Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Victims of Crime Honored Memorial Wall Set Up in Glynn

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Victims of Crime Honored Memorial Wall Set Up in Glynn

Article excerpt

BRUNSWICK -- Tonita Nicholas Mitchell sat near the front door of the Glynn County Courthouse Monday night with her face buried in her arms, crying.

She was among more than 100 who attended an observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, so hers were not the only tears shed as people remembered family members and friends who died at the hands of others.

"When I came, I didn't think it was going to hit me like that," she said. "That was the first person I've lost who was close to me."

Until he was killed by a drunken driver just over a year ago, 16-year-old Edward Walker III had been her best friend at Brunswick High School, Mitchell said.

His smiling picture was among those of 39 crime victims displayed on a memorial wall inside the courthouse. The Glynn County observance memorialized 137 victims dating back to the 1970s, but not all families have given permission to have their lost relatives displayed on the wall, said Bobbie Patrick, victims assistant in the District Attorney Stephen D. Kelley's office.

"Unfortunately, it will grow," Patrick said of the wall and list of victims.

Kelley told the crowd he sometimes has nightmares about prosecuting the killer of a slain child and he urged them to care for crime victims. It is not a task done quickly, he said, but sometimes takes a lifetime.

Those who help victims in need or someone who is hurting are "doing our community justice," he said.

Kelley urged the crowd to examine the memorial wall and said, "It's just a sample." Jolene Kappus, who is deaf, stood watching the hands of her companion Harry Jennings as Kelley spoke. Jennings was interpreting Kelley's speech for her.

Kappus' husband, Patrick, and daughter, Emma, were murdered May 4, 1989. Kappus' half-brother, Roddie Childress, is serving a life sentence for shooting them. Just five months ago, Kappus and Jennings moved back to Brunswick.

The crowd stood somberly as all 137 names were read aloud along with the dates of their deaths. A group of Boy Scouts lit luminarias, candles inside white paper bags, in memory of each of them.

As the names were read, survivors and friends wiped tears and hugged each other. …

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