Shane and Maggie
photo by Sara Lewkowicz(Reportage by Getty Images)


Shane, an ex-convict and a recovering drug addict, had been trying to make a career as a singer in a Christian rock band while providing for Maggie and her children. He said finding steady work that paid a living wage was tremendously difficult, as he was required by law to report his status as a convicted felon.


At 31, Shane had spent much of his life incarcerated. His facial tattoos, along with his criminal record, made finding steady work extremely difficult, and work that paid a living wage nearly impossible. After his last stint in prison, Shane was determined to turn over a new leaf and create a better life for himself. That life, as he saw it, would have to include Maggie, a woman 11 years his junior who was his sister’s neighbor.


Maggie had two children, Memphis, age 2, and Kayden, age 4. Maggie had separated from their father several months prior to beginning her relationship with Shane.


One month into their courtship, Shane had Maggie’s name tattooed on his neck in large black letters.


Maggie and Shane took a rare night out alone together, singing karaoke at a local bar.


After a night out at a local bar in Lancaster, Maggie left after becoming jealous of another woman flirting with Shane. Upon arriving home, Shane flew into a rage, angry that Maggie had “abandoned him” at the bar, and he screamed that Maggie had betrayed him, at one point accusing his friend (not pictured) of trying to pursue her sexually.


Shane flung Maggie back into the kitchen when she tried to escape. He told her, at one point, that she could either get beaten up in the kitchen, or come into the basement with him so that they could talk alone. Maggie refused to be alone with him, saying she was fearful of what he might do without witness around.


As Shane and Maggie continued to fight, Memphis ran into the room and refused to leave Maggie’s side. Shane continued to scream in Maggie’s face as Memphis wedged herself between them. At some point, the toddler had stopped crying and began trying to soothe her weeping mother.


A resident of the house called the police, who arrived and arrested Shane. As he was being led away in handcuffs, Shane pled with Maggie not to let the police take him into custody, crying out, “Please, Maggie, I love you, don’t let them take me, tell them I didn’t do this!”


Maggie sat on the bathroom floor and cried after arguing with Zane. The two had fought with some regularity over her relationship with Shane, and although he had said he forgave her, Zane often had a difficult time letting go.


Maggie sat in front of her best friend Amy’s house and smoked the morning after the assault, while Kayden and Amy’s daughter Olivia, three, played in the window. A few days later, she decided to move to Alaska to be closer with her estranged husband and father of her children. Shane pled guilty to a count of domestic battery, and was given a nine month sentence. He was released in August 2013, five months later, on good behavior.


Maggie and Memphis enjoyed the scenic beauty of Alaska from the back seat of the family car during a Saturday afternoon drive.


Kayden’s behavior had shifted dramatically after the move to Alaska. His mother said he acted out far less often and tested his father’s boundaries far less than he did with Shane. “He respects his father,” Maggie said. “He never liked Shane. He never respected him.”


Maggie and Memphis share a bond that is incredibly strong. Mother and daughter spent hours cuddling together and laughing. “I want her to know that you should never let anyone treat you badly,” Maggie said, speaking of the lessons she wanted Memphis to eventually take away from the incident with Shane.


Kayden and Memphis played superheros on the couch in the living room.