulpizio-May was brutally stabbed to death by her husband, Lawrence May, three years ago.

Although Lawrence May was sentenced in 2006 to life in prison without parole, Sulpizio-May’s family holds an annual vigil to keep her memory alive — and in the hope of preventing other women from being harmed by their loved ones.

"We don’t want this to happen to anyone else," said Sulpizio-May’s 11-year-old daughter, Gina.

For the family, Sulpizio-May’s murder remains a constant presence.

"She knew so many people. I can’t go anywhere or talk to anyone that this hasn’t impacted," said Kevin Granfield, who is the godfather of her children. "I still feel that she’s here sometimes."

May and Sulpizio-May were married in 1991, but by 2004, Sulpizio-May had become fearful and suspicious of her husband’s behavior, according to Sulpizio-May’s sister, Susan Sulpizio. Sulpizio-May filed for divorce, and the couple was visiting counselor Dianne Thomas for a mediation session to determine their custody arrangements on May 25, 2004.

During those proceedings, Lawrence May, who admitted in court that he had been under the influence of methamphetamines, stormed out and returned to the building with a pair of scissors. He stabbed his wife more than 100 times; she was dead when police arrived, according to police reports.

The couple had three children together. They are now 14, 11 and 8.

Susan Sulpizio remains shocked that the building had no security in place, even though couples often go there in the evenings for mediation and counseling. She filed suit against the property owners, but a judge dismissed the case, saying that such buildings are not required to provide security personnel, Sulpizio said.

Now, she’s suing Thomas, allegedly for not calling 911 while May was attacking Sulpizio-May. Thomas could not be reached for comment Sunday.

"If the police had gotten there in time, they could have prevented Lawrence from killing her, and her children would still have their mother," Sulpizio said.

Domestic violence is considered one of the most underreported crimes in the country, said Melissa Lukin, executive director of Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse. In 2005, 181 women were killed by husbands, boyfriends or family members in California.

"We continue to try to meet the needs of the county, but we only have one shelter, and we turn away 100 women per year for lack of space," Lukin said.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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