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Sunday, October 29, 2017

[FL] Fired PBSO Officer Duce killed wife Mary and himself amid divorce (1994)

Mary Yvette Rogers Duce 
Mother, sister, daughter, friend 
Sep. 15, 1955 - Aug. 8, 1994
(More info)

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Corrections Officer Johnnie Duce was fired from his job after shooting someone at a bar while off-duty. Too soon after, within months, he gunned down his wife of 15 years Mary Yvette Rogers Duce outside the Johnson Temple Church of God in Christ. She had separated from him, had a restraining order on him, and was only visiting the area because of a choir competition at the church. Their precious young daughter, who knew her father wanted to kill her mother, was in the church when shots rang out.

[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder suicide florida state politics fort pierce restraining order killed]


8 comments:

  1. WOMAN SLAIN AT CHURCH
    The Palm Beach Post
    Jounice L. Nealy
    August 9, 1994
    A man who stood before his church congregation Sunday and confessed that the devil told him to kill his estranged wife, shot her in a church parking lot Monday night and then killed himself, police and witnesses said.
    Witnesses said Johnnie Duce, 38, shot Mary Duce, 37, around 9 p.m. at the Johnson Temple Church of God in Christ at 1322 Avenue D in Fort Pierce.
    Mary Duce was pronounced dead at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center. Johnnie Duce died at the church.
    The Duces attended Greater St. Paul Church of God in Christ in Belle Glade, witnesses said. But they were at Johnson Temple to celebrate the kickoff service of a weeklong convention, church members said.
    According to church members, on Sunday, Johnnie Duce testified at his Belle Glade church that the devil had been trying to make him kill his wife. Church elders immediately prayed for him, they said.
    But almost 24 hours after their prayers, Johnnie Duce shot himself in the head with a .357 Magnum after firing at least three shots at his wife - sending the church into a "quiet frenzy," witnesses told police.
    Duce arrived at the church Monday before his wife, said church member Gary Salter. Duce was sitting inside the church, waiting for her, he said.
    Mary Duce was supposed to sing with her choir and apparently did not know her husband was there. She went outside and he followed her, Salter said.
    "Then shots rang out," Salter said. "And everyone paused."
    Johnson Temple's choir was getting ready to sing when the shootings occurred, but the service was discontinued. Almost 3,000 people attend the semiannual regional conference, Salter said.

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  2. EX-OFFICER KILLS WIFE, SELF; [PALM BEACH Edition]
    Sun Sentinel.
    Aug 10, 1994. pg. 3.B
    A former Palm Beach County corrections officer shot and killed his wife and then himself outside a church on Monday night, police said.
    Johnny Duce, 38, of Belle Glade, approached his estranged wife, Mary Duce, 37, outside the Johnson Temple Church of God in Christ shortly before 9 p.m.
    Josie Martin, a witness, said Duce told his wife: "I told you this marriage was 'til death do us part."
    Mary Duce said: "Johnny, you don't want to to this."
    "Then he took two steps back and shot her," Martin said.
    After firing several shots at his wife's head and chest, Johnny Duce then turned his revolver on himself, police said.
    Duce was arrested Feb. 27 and charged with shooting and critically wounding a man after a bar fight. He was subsequently dismissed as a corrections officer. LINK

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  3. Husband kills wife, self, Bell Glade man, Johnnie Duce
    Fort Pierce Tribune
    Chris Brennan
    August 9, 1994
    FORT PIERCE -- A Belle Glade couple's troubled marriage ended outside a church service Monday night when the husband apparently shot his wife to death and then turned the gun on himself.
    The husband, Johnnie Duce, 38, was pronounced dead in the parking lot next to the Johnson's Temple Church of God in Christ at Avenue D and 14th Street.
    His wife, Mary Duce, 37, was rushed from the scene by ambulance but pronounced dead from "multiple gunshot wounds to the head and chest" at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, according to Fort Pierce Police spokeswoman Sonya Fossett.
    "It appears to be a murder-suicide," Fossett said.
    The church was hosting the first night of a state choir convention when Duce confronted his wife in the parking lot about 8:50 p.m.
    LaTore Brooks, 14, of Fort Pierce, said she watched Duce storm out of the church just before the choir began to sing.
    "He was sitting in front of me," she said. "Then he got up and walked out.
    He looked like he was mad."
    Gunfire startled the congregation as Duce apparently shot his wife with a.357-Magnum under a window in the parking lot and then shot himself. Police found the handgun in the parking lot, Fossett said.
    Moses Porter had traveled to Fort Pierce from West Palm Beach to help lead the choir. He was friends with Mary Duce and knew the trouble she had faced with her husband.
    "They were in the process of getting a divorce," Porter said. "She had a restraining order to keep him away from her."
    Porter said Mary Duce had never mentioned her husband acting violently toward her.Genevieve Salter, Johnson's Temple choir director, said Duce was choir director for the Greater St. Paul Church of God in Christ in Belle Glade.
    "She was a wonderful woman," Salter said. "She loved the Lord. She loved the choir."
    Salter said her singers had just assembled in front of the altar when they heard the shots ring out.
    "They had just called us up to sing," she said, standing outside the church in a steady rain. "Everybody stopped in their tracks."
    Salter said the congregation knew they had just heard a shooting.
    "It was so close," she said. "The sound was so loud. There was no doubt it was shots."
    The small church is in a troubled neighborhood, but Salter said nothing like a murder-suicide had every happened on the property.
    "It's always been safe here," she said. "We've had a few break-ins but nothing like this. This is so sad."
    As a crowd gathered in the rain to watch detectives work around Duce's body, choir leaders called the congregation back into the church to keep the service going.
    "It's time to do God's work," they called out.
    Inside the church, members fell to the floor in prayer, weeping as they knelt in pews and aisles.

