National Crime Victims’ Rights Week began in Central Arkansas as many gathered to honor deceased loved ones.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark — The Central Arkansas chapter for Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) kicked off the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week on the steps of the state capitol in a ceremony honoring loved ones that were killed.
Photographs were on display of multiple deceased loved ones.
Belinda Harris-Ritter is on the commissioner state board of elections and is also the daughter of Bill and Evelyn Harris.
Her father and step mother were killed in 1981 at their home. The murderer is serving a life sentence, but she says that’s not always the case for other families.
“It’s even more difficult to deal with the loss of a loved one through violence when you don’t know how or why it happened, or who did it,” said Harris-Ritter.
She also says the judicial system can be abusive for victims.
Nathanial Todd is the secretary of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs who lost his brother Frederick Crumpton. He says part of the tragedy is not being able to say “I love you” to his brother one last time.
Having the support of a community gives him the strength to not harbor anger.
“It has brought me great comfort. However we have to do more. We have to demand accountability. In the event of my brother, his killer plead guilty. He was sentenced for 25 years and is now back in our community, and initially I was devastated by that,” said Todd.
He says he found forgiveness and peace within himself after releasing any guilt of not being there for this brother.
Jolante Hargo lost her teenage daughter, Adrian Broadway.
Hargo says for a long time she didn’t know the name of the killer because she didn’t want to give him power over her. She says it was two years before he was convicted.
He had two years, and she says she only had 7 days to come to terms with her daughter’s death and say goodbye.
“They allow these people to walk among us. They’ve taken lives, but they can walk, they can eat, they can leave. They can see their loved ones. We can not,” said Hargo.
A week before homecoming, Broadway was killed.
Hargo says it’s not fair.
“To have to bury your child is the worst feeling in the world. Then you go to court, and you have these people that’s supposed to be on your side. They tell you not to show any emotion” said Hargo.
Kim Macon is the grandmother of Acen King.
She asked everyone to pray while she sang a song.
Genie Massey held up a copy of her book, Murdered without Cause, during the ceremony.
The book is about her aunt Tresia who was murdered in March of 1992 in Pine Bluff.
She, along with most of her family, believe the husband orchestrated the murder with three men who shot at point blank range outside a gas station near his office.
“He never did a day in jail, and the three guys that killed her said they were given an order, but they would never say who the order came from. It really tore our family apart. At first, I was writing this book out of anger towards him, but it’s because of the lack of justice,” said Massey.
Her book features scriptures from the Bible with encouragement to help the families of homicide victims.
POMC is holding a candle vigil outside of their offices on Thursday at 7 pm.
Anyone wanting to remember a loved one is encouraged to come.