The mother of a woman gunned down inside a Green Hills dentist office is speaking out for the first time since her daughter's murder in the hopes it will save other women living in a violent relationship.
Vickie Pearsall was killed by her estranged husband Gilbert in June at the dentist office where she worked.
Gilbert Pearsall later committed suicide in Kentucky.
"I worked tirelessly to get her out of that situation," Sue Gray said. "But somehow these men who treat women this way have them in captivity, so to speak."
Vickie was married to her husband Gilbert for 10 years. During that time she would often leave him after he abused her and would stay with her mother in Lebanon.
"I am sure I did not know about all the events," Gray said. "But, the events I did know about were drastic."
She continued, "It was terrible. When my phone would ring at night I never knew what was going to be said to me on the other end."
Gray said her daughter had to be hospitalized several times because of the domestic abuse. Her daughter pressed charges against Gilbert Pearsall several times, but when the court date would come Vickie would not show up.
"She told me at the end he would tell her if you appear in court against me I will kill you so she wouldn't appear and the case would get thrown out," Gray said.
But, by the summer of 2012 Pearsall was in the process of divorcing Gilbert. She was living with her mother again and driving her mother's car to help keep her husband from following her.
"She said, ‘Mama I am convinced he will kill me' and I said, ‘We just have to do everything we can to protect you,'" Gray said.
Pearsall is one of dozens of women killed by men in Tennessee every year. The Violence
Policy Center studies women killed by men annually for a report that is released before October. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Tennessee is ranked third in the nation, behind Nevada and South Carolina respectively.
Last year Tennessee ranked fifth in the nation.
Policy center used data from 2010. In 2010, 62 women were killed in Tennessee.
Ninety-eight percent of the female victims were killed by someone they knew. Of the victims who knew their offenders, 62% were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives or girlfriends of the offenders.
"Clearly Tennessee needs to do more to protect women who find themselves in abusive relationships," Executive Director Kathy England Walsh said. "There has been no increase in state funding for domestic violence shelters in over 15 years."
Walsh said of Tennessee's 95 counties, less than half have a domestic violence shelter and the ones that are available are under funded.
"These shelters provide 24 hour hotlines, food, clothing and legal advocacy for victims and need more resources," she said. "Women's lives depend upon it."
Gray said she is sharing her daughter's story so that others who may be in a violent relationship will recognize the importance of leaving.
"If a man hits you get away from him because if he has the nerve to hit you one time, he is going to do it again," she said. "If he tells you he is going to kill you, he is most likely going to do it."
Pearsall is survived by her three children, grandchildren, her mother and brother.