They’re the people beyond the headlines; where the story goes on for months or years, or might not ever end. This is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and advocates took the message to Jefferson City.
At a ceremony on the Capitol steps, Terri Tucker shares the story of her brother Danny Straub, who was brutally beaten to death in Kansas City in 1992.
“To ensure he was unconscious a 70 pound concrete boulder was thrown on his head crushing his skull not once but twice,” Tucker said.
She says after the murder, she and her family didn’t know where to go for help. She says they weren’t consulted in the court process, and Danny’s murderers were able to plead their sentences down. One of them will be out in 2017. It wasn’t until a parole hearing years later that she found support through state programs.
“(They’ve been) psychologically supportive, walking us through the procedures of the parole hearings because we were green. We didn’t know how it was going to work, we didn’t know what to expect. Just showing my mom, the main thing, just showing her she is important, she matters; and that her son was a human being and they do care,” Tucker said.
Dean Dankelson with the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys spoke at the ceremony, saying this week should also be a reminder to those practicing law.
Marc Peoples with the Department of Public Safety says stories like these show the importance of the more than one hundred niche support programs the department funds, some of which could have helped in that scenario.
“We need to be mindful of the impact of victimization so this kind of gives the impact of look what can happen when you do something wrong or you don’t consult a victim on a plea bargain or whatever the case may be the hurt that it has on the family,” Peoples said.
Peoples says a major purpose of this week is to raise awareness among the broader public to think about victim’s needs, and hopefully help them find the community resources to help them through.
The Attorney General’s Chief of Staff Matt Dameron also spoke at the ceremony, pointing out that thousands of Missourians become victims every month.
Each month in Missouri:
2 children die from abuse.
21 deaths result from drunk driving.
34 people are murdered.
126 forcible rapes are reported.
344 reports of child abuse/neglect are confirmed.
1,670 people are victims of aggravated assault.
3,067 incidents of domestic violence are reported.
15,969 people have their possessions stolen.