Murder thought only one of man’s goals

Investigators believe the man who committed last month’s murder-suicide at a Redmond apartment complex wanted to carry out a much more obsessive, elaborate plan – possibly abduction.

Investigators believe the man who committed last month’s murder-suicide at a Redmond apartment complex wanted to carry out a much more obsessive, elaborate plan – possibly abduction.

Joseph Batten defied a protection order and brutally killed his estranged wife, Melissa Batten, as she was on her way to work. He then shot and killed himself. And evidence indicates, he wanted to do more than just kill his wife.

“So while we don’t know what his master plan was, we are led to believe it much worse, and likely much more drawn out, than what happened,” according to Jim Bove, Redmond Police Department public information officer.

Investigators found fuzzy handcuffs, hardcore pornography, an 8-inch cutting knife and $6,000 in cash in the trunk of Joseph Batten’s Mercedes sedan, Bove said.

“Common sense would say he wanted to abduct her,” Bove said.

Melissa, 36, a software development engineer in Microsoft’s Xbox division, had acquired an emergency protection order against Joseph less than a week before her murder. The protection order said Joseph was not allowed within 100 yards of Melissa.

The protection order did not stop Joseph, 36.

Witnesses told investigators that Joseph was lurking in the parking lot of Archstone Redmond Campus Apartments on July 29, about an hour before the murder-suicide happened at 9:05 a.m.

He was waiting by a dumpster, just outside of Melissa’s apartment when he approached her holding a 9-mm gun, Bove said. As he approached her, Melissa screamed out “no, no,” according to witnesses, Bove said.

A grandmother walking with her two grandchildren witnessed the scary confrontation, Bove said.

Shortly after Melissa screamed out, Joseph unloaded eight bullets at point-blank range into Melissa’s body. He then turned the gun and killed himself with one shot. A .357 was found in Joseph’s back waistline.

The nearby witnesses were not harmed, Bove said.

While Bove unveiled some of the pieces to this tragic puzzle, he did say there are plenty of remaining questions:

Did the estranged couple communicate the day of the murder? Where, how and when did he get the guns? And what exactly was his master plan?

The biggest question is: How did all of this happen?

Melissa took all the proper steps, according to Barbara Langdon, the executive director at the Eastside Domestic Violence Program (EDVP) in Bellevue. EDVP is the largest domestic violence agency in east and north King County.

“She did everything right. She was getting her life back on track,” Langdon said. “That’s what makes this more tragic.”

EDVP provides a wide-range of services to help women escape domestic violence. However as Langdon said, “sometimes it doesn’t work and sometimes it really does work.

“We just want to be there to help when they need it,” said Langdon, who added that one in four women nationally are victims of domestic violence.

And, as Langdon point outs out, domestic has no boundaries.

“Nobody is immune to domestic violence,” she said.

Both Melissa and Joseph were educated, successful professionals. Melissa was a Harvard Law graduate and Joseph got his mathematics degree from Marshall University. Joseph, a former Microsoft employee, was a senior manager at Wizards of the Coast.

Soon after she moved to the area in 2002, she got a job at Microsoft. Joseph, who was already working as a video game programmer at Microsoft, was a big reason Melissa changed career paths.

But their relationship got rocky, with the backbreaker coming June 5 when Joseph pulled a gun on her and said, “sit down, you aren’t going anywhere,” she wrote in the protection order request.

The protection described his obsessive and abusive behavior.

After she moved out, he bombarded her with phone calls and texts and even broke into her work at Microsoft before being kicked out by security.

She got the protection order on July 21. Five days later, she was murdered.