As I write this month’s message, I find that I am torn between two major thoughts. The reason for this is that we will be praising the rights we have worked so hard for victims of crime and thanking so many who have worked so hard to pass rights for victims. This is so important because without these rights, victims of crimes have no voice and criminals are the ones with rights. Why am I distraught?
I am distraught because on January 29, 2018 a young woman, Dana Parks, appeared in a Multnomah County Courtroom with a four-page typed victim impact statement. Judge Kenneth R. Walker interrupted her three times and ultimately walked out of the courtroom without allowing her to finish according to a tape of the hearing and an article by Samantha Swindler, a columnist for the Oregonian/Oregonian live. We are thankful that other members have been allowed to say how the crime has affected them. However, no one should be left out!
Another one of our members, Jamie Joshua Sawyer read his five-page statement before a judge on January 18, 2018. His daughter, Kaylee Annie Sawyer, was brutally murdered. Being able to use his right to be heard in the criminal justice process and submit a victim impact statement was of the upmost importance to this father. Mr. Sawyer had a positive experience. Sadly, both of these sentencings were around the same time but they had different judges. What I get from all of this is that we all must be vigilant about seeing that victim’s rights are supported. No one should be allowed to take away a core right from a crime victim.
Now, we all can feel better. Judge Walker’s decision has not gone unnoticed. The Greater Portland Area Chapter will join other victim’s groups and supporters to see that this does not happen again. The theme this year for victims’ week is: “National Crime Victims’ Rights Week,” “Maximizing the Impact of Your Campaign,” might be remembered longer than most in Oregon.
Thirty-two years ago, victims had fewer legal rights. The rights we had were statutory and not constitutional. Victims did not have to be notified of court proceedings or of the arrest or release of the defendant. They were not always allowed to be in the courtroom when a trial was going on. I have talked with members who had to wait outside of the courtroom when the trial was taking place. Those of us who were allowed in the courtroom can only imagine how hard it would be to not be able to know what is happening regarding the murder of their loved one. They could not make statements to the court at sentencing or at other hearings. Victim assistance programs were virtually non-existent.
Nearly thirty-two year ago when I first joined the Oregon Chapter of POMC, crime victim compensation was not an option. I can remember talking to a new member who did not have enough money to bury her son. Not only was she distraught from the murder of her son, there was not any help at that time to pay for his funeral. She was shattered. Thankfully, a funeral home heard of her story and offered her a burial service for her son. However, this was not always the case for other families at that time.
Now thanks to victims’ rights, there has been tremendous strides in the legal rights and assistance programs for victims and co-victims of crimes. Currently, every state, the District of Columbia, and several territories have an extensive body of basic rights and protections for crime victims within its statutory code according to The Office of Justice Programs. Victims’ rights statutes have significantly influenced the manner in which victims are treated within the federal, state, and local criminal justice systems.
In addition to statutory victims’ rights, nearly two thirds of the states have adopted amendments to their state constitutions guaranteeing rights to victims of crime. State constitutions increase the strength, permanence, and enforceability of victims’ rights. Some state amendments include a few broadly worded rights, while others provide a long list of rights for victims.
The Office of Justice Programs also feels that rights that are guaranteed by a constitution are stronger than rights that are set out only in statutes. Incorporating victims’ rights into constitutions also gives those rights a degree of permanence. Statutes can be changed at any time by the state or federal legislature. Nonetheless, it is relatively difficult to change the constitution of a state or that of the United States. As a result, once they are in the constitution, they are likely to remain there indefinitely. Giving victims’ rights constitutional power makes those rights enforceable as well. If an official or a state agency violates a constitutional right, a court usually has the power to order that official or agency to comply with the constitution.
In 1996, Bob and Dee Dee Kouns, from Crime Victims United and fellow co-victims worked hard to get “protection of society” added to the Oregon Constitution. Steve Doell is now the current head of Crime Victims United and he worked for years alongside the Kouns to see that victims of all crimes were given their rights. In 1999, “Oregon Crime Victims Rights” were made constitutional.
