Women usually go to a safe house because they think they’ll be safe. At least, that’s probably what Bonnie Woodring thought when she went to the REACH shelter in Jackson County, North Carolina. Bonnie’s estranged husband had attempted to murder her by strangling her and had even abused her son who was from a previous marriage. This led Bonnie to leave John “Woody” Woodring. In June of 2006 Bonnie had tried to get a restraining order against John, but was denied. Why she was denied is uncertain, but in the fall of 2006 she was granted a domestic violence protective order against Mr. Woodring. Bonnie had every right to receive this order. John had threatened to murder her if she ever left him, but she had no choice but to leave since John had already attempted to murder her once. Bonnie had been staying at the safe house for several days after receiving the domestic violence protective order, but chose to leave the safe house to return to John’s home to retrieve some of her belongings. While there, John again attempted to strangle her. This was September 14th. On September 18th, John Woodring entered the Jackson County safe house and murdered Bonnie Woodring with a shot gun.
It’s bad enough that Bonnie was murdered in a safe house, but what makes this ordeal even worse is the fact that her 13 year old son was in the room next to hers. This murder was probably a blow to all the safe houses across America because women turn to these safe houses in order to escape abusive relationships. How could any women feel safe after seeing the news coverage of this small town murder? You have to question the court and ask why Bonnie was not given a restraining order in June of 2006. But, then again you have to realize that it really wouldn’t have done any good.
Many people find this safe house murder to be very interesting because in 2005 John Woodring wrote a book called The Convict Speaks. John Woodring was compelled to write this book after having spent time in jail for assault. Before 1995, John Woodring had chosen to become a Marine after having had a rough childhood. After his years as a Marine he still had a rough life and found himself committing crimes of assault. While in jail he started to wonder what caused people to commit crimes. After being released from jail he attended SCC and then went on to WCU where he studied Sociology. John became obsessed with true crime stories especially murders. He began to watch every true crime story he could find about murders and then started writing to well known criminals who had committed murder including Eric Rudolph. This is where it becomes very interesting. In an interview conducted in May of 2005 John states that most of the murderers he had corresponded with had rough childhoods and were very smart.
John Woodring had a website where he sold his book and pictures of Jackson Country. On September 17th he uploaded a video that contained pictures of Bonnie and him. The video said that he was sorry for hurting her. Before the safe house murder occurred on September 18th, John was wanted for the attempted strangling of Bonnie Woodring. After Bonnie’s murder there was a nationwide search to find John Woodring.
On November 1st, John Woodring’s body was found in a boathouse in Fontana. The safe house murderer appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head. I’m sure Bonnie’s family is able to sleep a bit better now, knowing that the man who murdered Bonnie finally got what he deserved. But, you still have to wonder, if the murder happened at a safe house in Jackson County, who’s to say it won’t happen at other safe houses across America? How safe are safe houses anyway?