NBC 5 Investigates has found that the suspect involved in the eight-hour standoff on Lake Shore Drive Sunday had been accused of domestic violence at least three separate times in Will County Court in the last two-and-a-half years - each time because of alleged physical abuse of his wife, Sheray Felton - the woman police now say he murdered this past weekend in Georgia.
Sheray Felton requested two separate orders of protection on Joseph Felton in an 18-month period between December of 2011 and May of 2013. Two months later, Joseph Felton was charged with misdemeanor domestic abuse against Sheray, but that case was ultimately dismissed when Sheray Felton failed to appear in court to pursue the charges. Each protective order was allowed to expire, as well, when Sheray Felton failed to appear in court to extend either of them.
Sheray took out the first emergency order on December 13, 2011, when she and Joseph were both living in University Park, IL. In the order, she wrote that they were driving to Chicago at about 9 a.m. on Dec. 13 when they began to argue about her new job.
Joseph "grabbed my I.D. to my new job," she stated, "and he threw it out the car window." She said he accused her of taking the job to meet new people - and to divorce him. She said he knocked a cup of coffee out of her hands, and she asked him to take her home: "He refused to, he then told me that he was going to crash the car with both of us in it and kill us."
She stated that he then grabbed her hand and bit her thumb. According to her statement, they continued to fight and then she said she got Joseph to drop her at Robert Morris College, where she called police. She added: "In the past Joseph has been verbally and physical abusive ... He has also stabbed me with a pair of sissors [sic] on my leg."
That first emergency order was granted, with the court stating that it "finds a pattern of physical violence" by Joseph Felton. The order remained in effect until January 3, 2012, at which time Sheray Felton would be required to show up to court to request an extension. No one showed up on that day, however, so the order expired.
But Sheray Felton requested a second order of protection on Joseph Felton on May 13, 2013. In that order, Sheray wrote that Felton tried to call her on May 11, 2013 on her cellphone, which she'd left at home while out to dinner with her sister and mother. She stated in the order that when she got back home, "Joseph was there he was angry he began to yell at me."
She said that she told him she was out to dinner, and "Joseph told me I don't believe you and he pushed me into the wall put his hands around my neck and started to chock [sic] me he then pulled my pants down to check me, which is what he said ..."
In that second order, Sheray also wrote that the following day (May 12) "I came home I pulled up the garage door Joseph was there." She said she asked him to leave and he did, but came back a couple of hours later and "he pushed me and told me if you tell me to leave again I will do something to you."
She said she then called the police but "they said they couldn't do anything unless I had an order of protection. Joseph got some of his things and did leave."
Sheray Felton also wrote that Joseph was very jealous if she went out, and would even leave his job to look for her if he couldn't track her down.
"This has been going on for about a year," she said. "Joseph is also verbally abusive to me, he will tell me that I'm going to die all the time; he will tell me he will kill me and my son if I try to leave him; he will say that I treat my son better then [sic] him; Joseph will also abuse our dog."
The court granted that second emergency order, effective until May 31, 2013. When the order came up for review on the 31st (to see if it should be extended) it was dismissed, because no one appeared with a request to extend it. However, two months later - in early July, 2013 - Felton was charged in Will County Court with domestic battery (a Class-A misdemeanor) "in that said defendant…. struck Sheray Felton about the body," according to the criminal suit. Felton was released on $15,000 bond and an order to have no contact with Sheray Felton. He pled not guilty to the charge on July 9th. The case was continued during a court date in August, but at the next hearing, on September 9, 2013, the case was dismissed "nolle prosequi" because of "no complaining witness."