Knowing the rights of crime victims, makes Dana Parks’ case more painful. Her ex-boyfriend had assaulted her two times. According to the reporter, she attempted to read her victim statement and Judge Walker interrupted three times and ultimately walked out of the courtroom without allowing her to finish. Parks also said, “I felt so embarrassed.” Her abuser, Zachary Ball, was in the courtroom at this time.
What if the abuser had murdered her? Would her family have been told to quit talking as well? Oregon law gives victims a reasonable time limit. When Parks tried to tell how Ball allegedly sexually assaulted her, Walker interrupted her and said: “Ma’am, please don’t tell me the details of this. I don’t want to hear this. Continue with your message.” Parks was never told that she could not mention about the sexual charges because Ball never faced any sexual charges involving Parks. She had said that if the judge had told her that she was not allowed to say that, she would not have felt so stung. The judge just told her: “I don’t want to hear it.” What message does this send to other victims? Dana Parks was victimized again by the judge! She was chastised for wasting the judge’s time! We are so sorry. Dana did not deserve any of what happened to her.
It is gratifying to know that we do have victims’ rights in Oregon and that we hope that awareness of Dana Parks’ case will keep others from being victimized. Knowing what happened makes a stronger case for victims’ rights. As always, we are grateful to all who work to support victims of crime.
My deepest commiserations to all the victims of crime, Mary Elledge
Our 32nd Annual National Conference will be held in Arlington, Virginia/Washington D.C. Area from August 2-5, 2018.
The Conference will be held at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Washington D.C.-Crystal City located at 300 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, Virginia, 22202.
This is POMC’s 32nd Annual National Conference, but it is also the 40th anniversary for the organization, Parents Of Murdered Children.
The 2018 Conference location is within minutes of many popular landmarks including the Washington Monument, United States Capital Building and the White House. You will have easy access to the nation’s capital with a complimentary shuttle service to Pentagon City Metro, Reagan National Airport, (DCS), and Fashion Centre Mall.
Forms to register for both the Conference and ELT are available on our website: www.pomc.org
**The Greater Portland Area Chapter hopes that many of our chapter members will be able to attend.
Mt. View Cemetery will participate with Parents of Murdered Children and other volunteer agencies to put on the Memorial Day Annual Commemoration Service on May 28, 2018. This is a special day to honor and remember those we have lost in the service of our country. They will be serving light refreshments in the morning upon commencement of the service.
Our chapter will have a table where we will display information on what we do. This is memorable event where it is an honor to pay tribute to those who have died for our country. We also honor all those who have served our country.
The annual event will feature a guest speaker, a 21-gun salute, other military honors, and floral tributes. Oregon City High School Junior ROTC will be there and music provided by Gardiner Middle School and Grand View Baptist Church Bands. There will also be a fly-over during the ceremony.
Our POMC Chapter will have a table with information about who we are and what we do. Mt. View Cemetery is the home of our beautiful Parents Of Murdered Children (POMC) Memorial Wall.
Please e-mail us at email@example.com if you would like to help at our POMC table. We appreciate anyone who wants to help represent our chapter.
For our “Holiday Memorial on December 5th, if we do not have a picture of your loved one already, please mail or e-mail it to: Pat Schwiebert at 2116 N. E. 18th Street, Portland . OR 97212. Her e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Pat needs the pictures as soon as possible so she can include them in our slide show. Your loved one’s name will be read out loud even if we do not have a picture on our board.
We are so grateful to Pat and her family at “The Peace House”, where we hold our meetings. They spend hours decorating their home so it is beautiful for our holiday memorial. For many, this time is the most special day they have during the holiday season since the murder of their loved one. It is a safe place to be.
On behalf of the Greater Portland Area Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, I would like to express our deepest appreciation to all of the generous people who have donated to the building of our addition memorial wall. We have a beautiful POMC Memorial now and families and friends from all over Oregon and Washington come to honor the memory of their loved ones who were so brutally taken from them. Sadly to say, our wall is completely filled. We have 500 names engraved on it.
