Justice for Brittney
A Stand Against Domestic and Gun Violence
"Together we can advocate for Domestic and Gun Violence prevention measures. As a community working as one, we can help save countless lives."
Brittney Peyton was born on November 18th, 2002. As a baby she was spirited and smiling, even through suffering with colic. Her big brown eyes could melt anyone she came into contact with and more often than not she was refered to as a "doll baby." She always wanted to be held, so much so that the family joked that she would never walk.
She may have been spoiled but she was joyful and precious in everything that she did. It was during these years that the nickname "Bubble Lips" was created. She would throw her hands up and down while blowing bubbles and yelling at the top of her lungs. We knew she would have a lot to say when she got older.
As a little girl Brittney was the definition of spunk. She would run out into the living room and put on amazing performances where she would dance and sing to her hearts content. She would wait, not so patiently, for the entire family audience to gather. Once, her mom jokingly told her that she was getting "kicked out." Brittney grabbed her purple Hannah Montana guitar and sat at the end of the driveway playing music to make money "to live off of." She even had a friend bring her a jacket and snacks! Talk about being committed to the bit. She was lively and vivacious, there truly was never a dull moment.
As a teenager, Brittney never lost that spunk. She still sang in the car, danced at any given moment, and could make ANYONE laugh. She matured but remained vibrant and tenacious. She gained her own sense of style, protected people fiercely, and seemed to be unafraid of anything thrown her way.
Even as a teenager who had an active social life, she always made time for her family. Her favorite event of the year was the annual Christmas party that was thrown at her aunt's house. Even in the wake of family disasters she remained adamant that the Christmas celebration had to go off without a hitch, and would do anything in her power to make sure that it happened. It seems oxymoronic to describe someone as free-spirited and also traditional, but Brittney embodied both perfectly.
Brittney's family described her as their "Wild Child," but in the best way. She was energetic and not afraid to stumble. She would pick herself up and continue on living as if she had never experienced pain. They say that she was their pride and joy, always smiling, and a "Raging Bull."
Brittney's friends described her as the "life of the party." Of the many sentiments they shared the commonality was that she wouldn't stand for anyone being sad or unhappy in her presence. Friends also said that she was understanding and the best at giving advice.
Her Dreams ...
When Brittney entered high school at Patrick Henry she hadn't exactly settled on the path she wanted to take in life. She bounced between being a veterinarian, a neonatal nurse, and even a model. During the Summer preceding her junior year she decided on a career path. Brittney decided that her calling was to become an EMT, and even signed up for courses to prepare her with any knowledge she may need to fulfill that dream. When asked what made her decide to be an EMT her answer was simple; She wanted to be the first line of defense in helping people on their darkest days. She wanted everyone to feel that someone was on their side to help with their struggles.
Brittney began dating Benjamin and at first everything seemed to be normal. They attended family functions together and he joined her on regular visits to family and friends houses. Slowly, the spunky and energetic girl we all knew began to fade. She became more reserved and less interested in taking part in things that would have normally brought her joy. Brittney left her family home and moved in with Benjamin when she was just a couple of months shy of 18. She still intended to finish her final year of school and "make something of herself."
The visits slowed, the calls became less, and the horror began. Family members begged her to return home while watching her self-worth diminish. She was under the thumb of her abuser, and once her 18th birthday came and passed her family was no longer able to call the police and have her escorted home anymore. She wouldn't leave him, no matter how obvious her misery. She became pregnant and slowly the light started to return to her life. She was so happy to experience the unconditional love of a child. Not long after she found out she was pregnant did she suffer a miscarriage at the hands of her abuser. She told family that he had pushed her into a wall and hit her in the stomach. When questioned in his presence they both swore that they were just "play fighting."
After the miscarriage things quickly went downhill. Benjamin was seen on the Life 360 app driving 118 MPH with Brittney in the car. This wasn't the first time that this had happened, and he had been asked in every way possible to refrain from that type of reckless behavior with her in the car. Brittney's Brother-In-Law went to pick Brittney up, and was met by Benjamin with a gun. The police were called, and charges filed, but Benjamin didn't show up to his court date.
Brittney suffered the loss of her ex boyfriend, and friends and family members were made aware that she wasn't "allowed" to grieve. In fact, when she stayed the night with a friend before the service, Benjamin was again caught by police with a sawed off gun and recieved distribution charges. He was in the parking lot across the street from her friends house watching her. He didn't show up to court for these charges either. He would cheat on Brittney, beat her, talk down to her, and make her feel worthless. Anyone who tried to intervene was someone else to add to the list of names that he isolated her from. She was scared of the backlash, and constantly defended him. It got to the point where she couldn't make phone calls without him being in the room. He would monitor what she said and who she talked to.
... Cut Short
On the morning of May 11th investigators showed up at Brittney's Mom's doorstep. Her mother knew that Benjamin was on the run and skipping court dates, and had even called in multiple welfare checks and told them of Benjamin's whereabouts. She believed that the investigators were coming to tell her that Benjamin had finally been arrested. She thought that they were coming to tell her that the nightmare was over, when in reality it had only just begun. They explained that Brittney had been murdered in a friend's apartment. Benjamin posted on social media about Brittney passing away and eluded to the fact that he wasn't present when it happened. In the early hours of the morning on May 12th, Benjamin was arrested in connection with Brittney's death.