Heather McGuire vigil held Tuesday night

Heather McGuire's mother, Jo Anne Kenney, feared years ago that this heartbreaking moment was possible but prayed it would never come to pass.

Her daughter was shot and killed last week on Connecticut Avenue in Kensington. Police say the man who killed her, her estranged husband Philip Gilberti, later turned a gun on himself and took his own life.

“This should have never happened to my daughter. She did everything that she could to try to protect her life," Kenney says.

Tuesday night, loved ones returned to Connecticut Avenue near the spot, one week ago Tuesday, where McGuire's body was found.

Kenney says for nearly a decade she tried to protect her daughter from Gilberti's abusive grip.

“This guy had a record that was incredible," Kenney says.

Gilberti was said to have a short fuse and a long arrest record. The weekend prior to McGuire's murder, Gilberti was jailed twice - then quickly released - for violating a judge's order to stay away from McGuire. The last time he got out, he tracked her down, beat her up then shot and killed her, authorities say.

“And how the court systems have let him in and out of jail so many times I can't fathom this," says David Kenney, the victim’s stepfather.

They blame a monster of a man and an imperfect judicial system for taking McGuire away - a system Kenney hopes to reform.

“I'm going to try to change things for other people because that's what she would have wanted," she says.

Her words of warning won't heal her shattered family. But maybe they'll help someone else before it comes to this.