Darlene Rae Aaron-Thomas
22 Years Old

July 15, 1973 to April 9, 1996

I've spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what to write here about my only child Darlene. I could say that she was wonderful, a loving and compassionate human being. That she was loved by all who knew her, but that would be the thoughts of a mother, and we all know how biased a mother can be.

Instead I choose to share a story about Darlene that I only heard after her death. A close friend of ours shared this with me and it helped to reinforce my belief in the kind person Darlene was. It seems that when Darlene was about 15 years old she went to visit our friend, Ann, who was also our neighbor. While there she met a young girl named Sara that Ann was tutoring in Spanish. After Sara had left, Ann shared the fact that Sara had cancer.

Darlene was appalled and kept saying how horrible that someone so young should have to suffer like this. Ann then told Darlene that Sara was going into the hospital for chemotherapy to try to stop the cancer. Darlene then questioned Ann about what hospital she would be in and when she would be there.

Later when Sara was hospitalized for treatments, Ann visited her and found that she was in good spirits, but somewhat puzzled. She told Ann that she had begun receiving cards and notes from a great many people who she didn't know. The cards continued to come and helped to cheer her up during the entire stay in the hospital. She couldn't figure out where the cards had come from and her family and friends were also in the dark.

On one of Darlene's subsequent visits to Ann's house, Ann related the story of the cards to Darlene. Darlene informed Ann that the cards were being sent by the students that she went to school with at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Darlene had requested that all of her friends send cards to help brighten Sara's day and this they did.

This was Darlene. She lived her life as a bright ray of sunshine that shone into the dark corners that made others so sad. She was my sunshine, my hope for a better world. When she died that sunshine left my life, but was replaced by the bright light that is her daughter, Nicole. I will never forget her kindness and loving ways. I will strive to insure that her daughter will know the goodness that her mother, Darlene brought into this world.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Darlene was murdered by her husband, Carl Anthony Thomas. They had been separated due to a physically abusive situation. Darlene went back to get their child's car seat and was shot four times in the left hand, right arm, the neck and head. She died later that same day.

Darlene's husband was convicted of second degree murder along with several other charges stemming from the fact that he had shot two other people at the time. Both of these young men survived. He received a sentence of 31 years to life and should not be eligible for parole for at least 26 years. As of today's date, he has been in prison for almost three years.

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Darlene Thomas