NEWTON, Iowa -- After years of abuse, Kristy Britton of Newton thought this is it. The day her husband would finally kill her. "I did. I did," Mrs. Britton said, "I never seen him like that."
Mrs. Britton says she, her 25-year-old son Jake, and her five month old granddaughter Rylee saw her estranged husband, John Britton, near his brother's home on South Third Avenue East Monday night. "I told him please don't come over. We don't need no problems," Mrs. Britton recalls, "And he was fine, he walked away. I was pulling away. I heard him start the car. I heard the tires spin and my son say go, go, go."
But it was too late. Police say Mr. Britton slammed his red Grand Prix into the back of Mrs. Britton's Blazer with little Rylee in the back seat. "He turned right into the front part of me. He spun me around so I'm actually blocking the whole street. That's when I hit my head. And my son was getting out," Mrs. Britton said, "He went running after his dad because he thought the car had stalled from this."
But it didn't stall. Mrs. Britton says her husband then turned his rage on their son, hitting him with the car. "It was dark enough that I didn't even know if he got hit. I just knew he was coming at me and I had to move quick. So I thought the only way up there was going up into that yard," Mrs. Britton said, "And as I'm getting up onto the curb he come right into the tail end of me and he spun me around and I landed...the car landed two foot from the house. His brother's house."
Mr. Britton took off and was later arrested. He already has a long criminal record that includes 8 arrests for domestic abuse and 5 arrests for harassment in the past 12-years. He also has multiple arrests for assault, assaulting a peace officer and criminal mischief. Mrs. Britton says her husband has struggled with schizophrenia for the 30-years they've been married. She says he self medicates with alcohol because he can never get any real help. "Every time we get him committed or he's gonna hurt himself we go to the hospital. Last month he was put in there and I was told it was going to be a long term situation and he was out in two days. And it happens like that all the time," Mrs. Britton said.
She believes her husband should go to prison for what he did. But, she says, he should also get the mental help he needs. "I think it's crazy," Mrs. Britton said, "There's a good guy in there somewhere. But he's been gone for a long time."