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Daughter of Waterloo shooting victim says justice system failed her mother

Lori O'Connell (Family-provided photo)

Waterloo, N.Y. – The daughter of one of two people killed in Waterloo says the justice system failed her mother. She says the man accused in the shooting should have been in jail.

The suspect in the murders, 48-year-old Emerson Tohafjan, was charged with rape and choking a woman just three weeks ago.

Lori McConnell, the woman Tohafjian is accused of fatally shooting this week in Waterloo, was a mother and a grandmother. Her daughter says she was also an ex-girlfriend of Tohafjian.

Lori Bennett, McConnell’s youngest daughter, says her mother lived in fear of Tohafjian.

“Last week, she came to me,” said Bennett. “She asked me to write down everything, make sure I took note of everything that had happened, just in case he killed her.”

Investigators say Tohafjian has an extensive criminal history. In June, he was charged with choking in a domestic incident. Two weeks later, he was charged with rape.

“I think if you’re in jail for rape, I think you should not be able to come out,” said Bennett. “Like, there’s no bail, there's no bond. There should not be any kind of bail or bond, and I feel like his family should be ashamed of themselves.”

Bennett wonders why a bench warrant was never issued for Tohafjian – a question for a grieving daughter about the woman who was her protector.

Tohafjian is still in the hospital. Police say he cut himself before being arrested Tuesday. Once he is released, police say he will be charged with two murders. A third woman who he is accused of shooting is recovering.

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