Jacksonville, Florida

From Jacksonville.com of August 23, 2007

A cloud of violence grew until it overshadowed love

A domestic violence victim tells of the events that ended in a shooting.

Mark Nobles’ work boots were still on the front porch, his model cars were still on his dresser and his Bible books were still by the bed they shared.

As Tonya Mathenia cradled herself in his fleece blanket, the 38-year-old Jacksonville woman cried as she talked about missing the man she loved like a husband for more than three years.

The man she killed with a 9mm pistol Sunday night after snatching the weapon she said he put to her forehead, threatening to end her life in their Westside bungalow.
Instead, she took his.

Mathenia told The Times-Union she shot once as her 44-year-old companion loped toward her as she cowered at their dead-bolted front door. Police released her after questioning but said Wednesday the investigation was continuing.

Mathenia said Nobles came home after using drugs and began lashing out like she was someone from an abusive past. She said the ironworker beat her in nearly every room of their Sappho Avenue rental home. The attack left her with a split lip needing stitches, a blackened eye and other lumps, and bruises and scratches, many on her neck and head.

The woman said she called 911 as the abuse began and screamed so someone at the other end could hear her before she hung up as her attacker approached. At 8:54 p.m., according to her phone’s memory bank, she got a call back from the Sheriff’s Office. After secretly pressing the speaker phone button, she hollered some more, hoping help would be on the way.

It didn’t come in time. Police said they answered a call about a shooting about 9:15 p.m.

In the minutes before, as her companion started closing in, Mathenia said instinct overrode loyalty and love. Fear rising from her gut radiated to a finger poised on the gun’s trigger.

“I remember barely putting my finger on it and it went off. I didn’t know if I hit him at first,” she said. “He grabbed himself but I didn’t know if he was faking it. He just looked at me like being high and all that had left him. And he looked at me like, ‘How could all that happen?’ “

Three days later, as grief mixed with guilt, Mathenia said Wednesday the only thing she understood as the battery escalated was that her loved one wasn’t leaving her any choice but to fight for her life.

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