Friday, December 21, 2012

Judge advises to find positive in murders

I appreciated the way Wayne County Judge Vonda Evans accentuated the positive -- if there can be a silver lining -- during a recent sentencing for a double-murder case. She delivered the poignant comments at the Dec. 14 sentencing of Miguel Rodriguez, 24, one of five defendants who killed Hamtramck women Ashley Conaway, 22, and Abreeya Brown, 18.
Evans tried to ease the horrible pain for the experienced by the victims’ loved ones, reminding them to define the young women with a “positive legacy.” She pointed out the women ultimately won because they helped nab their murderers.
“These girls became a symbol of triumph, not tragedy,” Evans said. “They were victims but they still got the victory. It’s up to the people who loved them to give them a positive legacy. They are a symbol of what law enforcement fights for. They fought long and hard so the people who put them to death were (captured).”
The women were kidnapped and killed to prevent them from testifying in a prior case in which Conaway was grazed by a bullet shot by one of the defendants. The pair had turned down $5,000 in hush money. Their bodies were found in a shallow grave Feb. 28 on Detroit's west side. The women helped lead to the killers by texting family members from their abductors’ vehicle, and police traced their cell phone locations.
Evans encouraged family members to take the high road in dealing with their devastating loss. She advised to “move on” with tough-love remarks.
“I am challenging you to move forward. Stop grieving and start living.”


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