Georgia crime victims address State Board of Pardons and Paroles

FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Those who lost a loved one during a crime are learning how the state can help them through difficult times. Victims also took advantage of the resources offered during Georgia’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

May 3, 2009 is a date Dorothy Prater will never forget. It’s the day her son Kelvin was murdered. For the first time, she met with members of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to hear about the man who took her son away from her.

“I really did not want to know anything about him or where he was,” Prater said.

She would prefer to keep her distance from Kenneth Stokes, the man convicted of killing her son.

“He was murdered on May 3rd, 2009 in the Bloomfield area in Macon,” recalled Prater.

She’s attended the Georgia Department of Corrections “Georgia’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week” ceremony for the past five years, but this year was different.

“I need to talk to the board,” said Prater.

Prater wanted to know where Stokes was locked up and when he is eligible for parole. Stokes was given a life sentence and his minimum parole eligibility is 2039.

Prater wasn’t the only victim who met with the board.

“When I was 13 years old, my dad disappeared from East Point, Georgia. It was a cold case for 22 years,” crime victim Julie Allison said.

Allison didn’t give up. She kept fighting for justice. In 2008, her father’s killers finally confessed to his murder.

“They will be eligible for parole this year. We’re going to express our wishes that we would like for the people to stay incarcerated for as long as possible,” said Allison.

“We’re people too and we understand that what has happened to them should not have happened. Even though we have the powers of release, we’re not just going to do this flippantly,” Terry Bernard, Chairman of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, said.

Allison and Prater want to remind all victims they’re not alone.

“When you think you can’t go any further, you can,” said Allison.

Because they’ve felt the same pain.

“This is something you don’t have to go through by yourself,” explained Prater.

The state offers several resources for anyone who is a victim of a crime like counseling, funding for funeral services, and putting up memorial signs. For more information click here.

Categories: Local News, Monroe County

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