When I write a true crime book I include a lesson to the story; I hope the reader is educated on an important topic when reading my books. This is why I elected to write, “She is Evil!” Madness and Murder in Memphis, a story of domestic violence leading to murder.
Ejaz Ahmad’s terrible death at the hands of Leah Joy Ward is a story of trust, abuse, religion, and crime: how unrest leads to crime. Of a kind man who tried to help a troubled woman and became the victim of abuse and, eventually, a heinous murder.
Spousal abuse with the female being the perpetrator and the man being the victim is so rare that it is impossible to obtain the statistics. It does exist; possible the man is afraid to report the abuse because it would make him look “wimpy,” or he does not realize it is illegal. He does not want to disrupt the family: have her arrested, the kids taken away, or to cause trouble in their house, workplace, or social circle. Ejaz Ahmad was certainly abused by Leah Ward. She hit him, screamed at him, and committed emotional abuse. It resulted in his death and mutilation of his corpse in April 2003.
I have taught domestic violence education and prevention programs for over 25 years. It was my focal point of study in undergraduate school and I have attended numerous workshops, volunteer’s events, and classes across the United States. Like most of you reading this, domestic violence touched my family, who had said, “It won’t happen to us.” In order to stay sane and not take action against the perpetrator, I educated myself: the red flags of an abusive relationship, the dynamics, and the issues.
Ejaz and Leah’s relationship had all of the red flags of an abusive relationship, the dynamics, and the issues. Leah had a history of violence and grew up in a violent environment. She was a drug abuser. She moved into his home and they married soon after they met. Ejaz kept telling himself it would get better. His family and friends warned him to get away from her. New to the United States and confronted with domestic violence, Ejaz had no idea Leah’s abusive behavior was illegal. When he finally sent her away, it was too late. She returned to his home and killed him. It is a typical tale of domestic violence.
Lowell Cauffiel is a true crime author I admire, and he once told me, “A story has to have a story behind it. True crime needs a lesson or an issue in the ‘background’ that is woven into the crime to teach readers.” It is my hope that in telling the story of Ejaz and Leah readers will understand domestic violence. If they see those red flags in their own relationships they will get out of it safely. I included a reference chapter on the red flags of an abusive relationship, the dynamics, the issues, and where to go for help. If Ejaz’s death can help someone else escape violence and death, then something positive has come out of tragedy.