Vigil Held For Victims Of Violent Crimes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/10/05

Vigil Held For Victims Of Violent Crimes

"Depression had me down, but God had me close," Martha Goldsmith sings.

From one victim to another, Goldsmith sang a song of hope, a song of inspiration, a song to help other victims of violents crimes heal. Martha says the key is peace.

"I didn't ask God for closure, I asked God for peace," Goldsmith tells the crowd, "In the midnight hour when everybody's asleep, you're tossing with pain. The agony grips you and if you can't find peace, you will always live in restlessness."

Goldsmith is just one of the many victims gathered at Church on the Rock Sunday night hoping to find that very thing.

"Keith Johnson," An announcer calls out during the candle lighting.

"Somebody killed him and threw him in the Escatawpa River," Keith's mother Evelyn Johnson says.

 Johnson lights a candle for her son who was murdered in 1994.

It's been 10 years of agony for Johnson.

She says her healing came from the Lord and focusing on the positive outcome.

"Something has come good out of it. When they took him, they brought a pastor in his place," Johnson says.

"Officer Larry Lee was killed while on duty and trying to apprehend a suspect," Moss Point Chief of Police Michael Ricks says.

Officer Lee's mother Malta received a plaque tonight in his honor.

She thanks the D.A.'s office for their help during the investigation and beyond.

 "Jennifer, you've done an excellent job helping me out," Lee says talking to Jennifer Garraway.

 Victims Assistance Coordinator Jennifer Garraway says the point of vigil is to show victims they haven't been forgotten.

"It's to bring victims together, to let them know that we care, that we support them, to educate them about the court system, to make them aware that there are support services out here to help them. Above all, to let them know that we love them and do care," Garraway says.

H. L. Boone's granddaughter Kelly Dees surely noticed.

"A lot of times you see a headline, then a few months later you have a trial and that's the end of it. It's good to see that our district attorney has the victims in mind and doesn't forget what his job is," Dees says.

While it may be impossible for these victims to forget the violent crime that changed their lives, a little support from their peers will help ease the pain.

By Jaimee Goad

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