Denise Morgan’s sisters say killer’s obituary is ‘slap in the face for our family’

Sisters slam murderer’s obituary as they reveal he had been abusing partner for years

Killer Joed Taveras and victim Denise Morgan

Joed Taveras murdered Denise and then took his own life

Denise Morgan

Denise’s siblings Shannon, Lisa and John

Denise with her mother Deirdre

Denise’s coffin is taken from the church

Lisa Morgan with her father

Niall Donald

The sisters of murder-suicide victim Denise Morgan have hit out at a glowing obituary posted in her killer’s honour, describing him as ‘humble’ and ‘loving’.

Denise (39), from Tullyallen in Co Louth, was shot dead by her boyfriend, Joed Taveras, in an apartment in Queens, New York on October 21.

After emergency services rushed to the scene, they discovered former US soldier Taveras’ body next to a firearm.

Despite the fact he gunned down innocent mum-of-one Denise, a glowing obituary remains online describing him as “humble to a fault” and “persistent with making those around him feel loved.”

Denise Morgan

The Morgan family have asked for the obituary to be taken down — but it remains online.

Speaking to the Sunday World, Denise’s sisters — Lisa (41) and Shannon (24) — describe how Taveras had subjected their sibling to years of abuse and controlling behaviour before killing her.

They detail how Taveras was a domestic abuser who tried to control every aspect of Denise’s life and resorted to murder when she was about to leave him.

Shannon said the obituary is like a slap in the face for her family.

“He’s been portrayed as a victim in that obituary. I understand that his family are grieving as well, but they need to do that in private because he has destroyed a whole family.

Denise’s siblings Shannon, Lisa and John

“He has destroyed a whole community. He has destroyed all of Denise’s friends,” she said.

“They should do their grieving in private and not be writing that he is a great man, because he has been abusing Denise for years.”

She adds: “It wasn’t just out of the blue, he was an abuser. He was a mental abuser and a controlling person. He couldn’t handle Denise leaving him.”

Lisa said they had started to fear for their sister’s safety in the run-up to her death. She describes how Taveras’ behaviour became increasingly erratic after Denise made a decision to leave him after she discovered he was cheating on her.

Joed Taveras murdered Denise and then took his own life

“We were worried about Denise. Ever since she found out he was cheating on her, he got really vindictive,” Lisa said.

“He was trying to make her jealous and always wanted to know where she was — just trying to play mind games on her.”

Before her murder, Denise had ended the relationship and had signed a lease for a new apartment, and was due to move in on November 1. Tragically, she never got a chance to make the move.

Denise with her mother Deirdre

Lisa said: “We were worried at the start, but once we found out she was moving out we were relieved. He was getting more and more aggressive.”

Her sister Shannon adds: “The signs were always there, he was always very jealous, always very possessive — he was always accusing Denise of cheating on him when she was at work.

“Of course, it was him in the end who was cheating.”

Denise had been living in the US for the last seven years with her daughter Mollie (9), who she had from a previous relationship.

She had been working as a bartender in The Cottage bar and restaurant in Forest Hills, New York, where she was described as ‘sunshine’ by the owner.

Shannon said that, initially, Taveras did not come across as an abusive person but there were warning signs from early in the relationship.

“He portrayed himself very well, he came across as a normal person.

“He was quiet at the start but when I was over at Christmas two years ago, he tried to put a wedge between me and Denise. He started telling Denise I was flirting with him and things like that.

Lisa Morgan with her father

“I was just being friendly because he was my sister’s boyfriend.”

She adds: “When I went over there was a punch in the mirror, because he punched it. He was always very aggressive.”

Last week, Denise was laid to rest after in her home town of Tullyallen near Drogheda, Co Louth, after a poignant funeral mass at the Church of the Assumption.

Fr Sean Dooley told mourners, among them Denise’s heartbroken young daughter Mollie, that her tragic death shone a spotlight on domestic violence.

“It has just been so devastating, we will never get over it,” Lisa said.

Shannon said Denise was a kind-hearted person who was loved by everyone she met.

Denise’s coffin is taken from the church

“She always had a good word to say about people, she would always support the underdog.

“She just always saw the good in people, Denise was just a lovely person who always had a smile on her face.

“Even when she was down, she would still be smiling, she was always trying to make people feel better.”

Lisa said her family hope that, by speaking out, they can help someone in the same situation as Denise.

She said: “Make a plan to get away, don’t just leave, make a plan and get away. Just get away.

“Even if this just saves one person, it’s just terrible what people go through — thinking it’s alright, he’s just a bit jealous.”

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