When Amara Wells made the decision to leave her husband, his reaction was quick. Court records show that on Aug. 1, the day after Amara Wells fled …
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When Amara Wells made the decision to leave her husband, his
reaction was quick. Court records show that on Aug. 1, the day
after Amara Wells fled the family home to move in with her in-laws,
Christopher Wells destroyed $1,000 worth of her clothing and left
it in trash bags in the driveway of the home where she was
Within days, Amara Wells filed for divorce and began a surreal
journey that ended with her murder.
By Aug. 10, she told investigating officers, “She was scared to
death of him and couldn’t believe this was happening to her.”
Christopher Wells was charged with domestic violence, marking
the first such charges to appear on his arrest record. He was
ordered to stay away from his wife. Over the next several months,
Christopher Wells ignored those court orders, resulting in several
arrests for violation of the restraining orders and violation of
conditions of bond.
On Feb. 22, the last time he was arrested for violation of the
restraining order, Christopher Wells did not post bond. Instead, he
stayed in jail overnight at the El Paso County detention facility.
That night, his wife was killed in an act authorities allege was a
Christopher Wells, 49, now sits in the Douglas County jail on
charges of murder in the first degree after deliberation,
solicitation to commit murder and conspiracy to commit murder. His
three alleged accomplices have been arrested for the deaths of
Amara Wells, 39 and Robert Rafferty, 49. Josiah Sher, 26, faces
charges of murder in the first degree after deliberation, assault
with a deadly weapon, arson, burglary, first-degree assault
menacing and first degree assault disfigurement/heat of
Domestic violence experts say that, on the surface, the only
mysteries in this story are that Christopher Wells did not have a
prolonged history of domestic violence and that Amara Wells turned
to her in-laws for shelter. Otherwise, it is a story too often
According to statistics from the Women’s Crisis and Family
Outreach Center, domestic violence ranks as the number one crime of
violence in Douglas County. More than 90 percent of the homicides
in Douglas County over the last 11 years are attributed to domestic
violence, the crisis center reports, with more than 800 reports of
domestic violence to the sheriff’s office each year. The crisis
center serves victims of domestic violence and runs the county’s
only emergency shelter available to Douglas County residents.
In the case of Amara Wells, the victim appears to have done
everything she could to protect herself, said Jennifer Walker,
executive director of the Women’s Crisis and Family Outreach
“It sounds like she very much used the system,” said Walker.
“Sometimes you get situations where they get a restraining order
and continue contact with the perpetrator and it becomes a mess.
The victim isn’t necessarily using that restraining order to its
fullest extent. It sounds like she did use the restraining order
and the system.”
Victims often refuse to file charges against their perpetrators
or, in some cases, change their minds and drop the charges after
filing, Walker said. Walker recalls a case in Weld County, where
the husband found his wife walking in the street of their small
community with the couple’s 6-year-old child. The man ran down the
wife with his car, pinning her against a wall. Witnesses included a
law enforcement officer who reported the man backed up his vehicle,
hit the accelerator and pinned her again.
The woman survived the attack and sustained a broken back. Three
days later, she dropped the charges against her husband, Walker
“I’ve been doing this for years and even by the time I think
I’ve got it down, something else comes up and I say ‘OK, I didn’t
think of that’,” Walker said.
Amara Wells continued to use the system to the very end. It
wasn’t until January, months into the alleged harassment by her
estranged husband, before she began to show signs of backing away
from the system.
On Jan. 21, an email from Amara Wells arrived on the desk of the
Douglas County detective investigating the Wells case. Amara Wells
reported escalation of the harassment from her estranged husband,
including harassing emails from Christopher Wells. By the time the
message arrived on the desk of the investigator, Amara Wells did
not want to file a police report.
“Amara Wells expressed concern about having Christopher Wells
arrested and stated that she would only forward emails if she was
sure that he would not be arrested,” the investigating detective
Less than one month later, Amara Wells was dead.
The crisis center reports that during 2009, the center assisted
more than 6,000 callers and provided 2,400 nights of shelter to
women and children in imminent danger of domestic violence.
“What’s sad about this is the fact that she utilized what was
available to her and took advantage of the legal remedies and it
didn’t matter,” Walker said. “The tragedy is she did really try to
do all the things she potentially could do to make sure she was
safe. (But) if you have someone who, in their mind says ‘I don’t
care,’ it doesn’t matter what’s on the piece of paper. The system
is not going to work.”
The funeral services for Amara Wells and Robert Rafferty were
March 4. In a statement issued through the Douglas County Sheriff’s
Office, surviving family members asked for privacy in the days
The suspects in their deaths were formally charged in their
murders the day before the victims were laid to rest.
For more on this developing story, visit www.highlandsranch247.com.
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