Nicole Gordon’s memory was fractured and slipping. For about a month, the 42-year-old had been experiencing headaches and was having trouble speaking.
When a friend drove her to the hospital, doctors made a shocking discovery. A brain scan revealed a chunk of metal was lodged in the back of her skull. It was a bullet fragment — Gordon had been shot. Perhaps even more perplexing, she had no recollection of a gun ever being pointed at her.
Police soon learned that her boyfriend, Jerrontae Cain, blasted her in the head roughly 30 days earlier — and that for several weeks the bullet wound went undetected by the woman.
Cain was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery, and two different counts of firearm possession. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison this week.
“This case serves as a horrifying example of the kinds of incidents we investigate and prosecute on a daily basis,” Paul Howard Jr., Fulton County District Attorney, told Oxygen.com in a statement.
“Domestic violence is an epidemic nationwide and it must be eliminated,” he added.
The Atlanta prosecutor called Gordon’s shooting a “heinous crime.”
“Women, all too often, suffer at the hands of their abusers,” Howard Jr. said. “Victims do not deserve to endure the pain and the suffering that results from these violent incidents that in some cases lead to senseless and tragic deaths.”
The strange incident occurred in the spring of 2017. After police interviewed Gordon, they learned she had no memory of being shot. However, she did recall an argument she had with Cain roughly a month earlier that resulted in the driver side door window being shattered. She told detectives she was knocked out and sustained a serious wound to the left side of her face above her eye.
"[Gordon] remembers waking up at Mr. Cain’s mother’s house being treated for ‘glass in her face,’” according to an Atlanta Police Department incident report obtained by Oxygen.com.
When she awoke, she noticed her shirt was "full of blood." Gordon stayed at the woman’s home for a day or two before leaving. Cain and his mother told police she refused to go to the hospital. They also told detectives that Gordon was a “hysterical” alcoholic, who had drunkenly crashed her car into a gate, another vehicle, and a tree, causing her driver side window to smash. But investigators later found the Cains’ statements to be inconsistent.
Police were unable to locate a firearm or bullet casings where the shooting allegedly happened. But prosecutors pointed to the fact that Gordon's .25 calibre pistol, which had gone missing around the time of the suspected shooting, may have been the firearm used in the shooting. Gordon told detectives that Cain knew where she kept the pistol. Fulton County authorities also alleged that Cain, during a phone conversation with a family member, exclaimed, “it was her gun, though!”
The bullet was never removed from Gordon’s skull. Any effort “to remove the projectile could cause the victim’s death,” a Fulton County District Attorney press release stated.
During Cain’s trial, defense attorney Ed Adams questioned whether Gordon had even been shot, particularly since the fragment in her skull was unable to be physically examined.
“They just did an X-ray and it looked like a bullet but there was no certain proof it was a bullet,” he told Oxygen.com.
“I’m disappointed in the verdict,” Adams told Oxygen.com. “It’s tragic for everybody but I thought the verdict was wrong.”
Many of Gordon’s friends also testified about Cain’s violent side during the trial. They told the court Gordon had “bruises and black eyes on several different occasions.”
An arrest warrant was issued for Cain in 2017. He was arrested by FBI agents after a two-hour standoff at a home in College Park. Police discovered him hiding in an attic.
Cain has 13 prior arrests, including a sexual battery conviction in 2010, according to Fulton County prosecutors. He also has an open case for burglary.
In addition to the 25 years in prison, Cain’s sentence also carries a five-year probationary period.
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