What we are planning to do when we have enough funds is to build an additional wall that will hold 1000 more names. We have so many families who are waiting to add their loved ones’ name. It means so much to them because one of our greatest fears as a co-victims of homicide is that our loved one will not be remembered. They did not get to live the life they were suppose to. Some of the names on our wall belong to little babies to any age of adult. As co-victims, we have all suffered the same loss, the loss of a loved one to homicide. Our lives were completely changed. Homicide cannot be resolved.
What is also important is that we also educate the public when people come to see our wall. Murder can happen to any family. If people see the amount of people who are murdered, they will realize how important protection of society truly is. We need a justice system that works and laws for the protection of society. At POMC, we wish that people would never need our services. Sadly to say, we are getting more calls each day.
Co-victims of homicide need the peace and tranquility we are able to achieve at our POMC Memorial Wall. We are surrounded by beautiful sequoia trees, running water from the memorial, flowers, verses engraved on the stones that stand tall by the wall and a serenity that gives them hope and a place to gather and see that they are not alone.
We again ask for your help and thank those who have been so generous to our cause. If you would like to help, please go to the website of “Go Fund Me” and look under “POMC Memorial Wall”. All donations are appreciated and tax deductible. So many of our members are waiting to add their loved one’s name to the wall. Oregon has the largest POMC Memorial in the United States. Thank you for your help.
Funding for our new POMC Oregon/Washington Wall officially began this January, 2015. Members and friends of our chapter have been generous with donations and we are so thankful. Many of our new members are waiting for their loved ones names to be put on our new wall. We are listing new names that will be engraved when the wall is completed. We ask that members will call us, e-mail, or mail the information if you do not see your loved ones name on the list. The phone number is 503-656-8039, the e-mail is: email@example.com or POMC, 14427 S. Forsythe Road.
We are designing the wall now and hoping to build a wall that will accommodate more names than the existing wall. We want to list all of our loved ones
If any of our members work at a company or know of anyone who would like to make a donation please let us know or it is fine for you to ask for a donation yourself. We are a non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible. Please use the phone contact numbers from the first paragraph of this article. Thank you so much for your support.
Aisha Kathleen Zughbieh-Collins
Amber Rhiannon Adams
Anthony Branch Jr.
Austin Joe Hrynko
Braylon Michael Duguay
Brian Elton Spaulding
Cheritee Yvonne Vance
Cheryl Elizabeth Hart
Christopher James Loftus
Coltin Jacob Salsbury
Craig C. Moritz Jr.
Dale Archie Brown
David G. Swapp Jr.
Dean Anthony Kuntz
Devan Chanel Schmidt
Douglas Oliver Benton
Glen Edward Drysdale
Harold Sloan Blanchard
Jason Michael Ell
Jason Dale Johnson
Jason Scott Williams
Jayme Sue Austin
Jeffery Ray Brown
Jessica Lynn Clark
Jodi Marie Brewer
Joseph Ben Peterson
Julio Cesar Marquez Jr.
Kathleen Lois Bauman
Kaylee Anne Sawyer
Keith Ardell Benefield
Kenneth Dylan Lambert
Kenzie Rose La Buy
Krystal Jaye Mitchell
Kyle William Peckham
Laura Jean Bohlen
London Grey McCabe
Lori G. Billingsley
Marcos Juan Castillo
Molly Irene McCarter
Nicolas Lamont Lawson
Nicolette Naomi “Nikki” Elias
Paul W. Miller
Rachelle “Shelly” Law
Randall Leo Gettman
Raymond Lee Myers
Rebekah “Becky” Selegue Johnson
Ryan Robert Jones
Sahara Grace Dwight
Savannah Danielle Munden
Steve Leroy Johnson
Stuart M. Hess
Thomas James Fite
William Roland Hatch III
Windy Kim Kimball
Braedon Anthony Kroeker
Luke Aiden Kroeker
Ian Patrick McKay
Cody W. O’Brien
Judy D. Stanfill-Gourley
Raymond Charles Brandon
(Please contact us if your loved one’s name does not appear on this paper and you would like to have it added. A form will be added to our newsletter each month to be used for adding names for the wall when it is completed. Please check the spelling of your loved one’s name and let us know if it is wrong. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 505-656-8039, or mail us at POMC, 14427 S. Forsythe Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045.)
