Last night, our intern, Diana, and I attended the Governor and First Lady’s annual “Season to Remember” event at the state Capitol. This event provides murder victims’ families in Tennessee a very meaningful and important opportunity to hang ornaments on wreaths in memory of their loves ones. The wreaths are then displayed in the Capitol.
Each family hangs an ornament while the name of their loved one is read aloud. The families are personally greeted by the Governor and First Lady. I am always moved by this event. Sitting among all those grieving families is a bitter reminder of the toll that violence takes on so many people in our state.
Davidson County Deputy District Attorney General, Tom Thurman, was the featured speaker. General Thurman became emotional when talking about two cold cases that had been solved this year in Davidson County, the cases of Vanderbilt student Sarah Des Prez and the case of 9 year old Marcia Trimble. Both cases had been unsolved for more than 30 years.
As I heard General Thurman speak, I was moved by his dedication and compassion toward these families who had been waiting for so long to see their children’s murderer brought to account. I also thought of one of our TADP supporters and participants in our “Sharing our Stories: Murder Victims’ Families Speak” program, James, whose mother was murdered when he was only 12. Her case remains unsolved.
I thought of the state of Colorado which almost passed legislation to repeal the death penalty this year in order to use all the money saved by ending the death penalty to solve cold cases. With so many cases unsolved, it seems that the money we spend to pursue death in a few cases could be used to find dangerous people still at large in our communities and give grieving families the comfort of knowing that their loved one’s killer is being held accountable.
Regardless of one’s feelings about the death penalty, we would all do well to remember all the families and friends who will spend another holiday without their loved ones because of someone else’s senseless act of violence.
I pray that all who mourn may know God’s peace which passes all our understanding.
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