Relatives of crime victims meet with the state’s pardon and parole members
More than 170 victims and relatives of crime victims attended Victims Visitor’s Day at Fort Valley State University on Thursday. The event allowed relatives of crime victims to shared their concerns.
“What he did to Ruby she didn’t deserve that,” cried out Grenda Hemingway, who’s sister, Ruby Joiner was killed by her husband.
He is in prison for murder. Hemingway says he sent a relative a birthday card and that stirred up old wounds. That is an example of the type of concerns the parole board members want to know about so they can prevent inmates from contacting victims and their families.
“When a family member is murdered and taken away from you, you’re hurt,” says Hemingway. She admitted after the murder of her relatives, out of their grief they stopped speaking to each other.
James Mills, Vice Chair of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole, told the family not to allow Ruby’s murder to keep the family in their own prison.
“The meeting resolved some feelings that was pinned up with the family,” added Hemingway.
Mills admitted sometime cases can become files labeled with numbers and filled with documents.
“They’re people behind those numbers and behind those papers and the greatest commodity and the greatest resource that the state of Georgia has is people,” explained Mills.
Arleshia Pettigrew stood before the Victims Visitors’ Day audience and told how her daughter, Latosha Taylor, was killed.
“She was actually torched with gasoline and set on fire by her ex-fiance’,” says Pettigrew.
She says looking back at her daughter’s killer, Taylor’s ex-fiance Jomekia Pope, there were red flags, warning her something wasn’t right.
“The jealousy, the threats, the not wanting to let go,” she explained. “When you start seeing the signs it’s time to get help, to talk to someone and get away.”
Georgia Department of Community Supervision Commissioner Michael Nail says victims’ families have gone through a long journey.
“It just dose not end there. They are always going to have the support , they’re always going to have a voice and we’re going to be there to listen to them and serve anyway we can,” says Nail.
“Coming here today gave us insight to some of the possibilities that Mr. Joiner might have in the future,” says Hemingway.
The state agencies also held a job fair during the event.