Leah Penny was 31-years-old, a mother of seven children, a resident of Malden, MA, and living with an abusive boyfriend. Her 32-year-old boyfriend, Ryan Power, is accused of strangling her to death with a dog leash on June 20 while the couple’s two small children were home asleep in their crib. He is being held, without bail, on charges of Assault And Battery, as well strangulation, of a household or family member.

Three years ago, Penny moved from North Carolina to the Boston area. She was the first-born in her family – also with seven children. She was a “wonderful child” and was always an honors student, according to her mother, Patty Duble, who lives in North Carolina.

Duble told the Boston Herald that Penny’s entire family is heartbroken following her murder.

Accused killer’s mother discovered victim’s body

Leah was discovered near the foot of a staircase in the home where she and Power lived with their one- and two-year-old children, along with her five older children, whose ages range from 4-years-old to 14-years-old.

When going to see her grandchildren, Power’s mother discovered Penny’s body and went to the police right away. Wrapped around her neck was a dog leash. Thursday was Power’s arraignment, Malden District Court. According to the prosecutor, Elizabeth Dunigan, one of Penny’s hands was near the leash trying to pull it down.

Victim’s mother asserts domestic violence was throughout relationship with alleged murderer

Duble said the couple had problems yet she did not know it was “that intense.” Three weeks prior to when Penny was murdered allegedly by Power, he was charged following with assault and battery a different incident of Domestic Violence.

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He reportedly shoved her to the ground and accused Penny of being unfaithful to him. Their two small children present.

Judge Matthew Machera agreed to a request by the prosecutor at Power’s arraignment on May 31, ordering that Power not goes near Penny. He was free on his own recognizance. Letting him go was an injustice, Duble told the Boston Herald. He should have been held, she said, adding that Penny did not deserve to die “a violent death.”

The Boston Herald asked how come there was no attempt by prosecutors keeps Power in custody. A spokeswoman for Marian Ryan, Middlesex District Attorney, said she would check into it, but did not answer.

Advocates against domestic violence say homicides predictable

No system is foolproof, according to spokeswoman Toni Troop, Jane Doe, Inc., which advocates for domestic and sexual violence victims. Domestic violence murders, she said, rank with the most “predictable homicides.”

Police stated that Power left the home he shared with Penny the evening she was murdered.

According to the district attorney, Power told police – a detective and the police chief – they had an argument. He said it became physical and that he used his hands to choke her. He said he left, went to store, and returned, yet claimed that he did not see his girlfriend again Tuesday night.

Accused killer fled state following abusive fight

Police say Power fled to Seabrook, New Hampshire. He called his mother – shortly after she discovered Penny’s body. After a warrant was issued for his arrest, Power spoke with police in New Hampshire. He told them that Penny was dead when he returned home.

After he had agreed to go back to Massachusetts, he was ordered to be detained for two weeks, which is when bail arguments may be heard on July 7. Daniel Solomon, his attorney, contends that the outcome of an autopsy on Penny could change the situation, characterizing it as “raft with issues.”

Victim had restraining order, according to her mother

Prosecutors say Power was previously charged with assault and battery on Penny in May, which is when they requested a restraining order, but it was not received. However, Duble said her daughter had a restraining order against her boyfriend, but he convinced her to have it rescinded. She described her daughter’s relationship with Power as abusive the entire time they were together.

Duble plans to be at a custody hearing concerning her grandchildren next week in Massachusetts. Afterward, she is going to the coroner’s office so that she can identify her eldest daughter’s body. She said that, as a mother, she never thought she would have to say “those words.”