What would you do if your partner physically or sexually assaulted you? You’d think you would end the relationship immediately, but you might actually give them a second chance if they apologized, swore they’d never do it again, and begged for just one more chance.
Like many domestic abuse victims, Victoria Rickman decided to give her boyfriend another chance for those very same reasons. However, it took her three years worth of second chances to realize her life would end if she didn’t get out. By that point, unfortunately, it was already too late…
A Track Record
Victoria Rickman has a history of getting involved with the wrong men and admits that she hasn’t made good choices in her relationships. Her first marriage ended in a nasty divorce where both sides made accusations of abuse.
While the marriage was a failure, it also gave Victoria a son, which was the greatest thing in her life. “Her son is her everything,” said Victoria’s friend Britni Morgan. “Would even get outside, you know, play football, getting dirty with him, you know, everything…”
According to Victoria’s father, Paul Rickman, she was a great person and an even better mom to her son. “She’s a good person, she’s a good mother,” Paul Rickman said. “She’s got a heart of gold, and she would help anybody she could help.”
A New Relationship
A few years after the divorce, Victoria had gotten her life back on track and had even started going on dates again. Soon after, she started a relationship with William Carter, a divorced father of one. However, the relationship soon turned abusive. …
“I think I made excuses for him every time he did something wrong,” Victoria said. “He always said he was sorry, or he begged me for forgiveness, said he’d go to therapy.” Over the next three years together, the couple filed multiple reports about one another for domestic disputes, assault, and sexual battery.
History Of Abuse
“This person mentally, physically and sexually abused me for years,” said Victoria, who finally started showing Britni the evidence of Carter’s violence. “She finally started showing me bruises and stuff on her, and I told her, I said ‘You need to document this because if something happens to you, no one is gonna know,'” said Britni…
But on September 13, 2013, Victoria couldn’t handle the abuse anymore. According to the mother of one, William came over that night and started raping her. She feared he was going to kill her, so she shot him in self-defense. “I don’t think I’ve ever been a hundred percent in fear of my life until that night, and you know, I knew I was gonna die,” Victoria said.
The 911 Call
At 2:30 a.m., Victoria called 911 to report what happened. “He tried to rape me again and I tried to ask him to stop and I shot him,” Victoria said in tears. “I just kept shooting and shooting and shooting and shooting. I shot him all over. I didn’t want to hurt him, but he wouldn’t stop…”
The Police Respond
Atlanta Police Department Detective Summer Benton rushed over to the scene. “I, of course, think this is going to be a self-defense case,” Detective Benton said. “All I thought was, I want to shake her hand. She got a rapist off the street.”
Victim Or Prime Suspect?
But when she arrived at Victoria’s home, she started to get the feeling that the shooting wasn’t in self-defense. While investigating the scene, Detective Benton claimed there were no scratches or marks on either Victoria or William, the bedroom showed no signs of a struggle, and three of the nine bullet wounds were to William’s back. Detective Benson also claimed Victoria had to have reloaded her gun to have shot William nine times…
The police then took Victoria to a local hospital for a rape examination, which found that Victoria did have sex but there were no sign of internal injuries. After that, the police took her straight to Atlanta Police Headquarters to interrogate her.
Within seven hours of Victoria’s 911 call, police had arrested Victoria and charged her with murder. “If she had been raped that night, then this would have been a justified shooting and I would have written it up like that. But this was not a justified shooting,” Detective Benton said. “This was cold-blooded murder…”
However, when Detective Benton responded to the scene that night, she was followed by a camera crew for a reality television show, which Victoria and her defense attorney, Amanda Clark Palmer, claim hampered the investigation. “Everything was done for a TV show and there was no real investigation,” Victoria said.
A Biased Investigation
Detective Benton failed to order a toxicology report for William, who was a recovering drug addict and, according to Victoria, was acting intoxicated that night. Not only did she fail to do a full investigation, but Detective Benton made accusations against Victoria without any factual evidence. “The fact that she reloaded the gun—that wasn’t true,” said attorney Palmer since the gun was capable of holding 13 bullets…
About a year later, the episode featuring Victoria on the show Inside Homicide aired on TV. Meanwhile, Victoria was being kept locked behind bars, where she would stay for a total of four years while waiting for her trial. Not only did it show the possible rape victim without her consent, but the show, and Detective Benton’s false accusations, also influenced the public and possible jurors’ opinions of Victoria.
The Trial Begins
On August 22, 2017, after four long years behind bars, Victoria was finally given a trial. The jury was given the task of deciding if Victoria really was a cold-blooded murder or a traumatized victim and rape survivor acting in self-defense…
The prosecution told the jury that Victoria planned the murder and lured William over that night to execute her plan. “You’ll hear a lot out of her mouth that she’s an abused woman, that she has PTSD. That she had been raped … You’ll hear the tears and you’ll see tears, so just be ready for it. Well, we’re gonna ask that you look past that. .. And we’re going to ask you render a verdict that speaks the truth of what happened to Will Carter Jr. that night—which is nothing short of murder,” Prosecutor Sheila Ross told the jury.
Victoria’s defense, however, argued that she was a survivor of domestic violence and had been abused physically, verbally, and emotionally. “She felt like he was going to do something terrible to her based on the way he was acting… and based on the fact he said ‘I’m going to kill you.’” Palmer told the court. Palmer also argued that the police failed to properly investigate and were biased against Victoria…
The Jury Decides
After two weeks of testimony, the jury began deliberations, which was expected to take hours, if not days, to reach a decision. However, less than an hour later, the jury announced they found Victoria Rickman guilty of all four counts of murder. Victoria was then sentenced to life behind bars with no chance of parole.
Not Giving Up
“There are no words to describe how it feels to be labeled as something you’re not,” said Victoria. “All the slander and lies about me is beyond devastating. This entire botched case was solely based on fabricated assumptions created for fame and publicity by defaming my character, maliciously spinning anything, everything into something it wasn’t.” After the conviction, Victoria’s lawyer filed a motion for a new trial, however, the judge had not made a decision yet if it will be accepted.