DELORES F.G AND ARVID F.
The Greater Portland Chapter is proud to announce that Beth Greear has created a facebook support group for POMC members. To reach it use: www.facebook.com/groups/POMC.Portlalnd.Vancouver/ Beth said that there are several “admins” of the page so she is sure it will be very beneficial to anyone who would like to use it.
We cannot thank her enough for the chance to have even more support for our members. Beth is an outstanding person who is always there to reach out to help others. She even brought a delicious dessert for our December holiday meeting. We will be writing more on this next month and giving the names of other members who are helping with this project.
The murder of a loved one is the most horrific thing a person can experience. The only thing that can make it worse is a substandard initial investigation or not seeing justice in your case. Timely collection of evidence followed by an arrest and conviction would provide a degree of comfort, but what happens to co-victims when a thorough investigation is not done, and there is no arrest? Many of the victims' friends and acquaintances will gradually let go of their grief over time, but the closest of friends and family will remain in a state of sorrow, haunted by the injustice of investigators that may not have conformed to rules or standard operating procedures during their initial investigation. Not only is there no relief, but the agony of the event changes their lives forever, and becomes part of their very being. Co-victims' everyday battle becomes their effort to get a thorough investigation.
Helplessness is a gut-wrenching emotion which plagues co-victims who are not allowed to assist with the investigation and are longing for justice. We don't want to let our loved one down; we are compelled to fight for justice no matter how long it takes. As the process drags on, frustration grows. Many times, due to confidentiality, important conversations between co-victims and law enforcement are avoided, and this lack of communication can cause co-victims to feel neglected and disrespected, which often manifests itself in frustration, anger, and a loss of confidence in the investigators. Regular contact and truthfulness are two of the most important things survivors need from law enforcement. We need investigators to focus on routine communication of as much information as possible with sensitivity and without being misleading. Survivors’ perception that information is not being shared with them can result in them feeling they have been secondarily victimized. As the years pass, co-victims start wondering if their unsolved homicide could be reviewed by a fresh set of eyes, and they often look into getting their case to a cold case unit, only to find out that some jurisdictions don't even have a cold case unit. If there is a cold case unit in their jurisdiction, cases are evaluated and chosen according to a set of criteria. Co-victims whose cases seem to be continuously passed over for review become dismayed and even angry toward law enforcement. Anger can mobilize psychological resources for corrective action, but uncontrolled anger can negatively affect personal or social well-being.
Co-victims who put forth the effort to examine and understand the cold case process and various factors which must be dealt with during cold case investigations are able to put the process into perspective. They must understand that cold cases are among the most difficult and frustrating cases for both co-victims and law enforcement, and not every case is chosen to be investigated. It helps to review the following criteria checklist used by the National Sheriff’s Association, Justice Solutions and POMC:
Complete an application for cold case review. This application includes detailed information regarding agency reports, victimology, suspects/persons of interest, timeline, coroner, lab reports, investigation documents, weapon descriptions and media releases.
Co-victims should also be aware that closing rates can be more successful if investigators work only one or two cases at a time. At this point, if we find out that our case doesn’t qualify for review by a cold case unit, our only hope is that a thorough re-investigation will be done by homicide investigators.
If you have comments or questions about this article, please email: email@example.com or call Pat Kuiper at 702-809-8654 to get your loved ones' name listed in our newsletter. Feel free to contact Pat if you would like to share your story.
