Nicole Addimando was trying to survive
After surviving years of severe domestic violence, our sister and friend Nikki Addimando shot her partner and father of her children (ages 4 and 6) in a struggle to defend her life. At her trial, extensive evidence of the abuse she suffered was presented, and yet she was unjustly convicted of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon (which belonged to her partner). Her sentencing will take place in early June. She faces a lifetime in prison—ripped from her young children, and subjected to the abuse and dehumanization of our criminal justice system.
We urgently need to raise money for her ongoing legal defense. Any amount you gift will go a long way to securing justice and freedom for our beloved Nikki, as well as providing support for her and her children.While Nikki remains in prison, it is not just she who suffers. Her children, her entire family, and her community is experiencing profound and long-lasting emotional, physical, and economic trauma.
Why she needs our help
Nikki lived through horrifying abuse and was defending her life. So why was she convicted? The truth is our criminal justice system is stacked against women who suffer from domestic violence, and it's shockingly common for domestic abuse survivors to be incarcerated after defending their lives.
67% of women sent to prison in 2005 for killing someone close to them were abused by the victim of their crime (according to the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision). And according to the ACLU, nearly 60% of people in women's prisons nation-wide—and as many as 94% of some women's prison populations—have a history of physical or sexual abuse before incarceration.
Instead of offering protection, compassion, and healing, our criminal justice system becomes a continuation of abuse they have already suffered.
The evidence of Nikki’s abuse was extensively documented by medical, trauma, and domestic violence professionals. Dozens of witnesses have reported seeing Nikki injured in public – including bruising, burns, and limb dislocation. Our judicial system refuses to acknowledge the dynamics of abuse and why women often can’t leave.
How you can help
Nikki's defense committee is hard at work thinking through next legal steps. She needs the best legal representation, and that's why we need your help. Her family does not have the funds to pay the current and future legal fees and the need is enormous. It is not uncommon in cases like this for total fees to reach half of a million dollars. We cannot allow a lack of financial resources to determine the outcome of Nikki’s case.
You can help Nikki in two ways:
- Make a financial donation, as generously as possible.
- Please spread the word, and share this campaign widely with friends and family
- This incident occurred on September 28, 2017, and Nikki was incarcerated at the Dutchess County Jail while waiting for an indictment and trial—subject to hundreds of strip searches, ongoing surveillance, and other tactics that mirror the abuse she has already suffered.
- On June 1, 2018, more than 8 months into the case, Nikki's public defender was removed due to a conflict of interest, leaving her without adequate legal representation.
- On June 5, 2018, supporters gathered outside the courthouse wearing purple to represent domestic violence—many with shirts saying We Stand With Nikki—to highlight the DV system failure and injustice in this case.
- Following that court gathering, Nikki was briefly released when a replacement public defender filed a writ for habeas corpus, citing that the prosecutor did not get an indictment within a reasonable time frame. After 12 days reunited with her children, she voluntarily surrendered back to jail in hopes of making a bail application and proving she is not a flight risk.
- On June 29, 2018, an indictment was handed up without the Grand Jury hearing testimony from Nikki or any of her witnesses. She was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
- On August 29, 2018, 11 months after the incident, Judge McLoughlin granted $300,000 cash bail or $600,000 bond.
- Due to the generosity of her supporters, Nikki was released on bail on December 17, 2018 and was able to spend a few precious months with her children and to say goodbye to her mother before she passed away from stage 4 cancer.
- Trial began March 20, 2019 and jury deliberations began on April 9, 2019.
- On April 12, 2019, the jury announced its verdict and Nikki immediately was remanded to Dutchess County Jail leaving her devastated family to tell her children that their mother was not coming home.
Resources to learn more
- Victim or Abuser? Addimando Murder Case Raises Questions About Couples' Lives
- Survived & Punished
- Divided States of Incarceration with Liz Plank
- Andrew Cuomo Under Pressure To Free Women Imprisoned For Killing Abusers
*all artwork was created by Nikki in jail, using the only materials available to her: a ballpoint pen and deodorant rubbed on magazine pages to extract color.
FAQs about DV from National Network to End Domestic Violence
What is domestic violence?
- Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse or financial abuse (using money and financial tools to exert control).
- Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, religion or education.
- Batterers make it very difficult for victims to escape relationships. Sadly, many survivors suffer from abuse for decades.
Why do victims sometimes return to or stay with abusers?
- The deck is stacked against the victim when confronted with leaving or not.
- Abusers work very hard to keep victims in relationships.
- There is a real fear of death or more abuse if they leave.
- In fact, a victim’s risk of getting killed greatly increases when they are in the process of leaving or have just left.
- On average, three women die at the hands of a current or former intimate partner every day.
- Batterers are very good at making victims think that the abuse is their fault. Victims often believe that if they caused the violence, they can also stop it.
- Victims stay because they are made to think they cannot survive on their own, financially or otherwise. Often abusers create a financial situation that makes leaving nearly impossible.
- Survivors sometimes want the abuse to end, not the relationship.
- A survivor may return to the abuser because that’s the person she the survivor fell in love with, and she believes his promises to change. It’s not easy for anyone to let go of hopes and dreams.
- A better question is, “Why does the abuser choose to abuse?”
On behalf of the Community Defense Committee for Nicole Addimando