On Thursday, March 28, a man (Brian Kennedy) murdered his ex-wife (occupational therapist Stephanie Miller) in a Wawa store in Delaware County. Kennedy murdered her at 8:20 p.m., shooting her twice with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle while customers shopped. Kennedy was in the store to give Miller their child for the evening, but reportedly arrived without the child. There were witnesses in the store to corroborate this. According to NBC Philadelphia, a cashier stated that Kennedy had seemed “agitated, stern…[and] said nothing.” After shooting Miller, he fled the scene, ending up in Thornbury Park in Glen Mills before police discovered him. He was then taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center for an apparent drug overdose. He currently faces multiple charges, including first and third degree murder, criminal homicide and other charges, according to NBC Philadelphia.
“We need to have a system that links together the facts. It’s all presented in front of us and we need to have the due diligence. We need to be thoughtful. And we need a 21st century process.”
Prior to this incident, Kennedy had been arrested for threatening to kill Miller in 2016 in the same Wawa store in which he eventually killed her. Miller had previously received a protective order against Kennedy, but this order expired in September 2018. She was unable to renew this order, as the expenses were too great for her. Her boyfriend who succeeded her, Michael D’Arco, explained that the legal bills were about $7,000, according to NBC Philadelphia. He explains his view on the legal situation, saying, “That is why it was not renewed. Because Stephanie had been a victim of a judicial system that she got caught up in with no advocates.”
During D’Arco and Miller’s relationship, both lived in fear of Kennedy, according to D’Arco. Miller had previously sent an email to police six hours before her murder detailing her fear: “I do not feel safe around [Kennedy] who has been found guilty of simple assault and harassment against me. Now, he is trying to get me to meet him in person tonight at 8 p.m.” According to D’Arco, police did not get back to this threat, nor his own call about Kennedy’s threat that day to Miller.
D’Arco further explains his view on the entire situation, blaming the legal system: “We need to have a system that links together the facts. It’s all presented in front of us and we need to have the due diligence. We need to be thoughtful. And we need a 21st century process.” Others agree with this standpoint on the legal system’s role in the crime. According to West Chester University student and political science major Alex Garcia, “This just goes to show another flaw in our legal system, where we could have prevented this. The legal system could have prevented this murder.”
Miller is succeeded by her six-year-old son, and by her boyfriend D’Arco.
Ashley Martindale is a third-year student majoring in psychology and minoring in Spanish. AM872892@wcupa.edu