Lucy Eilertson (1998)
Diana Moffitt (1987)
Donald James Brown (2007)
Kimberly Larson Reames (1983)
William (Bill) Mark Stratton (2005)
The Greater Portland Chapter is so proud of our member, Amanda Harris, for launching her official site for siblings. Amanda is offering the Website: www.unitingsiblings.com so that sibling co-victims of homicide have a place to go where they will be understood and supported. This site will include video, chat, and telephone conference via a secure and private interface. Amanda is paying for the expenses and will be delighted to be another support for sibling co-victims. Amanda can also be reached at: Amanda@unitingsiblings.com or 623-866-3189.
Amanda Harris is now ready to start her web site for siblings. The Portland Chapter is excited about the support and understanding this new group will be for the many often overlooked survivors.
Please find, enclosed, $10.00 for my annual subscription (three issues) for the Survivors Newsletter.
(Please consider adding an extra subscription fee to help defray the cost for someone who cannot afford it.)
CITY, STATE, ZIP____________________________________________________________________
MAIL TO: POMC, INC. ENCLOSED IS MY: CHECK _________________
100 E. EIGHTH STREET, B-41 MONEY ORDER__________
CINCINATTI, OH 54202
Download form here
PRINTED NAME OF LOVED ONE_________________________________________ (This will be engraved on the wall)
LOVED ONE’S BIRTHDATE____________________________ DEATH DATE____________________________
MEMBER/FRIEND’S NAME AND ADDRESS ____________________________________________________________
MEMBER/FRIEND’S PHONE NUMBER_____________________________ Do you want a Newsletter? Yes No
SIGNATURE FOR PERMISSION TO
ENGRAVE NAME AND SPELLING APPROVAL_________________________________________________________
Please submit one form for each loved one. Please make efforts with other family members/friends to ensure multiple requests are not received for the same name. When completed, please mail, fax, or e-mail to the following places: POMC, Mary Elledge, 14427 S. Forsythe Road, Oregon City, OR 97045 or fax 503-656-4420, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, please call 503-656-8039.
Download form here
Please Complete and Return to Memorial Garden,
POMC 14427 S. Forsythe Rd Oregon City, OR 97045
100% of Contributions are Tax Deductible
Name:____________________________________________ phone: __________________________
Gift in Memory of: __________________________________________________________
Anonymous gift (will not be recognized at the Memorial Garden or in published materials)
Method of Payment:
Credit Card #_________________________________________Exp Date:___________
Name on Card _________________________________________________________________
Pledged Payment (to be completed by December 31, 2014)
Please add notes on payment timing _________________________________________
Thank you for helping to create the Oregon-Washington Public Memorial Garden. Your generosity will never be forgotten.
Download form here
Tacoma Violent Crime Victim Services Welcomes Homicide Survivors
Peer Support Group Meeting
If someone you love has been the victim of a homicide, we invite you to attend our monthly support group meeting. You will find acceptance, compassion and support.
Place: United Way Building
3rd FLOOR CONFERENCE ROOM
Date: 3rd Wednesday of Each Month!
Time: 7:30PM – 10:00PM
The United Way Building is located in Tacoma, at 1501 Pacific Avenue. This is the same building that the VCVS office is located in. It is next to Union Station on the north side. As you pass Union Station you will see the United Way Building. Parking is on the south side of the building. Please park your vehicle in an open space and enter the building’s front entrance and take the elevator to the third floor. The conference room is Suite 312. Please call Lew Cox for more information (253) 383-5254.
POMC'S Court Watch Program is designed to help families maneuver through the court system. Two of the most important aspects of Court Watch are the prevention of any re-victimization to family members, and the minimizing of the emotional pain of going through hearings and trials.
If you would like support from POMC during hearings and trials or want to offer assistance, call Pat Elmore at 503-312-5681 or Allen Tremain at 503-522- 0577.
Each month a number of newsletters are returned due to delivery problems. In addition to the initial postage, return postage is charged by the Postal Service. To minimize this expense, please contact Gayle Moffitt at email@example.com or 503-761-1304 if your address changes or you no longer wish to receive this publication. If you email, please indicate in the subject box “POMC Change”. If the mail is undeliverable yours and loved one’s name will be removed from all list.