Today's DA - Riverside County Vigil Keeps the Legacy of Violent Crime Victims Alive

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The families of murder victims and violent crime survivors gathered at a candlelight vigil outside the Riverside Historic Courthouse to heal and keep alive the legacy of their loved ones. Today’s D.A. Magazine talked with some of those in attendance about the cathartic significance of the annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week event.

DA Paul Zellerbach speaks to victim's families at a candlelight vigil outside the outside the Riverside Historic Courthouse

There’s a bonding that goes on during these events. These families get to know each other, they share their stories and I think it has a cathartic effect, a healing effect on all of them.

Sabine Durden said she felt as if she was lost in a crowd after her only son was killed. “Being here with people that know what we feel, what I feel, that know my pain, I know their pain, and it feels good that we’re not left alone. Two years later I still have people around supporting, not just four weeks after the funeral,” she said.

Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach hosted the Riverside vigil, as well the events in Palm Desert and Temecula. “There’s a bonding that goes on during these events,” he said. “These families get to know each other, they share their stories and I think it has a cathartic effect, a healing effect on all of them.”

“The event hopefully will show to others, especially youngsters, to think before they do dumb stuff that takes the life of others or hurts someone,” said Rey Thomas Jordan whose was murdered in 2009. “You never get closure.”

After the vigil, the event moved to the Victims Memorial Wall Courtyard at the D.A.’s downtown Riverside office They unveiled the new names of murder victims added to the memorial. The somber tribute also included a reading of all of the more than 2,000 names on the wall.

“It’s a great way to bring people together, to heal together, to share stories together, and remember people by their name. That’s one of the most significant things,” said Jim Perry, Riverside City Councilman. “That’s there lasting legacy sort of speak.”

Jerry Lee Mitchell agreed the wall keeps his murdered son’s memory alive. “The wall means a lot because I want my son’s name on anything and everything it could be on. Therefore, I can see it. And my other sons and my daughters can see it. It helps me tremendously,” he said.

The loss of a loved one to violent crime changes families forever, said Sergio Diaz, Riverside Police Chief. “Families look desperately for consolation, for some comfort. There’s nothing that any of us can do to bring a victim of a homicide back,” he said. “But there is value in letting the family know and letting the public know we don’t forget victims of crime.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Victims Memorial Wall, please contact your nearest Victim and Witness Services Office.

The Victims Memorial Courtyard is open during regular business hours.

For More Information
Contact Mary Parks
(951) 955-8526

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Dwight Cromie

Bill Friedl
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