Even after the domestic-violence conviction, Tia Hendricks let Caron Montgomery back into her life this fall.
"I was shocked," said Kellee Hendricks, 33, her sister.
But really, it's exactly the kind of thing that Tia would do, her family members said. She always thought the best of people and was willing to give them a second chance.
Also, Hendricks, 31, and Montgomery, 36, had a 2-year-old boy. Hendricks wanted their son to have his father present.
"I think she knew it might not be a good situation, but she was going to try for her child's benefit," said Tammy Milbry, Hendricks' aunt.
Hendricks let Montgomery move into her North Side apartment around September on the condition that he help pay the bills, said Anita Hayes, 53, another aunt. But he didn't.
By last week, Hendricks had had enough and was going to break up with him, she told people close to her.
Montgomery had hurt Hendricks before. In April 2009, he choked her during a fight at a South Side residence, according to police records. He paid a fine and was put on probation.
Montgomery also had a 2004 domestic-violence conviction from an incident in Canal Winchester that did not involve Hendricks. He paid a fine and was put on probation in that case, too, according to court records.
Hendricks' relatives said she met him a few years ago at a club. They didn't like him from the beginning.
Montgomery was a "moocher," said Taundria Drennen, 31, Hendricks' cousin; an aunt said Montgomery thought of Hendricks as his "meal ticket."
If Hendricks had broken up with him, he would have been left with nothing, Drennen said.