The family has accepted help from Margaret B. Drew, a visiting law professor at Northeastern University School of Law and a national expert in domestic violence, who believes Waters should have received court protection.

“Alisha’s injuries could have been prevented with proper implementation of the existing DVO statute,” Drew said. “The misinterpretation of civil protection order statutes is a problem all over the country.”

In Waters’ case, a DVO could have stopped Mathis from buying a gun. He shot Waters within 24 hours of purchasing the gun.

“Judges, lawyers (and) the general public do not understand the seriousness of stalking behavior and do not connect stalking with a high risk of harm to the person being stalked,” Drew said.