To the editor:
Thank you for your disturbing story, “Magistrate fired over comments to Times,” in the Oct. 21 Alexandria Times about the termination of Magistrate Elizabeth Fuller by Magistrate Regional Supervisor Elizabeth Edwards.
Throughout the entire debacle of Karla Dominguez’ murder by the man who allegedly raped and brutalized her, all levels of government have confined Dominguez to the dustbin of Alexandria history. Thank you to Fuller for notifying Virginia Criminal Justices Services of the bondsman’s outrageous actions in the Dominguez case. Thank you VCJS for conducting a professional and thorough investigation and decision.
So far, Fuller is the only person in local government who clearly acted with integrity and compassion for Dominguez. As the Times noted, there were only two women in the entire rape, bond and murder saga: Dominguez and Fuller. Dominguez is dead, and Fuller was fired for doing the right thing.
Every other person – defense counsel, Commonwealth Attorney’s office and court – is sprinting away from their role with zero accountability. And they are all men. None has to date been held accountable for their role in this matter.
Fuller was ambushed – no due process, no explanation of what comments violated what canon, no investigation, no opportunity to defend. She was given three-days’ notice on a Saturday morning of a meeting with no explanation of its purpose, along with flamboyant insults. It is alarming that magistrates, charged with neutral and objective justice, in this instance appeared to show no respect for fairness or justice. Fuller and her children lost their health coverage, during a pandemic no less, immediately and abruptly.
As for the substance of Edwards’ so-called case against Fuller, it fails to say which comments in your Oct. 7 story in which Fuller is quoted, “Bondsman in Karla Dominguez case charged,” are at issue. Nor could it.
You reported that the termination letter stated Fuller’s firing was based upon her comments on “two matters currently before the court.” This is false. The Karla Dominguez case died upon her brutal murder and her murderer’s suicide – it was over. The contempt case that has been brought against the bondsman was unknown until publication of your story, so it was impossible for Fuller to comment on it.
Your story on the VCJS decision revoking the bondsman’s license surely embarrassed a lot of people. Defense counsel, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office and court could not bury Dominguez fast enough and erase her name from history. Fuller blew the whistle and VCJS investigated and meted out accountability against the bondsman. Yet once Fuller’s action became publicly known, local Chief Magistrate Adam Willard and Edwards, his supervisor, struck back, seemingly before accountability could reach any further. This looks like retaliation for whistleblowing.
I call upon the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia to open an investigation into all facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Karla Dominguez. The Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney has a conflict and now the courts do as well.
As I close this, I cannot help but shed tears. I cry for Dominguez. I cry for Fuller. And I cry for all the other victims like Dominguez. How can our system have failed Dominguez and Fuller so terribly?
Karla Dominguez. Say her name.
Magistrate Elizabeth Fuller. Say her name.
-Anna Salerno, Alexandria