Slain mom's family urges those abused 'to walk out'

Ursula Watson
The Detroit News

Eastpointe — The family of an Eastpointe mother and her young child who were killed said they hope the pair's violent deaths will compel others to get out of abusive relationships.

Curtis Hampton was arraigned Tuesday in 38th District Court before Judge Carl Gerds III on two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the stabbings of his girlfriend, Monique Rakowski, 29, and their 13-month-old daughter, Carmon.

Hampton is being held without bond.

Friends and family of Monique Rakowski wear t-shirts honoring her during the arraignment of Curtis Hampton on Tuesday.

According to police, at least one of the times he was arrested for attacking a female companion involved Rakowski.

"It doesn't matter if you think you have the situation under control," said Emily Berry, Rakowski's cousin. "If anyone has been violent toward you, you don't know what they are capable of.

"If anything good can come out of this, let someone walk out of a situation where they are not safe."

Family said the on-and-off, two-year relationship between Hampton and Rakowski was contentious.

Rakowskis' family described her as sweet, but said she was also strong — fighting back during each violent encounter. They said they feared for her life.

Curtis Hampton answers questions during the arraignment.

With his head down, hand-cuffed and wearing light blue prison garb and yellow socks on his shoeless feet, Hampton on Tuesday walked into the courtroom filled with Rakowski's family.

"It is a thought that you don't think can really, truly happen to your family," Berry said after the arraignment.

Hampton was hunched over and appeared to be limping. He mumbled his name and was asked to repeat it. He remained barely audible when answering questions posed by Gerds.

Gerds enter a plea of not guilty on Hampton's behalf. An attorney will be appointed. The charges are felonies and carry sentences of life in prison.

Hampton appeared at the Dearborn Police Station at about 11 a.m. Friday with his brother, telling officers he had information about the deaths, according to police.

He was treated at a hospital and transferred to Eastpointe police custody, said Public Safety Director John McNeilance.

Rakowski's family has no doubt those injuries were meted out by Rakowski, the night of her murder, which police say happened between 9 p.m. and midnight Feb. 12. "I am sure she fought with everything she had," Berry said.

Hampton is scheduled to appear in court again March 3 and March 10.

The bodies of Rakowski and Carmon were found by Rakowski's father.

Officers from the Eastpointe police and fire departments have set up a fund to cover the cost of the wake and funerals for Rakowski and her daughter. Any remaining money will go to Rakowski's 10-year-old son, who lives with his grandmother. Donations can be made through Go Fund Me.

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said in statement Tuesday he's "acutely aware and deeply upset by the number of domestic violence cases in our community."

"More needs to be done to end the cycle of violence," he said.