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  4. 'Till Death Do Us Part,' Man Says Before Killing Wife, Self
    AROUND CENTRAL FLORIDA
    August 11, 1994
    A restraining order a woman obtained last week against her husband didn't shield her from his bullets.
    Mary Duce was gunned down in the parking lot of her church Monday night.
    Police found the restraining order in Johnnie L. Duce's car barring him from threatening his wife. Mary Duce had a copy in her handbag.
    Moments before the shooting, Duce offered his wife a bouquet.
    She said she did not want the flowers and reminded him of the restraining order. He went to his car and got a gun, witnesses said.
    "Till death do us part," witnesses heard him say.
    "Don't do this, Johnnie," his wife cried.
    Duce shot his wife twice in the head, once in the neck and once in the shoulder with a .357-caliber Magnum, police said, then used the gun on himself.
    The couple, married 15 years, died in the parking lot of the Johnson Temple Church of God in Christ in Fort Pierce.
    Their 9-year-old daughter was in the church at the time of the shooting.LINK.

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  5. WIFE HAD RESTRAINING ORDER IN PURSE WHEN SHE WAS SLAIN
    The Palm Beach Post
    Christine Stapleton, Susannah A. Nesmith
    August 10, 1994
    The piece of paper Mary Duce got from a judge last week didn't stop the bullets her estranged husband fired at her in a church parking lot Monday night.
    Police found the restraining order in Johnnie L. Duce's car barring Duce from threatening his wife. Mrs. Duce had a copy in her purse.
    Moments before the shooting, Duce offered his wife a bouquet of flowers. He said he wanted to reconcile. She said she didn't want the flowers and reminded him of the restraining order. He went to his car, witnesses said, and got a gun.
    "Till death do us part," witnesses heard him say.
    "Don't do this Johnnie," she cried.
    Duce shot his wife twice in the head, once in the neck and once in the shoulder with a .357 Magnum, police said. He then turned the gun on himself.
    The couple, married 15 years, died shortly after the shooting in the parking lot of the Johnson Temple Church of God in Christ in Fort Pierce.
    Their 9-year-old daughter was in the church at the time of the shooting.
    "She told me when we were driving to the hospital, `Daddy said he was going to kill my mama,' " said Mattie Riggins, a friend of the family.
    Riggins took Felicia Duce out the back door of the church so she wouldn't have to see her parents lying in the rain.
    "It was like she already knew what had happened, but I don't think anybody had told her yet," Riggins said. "She was in shock. She asked, `Where am I going to stay tonight?'"
    The girl wasn't the only one who heard the death threats. At church on Sunday, parishioners said, Duce stood before the congregation and claimed he was possessed by the devil, and the devil wanted him to kill his wife.
    To those who knew her, Mrs. Duce was a kind woman with a beautiful voice. She played piano at the church, was a good listener and was always willing to help, a relative said Tuesday.
    She also lived in fear. Neighbors at the Palm Glades Apartments said the couple's arguments often could be heard through the walls.
    The arguments and threats had gone on for years. On June 5, 1991, Mrs. Duce filed court papers asking a judge to bar her husband from hitting her.
    "Johnnie constantly harasses me and often threatens to physically harm me," Mrs. Duce wrote. "Johnnie has also threatened to kill me."
    A judge issued a restraining order on June 7, 1991 that barred Duce from threatening or harming his wife. Three days later, Mrs. Duce withdrew her request.
    "I am dropping all charges because of religious reasons," she wrote, adding she hoped to reconcile and that she worried about "problems I may have with my 6-year-old daughter."
    The couple separated. In March 1992, Mrs. Duce came back to court seeking child support. A judge ordered Duce to pay $267 a month.
    When he died, Duce owed his wife $2,132 in delinquent child support payments.
    In August 1992, Duce fathered a child by another woman.
    Meanwhile, Duce continued his job as a deputy with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, where he had worked since 1984.
    Duce had lost his job in March after he was charged with attempted second-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.
    According to court records, Duce shot a man outside a Belle Glade bar after the two argued over Duce's girlfriend. Shortly after the shooting Duce told a deputy: "I shot him and I don't care if I get fired."
    Monika Gonzalez contributed to this report.

