Fayetteville police have found their suspect for the Dec. 26 robbery of a Fayetteville Rite-Aid, and shockingly it is John Steven Kristofak, the same man who was arrested Dec. 27 in Union city for the stabbing murder of his ex-wife five days earlier. Kristofak, 58, of Marietta, has been in the news for the especially chilling and tragic reality that the victim, Donna Kristofak, had told a Cobb County judge not to release him from jail because she believed he would kill her.
Detective Mike Whitlow with the Fayetteville Police Department said, after years on the job police are, "somewhat jaded and nothing is particularly shocking to us, but we were shocked by this."
Whitlow says Kristofak possessed evidence implicating him in the Rite-Aid burglary, which was discovered during the murder investigation by the Cobb County Sheriff's Office as well as Cobb County Police Homicide detectives. Kristofak walked into the Rite-Aid Store at 800 N. Glynn St. and handed the pharmacist a note saying he had a gun and demanded "Adderall," a stimulant medication typically prescribed for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Surveillance video of Kristofak and his pickup truck, combined with witness accounts, helped confirm he was the culprit.
At this point it is unclear what motive Kristofak would have had for committing the robbery. He was arrested for murder the next day in Union City.
The case is particularly tragic because Donna Kristofak knew nothing short of incarceration would keep her ex-husband from trying to kill her, and she insisted to Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs that it be put on the record that she "feared for her life."
Mrs. Kristofak's fears were well supported by the incredibly erratic and threatening behavior Mr. Kristofak displayed following their divorce in Aug. 2011. Though she obtained a restraining order against him only a month later, Mr. Kristofak repeatedly harassed and threatened her, culminating in a March, 2012 incident in which he confronted her in a Wal-Mart parking lot and was threatening enough that she frantically called the police. That led to his arrest and jailing, but he made a plea agreement for his release in October.
It was at this time Mrs. Kristofak went before Judge Grubbs and insisted that nothing, not even a "permanent order of no contact," which would land Mr. Kristofak back in jail if he violated it, could prevent him from coming after her. She cited a number of incidents that supported this, including direct e-mail threats of violence including chilling e-mails she received from him that was included in the March arrest report:
"You are in danger — protect yourself. No one can help you at this point. You won’t know where it is coming from," and “I warned you never cut me off from my children. You did and you will pay. I am not living past tonight so I will do anything to get you back.”
This threat of suicide was also part of Mr. Kristofak's behavior. He reportedly contacted a Marietta Daily Journal reporter with a suicide note before murdering his wife, and police also reported finding a suicide note as well as knife in his car following the March incident.
Grubbs did not comment at length about her decision to release Mr. Kristofak, but told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, "You cannot predict human behavior. After (the school massacre in) Newtown people ask, ‘How can we stop someone before they do something?’ We don’t do that."