April 17 was a hard day for Ann Simmons Matassa.
That was the day authorities say Ronald Green Sr., 44, kicked in the glass door to his estranged wife’s home in Gonzales’ Cove Subdivision, shot and killed Dewona Green, 40, and his son Ronald Green Jr., 12.
The shooting occurred nine days after Dewona Green filed a protective order against Ronald Green Sr., the third protective order she had filed against him since February 2013. Two days before the shooting, she filed for divorce, citing physical and emotional abuse.
Matassa lived down the street from the Greens. Her youngest son went to Central Middle with Ronald Green Jr.
Having survived an abusive relationship, Matassa was taken aback when she learned her friend and neighbor was in an abusive relationship, because Matassa never saw any of the telltale signs that she knew about firsthand.
“I didn’t know anything about what was going on,” Matassa said.
The emotions hit an apex at the Greens’ funeral.
“I saw her in that casket and I saw myself in that casket,” she said at the recent “Stop the Slaughter” event at the North Boulevard Town Square.
The event was sponsored by the Iris Domestic Violence Center, a nonprofit center that helps domestic violence victims in a seven-parish area: East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, Ascension and Iberville parishes.
Matassa was one of the featured speakers and told the more than 100 men, women and children gathered on the lawn at Town Square how she was a survivor of a lengthy, abusive relationship.
“I barely made it out and feel that I am one of the lucky ones who did,” she said during her 90-second speech, adding after her speech that she still looks over her shoulder.
In addition to Green, Matassa said she also lost a friend on Oct. 12, 1998, to an abusive husband. That friend left behind four small children.
“We have to bind together to stop these senseless acts of violence,” she implored during her speech.
After the event, she talked about how Ronald Green Jr.’s death has affected her 13-year-old son, who was very young when Matassa left his father.
“It’s still really hard for him,” Matassa said.
Her son and the younger Green played sports together and were friends, Matassa said.
The brutal killings of Ronald Green Jr. and his mother shocked the neighborhood, Matassa said, as have the revelations about the abusive relationship that have surfaced since the double killing.
Dewona Green had filed three petitions in Ascension Parish for a protective order since February 2013 — the last on April 8, less than two weeks before she was fatally shot. He was due in court May 2 for a hearing on the order.
“Your honor, things are getting worse and worse, I have tried, but my husband has control issues. He goes wherever he wants and wants my son to be with me 24/7, but when I go, he goes crazy,” Dewona Green wrote in an April 8 petition for protection from abuse.
Ronald Green Sr. was served the order on April 11, and deputies waited for him to gather his belongings.
Deputies arrested him the next day for violating the order, but he was released on bail.
Authorities first learned of the brutal double slaying when Green called a woman and told her what he did before apparently driving to the Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River in St. John the Baptist Parish and jumping off. His car was found still running at the top of the bridge. His body was never recovered. Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tony Bacala said last week that there are no new updates in the case.
Ryan Broussard covers police and general assignment news for The Advocate. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.