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    Replies
    1. his wife mis mary duce rogers was my aid in ese whin I went to school in 1994 I'm now 34.

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  6. Former deputy spoke of suicide, Bell Glade man, Johnnie Duce
    Fort Pierce Tribune
    Chris Brennan
    August 10, 1994
    Johnnie Duce was a man fighting conflicting urges, telling members of his Belle Glade church that the devil wanted him to kill himself, but that he also wanted to repair his broken marriage.
    The former Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy, who was fired this year after allegedly shooting a man in a bar fight, confronted his estranged wife, Mary Duce, 37, of Belle Glade, outside a Fort Pierce church Monday night.
    Witnesses said she refused to accept a bouquet of flowers from Duce, who then pulled a .357-caliber Magnum and said, "I told you this marriage was till death do us part."
    He allegedly shot her four times in the head, neck and back outside Johnson's Temple of Church of God in Christ at Avenue D and North 14th Street, according to Fort Pierce police.
    As she fell, mortally wounded, Duce, 39, killed himself with a single shot to the head. Their 9-year-old daughter, Felicia, was inside the church at the time.
    Glen Scanaberry, a deacon at the Greater St. Paul Church of God in Christ in Belle Glade, said Duce attended morning and evening services Sunday.
    At those services, Duce told the congregation the devil was trying to make him kill himself, Scanaberry said. But Duce vowed to "get right with God if that's what it takes to get my wife back," Scanaberry said. Members of the church, where Mary Duce served as choir director, prayed with him, Scanaberry said.
    Friends said Mary Duce was in the process of divorcing Duce when she traveled to Fort Pierce Monday to participate in a state choir convention. She had filed for a restraining order on Friday, a copy of which was found in Duce's car, police said.
    Members of the Fort Pierce congregation told police Johnnie Duce stormed out of the church at 8:50 p.m. and confronted his wife in the parking lot next door. The sound of gunfire stunned the people in the packed church.
    Johnnie Duce was pronounced dead in the church parking lot. A .357-caliber Magnum was found next to his body, Fort Pierce police said.
    Mary Duce was rushed by ambulance from the church but was dead on arrival at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center.
    Duce's 10-year career as a corrections deputy at the Palm Beach County jail ended March 16 when he was fired for allegedly shooting a man in a bar fight in Belle Glade on Feb. 27.
    He was awaiting trial on a criminal charge of aggravated battery with a firearm.
    According to Palm Beach County sheriff's reports, Duce and another off-duty Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy went to Club Zanzi in Belle Glade, where Duce argued with a 22-year-old man.
    Duce and the man went outside, where he grabbed his friend's gun and shot the man once in the left side, reports say.
    Duce was suspended twice in 1993, once for six days for unprofessional conduct after he slapped his girlfriend's brother, according to sheriff's records. He was also suspended for one day in 1993 for speeding in a sheriff's office car.

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  7. OFF-DUTY DEPUTY ARRESTED IN SHOOTING
    Sun Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale
    D. AILEEN DODD
    Feb 28, 1994. pg. 3.B
    An off-duty Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy was arrested on Sunday, charged with gunning down a man during an argument outside a nightclub.
    The brawl erupted during an evening out for Deputy Johnny Duce, 39, a corrections officer at the Belle Glade Jail.
    Police said Duce argued with his girlfriend at Club Zanzi late Saturday night. After she left, Duce got into a fight with Gary Miller, 23, also at the nightclub on Canal Street near Belle Glade.
    "There was some pushing and shoving inside the club," said Bob Ferrell, public information officer for the Sheriff's Office.
    Deputy Thomas Stewart, also a corrections officer, was at the club with Duce. He helped to break up the fight and escorted Duce outside, Ferrell said.
    Duce followed Stewart to Stewart's car at about 1:30 a.m. Stewart's weapon was inside the car in Duce's view, police said.
    Miller stormed out of the club after the deputies to continue the argument. "Duce grabbed the weapon laying in the vehicle," Ferrell said. "Stewart tried to stop Duce, but Duce fired a shot and hit Miller in the left side."
    Miller was taken to Glades General, then was flown to Delray Beach Community Hospital. His condition was upgraded from critical to fair late Sunday.
    Duce, a deputy for more than 10 years, was arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a firearm. He was taken to the county jail in Belle Glade where he posted $3,000 bail.
    Police said Duce is on administrative leave with pay.

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