The ceremony marked the first week of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
During the solemn ceremony, Attorney General McMaster called the names of 31 women and 2 men from across the state who lost their lives as the result of domestic violence in the previous year.
Victims’ family members, friends, or volunteers carried a life-sized silhouette representing the victim to the State House steps as a bell was rung for each victim. An additional thirty-fourth (34th) silhouette represented the potential unknown victims.
“This is a sad and solemn occasion to commemorate the lives of women and men that were lost to domestic violence,” said McMaster. “It also serves to inspire us to redouble our efforts to break this tragic cycle of violence for all the people of our state, especially the children.”
“We not only lose the victim of these crimes, but in ways, we lose the children who grow up in a situation where this domestic violence is taking place. It is a cycle that must be broken,” continued McMaster.
Domestic violence survivors, officials and victims’ advocates made special remarks to highlight the problem of violence against women.
A statistical breakdown for each county is available at http://www.scattorneygeneral.com/fraud/cdv/index.html .
Jacqueline Alexander (47 years old) Ms. Alexander was stabbed to death in early June of 2009. Police reports indicate that Ms. Alexander died as the result of multiple stab wounds inflicted by her boyfriend, Ralph Hayes. After several days of not being able to contact Ms. Alexander, a family member went to her home to check on her and discovered her body. A warrant for Mr. Hayes’ arrest has been issued but he is still at large. Ms. Alexander is survived by a son.
Shivani Boparai (32 years old) Mrs. Boparai was stabbed to death on January 21, 2009. Police reports indicate that Mrs. Boparai’s husband, Harvinder Singh, stabbed his wife in their home multiple times. According to family members, Mr. Singh had a history of drinking and the couple argued frequently. Their young son was in the home at the time of the murder and found his mother in the bathroom with severe wounds from the knife attack. Mrs. Boparai’s brother, whom she had called to come and get her to leave the home, arrived at the residence and called the police. Mr. Singh is charged with murder and is currently awaiting trial. Mrs. Boparai is survived by her son.
Lisa Creta (46 years old) Mrs. Creta was shot and killed on December 5, 2009. Mrs. Creta was killed as the result of gunshot wounds to the head from her husband, Robert Creta, Jr. Reports indicate that Mr. Creta killed his wife and their dog and set the house on fire before killing himself. The bodies of Mrs. Creta and her husband were found by firefighters in their home. A confession to the murder and arson by her husband was found on the garage wall.
Melinda Pemberton (57 years old) Ms. Pemberton died on October 15, 2009 as the result of complications from injuries suffered from an earlier beating. Ms. Pemberton’s boyfriend, Bradford Dunn, beat her on August 25, 2009 after an argument outside of a store. The argument turned physical and he shoved her to the ground with enough force to break her leg. She called the police and was taken to the hospital to have her injuries treated. Ms. Pemberton later died from complications. Mr. Dunn is charged with murder and is awaiting trial. Ms. Pemberton is survived by a daughter.
Karen Rojas (48 years old) Ms. Rojas was shot and killed on May 17, 2009. Ms. Rojas died as the result of a gunshot wound to the head from her boyfriend, Wallace Evatt. Witnesses report that the two returned home late one evening and began arguing as they went inside. A few minutes later neighbors heard shots coming from the house. Mr. Evatt left the residence and called the police, stating that Ms. Rojas had shot herself. Mr. Evatt’s statements were found to be inconsistent with the evidence, and he was charged with murder and is awaiting trial.
Beverly Thompson (58 years old) Mrs. Thompson was shot and killed on September 17, 2009. According to reports, Mrs. Thompson was shot by her estranged husband, Ralph Thompson. Police received a telephone call from Mr. Thompson confessing to having just killed his wife. Mr. Thompson then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. Mrs. Thompson is survived by a daughter.
Melissa Wylie (50 years old) Mrs. Wylie was shot and killed on February 13, 2009. Mrs. Wylie suffered a gunshot wound to the back by her husband, Clifford Wylie. Police reports indicate that Mr. Wylie shot his wife while their younger son was in the home with them. Mr. Wylie was tried for murder, unlawful conduct toward a child, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. He was sentenced to life in prison. Mrs. Wylie is survived by two sons.