Tonya Marie Felts-West
25 Years Old

November 19, 1979 to November 18, 2005

Tonya Marie Felts was born on November 19, 1979, outside of Cleveland, Ohio. She was the beautiful baby girl her proud parents Larry and Elizabeth Felts had always dreamed of. Since her father was in the Army, her childhood consisted of constant moving. After living in Cleveland, they moved to Chicago, Illinois. While living in Chicago, Tonya’s “spitfire” determination became evident. Tonya was a Tom-Boy, who climbed trees, wrestled and played backyard football. She was determined to be the best and unafraid of any challenge. Aside from her “spitfire” personality, she had unbelievable compassion, bringing home any injured bird or squirrel to try to save them. This compassion reflected the wonderful and caring mother she would later become. Larry, her older brother, was more than a brother, he was Tonya’s best friend. As she and her family moved, Tonya’s tough –as-nails personality brought out the little bodyguard in her. She never allowed anyone to disrespect her or Larry. Her upbringing gave Tonya the strength and confidence to trust in herself, which made her fearless of many things. Her independence and own self-belief defined her and helped her attain what she wanted. After graduating high school, Tonya left home to make her mark on the world. Confident in her abilities and possessing an intense drive she moved to Louisiana. Tonya learned a lot about life while living there. She quickly faced adulthood, learned from her mistakes and never gave up her dreams. Tonya’s next adventure took her to Kansas, where she continued her college education and worked as a Juvenile Corrections Officer. This is where she met her future husband, Charles West—they instantly fell in love. After a few months of dating, Charles was deployed for six months. The time apart strengthened their relationship and, not long after his return, Tonya and Charles decided to get married and begin their family. Soon after they were expecting their first child, Charles was again deployed overseas in support of Iraqi Freedom. This was a very difficult time for them; however, Tonya’s amazing inner strength shined through. She handled the pregnancy alone and completed her Bachelors degree during Charles’ deployment.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

During this time, her brother and sister-in-law were also deployed in support of Iraqi Freedom. Tonya, a Patriot to the core, was extremely proud of her father Larry who is a Vietnam Veteran. Tonya’s true calling emerged with the birth of her beautiful baby girl, Elizabeth, the love of her life. Tonya was the most nurturing mother and was extremely devoted to raising her wonderful baby girl. As a result of Tonya’s love, patience and hard work, Elizabeth is not only smart for her age; she is happy, well behaved and polite. Tonya graduated from Cleveland State University in 2003 with a GPA of 3.78 in Accounting. Shortly after Charles returned they moved to El Paso, Texas. Here they purchased their first home. It wasn’t long before Tonya got a job as an accountant. She immediately had a positive impact there and was highly praised for her no-nonsense work ethic. Tonya’s compassion was demonstrated once again when she organized and implemented a clothing drive to help the families of Cingular Wireless employees that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. Tonya Felts-West was a fighter who never gave up. Even during the horrific incident that took her life, she managed to hold on to make sure her daughter was safe. She was a truly remarkable woman who touched the hearts of everyone she came in contact with, and will always have a place in their hearts. We know that she will watch over all of us from Heaven. Tonya is survived by her daughter Elizabeth V. West; her husband Charles; her parents Lawrence and Elizabeth Felts; and her brother Lawrence E. Felts. God Bless You Tonya! You will always be missed, never forgotten and forever loved.

Tonya was shot and killed outside of her apartment on November 18 2005, one day before her 26th birthday. Tonya was pregnant at the time of her death. Not only did her family lose their only daughter and sister, they lost their baby girl and best friend. On September 29, 2007, the family received some kind of justice when the jury found the murderer guilty of Capital Murder and sentenced him to Life Without Parole.

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Tonya Marie Felts West